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Thoughts From Class

by Gary Bernier

“Do your own work.”

This is something I have heard over and over during my years of training in Systema with Vladimir Vasiliev. To be honest, it is something I have struggled with especially when presented with something new to try. While working with my students, this idea became much clearer: don’t worry about what the other person is doing to you – just do your work.

Consider how seeing many positive options is far superior to being undecided.

Right now you are saying what does that have to do with Systema.

So my question back to you is – when your training partner starts moving towards you, is the voice inside your head saying:

A.     What should I do now? How can I possibly perform the task when my partner does…?


B .     I can do this move or I can do that action or I am able to do this move first and that next?

If you picked A, then most likely you held your breath, stopped moving, became frustrated with yourself and struggled to do the job. If you chose B, then most likely you felt like you had lots of time, you were relaxed, your breathing was normal, and you enjoyed doing your own work.

It is simply a choice of focus – “What should I do…?” or
“I can do …!”

So if you focus on doing your own work well, you can start seeing many options and stay relaxed.

About the Author: Gary Bernier is an experienced Systema Instructor teaching regular classes at his school Systema Georgetown in Ontario, Canada. Gary can be reached at 647-401-1532 or


Phone: 647-401-1532 Email: