IS GUIDED CHAOS THE ONLY REAL TAI CHI LEFT?
Some tai chi instructors think so. But Guided Chaos is NOT tai chi.
Read this little article dug up by Ari and see what you think. Sounds like he's describing GC...
Q. "What's the difference(s) between Guided Chaos and the Russian Systema? All of the video clips I've seen on both styles look very similar. Are the two styles compatible?"
someone who formerly practiced Systema (regular classes plus seminars
with Vladimir Vasiliev), and who has now practiced Guided Chaos for
almost 4 years, I'll give you my view of things:
Chaos and Systema sometimes LOOK similar because a) both use natural,
spontaneous motion rather than set techniques and preplanned responses,
b) both emphasize looseness/pliability, and c) both use
"unconventional" methods on the ground (rather than strict grappling).
However, the similarities end there. . . .
2) In my opinion,
Guided Chaos has extremely effective training methods: well-defined,
repeatable solo and partner exercises that directly develop the five
priniciples (Balance, Looseness, Body Unity, Sensitivity and Freedom of
Action) and subconscious control. Systema (as I experienced it) has
none of this--the learning process is very nebulous. I noticed in
Systema that while Vlad and maybe a couple other very experienced guys
(notably, from Russia) could do some crazy stuff, most of the students
were just "mimicking" Vlad and I had much less confidence that they
could really pull anything off. Often they would fall back on previous
training (pre-Systema) or brute strength when put under pressure.
Again, just my experience and observation. In Guided Chaos, when I
first joined, almost EVERYONE was whippin' my ass using the Guided
Chaos principles, no matter what I tried to do to them! I attribute
this to the training methods that John Perkins developed that allow
each student to develop his maximum potential, rather than try to mimic
John. We have several Guided Chaos students who formerly had a lot of
Systema training and who feel that Guided Chaos actually delivers,
quickly, what Systema promises but rarely delivers.
Systema goes off on impractical tangents such as "no-touch fighting"
(it's just mind games, useless for real combat--I've had it done to me
and I've done it to others) and various Spetznaz stuff, Guided Chaos is
FIRMLY grounded in the streets of American cities. John Perkins often
references incidents he took part in or did the forensics on. Guided
Chaos training is strictly focused on what will work to keep you alive.
4) Guided Chaos training starts with WWII Close Combat methods
and tactics to give students immediate self-defense ability, before
moving on to the more esoteric, long-term training. Systema starts
right away with the esoteric stuff, with the result that students learn
to protect themselves only gradually, if at all. Guided Chaos teaches
effective tactics for self-protection, while Systema tends to stray
into the "theoretical" stuff or stuff that only Vlad can seem to pull
5) You could theoretically take Systema classes while also
taking Guided Chaos classes or while doing the Guided Chaos exercises.
It would only help your Systema to get better, faster. However, the
reverse would not happen, and I think you'd discover, like several of
our students did, that time spent in Systema class when you could be in
Guided Chaos class is a waste of time, relatively speaking. Note this:
A bunch of former Systema (and other Russian martial arts) students
have switched to Guided Chaos, but no one (as far as I know) has gone
in the other direction.
You should really check out the book
Attack Proof. You'll see very clearly the different focus and the
practicality compared to Systema. Just seeing a few video clips is not
nearly the full story.
I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed the
time I spent in Systema--mostly nice people, interesting training. It
did give me a slight head start on understanding looseness and natural,
spontaneous motion when I came to Guided Chaos. However, it was Guided
Chaos that taught me how to make it all actually WORK for protecting
myself and improving my abilities.
Just one guy's experience. Your mileage may vary. . .