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6 Days Systema Camp in Toronto, Canada

Systema Core Camp in Ontario, Canada

Russian Martial Art uncovers the core of Systema in their 2016 Core Mastery Camp. The camp offers a rare possibility to train in the open field and the confined space of the woods, on uneven terrains and concrete, in lake waters, at dusk, dawn, and night time. It offers a unique opportunity to train with positive and energetic people who come from all over the globe with their different backgrounds and abilities, a solid and profound training program, designed and led by the world-renowned head instructor Vladimir Vasiliev and his top-class team of assistants. The exercises, discussions, demonstrations, lessons, and assignments have perfect structure and ideal progression. Every day of camp, participants go through an entire spectrum of all training elements. The outstanding accomplishments will be apparent, inspiring, and will last a lifetime.


  • Systema training two times daily
  • Breathwork and exercise session daily
  • Daily workshop on Systema in the evenings
  • Training in open fields, forest, and other natural location
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided
  • 5 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
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You will stay in cozy wood cabins at the camp ground which accommodate 8 to12 people. Hot showers are available. You may bring your own tent to sleep in, rather than the cabin accommodations. There will be a designated area for tents. All participants, regardless of where they are sleeping, will get a pre-sanitized sleeping bag and pillow.


Topics covered

Breathing master-class

Experience unique breathing practices to dramatically raise your training potential and to enhance your health. Use breathwork to develop sensitivity and achieve inner control, to reduce fatigue, tension, fear, aggression, and pain. Apply breathwork to prepare for hand to hand combat, strikes, and weapons work. Interconnect breathing and movement.


Practice tissue impact, bodyweight massage, percussive massage, and visceral pressures. Discover the direct connection between bodywork and preparation for combat. Take yourself far beyond the standard workouts and achieve explosive might in every cell of your body. Master relaxation and restoration techniques, healing old injuries, and disease prevention.

Systema fundamentals

Primary and advanced hand-to-hand combat, holds and escapes, ground fighting, weapons disarming and use of knives and wilderness sticks, gunpoint supremacy, instant and subtle drawing of weapons.


Hit different - the unique methodology of strikes training. Learn a tremendous variety of strikes: the apparent and the subtle, surface and internal, delivered with precision and efficiency. Study the correct and safe ways of delivering and receiving strikes as used in fighting and in healing. Practice phenomenal use of breathing, tissue work and psychology to dispel direct blows, to pull negative impact out of the body. Train to eliminate punch anticipation and the fear of hitting hard.


Defeat your opponents on the move with pinpoint accuracy. The key to all effective combat is natural movements - swift, subtle and effortless. Learn how the skill of true precision is derived from control over your own psyche. Amazing drills and instruction on solo and team work, holds and strikes, defensive and offensive use of knives, from focused preparations to knife slashing. Develop stable movements in diverse settings such as uneven terrains and water.


Train in the forest, field, slopes, and water, to strengthen psychology and reserves of psyche in extreme situations. Cope with challenging environments and natural elements. Accelerate preparation for challenging conditions. Study survival and combat at night time with no sources of light. Participation is optional.

Practical control of emotion

Identify and control the core emotions that destroy our success in training, fighting, and everyday life: anger, fear, resentment, depression, irritation, and pride. Detect and remove tension and fear in oneself and partners. Use water as a training tool for the psyche.

Fear control

Coping with fear on 3 levels: personal fear, fear of physical impact, and fear of weapon confrontation. Practice optimal breath and muscle work to deal with each situation.


Intensity of conditioning will be adjusted based on individual abilities. Explore breath-powered exercises, strengthening of the body and spirit through contact with terrain, trees, water, group, and partnered exercises. Study the effects of exercise on the psyche.

Single and multiple opponent control

Evaluate your opponent’s capabilities. Estimate vulnerable zones in yourself and opponents. Practice and have fun with team work, beat the odds, defense against multiple attackers, crowd control and survival.


Enjoy thought-provoking discussions and stories from the masters’ personal experiences, and one-on-one and group question/answers sessions.

Train hard or relax

There is no obligation to participate in every scheduled activity. You may choose to rest by the lake or in your cabin, observe the training, take notes, take pictures, or help yourself to fruit, coffee, tea and snacks that are available all day in the dining room.

Daily schedule

Wake up at 7:00

Breathwork and exercise session at 7:15

Breakfast served at 8:30

Morning training

Lunch served at 14:00

Afternoon training

Dinner served at 19:00

Followed by evening workshop


Systema is the Russian style of martial art dates back to the 10th century. Throughout the history of this huge country, Russia had to repel invaders from the north, south, east, and west. All attackers brought their distinct styles of combat and weaponry. The battles took place on different terrain, during freezing winters and sweltering summer heat alike, with the Russians often greatly outnumbered by the enemy forces.

As a result of these factors, the Russian warriors acquired a style that combined strong spirit with extremely innovative and versatile tactics that were at the same time practical, deadly, and effective against any type of enemy under any circumstances. The style was natural and free while having no strict rules, rigid structure or limitations (except for moral ones). All tactics were based on instinctive reactions, individual strengths and characteristics, specifically designed for fast learning.

When the Communists came to power in 1917, they suppressed all national traditions. Those practicing the old style of fighting could be severely punished. At the same time, the authorities quickly realized how viable and devastating the original combat system was and reserved it just for a few Special Operations Units.

In Systema, the synergy of three components creates a true warrior - Combat Skill, Strong Spirit, and Healthy Body. The body has to be free of tension, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement, and explosive potential. The spirit or psychological state has to be calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion, and pride. The combat skill includes movements that are powerful and precise, instant and economical, spontaneous, subtle and diverse, the signature of a true professional.

There is a reason why Russian Martial Art is called Systema. It is a complete set of concepts and training components that enhance one’s life. In this case, acquiring the martial art skill is a way to improve the function of all seven physiological systems of the body and all three levels of human abilities the physical, the psychological and the spiritual.

The key principle of the Russian Systema is non-destruction. The goal is to make sure that your training and your attitudes do no damage to the body or the psyche of you or your partners. Systema is designed to create, build and strengthen your body, your psyche, your family, and your country. Systema has another name “poznai sebia” or “Know Yourself”. What does it really mean to Understand Yourself?

It is not just to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, that is good but fairly superficial. Training in Russian Martial Art is one of the sure ways to see the full extent of our limitations - to see how proud and weak we really are. Systema allows us to gain the true strength of spirit that comes from humility and clarity in seeing the purpose of our life.

As the roots of the Russian Systema are in the Russian Orthodox Christian faith, the belief is that everything that happens to us, good or bad, has only one ultimate purpose. That is to create the best possible conditions for each person to understand himself. Proper training in the Russian Systema carries the same objective - to put every participant into the best possible setting for him to realize as much about himself as he is able to handle at any given moment.

Many people who are seriously studying Systema and are trying to understand its spiritual basis, at one point face this question: If Christian Orthodoxy is love and peace, how can it be the foundation of a martial art? Balancing non-violence and acting in self-defense is an issue that every human being has to resolve for himself.

Compare an athlete fighting in the ring and a warrior defending his homeland. Both are prepared to hurt another human being, but what a huge difference in justifying their actions! The goal of a ring fighter is to show that he is superior to the other fighters, to prove that he is the best. While the goal of the warrior is to save his family, his friends and his country from death and misery. The warrior clearly has a noble goal, at that moment he is close to God. While the main motivation of the ring fighter is pride, the warrior is driven by love, love for his family, friends, and country.

Thus, training to be a true warrior is not only justified, but is necessary. How else can we save the innocent people from evil? We have all seen the events in Beslan. How else can children held hostage by the terrorists be saved? Professionals such as soldiers and police officers are trained, armed and prepared for the task of saving lives. They put their own lives on the line with humility and honor.

Orthodox Christianity teaches that fighting becomes a sin only when there is pride and aggression in it, or if it contains hatred, revenge or callousness, when the causes are greed, vanity, envy, desperation, and other such vices. Otherwise, if it is fighting for defense, for rescue - it is a sin not to fight and let your loved ones get hurt or killed or have your country destroyed.

There are numerous examples of righteous warriors since the creation of the world. The first Warrior known to mankind is Archangel Mikhail - God gave him the sword - the power to fight evil; and with that sword He had banished the fallen angels (not killed but banished) from God’s Kingdom, all those who no longer served God, but only served their own pride. It had to be done, so that evil does not take over.

We see the Prophets in the Old Testament - such as Gideon or Samson - they were blessed by God to fight the evil. All the way to our times, when during World War II, many nations had to go up against the evil.

The Word of God in the bible tells us that there is no bigger sacrifice than to give up your life for others. Thus, anyone who prepares to be a true warrior, who undergoes training and takes a weapon in his hand, accepts this possibility of sacrificing his life in the name of love for other people; in essence, he prepares to become a martyr.

The ultimate quality that Systema develops in its practitioners is humility. Training in Systema lets the person see his own egotism and other weaknesses and gives him ammunition to overcome them. A humble person devotes his life to fighting the evil in his heart and constantly asks God to help him with that. In reward for his hard work and resulting humility, God gives him this amazing gift of peace, joy and absence of resentment no matter what happens.

If humility becomes our character, there is no more room for pride, aggression, vanity, greed and envy. Our spirit will always be with God and you will fight only when it is absolutely necessary, only for a noble cause, always causing the least possible damage to the opponents, in a calm, firm, fearless and professional way. We have to do it, otherwise evil will take over.


You will be training at lakeside training grounds with vast forests and open fields located north of Toronto. The camp is a beautiful summer campgrounds on 95 acres of forest and fields set on lake Swallowdale, one of the most picturesque lakes of Ontario. The entire camp territory and beachfront is reserved exclusively for the training and recreation of the Systema group. Driving time from Toronto to the campsite is about 2.5 hours and driving time from nearest town of Huntsville, Ontario is 15 minutes.


Toronto is located in Ontario, bordering the U.S. It is one of Canada's largest cities. English is the major language here. Like many other metro cities, Toronto has a wide range of entertainment to offer. You can visit the famous CN Tower - at one time the highest television tower in the world - for the stunning view of the city. Another place with no less amazing view of the Toronto skyline is the Toronto Islands - which are located just 1 short ferry trip from downtown Toronto. Toronto islands are a no-engine territory, where you can enjoy absolutely fresh air and beautiful greenery while not leaving the busy city.

Toronto Theater District is also a place of interest, where you can enjoy the world-renown, multiple-award-winning plays. Toronto also hosts a selection of art and natural museums. If you want to visit a place that takes you back in time, Distillery District is the place for you, where you will see the old distillery factories, the cobblestoned alleys, and European-style coffee shops.

The magnificent Niagara Falls are just 1 few hours drive south of Toronto and can be done quickly in a day trip, or even half day trip.



  • Boating
  • Gym
  • Swimming


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Lake nearby
  • Picnic area


Three hearty meals per day will be served in the large cottage style dining room. The portions are large and the food is nutritious to re-energize you for the intense training program. Fruit, coffee, tea and snacks will also be available throughout the day. Vegetarian meals available upon request.

Things to do (optional)


Relax by lake Swallowdale

Visit Toronto and/or Niagara Falls

What's included

  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 3 meals per day
  • Free DVD on Systema and camp demo
  • Free T-shirt
  • Training twice daily in Systema techniques
  • Transportation to and from camp
  • Workshop daily about Systema

What's not included

  • Airfare travel to Toronto
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Travel insurance

How to get there

You will be picked up from Toronto Pearson International Airport or from the Systema HQ Toronto School and taken directly to the campsite at 9 or 10 AM on Monday, August 15th. Maps and directions will be provided for those who wish to drive themselves. On the departure day, Saturday, August 20th you will be brought to Toronto either to the airport or to the Systema HQ School at 2 PM. The exact times and locations will be provided.

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