A few words from a professional warrior.
From Guardsman Michael Culloty.
Having spent a long time interested in martial arts I had spent a lot of time from the age of 16 looking for a martial art to call my own.
I had tried many different styles ranging from Tae Kwon Do to Ninjutsu but nothing really kept my interest long enough. Still wanting to train I went to a local MMA club but again it just was not for me so I left.
Then, almost by coincidence a friend suggested I check out a Russian martial art called Systema and upon seeing a few videos I was very keen to give this almost unheard of martial art a go. So I scoured the internet for a class and soon enough I found one in Birmingham. I trained there while transfering from RAF to the Army. Once my application to join the Grenadier Guards was complete and I had a start date to commence training I left Systema behind. 6 months later, having completed basic training I moved to London to start my career and began to look for a local Systema class. Google to the rescue again- this time, I found myself outside the Fitness First gym next to Liverpool street station, getting very nervous about it.
Every Monday and Thursday evening was now reserved for training, the methodology presented by David in each class was easy to follow and allowed each student, including myself, to progress at their own pace and gain a real understanding of what the system is.
Several seminars and classes later, David had the idea to introduce systems to the Grenadier Guards. Grenadiers are a rather interesting unit, you probably seen us in bright red tunics and big bear hats with assault rifles- that’s us when our Commander in Chief, the Queen, wants us to be seen 🙂
We have to interact with public quite a lot, and we wanted some non-lethal skills training, from weapon retention, to crowd control, from stress management to PTSD prevention… The training went down very well and all involved enjoyed the seminar and there was real interest in further events.
I have spent almost 2 years with David and the Systema GB crew and can honestly say I have learned more about systema that I thought possible. From the way classes are structured to the way David presents the material I have been able to gain a good level of understanding of what Systema is and how to use it to protect myself along with how to pass on the information I have. From the event run for the grenadier guards to training with people in classes and at seminars I have made several very good friends who share the same passion for system as I do.
I am doing an instructor apprenticeship with David, and regularly teach systema to both military and civilian groups. I must admit that the long tabs with 40 kilo burgen the that are required from us all too often would be a lot harder if I didn’t know about Systema breath work. It helps to do the job (whether in the jungle of Kenya, or in the windy Breckon Beacons), and to quickly recover after the job 🙂
All in all from the moment I walked in and started training with David Kirillov it showed me that anything is possible, from running my own classes to being more confident and self assured to having good friends I can call.