Systema and People with Cerebral Palsy

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Systema is another passion of mine. Finding out that it can improve the CP (Cerebral Palsy) condition stunned me.

In 2007 I discovered for myself a Russian Martial Art called Systema. I was not even aware back then that Russians had a martial art with its distinctive principles that date back to the 10th century. There is a reason why cossacks were considered one of the best warriors in the world to which there are testaments by many foreign generals.

When communists came to power in 1917 national traditions were suppressed and national fighting styles went “under ground” kept by priests. Such fighting styles were reserved for elite government units like Stalin’s highest ranking bodyguards called Stalin’s Falcons. Only since 1980’s it started to reemerge and is widely popular these days all around the world.

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Cerebral Palsy

Systema training works on all three levels of human abilities – the physical, the psychological and the psychic. It has helped me many times in various situations throughout the years and has become an integral part of my life. So you are probably thinking, what is the point of this post? Why am I talking about Russian martial arts?

Systema Training Can Help Reduce Symptoms for Cerebral Palsy

While in Russia I have visited Systema HQ in Moscow and trained there for a few days. Leaving back home I took a stack of DVD’s covering different aspects of the art. One of the DVD’s focused on the importance of proper breathing and it had a segment where a young man with Cerebral Palsy(CP) comes to trainings to improve his condition. I’ve made subtitles for the segment and uploaded it to Youtube, you can watch it below.

When I watched it for the first time I was very surprised that Systema has a positive effect even on conditions as serious as Cerebral Palsy. I wondered why it has not yet been further researched and introduced to Cerebral Palsy organisations so more people can get help. At Systema classes people learn to get rid of excess tension in their bodies, become more flexible, gain core strength, improve movement coordination,  improve cardiovascular efficiency, restore blood flow to the muscles, joints, brain and organs, become more resistant to stress improving the overall psychological condition, learn to breathe properly etc. I knew I could do something to help those in need.

A couple of months ago I decided to make first steps in bringing Systema to those who need it. I discussed a possibility of specially structured training to accommodate people with CP with two Systema instructors in Sydney and they kindly agreed. Training with people with CP will have to be tailor-made for each person to start with and taking little steps will hopefully progress to a more systematic approach. Instructors would also have to assess people’s condition before any training takes place.

The first organization I contacted was a Cerebral Palsy Alliance, an organisation that has a registry of all people with CP in NSW. I provided supporting material and spoke on the phone with both the head of health and fitness and with a head of sports activities. All I asked for is to deliver the information including it in one of their newsletters.

I was rejected twice without any explanation for the refusal. It seemed unfortunate that people that suppose to be looking for new ways of treatment and improvement of people’s condition take it upon themselves to choose for those suffering from Cerebral Palsy. I will be trying again using every channel possible to get through to those who make decisions in this organisation.

Additional Actions

Meanwhile, I have put together another letter and sent it through to all organisations I could find that work with people with CP, one of them is NSW Disability Services which is a government organisation, hopefully, they will listen.

Apart from immediate health benefits, Systema will have a big impact on people’s social life. I believe many people with CP would want to do some kind of martial art but were simply unable to. Now it is offered to them.

Systema instructors that hold regular classes and are ready to start working with people with CP are:

Peter Aftanas –

Justin Ho –

If those who read this post can somehow help to spread this information or deliver it to those with cerebral palsy it would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. People with various health conditions can benefit from learning more about Systema. There are plenty of material on Youtube with peoples testaments of how it helped them.

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One comment

  1. It’s really a cool and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

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