Video: Knife Defense Fundamentals by Glenn Murphy, Chief Instructor at NC Systema

This week at NC SYSTEMA, we slide back into the study of knife defense.

Knife defense videos are a popular target for Internet trolls, 'keyboard warriors', and so-called 'reality martial arts' enthusiasts.

"I would just shoot the guy"
"You should just run away"
"Great way to get cut"

These are all popular refrains on comment threads relating to knife videos. In some cases, these are valid criticisms. When faced with a knife-wielding attacker, deploying a firearm or running as fast and hard as you can are both perfectly valid responses.

Then again, they can also be pointless cop-outs that beg the following questions:

- What if you're not armed 24/7?
- What if your weapon jams?
- What if the attacker is too close, and stabs you before you can deploy it?

- What if you're injured, and you can't run?
- What if the attacker stands between you and the exit?
- What if you're carrying or defending a child?

I have yet to see a convincing answer to any of these questions from the would-be warriors and critics online.

Yes, you'll probably get cut. In all likelihood, you'll be hospitalized after the attempt. But in the situations above, that *might* just be preferable to shelling up, grappling ineffectively, or leaving your kids to die.

With that in mind, here we offer three basic principles of knife survival

1) if you can run, don't hesitate
2) fight the attacker, not the weapon
3) use leverage and/or your enivironment to your advantage

Comments and questions welcomed.

SFL Episode 87: Lance Rewerts and Martin Wheeler

Lance Martin Glenn.jpg

A rare, double-whammy for the podcast this week, as we join Systema Iowa Instructor Lance Rewerts and Senior Systema Instructor Martin Wheeler. Recorded during the recent Against Tension seminar at Systema HQ Toronto, Lance and Martin share their insights from the weekend, and offer windows into the genius of our shared Instructor, Vladimir Vasiliev. Along the way, we cover:

  • Lance's path from Judo and Hapkido to Systema

  • Systema and Systems Engineering - robustness, efficiency, power

  • Power as a natural state of being and thinking

  • The primacy of studying fear, ego, and tension, vs cultivating ideas about movement

Necessarily concise - as we were about to race off and train for a second day with Vladimir - this was nonetheless a powerful, eye-opening discussion.

Find out more about training with Lance at, and with Martin at

Martin Wheeler seminars mentioned in this episode:

4-day Masterclass Los Angeles on October 3-6 2019

4-day Masterclass North Carolina, October 10-13 2019

2-day Wheeler Strikes! seminar in Des Moines, IA, Nov 16-17 2019

Sign up online by clicking the links above.
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Video: Basic Systema Groundwork

This week at NC SYSTEMA, we roll back into the ever-popular theme of Groundwork. Groundfighting is an enormous (and enormously enjoyable) field of study. Skill in groundfighting can level the playing field between opponents of different sizes, and groundfights are often subject to abrupt reversals of fortune, in which the apparent loser can suddenly flip, submit, and smash a seemingly dominant opponent. Little wonder, then, that BJJ, MMA and other sports incorporating groundwork have become so popular in recent years.

Here, we look at three basic tactics for escaping the dangerous "mounted" position. Naturally, *none* of these tactics are failsafe, and a skilled groundfighter will be far less likely to succumb to them. (One of many reasons why you shouldn't pick fights with pro-Jujitsu/MMA fighters). But when it comes to surviving physical assault, a little knowledge can go a long, long way. Knowing the basics of escape could literally save your life. Sign up for a class today: