I have been in Toronto now for just under a month now, and an obvious but important thing has just occurred to me.... I'm not Mikhail. I'm not Vlad. I'm not any of my training partners. I'm me, Justin. As such things that the previous parties are going to be capable of doing aren't necessarily going to work for me all the time. Seems simple, but easy to forget sometimes.
In the first day of the seminar (Escape from Holds Seminar - Short Staff and Knife Seminar) systema Headquarters today, I was working with one of my training partners. I was amazed at his ability to draw me in when I would attempt to grab his arms and keep total control of my motion as I was taken down. This particular partner also had an uncanny ability to tie me up with my own arms in order to take me to the ground. However when I attempted to replicate this, by "copy catting" him, my work kind of crumbled and was not very effective. I found myself getting anxious and frustrated. Fourtunately my partner was quite a good natured fellow who did his best to help me out. What I found was when I stopped trying to replicate his movements, and simply appreciated them as things that he was capable of, then continued to work in my own way, things flowed and and worked much better for me. I would walk around one side then to another in order to find the take down, and work with the limbs as I saw fit. It wasn't perfect (it never is), but it was mine, my movement, me as a person in that situation. And me adapting as the situation demanded.
A few days ago another training partner also pointed out to me that when we work, it's not going to be like Vlad or Mikhail where we will be able to find something 100% of the time. Sometimes we will just have to move and preserve ourselves, and wait until the right moment presents itself. But that is ok because that is where we are at at this point in time of our training and our lives.
Remember; Never try to imitate someone else. Your experience and physical expression of Systema is your own and no one else's. Study the principles and study yourself. Use the drills to learn how your body will move, and don't rely on preconceptions. Don't become disheartened when you are unable to do things your teachers or partners can. Just do what YOU can do. Just be present in that moment and that situation.
The options will present themselves if you just be you.
"Friday night!I'm getting drunk!!!!!!!!!"