Tag Archives: Joe Mayberry

The Path

Disclaimer: The following are my opinions and information. Any errors are mine alone, Joe had nothing to do with it, except for the graphics I stol borro appropri , um, asked nicely if I could use.

So why did I do this series? Because as I get older I realize I am not exactly as ten foot tall and bulletproof as I thought I was in my 20s. Honestly in my 20s and 30s people were different. I think there was more respect for life, liberty and property. When I was growing up the sight on hundreds of people pouring on to a highway with the purpose of shutting down traffic and terrorizing drivers was not called a “peaceful protest”. It was called what it was, a riot. People flooding through a town burning the shops of people who had worked hard all their lives to build their business, attacking police, firefighters and people of a different color was not called a “peaceful protest calling for justice”, it was called a riot. The Governor would not have sided with a criminal over the police without having a clue about the facts. And no one race was elevated over another, ALL lives were to matter, we were humans, part of mankind. Did all people subscribe to that philosophy? No, but that is what I think the majority of us wanted and worked towards. I remember the riots of the 60s, my Dad went down into the city to get his Mom out of downtown Riotsville. I was a little kid, and I was scared to death till he got home with Ma (my grandma). The media did not portray this as a peaceful protest, nor did they glorify the burning and looting.

I’m a lot older now, but I still have my Mom and an Aunt I like to do things with, I have sisters and we like to do things when we can get together. I like to go visit places where I know I will be disarmed and there are attacks on even people that are armed. That was how I got started in this, covered in The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 1. Actually, you don’t even have to leave your neighborhood. It’s not so much that I would choose a knife for my primary defensive weapon, but if someone came at me, or someone I love, I’d dearly like to know I’ve taken at least some steps to have some kind of operating options as what I can and should do.

These articles all refer to the U.S.

NEW TERROR TACTIC: ISIS orders Western jihadis to become SERIAL KILLERS to spread fear

ISIS Forum Urges ‘Lone Wolf’ Attacks in US

ISIS Calls for Random Knife Attacks in Alleys, Forests, Beaches, ‘Quiet Neighborhoods’

After the bladework class, and the weapons of opportunity class I realized the martial arts training I had done in the past might not possibly help me all that much. Sigh, and I really liked Katas.

Knife vs. Kata?

I was under no illusion that I was Chuck Norris, or that I would have a handy pair of Sai or Kamas right there. Not to mention that was so long ago, who knows if I’d be able to remember anything.

Attending the classes did spark how I think about things though. I need to train my mind to look at a can of peas differently, along with kitchen implements. Not for competition or points, for life, to live. For my life, and the lives of those I’m responsible for.

It’s part of the “Warrior mindset”. I do what I need to do to take care of those I’m responsible for, without emotion, as a professional. The skills I need should become a part of me, as automatic as making coffee and driving. Yes, I need to pay attention, I need to be aware of everything that is going on around me, I need to be aware of things that seem out of place. But if I am hyper-focused on these things it leaves little resources to allocate to other things. Do you have to give full attention to putting your foot on the brake or the clutch? If you do, will you see that car coming into your lane without signaling? That’s my point.

What about breathing? Yep, it’s a good idea for all of us, it definitely prolongs life. Trust me, I’m an expert, those that don’t will not be around for long. But remember seeing people on TV, or in real life,  how women breath when they are having a child? They change their breathing pattern. One of the things I learned in Systema is that if we change our breathing pattern it can help us cope with fear and pain. There is a certain way to do it. I observed that in the last class. I didn’t understand exactly why Joe’s son Joseph would breath the way he did during demonstrations. I mean I’m sure what Joe was doing didn’t feel good, but the way Joseph was breathing was very purposeful. There are instructions in the book about Systema breathing and now I have the DVD on breathing and fear. I also have one on knives. I know, I’m a strange girl, my idea of popcorn and a movie could be a little different from some folks. The DVDs are done by Vladimer Vasiliev and available from his online store. They also have downloads. This isn’t like trying to learn Karate from a book like in the Karate kid, Mr. Miyagi. This is actually from the DVD.

Fear, fear can be deadly. And really it can have such an impact on our lives. Not just in life threatening situations either. From The Systema Warrior Guidebook,

3. Fear is always about loss; loss of life, loss of wealth, loss of security, loss of comfort, etc.  The fear of loss is directly proportionate to the intensity of the attachment you have.  Dissect your fear or worry down to what you fear will be lost and ask yourself, “If this fear came true, what is the worst thing that can happen?”  Often you will find that your worst-case scenario is a long shot and your fear can be easily overcome with the right plan of action.

4. Fear is present only when there is a desire.  Fear arises only when there is conflict between what we want and what we think “might” happen.  We build up expectations around life and come up with a concrete picture of how our lives “should” turn out.  This inflexibility forms a strong foundation for fear.  If we are open to new possibilities and a new vision of safety, comfort and success, we can be courageous.  When we flow with life, fears dissolve.  When you find yourself wracked with fear, ask yourself, “Why should I resist this?”  You may find the strength to let go and flow.

But is fear always wrong? No, for me it’s why I wear a helmet when I ride, buckle up in my car and stay out of places that I know probably aren’t safe. I’m not saying things can’t happen even in “safe” places, they can. But if Roosters bar & grill is known to be frequented by members of MS-13, I’m not a-goin’. I don’t need french fries that much.

Fear is like injury

Defeat the Fear, courage from G-d

The Philosophy of Violence, I haven’t been able to watch all of this one yet, but the part I saw is very good.

But the book and Systema are about life, with a instructions for dousing (brrrrrr) harmonizing your life, and fasting which does a lot more than I realized! Joe talks about Humility and becoming human and this is something I myself need to work on. Theres a recipe for meditsina, along with how and why, and a chapter on Russian penicillin, and if you’re so inclined, a bit on vodka.

Now you understand what I mean when I say there is way more to this than a book about how to block a punch?

I think most readers of The Zelman Partisans intrinsically have a martial mindset, we tend to be the warriors. But we are human, we age, we sustain injuries and things that used to work well for us may not work so well anymore. I recently read a column about The Psychology of Previous Investment it talked about how people buy guns that don’t really work that well for them and the things they go through trying to make it work for them. Rather than just admit that they made a mistake and that something will not work for them, they continue to throw money and try to force it to work. It will not work. So as warriors, rather than keep trying to force things that should work, could work, used to work, why not add some tools to our bag and perhaps get something better? Why not learn new practical ways of doing something, or doing something new and become even more effective because now we have more resources? We all want to be the best we can for ourselves and those we care about, be they human bipeds, or furry or feathered friends.

The Systema Warrior foundation is to me, chesed חסד kindness, or loving kindness, part of Tikun Olam, repairing the world. It is a good and noble thing, and I thought perhaps others would want to learn about it, as I did.

Whether we pick up a gun, a can of peas or a tactical pen (they do so come in hot pink) our mindset is going to be the same. And in our mindset and our breathing and our movements, we need to be the best we can. Because we are warriors, and we take every advantage.

I have an autographed copy of the book, it says “To Sheila, Always fight the good fight! G-d Bless, Joe Mayberry”. And we ARE warriors, all of us at TZP are warriors, we are all fighting the good fight, the righteous fight, in whatever way we are blessed with ability. My hope was to bring us all some insight and tools a bit off our usual path, because as warriors? We want to be our best.

I want to thank Joe for the generous gift of his time (and graphics), to thank the other students in class who knew a lot more about what we were doing and trained with me anyway. I want to thank Scott “Buzzkill the safety squirrel” Van Kirk, for introducing me to Systema, Joe and my Systema “Happy Place”. Scott told me he was passing it on, and now, I am too.

May G-d bless us all as we fight our good fights.

Fight like a warrior, live like a warrior

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail

The Path of the Systema Warrior, Compassion

Mitzvahמִצְוָה A commandment, a commandment from G-d, there were originally 613 of them. There are 248 positive and 365 negative mitzvot מצות that would be the plural of mitzvah. The Jerusalem Talmud commonly refers to any charitable act as “the mitzvah.” They are actually eternal to be carried down through every generation. Interestingly, one of them on Page 20: Building a Sanctuary for G­-d from Sefer H’Mitzvot. Okay, I’ll quit. But the point of this is that some of the commands are acts of kindness, acts of goodness and charity. From Psalms תהילים, Tehillim 10:

10 The helpless are crushed, sink down,and fall by his might.

11 He says in his heart, “God has forgotten,he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;forget not the afflicted.

13 Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?

14 But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,that you may take it into your hands;

to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land.

17 O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear

18 to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

One rather gets the idea that abuse of the poor, helpless and vulnerable is frowned on wouldn’t they? By G-d, and he commands us to have the same standards, as we are to be a reflection of him. We are to have compassion on them, not abuse them.

And yet.

More than one out of every 5 students report being bullied, 64% of children who were bullied did not report it; only 36% reported the bullying and, more than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.

While only 10 U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, but all of these studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers. The National Autistic Society reports that 40 percent of children with autism and 60 percent of children with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying. When reporting bullying youth in special education were told not to tattle almost twice as often as youth not in special education. Students with disabilities or special education needs are twice as likely to be identified as bullied targets and as bullies when compared to peers without disabilities.1

The results of being bullied are diverse. The victims may be:

depressed, lonely, and anxious, have low self-esteem,experience headaches, stomachaches, tiredness, and poor eating. Be absent from school, dislike school, and have poorer school performance, and think about suicide or plan for suicide.

Some children with disabilities have low self-esteem or feel depressed, lonely or anxious because of their disability, and bullying may make this even worse. Bullying can cause serious, lasting problems not only for children who are bullied but also for children who bully and those who witness bullying.2

While doing research for this column I found several government web sites dealing with bullying. They contained facts, figures and government programs. The government has been trying to deal with it.3 They have sent no less that four “Dear Colleague” letters, in 2000, 2010, 2013 and 2014. Just in case you want to read it yourself. There are lots of acronyms, and lots talk about individual plans, and that sort of thing. But what it amounts to, to me, is they don’t really have any real world answers beyond saying if the parents yank their kid out of your public school, you lose tax dollars.

I find it interesting that 57% of bullying stops when a peer intervenes on behalf of the victim. But what if the victim were empowered? No, I’m not talking about shearing more of the poor pink sheep to knit a bunch of hats to plop down on kids heads. I’m talking about an amazing program. I told you to hang on to the horn for this final part of my interview with Joe Mayberry, author of The Systema Warrior Guidebook.

Joe had been training in the martial arts since 1974, but he hadn’t really been teaching. But he started hearing from people he knew who had children that wanted to take lessons, of some rather despicable business practices in some of the area martial arts schools. And it was happening far more often than he would have thought. Joe decided that he would open a school and quit saying “NO” to those who had wanted him to teach. After the school had been going for a while, he got a email one night that became a turning point. He said it was on a Thursday night, and he had to wait about four days before he could respond to it, because he wanted to think it through, he was both mad and sad. The email was from the mother of a little six year old boy who wanted to learn martial arts. The little six year old boy was blind, he wanted to learn to defend himself. The mother had contacted other martial arts schools, some had flat out refused to teach him, others told her they would have to pay for private lessons as he would be unable to learn in a group. I believe Joe said they also told her his guide dog wouldn’t be allowed on the mat at the dojo. I opined that the dog was possibly better behaved than some kids, he would be the least of my worries. Joe kindly overlooked that remark.

The little boy came to Systema St. Louis and started classes, in a group. In his group classes Joe has trained not only blind students, but students with autism, deafness and one who has an eye missing. Students that other schools were unwilling or unable to train have learned and flourished. From this the Systema Warrior Foundation was born.

Because Systema looks at each child’s strength, they are able to help them develop actions and defenses that they are realistically able to use. Shamelessly swiped from the web site:

In Systema, the synergy of three components creates a TRUE WARRIOR – Combat Skill, Strong Spirit and Healthy Body.

Our goal is to strengthen those abilities that are already present in each child, no matter what disability they may have. We show them that everyone can be strong, confident and empowered.

​When Systema Founder Mikhail Ryabko created the foundations of Systema, he noted that everything that happens to us in life; good or bad, has one ultimate purpose, that is to create the best possible conditions for a person to understand him or herself. Our goal is to grow on that philosophy and to share it with others.

Since the Systema Warrior Foundation started at Systema St. Louis, Joe has trained around 2,000 children with disabilities. TWO THOUSAND, in the United States and Canada. Did I mention, he does this free of charge to them? Yes, he does. The cost of teaching them is covered by donations (just in case you wanted to) to the Systema Warrior foundation, and some of the things that Joe does, he donates the proceeds to the Systema Warrior foundation.

As Joe said, no matter your age, shape or abilities, you have a G-d given right to life and defend yourself. And his actions back up his words.

It seems so perfectly fitting that a Systema school would have a Systema Warrior Foundation when you consider that the original Systema warrior was Ilya Muromets. And Ilya has quite an amazing story. I really prefer the version in the Systema book as it gives you more of a spiritual side. That’s Ilya in the first picture with the little girl.

I just can’t help but love the school motto: “Doing bad things to bad people since 2010”. Just kind of fits with my world view.

So, if I were a kid, and I had a choice of having a knitted pink hat plopped down on my head, or a government program that says it’s illegal to bully children or learning skills that have been taught to me, for my level of ability? I know which one I would go for. I think the Systema Warrior Foundation is a great example of a mitzvah, don’t you?

The Systema Warrior Foundation
http://stlsystema.com/systema-warrior-foundation.html

 

1Bullying Statistics http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.asp

2Bullying https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandsafety/bullying.html

3Bullying of Students with Disabilities Addressed in Guidance to America’s Schools https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/bullying-students-disabilities-addressed-guidance-america%E2%80%99s-schools

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail

The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 3

Philosophy and Psychology

When we left off in Part 2, we were talking about what holds people back from having a “Warrior Mindset”, and Joe was telling me about fears, and people not seeing their own possibilities. We continue from there.

Joe: Most people don’t want to get hurt.

S: Where is the switch between the head and the heart that prevents knowledge from the head from getting to the heart?

Joe: The challenge is in getting them to get their mind out of the dojo and in a dark house at 0200 where there are no rules. That is normalcy, that is how real life works. They have to let their minds go into those dark places and most people don’t want to do that.

I switched gears for a second and asked Joe how he came to work with Scott “Buzzkill the safety squirrel” Van Kirk who taught me about my “Systema happy place” which is where a person would need to be in that dark house at 0200.

Joe: Scott had heard about me through the grapevine. He showed up for a basic seminar about 6-7 years ago and we became good friends and now work on these projects together.

S: So, the warrior mindset, born with it or can you develop it?

Joe: It’s very individual. It depends on where a person comes from. It’s not just about picking up arms. It’s a whole mindset. It’s being able to fight for and defend things of value when it comes down to it. This can also be manifested by working extra to pay the utility bill, to buy good shoes or even to put food on the table. It’s not just physical. It’s about fighting the good fight, it’s bigger than any fight with your two fists. You pull into that, the warrior fights to protect everything they hold dear. It’s about being willing and able to do whatever is necessary to take care and protect those people and things of value.

S: So how prevalent is that mindset now?

Joe: It’s very diminished. People expect someone else to pick up the blade. You have parents that call 9-1-1 and say “My kid doesn’t want to go to school”. Physically, mentally, morally and spiritually no one wants to fight their own battles.

I admitted I was shocked about the parents part. If I had refused to go to school my parents wouldn’t have called the Police, they might have wound up calling an ambulance, but not the Police. Well, ok, they weren’t that strict, but I might have had trouble sitting for a spell.

S. In the book it talks about “Ten wounded is better than one dead”. That sounds very much in line with the Israeli code of “Purity of Arms”.

Except Joe was talking about our side, and I took it as the opposition side.

Joe: Well, if I’m wounded, I can still recover. I can still go on and have a life. For the opposition, you wound as much as you can without taking a life. But just because you are wounded doesn’t mean you are out of the fight.

Then I brought up a line from the book, The Systema Warrior Guidebook :

“An aggressor can only be overcome by one who is strong spiritually.”

I said that the spiritual component of Systema resonated strongly with me, it’s part of why Systema feels like it fits. What percentage of Systema would you say is made up of the spiritual component?

Joe: It comes down to this one thing. We don’t fear death because we are spiritually sound. When you’re good spiritually, you know whatever comes after is going to be good. You have to be one with your maker. You can be dangerous, but still be good, not evil.

Fear The One With No Fear

S: So let’s talk about acting vs. reacting. In the book it talks about different situations, from a fight to losing a job, these came from different sections in the book:

“Acting is what makes you happy. Reacting is what makes you miserable.”

“Acting is independent of the context; reacting is totally dependent on the context.”

“Acting is rewarding, reacting is frustrating.”

“Action creates results, reaction creates excuses.”

Acting vs. reacting. This applies to many things in life, But to me, it seems if you add in the spiritual component that they sometimes merge. The job example, let’s say you are due for a promotion or raise. In your mind you’ve thought it through. You like the job, but unless you advance you’ve hit the ceiling. So you decide based on the next review, if you are not promoted or given a raise, or whatever, you will leave to gain a better opportunity. If you are promoted, you have the opportunity where you are. Or it could be some decision you are unsure of, so you wait and be quiet until you feel G-d guides your step. Rabbi Lazer Brody in The Garden of Emuna says if you’ve prayed, and nothing in your circumstances has changed, it is time to be quiet and listen, guidance will come. Is that still reacting or is it choosing your path and acting?

The chapters on fear, pain control, and trusting our intuition, to me, make this book a good guide book for life, not only in Systema, but in all parts of our life. Was it written with that intent?

And yes, he stayed on the phone for the three minutes it took me to ask this one question.

Joe: It’s about the space between action and reaction, the longer you take for the action to start, if it is a violent encounter it will become more violent. We are either going to act or react. Acting is you digest the action of the other person and then act upon it. Action is always seeing the writing on the wall and being preemptive. The longer we sit there it is going to be a reaction. In situational awareness reaction takes time and thought, whereas action is instinctual. We react too much, acting is opening up to the environment. When you only react to situations you lose some of the options you would have had if you had chosen to act instead.

S: The part about “preemptive striking”, that’s tough for someone my age. I was always told by my Dad as a kid “Don’t you start anything, but if someone starts it, you finish it.” I can’t be the only one in my age group that grew up like that, do you find that mindset common?

Joe: Reacting is more common. Sometimes we must act on preemption, it’s better to apologize later than tell my family I messed up and I’m hurt and can’t work, or they get hurt. We struggle inside with denial and it prevents preemptive action, those are things that hold us back from making a correct decision in time.

S: I saw a video on Missouri’s concealed carry laws where an attorney named Kevin Jamison was talking about when you were justified to use deadly force and it stuck with me because he used the acronym J.A.M. Is your life in jeopardy, do they have the ability and the means? He said those elements needed to be present for justification, will the same apply?

Joe: It still applies if you are using preemptive strike. In some situations if you do not utilize a preemptive strike you are not going to get another chance. It’s about how you are before and after the event. How you are before, during and after the event is key. It can’t become emotional. It’s all over and done with if we become emotional. Remember, professional, we just do the job, breathing smoothly is key.

S: If people haven’t added something like martial arts or blade work to their bag of tricks, how would you advise them to get started?

Joe: If they are not doing anything martial arts related they should know that awareness is paramount, 95% of crimes could be prevented if people were more aware. People put their awareness down, they lower the standards of awareness. When you walk to your car do you carry your bags in your dominant or non-dominant hand? If you stop at Wal-Mart late at night, when you leave the store to go to your car you see that the parking lot is mostly empty, but parked right next to your car is a van, what do you do?

I wanted to say “Shoot the hostage in the knee” but thought I might be pushing my luck, since I hope to attend another seminar some day.

S: Your book, how did that happen? What was the impetus?

Joe: It started as a manual for the students. I started it 7 years ago and I just kept adding things to it. I kept adding things as people kept asking questions. The more questions they asked, the more information it stimulated. A lot of the same questions kept coming up, so I wrote out the answers to the most common questions. Then 2-3 years ago people started asking me to publish it. It was something I wanted to tell people and what I wanted to do, was tell people it’s about living life as a person of dignity, honor and courage.

S: You have a new book coming out in May of 17, what the title and what will it cover?

Joe: The Bodyguard Enchiridion It goes deeper into the aspects of bodyguarding, a bit like what we did at the end of your last class.

The Bodyguard Enchiridion- Coming in 2017

S: There is a whole chapter on “Fear” in the book, and it covers a lot more of life than physical fights. It is absolutely excellent.

Tidbits from the book:

Fear is a very powerful emotion. It has a very strong effect on the mind and body because it is one of our natural survival responses. It tells you what to do in an emergency, like a fire or if you are being attacked.

We can also feel fears when faced with less dangerous situations, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a social situation. It is a natural response to something that a person feels are a threat.

In this chapter he goes through things that can help you deal with your fears, such as the segment on knowing yourself, and that faith and spirituality can help you cope. But there’s more in it than these two things, though these stuck with me. He talks a lot more about fears, their genesis, their impact and practical ways to deal with them and choose empowering beliefs instead. Now you see why I said it is much more a book for living life?

And this ladies and gentlemen is where we will end up for this section. I have one more section to come and I can about 99.9% guarantee you that you that it will be coming from a completely different direction than you expect, and it is absolutely heart-warming. So hang on to the horn.

So for your movie clip this portion, I took one of those name quizzes on Facebook. Turns out I’m Eowyn of Rohan. Huh. Well, the name does mean “horse lover or horse friend”. According to the youtube clip, I think I should probably ask for a class in defense against the mace and other medieval weapons of war. Maybe he could do one this summer?

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail

The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 2

The Background on my experience and reasons for learning about Systema in Part 1

The Background, on Joe and Systema.

First, a little bit about Systema, from the ever popular Wikipedia.

Systema (Система, literally meaning The System) is a Russian martial art. Training includes, but is not limited to: hand-to-hand combat, grappling, knife fighting, and firearms training. Training involves drills and sparring without set kata. In Systema, the body has to be free of tensions, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement, and explosive potential; the “spirit” or psychological state has to be calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion, and pride.

Systema focuses on breathing, relaxation, and fluidity of movement, as well as utilizing an attacker’s momentum against him and controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees, waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking, and weapon applications.

From Systema St. Louis:

Our training philosophy is not to be confused with any traditional fighting arts and/or combat sports fighting systems. We are not in the business of taking years to teach a client how to incapacitate or eliminate even the most basic fighter, but rather months, comparable to the time a special ops soldier has to prepare for an operation.

There are just too many aspects of traditional fighting arts and sports-based fighting systems that are life-threateningly impractical and inefficient for the street and actual brutal violence.

Okay, so we’re good on what Systema’s purpose is? It is not about fighting for sport, it is not about scoring points. It’s about surviving, it’s about respect for life, even that of your attacker. This is something you might not be aware of, in the 1960s and 1970s if you were attacked and handed over your wallet or car keys, there was a 65-70% chance they would take the money and go away. Now, the odds are flipped in that if you hand over your wallet or your car keys there is a 65-70% chance they will assault you anyway. There is a huge lack of consideration for life these days. And that nugget my friends, came straight from a St. Louis police detective I know. A good guy, a warrior, you should get to know him. Let me see what I can do about that. He’s a United States Marine, State Department Diplomatic Security, St. Louis Police Department, and also owner of Systema St. Louis, who travels to teach and lecture. I think he has a pretty cool dog too.

I didn’t ask him, but I’m guessing he once in a while sleeps and eats. He will tell you that you don’t let fear dictate the outcome. What? You had in mind more detail than that? Well, I’m your girl, pick me, let me see what I can find out.

S: How did you come to be in the Marines? Was this a goal growing up, did you always feel the need to protect people?

Joe: I come from a family of proudly serving in the military. My Grandfather was in WWII, in the first wave to storm the beaches that had to clear the mess, and my father proudly served his country in the Marines in Viet Nam in the early 1960s. After his time in Viet Nam he continued to serve his country by training the young men going over, teaching them the valuable skills they would need to come home, alive.

It seems preserving life runs in the Mayberry family genes.

After the military, my Dad became a welder. I was blessed when I was still young by being able to spend a lot of time with Dad.

It sounds like a Dad he admired, was proud of and was close to. I can relate to that, I felt the same about mine.

S: So, you were that kid on the playground always protecting the kid that was getting picked on?

Joe: Yes.

S: You were stationed in Israel at the Embassy for three years. You really don’t speak ANY Hebrew? You just forgot? I admitted my astonishment, I’m always trying to learn more Hebrew and get better at it. LIVING there for three years? I’d have been eating that up with my falafel and Israeli salad.

Joe: Well, I might remember a few words, I knew a little back then.

S: Did you ever feel you were in danger while you were there?

Joe: Yes, I did. But I learned to deal with it in a way so that it didn’t affect me negatively. I was there in the late 1980s and it was about protecting good from evil. I saw first hand that if nothing opposes evil it will absolutely succeed. I saw it, up close and personal. While I was in Israel I got to know some Israelis and I had the opportunity to train with the IDF who use Krav Maga. I trained 6 days a week with them, including in the desert. That was real Krav Maga, not Krav Maga for sport or fitness.

Sheila provided links

Chronology of Terrorist Attacks in Israel Part III: 1978-1985

Chronology of Terrorist Attacks in Israel Part IV: 1986-1992

S: So after you were out of the Marine Corp and back in the states, what did you do?

Joe: The State Department, in Diplomat Security. You got to see more of the world while protecting people and their secrets. You might be standing in the hall by a doorway for 8-12 hours at a time. And while you were standing at that doorway, you are protecting whomever is behind that door. It was after the wall came down, and we began to see people down the hall who had been behind the wall. The Russians began showing up in front of doors in the hall as well. When you’re in those hallways for 8-12 hours you begin to talk to each other. You talk about common interests, things you both know.

(I figured this meant horses of course, apparently, to my shock, no).

Joe: We began talking about martial arts, I had been involved in the martial arts since 1974, long before my Krav Maga education. We discussed each others forms of martial arts and that’s when I began hearing about Vladimir Vasiliev. That would have been around 1994, 1995. Shortly after that I got out of the service. I was very interested in what I had heard about Vladimir, but I couldn’t find anything about him really. Then I picked up a copy of Black Belt magazine and in the back there was an ad for his school in Toronto. I called and talked to Valerie, his wife, and made an appointment to go. The first class with him was very humbling. He just mopped the floor with me. I have been in martial arts since 1974, trained with the IDF and he mopped the floor with me. It was a turning point. And I learned don’t forget the past, utilize it. Begin to think conceptual. There will always be chaos, and your best advantage is to be prepared. My role as an instructor is to help someone develop a useful, workable response to the chaos.

S: How good of shape do people have to be in to learn and do Systema? This had been one of my fears when I went to the first class, that I wouldn’t be in good enough shape.

Joe: Nobody has to be “fit” to be able to defend themselves. When I came back to the US after several years I saw Krav Maga really take off. It had turned into a fitness ploy. It had gone from being military training into martial arts fitness. It was attractive to those not in shape that wanted to learn to be safe. I really didn’t like that fad. They were telling people that if they weren’t in shape they couldn’t defend themselves. They made levels and added a fitness routine giving an illusion. It’s a sport now and not practical. I’m telling you no matter your age and shape you have a G-d given right to live, and to defend yourself.

S: When Scott (Van Kirk) worked with me he taught me about my “Systema happy place”. This involved keeping my energy low and a very neutral demeanor. It’s kind of what you use when working with horses, but does this just come with time and effort?

Joe: Energy, that happy place, has got to be professional to work. It’s about it becoming an ingrained, routine. Like when you get up of a morning, you go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, have some coffee. You can do these things calmly, without great thought and a minimum of effort, it just flows. When you are working Systema it needs to be 100% professional for it to become a smooth pattern with an economy of motion and thought, so much that it almost happens without awareness. Our subconscious takes over with the awareness of patterns. Systema strives to become the smooth pattern of economy of thought and a large part of instincts. The concepts of usage are universal.

S: What do you think is the biggest impediment to that is?

Joe: Internally people have fear. They don’t see their own possibilities. They allow their limitations to stop them. With conceptual martial arts it’s all within the person. If they realize what fears hold them back, they are free to do what they want.

Part 3 will pick up with more on the warrior mindset. Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel.

Early weapons of opportunity training, but no cape required.

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail

The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 1

Let me give you a hypothetical situation. Let’s say for example you were going to a foreign country. A foreign country, so you are not allowed to carry concealed, can’t carry your beautiful TZP Custom Kershaw folding knife , but a knife quite possibly could be used against you. In fact, there was a epidemic of people being attacked in that county, often by women and children. A tactical pen is a possibility. Maybe. What do you do? What do YOU do?

The answer to this will likely be different for everyone. For me, this was not a hypothetical situation last spring. It was exactly what I was facing, and I was feeling very vulnerable about the whole thing. I hate that feeling, vulnerable is rotten. I also hate inadequate, it’s right up there too, as is ancient. When I was younger I had perhaps capabilities I no longer have. So, what do you do? What do you do?

I think G-d stepped in on this one. A post by a buddy from the Second amendment arena, Scott Van Kirk, showed up in my Facebook time line. It was about a class that was coming up, a class on knife fighting, blade work if you will. I thought, hmm, perhaps? I asked when and where? The class was going to be close enough I could drive there, but it would be too late to help with the trip. The conversation came off Facebook and became emails. Scott talked to his instructor Joe, and explained the situation, he asked if Joe thought there was anything he could do to help me out. Scott said Joe told him to teach me, that Scott was certainly capable of helping me. So this good man offered to come help to help me learn enough to perhaps keep me alive should such a thing happen. There were a few things we talked about, there were considerations. One is I wasn’t traveling alone, the same girlfriend I had been in Israel with the last two years and I were traveling together again. And yes, I believe something I would try, was to ensure both of our safety. He also had a very honest talk with me about if this happens. Meaning if I’m attacked, I’m going to get cut, I’m going to get hurt, and I’m going to lose blood and quite possibly, likely will not look the same again. Sobering, very sobering thoughts. He stressed my goal, my objective is to live, to survive. That’s it. I will have scars? Ok, scars are tattoos with more interesting stories, but I am to come back, and come back in one piece (pretty much) and alive. And then we worked on tactics and techniques. With knives, pens, magazines (printed) and what I would call a kick pad. I finished up with some bruises and feeling awesome. Not bullet proof, not like I was Chuck Norris, but at least I had a few operating options. Bless that man, bless that man!!

Fast forward to fall of last year.

The blade work class was offered again, and it was in a place I considered close enough to drive. I bought a ticket. I had a lot of concerns.  I was too old perhaps, and my physical condition was certainly not what it had been when I was younger. But I was still game, I still wanted to give myself that chance, so ticket it would be. Besides, it gave me a chance to deliver to my erstwhile mentor the only thing he had requested besides me returning alive. A nice big fat magazine that I was going to carry in my purse with me everywhere.

And that is how I came to meet Joe, Joe Mayberry. Joe is the instructor of the blade work class and Scott’s instructor.

Class was unlike about anything I expected. I found I was perfectly capable of doing the things we were taught, if unable to do them perfectly. Yet. We learned about how to move in such as way as to be less likely to be perceived as a threat while sensing others that may be a threat to us. Fabulous class, I soaked up what I was given like a little sponge.

After class I got up my courage and asked Mr. Mayberry if he would consider doing a interview with me for The Zelman Partisans, because this system was so different from anything I had been exposed to. He listened, asked a couple of questions and then agreed.

And then there were riots in various and sundry cities around the U.S. that weekend. Honest to goodness, some people have no consideration! I had an interview scheduled and they riot. How rude! My interview went down the tubes and for various reasons didn’t get rescheduled.

Fast forward to late winter of this year. There is another class, a yummy class on “Weapons of Opportunity”. Who wouldn’t want to take that class? I did, very much. It was coming to a location close enough for me to drive, so ticket it was.

Another wonderful class. Everyone in class is amazingly nice! The other students I work with are wonderful. I perhaps have a slightly skewed view of people. For example, a comment I made to a girl friend after the class was “oh, and then this one super nice guy Lon, taught me how to do a sleeper hold to neutralize someone unless I needed to do more!” And then “I accidentally stabbed this one really nice guy in the web of his hand because I let my adrenaline get out too high. But he was really nice about it. Luckily he didn’t bleed, much, a lot”. I later apologized to Karel about that. He was very, very gracious about it. And one nice young man, Alex, taught me that there is likelihood that someone with a tattoo will be protective of that area. Hmm, good to know!

The other women I trained with were awesome, as we poked, prodded and stabbed each other with various weapons and learned what did and didn’t work well. They generously shared knowledge of things they knew with great kindness, many of these women I think train in Systema on a regular basis. Throughout the whole class we had Scott “Buzzkill the safety squirrel” circulating making sure we had safety goggles on, and utilized safe practices. Yes, as we stabbed and tried to attack each other. He and Mr. Mayberry moved amongst us offering advice and ways to improve. We were all trying our best to duplicate the damage Mr. Mayberry had demonstrated inflicting on his willing victim, his son Joseph. Tough kid!

Do you have a cellphone, a comb, car keys or better yet a Mayberry key? You have a weapon.

I tell you these stories so you know I’m not just telling you about something I read, but something I am experiencing, a path, a whole path. It encompasses more than just a method of self defense, although that certainly is a huge component. But the path is Systema, the Russian martial art of self defense, and a philosophy of living.

I survived class, again. This time with a slightly ripped shirt, some blood on it, mostly mine I think, and elated. I again asked Joe, who kindly remembered me, for a interview. He again agreed if I would give him a riot free weekend. We got the riot free weekend, and I got my interview.

Ready to meet Joe? Because there is a whole lot covered in the first book by author and teacher Joe Mayberry.

Systema Warrior Guidebook

Yep, it’s available on Amazon.com

The Systema Warrior Guidebook: A Systema Guide to Life

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinteresttumblrmail