On the surface, it sounds like the most extraordinary compliment one could receive in Systema. You move “just like Vlad.” To move just like the master is admirable, if not impossible.
It is also a trap. Giant one at that.
My wife sang professionally for 20 years from small venues to 18K at a Miami Heat game. If she has not seen or heard it all, she has seen or heard most of it. During one of our many conversations on the topic, she said something that really got my attention. “You know what the kiss of death is in music? ‘You sound just like so-and-so.'”
Initially, I found that an odd statement until the explanation followed. You will never be as good as the person you sound like. Additionally, there already is one. We do not need another.
Same holds true for Systema. If you are not carving out your own niche using your own style and own personality, you are just parroting another. A cheap imitation of a master.
My teacher, from day one, constantly pushed the idea that you are unique and in order to be “successful” in this art, you have to make it your own.
Truer words have never been spoken.
David is the founder and Chief Instructor at Central Florida Systema, Greater Orlando's only school for this Russian art. He also holds 4 black belts in other arts. David also run DocWellnessWorld.com and HghPlus.net. He has lectured to Congress, taught at major colleges and universities and has treated 1000s of patients over his career as an Acupuncture Physician. In his private life, he is also a marathoner and is learning the Russian language.