I enjoy reading the photostories from English Russia, and I thought I would share this one with you! Apparently “a French explorer discovered a tribe of Amazons”, living together and training martial arts in the Ukraine….. I have no idea what the real back-story of this is… Perhaps it’s better not to know. I’m not sure that there’s any good excuse for dressing up like Xena.
Ah, a bit of Googling sheds more light. These ladies belong to something called the Asgarda Movement, founded by 30-year old Katerina Tarnouska, and there are about 150 of them. More pictures and background can be found here.
It seems that they are connected with the movement to rediscover traditional Ukrainian/Cossack dance/fighting which I mentioned a couple of posts ago.
I haven’t had any reply from the supposedly Beijing-based systema instructor; further Googling suggests that he’s actually in Hong Kong. Let’s wait and see. Anyway, the first time I ever heard anything about systema – like many people, I suspect – was in William Gibson’s novel, Pattern Recognition: a character, referring to a Russian oligarch’s bodyguards, mentions that they are trained in systema, a martial art based on Cossack dancing. This sounded unlikely to me at the time, and nothing that I subsequently read about systema referred to it, so I assumed this was a little bit of artistic license from Gibson!
However… last night I stumbled across an American martial arts TV show that someone’s put on YouTube. I don’t know how long it will be there before it gets a takedown notice, so let’s enjoy it while we can. Overall, it’s enjoyable popcorn TV. The second section is particularly interesting, though, because it shows a little of the relationship between systema and dancing! Intriguing… The third section has embedding disabled; you’ll have to go to YouTube for that.
This would make systema only the second dance-based martial art I know of, after capoeira. Anybody know of any others? Also, if I can’t find a systema instructor in Beijing, maybe I should find someone to teach me Cossack dancing. There’s lots of Russians here, there must be someone who could