Systema Training during Hong Kong Protests

“The Hong Kong protests have now been taking place regularly for the last 3 months.

I won’t go into the politics of it: I have friends on both sides of the conflict whose friendships I cherish more than any ephemeral cause, so I’ll leave it at that.  I have been working in the recent protests for the last 6-weeks and have been in the heart of the action that you may have seen on the evening news.

I was assigned to escort foreign clients reporting on the events. Some gigs were relatively easy as the protests were peaceful for the most part.

There were however instances such as last Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 where protests and riots achieved their utmost chaotic point.

In the past, I have been cast into situations where Systema training kicked in and did so in a manner that was almost automatic, reflexive, didn’t need  to look for it, think about it, remember it or solicit it… it was there, like a backup program, ready to go off at a moment’s notice when the situation required it.

Last Tuesday, Systema training operated on its own…the running, the breathing, both at times and used so unconsciously that you just sometimes wonder how you kept up with the pace and dealt with the various unusual situations in a very calm and relaxed manner:

One of my favorite training lines in Systema is “How the hell did I do that?” and… How the hell did I go through this? Whether it was keeping oneself calm when a (very loud) tear gas grenade detonates at about a meter away… 

Whether it was remaining relax as second nature and holding my breath when my gas mask seal was not properly done and my eyes and skin began to burn when they came in contact with tear gas…

Whether it was navigating the sometimes highly emotional crowd and insuring, by body language and attitude that everybody was safe and sound and remained civil.

Finally, whether it was managing one’s breath as one starts to run in the chaos composed of fires, tear gas, water cannons having a field day and riot Gear cops charging the crowd, in all these instances, moving, breathing, staying relax and keeping your posture were the key to remaining composed, relax and controlling my state no matter what the situation.

All of this all of these skills would not be a part of my personal toolbox had it not been for 5 years of training at fight club. Were it not for that haven on Donlands, I would never have such a tale to tell. 

Every time I come across a situation like this, whether it’s like the events I’m describing or any other situation that causes the mind to rush or panic, Emmanuel’s training has switched on immediately, allowing me to make the best of the situation.

I am not sure how long this crisis here will last here, it remains the city I fell in love with and I’m not planning on going anywhere… in fact, I invite you to visit… tickets will be dirt cheap soon.

And if you’re training at Fight Club, you’re in the right place.

Enjoy and make the best of your training: if you can push your partner further: do it! If your partner can push you further: let him or her.

This is training that will follow you and help keep you composed and, dare I say, safe, in various incredible situations (do you seriously think I ever thought I’d be writing something like this?), not just for the moment, but for the rest of your life.” – Janik Litalien


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The Hook – Archery Classes


When you place your fingers on the bowstring, do you actually look where you’re placing them? Or do you simply grasp the bowstring and start drawing? Rushing to place your fingers on the string is one of the most common archery mistakes. Taking a second look at your finger placement can pay big dividends for your shot.

Hooking the bowstring with too much finger tension – or in the wrong place on the fingers – can cause many issues. The problems range from missing the target entirely to developing painful finger blisters.

Therefore, make sure you place your fingers on the string for each shot exactly as you were taught in archery classes, and be sure your hand position relative to the bowstring is consistent. Hooking properly and consistently creates tighter groups!

toronto systema training

Youth Martial Arts – Focus


For the month of September, I focused a lot on teaching the kids about what it takes to be a good student at FightClub and in school. Here is the list we worked on in class of the attributes of ‘A Good Student’.

A Good Listener

Stays Focused

Sitting Still 

Works Hard

Being Quiet when the Teacher is Talking

Asking good questions

Is Trustworthy 


For this month I will be focusing on FOCUS! There are too many distractions in our world these days. Kids now more than ever before need to stay focused. Video games, television, and smart-phones have taken a toll on their ability to keep focused for more than a few minutes. 

How will I do this you ask?  

Concentration and awareness exercises for kids are designed to help improve your child’s ability to focus during basic daily activities. Youth martial arts teaches lots including focus. 

A mind-body connection first through static positions like sitting, standing up against a wall or laying down. Then I will start timing them … Let’s see how long they can sit still without moving! According to the experts this type of training strengthens neural connections between the body and brain, making it easier for your child to focus and develop self-control.


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Toronto Archery – Good Posture



A good explanation of perfect posture for recurve archery, pros and cons and a top tip for finding the right posture for you.

toronto systema training

Self Defense and Systema

These are not exactly the words you want to hear, let me explain…

To me failure is not the opposite of success, it is apart of being successful. Failure teaches us so much about self-defense, why then to we avoid it? Shame or ego possibly – At the end of the day avoiding failures means to avoid the #1 best teacher of the human race – Failure. Show me any successful person out there from Olympic athlete to top leaders and when you talk to them they will tell you that they failed a lot to become successful.


I have a simple motto that I use for myself… “Try – Test – Fail”. I apply it to all so many aspects of my training and life. It works so well for me and I want to show every student that trains at FightClub this same perspective. Too many people trying to be perfectionists and they need to unlearn this mentality quickly or they will not learn all they need to learn from school and life.

The big question becomes can you stomach the losses? The answer should always be yes I can! What I’m doing at FightClub is not a secret, more like a gift that I want to share with everyone.

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