Don’t laugh it’s a big problem for many people!

All crave success, and virtually everyone wants to succeed. However, there is a major obstacle many faces when pursuing success — FEAR! 

Fear can be described as a two-edged sword that can propel one for success at the same time it can be an instrument for one’s downfall or failure. Over the next three week we will be looking at a few things that might be responsible for your fears and active steps to be taken to conquer them all.

Have you experienced the feeling that you get when you see a successful person, that feeling of wanting to be like them? where you judgmental on how they achieved their success?

That feeling is normal but one thing I realized from years of self-defense training is that many tell their stories as a journey of being relentless, countless hours of unseen hard work, and consistency. Successful people take the bull by the horn and work towards achieving success. Success is usually never given on a platter of gold; it is something you work towards every single day.


Fear of judgments: Most of the times our opinions about how others achieved their success become the root of our fears. The negativity in your judgments of others success has been what in one way or another affecting us. This simple key means that the thought of being judged the same way we judge others forms the basis of our fear of success. Therefore it is advised we jubilate and celebrate with others in success because surely one good turn deserves another. This is the key to conquering this particular fear.

So if someone you know accomplishes something great, be happy for them. Genuinely happy too! People can feel when it is not! This is the internal work that most people don’t want to look at because its to hard. Systema training at FightClub incorporates internal and external work in such a way that each student grows on both levels.

Like all things, you need to practice them to get good. So apply this going forward at home, work and when training at FightClub.

PS – A good friend is one that s honest. If you know someone who is afraid of success (we all have one of those). Be a good friend and share this with them. Better yet get them to FC and show them the good things we are doing on the mats!

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Elite Systema Training

Here’s the Mindset Of Elite Athletes

By Ryan Holiday 

When coach Shaka Smart was interviewed after his team beat North Carolina in a surprise upset last week, what did he say? He didn’t focus on the buzzer beater. Or the strategy. He said his team won because “they follow the process”.

Tony Wroten, a guard for the 76ers, got the same advice from his coaches. “They tell us every game, every day, ‘trust the process’” John Fox, the coach trying to turn around the Chicago Bears, asked his team the same thing.

But what the hell is it? What is the process?

It can be traced to Nick Saban, the famous coach of LSU and Alabama — perhaps the most dominant dynasty in the history of college football. But he got it from a psychiatry professor named Lionel Rosen during his time at Michigan State.

Rosen’s big insight was this: sports — especially football — are complex. Nobody has enough brainpower or motivation to consistently manage all the variables going on in the course of a season, let alone a game. They think they do — but realistically, they don’t.

There are too many plays, too many players, too many statistics, counter moves, unpredictables, distractions. Over the course of a long playoff season, this adds up into a cognitively impossible load. Meanwhile, as Monte Burke writes in his book Saban, Rosen discovered that the average play in football lasts just seven seconds. Seven seconds — that’s very manageable.

So he posed a question: What if a team concentrated only on what they could manage? What if they took things step by step — not focusing on anything but what was right in front of them and on doing it well?

As a result, Nick Saban doesn’t focus on what every other coach focuses on, or at least not the way they do. He tells them:

“Don’t think about winning the SEC Championship. Don’t think about the national championship. Think about what you needed to do in this drill, on this play, in this moment. That’s the process: Let’s think about what we can do today, the task at hand.”

It’s this message that’s been internalized by his players and his teams — which together have four national championships in an eight-year span, one Mid-American Conference championship, have been crowned SEC champions 15 times and Saban has received multiple coaching awards.

In the chaos of sport, as in life, the process provides a way. A way to turn something very complex into something simple. Not that simple is easy.

But it is easier. Let’s say you’ve got to do something difficult. Don’t focus on that. Instead, break it down into pieces. Simply do what you need to do right now. And do it well. And then move on to the next thing. Follow the process and not the prize. As Bill Belichick famously put it, just do your job.

The road to back-to-back championships, or being a writer or a successful entrepreneur is just that, a road. And you travel along a road in steps. Excellence is a matter of Steps. Excelling at this one, then that one and then the one after that. Saban’s process is exclusively this — existing in the present, taking it one step at a time, not getting distracted by anything else. Not the other team, not the scoreboard, or the crowd.

The process is about finishing. Finishing games. Finishing workouts. Finishing film sessions. Finishing drives. Finishing reps. Finishing plays. Finishing blocks. Finishing the smallest task you have right in front of you and finishing it well.

Whether it’s pursuing the pinnacle of success in your field, or simply surviving some awful or trying ordeal, the same approach works. Don’t think about the end — think about surviving. Getting it right from meal to meal, meeting to meeting, project to project, paycheck to paycheck, one day at a time.

And when you really get it right, even the hardest things become manageable. As Heraclitus observed, “under the comb, the tangle and the straight path are the same.” That’s what the process is. Under its influence, we needn’t panic. Even mammoth tasks become just a series of component parts.

This was what the great 19th-century pioneer of meteorology, James Pollard Espy, had shown to him in a chance encounter as a young man. Unable to read and write until he was 18, Espy attended a rousing speech by the famous orator Henry Clay. After the talk, a spellbound Espy tried to make his way toward Clay, but he couldn’t form the words to speak to his idol. One of his friends shouted out for him: “He wants to be like you, even though he can’t read.”

Clay grabbed one of his posters, which had the word CLAY written in big letters. He looked at Espy and said, “You see that, boy?” pointing to a letter. “That’s an A. Now, you’ve only got 25 more letters to go.”

Espy had just been gifted The Process. Within a year, he started college.

What Rosen, what Espy, what these coaches are practicing is a central tenet of stoic philosophy — one which I’ve tried to pass along in The Obstacle is the Way. It’s just a modern take on Marcus Aurelius when he advised:

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, “Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?”

Seven seconds. Sticking to the situation at hand. Focusing on what’s immediately in front of you. No strain, no struggling. So relaxed. No exertion or worry. Just one simple movement after another. That’s the power of process.

We can channel this, too. We needn’t scramble like we’re so often inclined to do when some difficult task sits in front of us. Instead, we can take a breath, do the immediate, composite part in front of us — and follow its thread into the next action. Everything in order, everything connected.

When it comes to our actions, disorder and distraction are death. The unordered mind loses track of what’s in front of it — what matters — and gets distracted by thoughts of the future. The process orders, it keeps our perceptions in check and our actions in sync.

It seems obvious, but we forget this when it matters most.

Right now, if I knocked you down and pinned you to ground, how would you respond? You’d probably panic. And then you’d push with all your strength to get me off you. It wouldn’t work; just using my body weight, I would be able to keep your shoulders against the ground with little effort — and you’d grow exhausted fighting it.

That’s the opposite of the process.

The process is much easier. First, you don’t panic, you conserve your energy. You don’t do anything stupid like getting yourself choked out by acting without thinking. You focus on not letting it get worse. Then you get your arms up, to brace and create some breathing room, some space. Now work to get on your side. From there you can start to break down my hold on you: grab an arm, trap a leg, buck with your hips, slide in a knee.

It’ll take some time, but you’ll get yourself out. At each step, the person on top is forced to give a little up, until there’s nothing left. Then you’re free.

Being trapped is just a position, not a fate. You get out of it by addressing and eliminating each part of that position through small, deliberate action — not by trying (and failing) to push it away with superhuman strength.

With our business rivals, we rack our brains to think of some mind-blowing new product that will make them irrelevant, and, in the process, we take our eye off the ball. We shy away from writing a book or making a film even though it’s our dream because it’s so much work — we can’t imagine how we get from here to there.

How often do we compromise or settle because we feel that the real solution is too ambitious or outside our grasp? How often do we assume that change is impossible because it’s too big? Involves too many different groups? Or worse, how many people are paralyzed by all their ideas and inspirations? They chase them all and go nowhere, distracting themselves and never making headway. They’re brilliant, sure, but they rarely execute. They rarely get where they want and need to go.

All these issues are solvable. Each would collapse beneath the process. We’ve just wrongly assumed that it has to happen all at once, and we give up at the thought of it. We are A-to-Z thinkers, fretting about A, obsessing over Z, yet forgetting all about B through Y.

We want to have goals, yes, so everything we do can be in service of something purposeful. When we know what we’re really setting out to do, the obstacles that arise tend to seem smaller, more manageable. When we don’t, each one looms larger and seems impossible. Goals help put the blips and bumps in proper proportion.

When we get distracted, when we start caring about something other than our own progress and efforts, the process is helpful, if occasionally bossy, the voice in our head. It is the bark of the wise, older leader who knows exactly who he is and what he’s got to do. Shut up. Go back to your stations and try to think about what we are going to do ourselves, instead of worrying about what’s going on out there. You know what your job is, stop jawing and get to work.

The process is the voice that demands we take responsibility and ownership. That prompts us to act even if only in a small way.

Like a relentless machine, subjugating resistance each and every way it exists, little by little. Moving forward, one step at a time. Subordinate strength to the process. Replace fear with the process. Depend on it. Lean on it. Trust in it. Elite Systema Training

Take your time, don’t rush. Some problems are harder than others. Deal with the ones right in front of you first. Come back to the others later. You’ll get there.

The process is about doing the right things, right now. Not worrying about what might happen later, or the results, or the whole picture.

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Youth Systema Kids Training


Happy New Year to you and your families. May 2019 bring you much prosperity, love, and learning. FightClub Kid’s martial arts training classes re-start this Monday, January 7th. Come and train; we all need to work off the holiday weight we gained!

During the holidays I usually spend a good time reflecting on the year past. You know … I’ve been helping school-age child development for a while now and I have learned a lot over the years. Here are some simple things you can do to help your child’s development:

Build your child’s self-esteem and self-confidence by recognizing his/her strengths and positive qualities. Sometimes children’s self-esteem goes down in the primary school years as they become more self-critical and compare themselves with others.

Teach your child that it’s OK to make mistakes: let your child see you trying new things and making mistakes. This helps her understand that learning and improving are all about making mistakes, but the key thing is to never give up.

Give your child opportunities to explore and lean, indoors and outdoors. During class, I try to give them times to just wrestle or work with their partners. Then I observe what they do – not judge it. If your outside you could explore your local park together.

Read with your child: reading is still very important for your child’s literacy development. As your child learns to read, try having her read to you.

Encourage your child to be aware of the consequences of behavior and see things from other people’s points of view. You can do this by asking questions like, ‘How do you think Jake feels when you do that?’

Every day I go to FC I try to learn a little more about the children that come to my classes. I study them try to see what combination of fun, information, personalities, and learning works best for them to have experiences that they can grow from. I find parents from time to time get too interested in their kids in the present form. Think of your kids as the end product, let say at 21 years old. What experience do they need along that journey to arrive there and be good, responsible adults? Something to think about 🙂

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The Benefits of Children Learning Martial Arts


As a martial arts instructor, you all know how much I enjoy teaching children. The sight of kids learning and practicing Systema make my heart fill.  There is a wealth of reasons why children should learn a martial art and you can share these with fellow parents – encourage them to let their children try some classes and start reaping the benefits!


Martial arts will help to teach children the art of self-discipline. All too often in the modern day children are accustomed to getting what they want when they want. So much of Systema teaches restraint and patience.

Get Active

It gets kids away from their screens and off the sofa and encourages them to be more physically active at the same time as having fun. Learning a Systema is a full body workout not only for the body but the mind as well!


Sometimes in the modern day, children find it hard to respect authoritative figures however martial arts teaches kids to respect their instructor and each other as they learn Systema.


Listening is key in martial arts as without listening to the instructor they will be unable to complete the move correctly. It teaches listening on a one-to-one basis as well as in a group.

Increases self-esteem and confidence

When a child masters a new skill or move, it will boost their confidence and gives them a real sense of achievement. Working their way up through the ranks also shows that hard work pays off and they have something to be confident about.


Often in practice classes will work in pairs to practice and learn new skills and moves. This not only teaches them to respect the other children but work together to achieve their mutual goal. They’ll soon learn that sometimes two heads are better than one!

Conflict Resolution

A common misconception of children’s martial arts training is that they promote violent behavior but in fact, it is quite the opposite. Systema teaches children peaceful, non-violent conflict resolution skills and emphasis than physical altercations must be avoided first.

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Trust in the Machine


I have been training at the Fight Club for six years or so, maybe seven; I am really not sure. It feels like I started yesterday. What I have learned through Systema probably does not amount to much. So all I can offer in this post, and those posts to come, is a chronicle and thinking-through of my training, how I think it is going, what I would like to improve. Some people would recognize me as a person devoted to this art, but I see many others here at the club and online who truly live the principles of Systema and I know that—due to my own skeptical habits—I will never be one of those people. Nevertheless, I love this thing that we do. I love it because it seems to me a machine that can make people better, improving the health of the body, the mind, and (since I do not know what other word to use) the soul.

Systema Martial Arts is what the famous French cultural analyst Michel Foucault would have called a ‘technology of the self.’ It is a complex machine designed to mold the human mind and body into a particular inner and outer configuration. Master practioners of the art refer to this configuration as ‘natural’ although that assumes many things that I am not willing to assent to. What I can say for myself with some sort of conviction is that Systema, through its regimen of bodily exercises and its exploration of the human respiratory system, aims to create bodies that are healthy, minds that are calm, and souls that are balanced, that is, neither too prideful nor too meek. It is a very Greek conception of what it means to be truly human. Indeed, the central dictum of Systema, ‘know thyself’, hails from a tradition of philosophy begun in ancient Greece. This dictum, as well as the concepts and techniques associated with the process of ‘knowing thyself’, I would argue, tranferred from the so-called late-antique Desert Fathers, such as Evagrius Ponticus (345-399), into Christian Orthodox monasticism at the end of the early middle ages. The knights of Russia (or what would one day become Russia) supposedly would have learned how to ‘know thyself’ in the context of Russian Orthodox monasteries, practicing not only their own martial skills but also engaging in the sort of breath-centred prayer found in the eighth-century writings attributed to Hesychios the Priest.

When I arrive at Fight Club to train I sometimes try to think of myself as an object that has been placed into an ancient machine, designed centuries ago by philosophers and holy men. Working on the mats, breathing, moving, striking, wrestling, gives me an opportunity to transform myself into something better. I do not even need to believe that it will work. All I need to do is show up and commit myself to performing the exercises to the best of my ability. The machine will do the rest.

The problem is that commiting yourself in such a way is very hard. The machinery of Systema works by simulating moments of fear, stress, and pride. It brings these things out of a person, as if exorcising demons. However, it does not do so in the manner of a magic spell, washing away physical and psychic impurities. That would be too easy. Instead, Systema—if practiced with concentration and care—provides an opportunity to face those demons for yourself. As a consequence, everything that happens in training becomes your own. The frustration you feel, that is not the result of others, although someone else may have brought this feeling out from within you during a training exercise. That frustration is yours. Just as fear is yours and pride is yours. The aim is to come to ‘know thyself’ through such encounters with the demons of fear, stress, and pride. Doing so will not dispell those entities permanently—Systema does not create superhumans. But ‘knowing thyself’ will perhaps allow you to better cope with those feelings and their related thoughts when they arise in the future.

It is hard to remember such things in the heat of training. More often than not Systema has placed my demons before me without my having even taken the time to notice. And sometimes I have noticed and given up the struggle. Indeed, most of the time I have noticed and given up.

But it is in those moments—especially lately—that I try to remember where I am. Those demons have not left me; they will return to the surface soon enough for another go around. I am in the belly of Systema afterall, the great machinery. All I need to do is keep coming back over-and-over, day-by-day and year-by-year. I figure that something good will come of it, even if that good is only a well-exercised cardio-vascular system. At best, I will learn some measure of self-control, acquire an awareness of my environment, and gain the ability to survive dangerous situations. At worst I will come away from the whole experience having learned something about the extent of my own moral weakness. Not a bad deal if you are interested in that sort of thing.

James Sommerville

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