Real Rover
Episode 28

Systema East and West with Ryo Onishi

John Craig published on

Ryo Onishi teaches the Russian martial art called SYSTEMA (The System) in both English and Japanese. He was the first Japanese to be given the honour of becoming an instructor of this ancient discipline and now heads the Systema Osaka centre as well as teaching around the world. He had just returned from recent teaching seminars in Europe and Australia as well as at the top school outside of Russia in Canada when we sat down in the empty practise hall to talk. But this interview is not about how to overcome opponents and become a martial arts superman. In fact systema, with a thousand years of history behind it defies our modern classifications of martial arts. Rather than try to explain its unique methods of teaching this interview focuses on the man who practises and teaches it as a way of rather profound personal growth in all areas. Beginning with Ryo taking the leap of faith to move from Japan to the UK and the very stiff challenges he faces as a young student with limited English ability, through to his growing awareness of just how much systema can impact lives, Ryo speaks from the heart with a quiet humility that says it all. Now that systema has rapidly become the martial art of choice for many around the world it is a timely interview with a seasoned practitioner. Enjoy his insights as one who bridges East and West with a quiet kindness and a disarming sincerity.

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