PYP 066: Glenn Murphy on Systema, Subverting Fight or Flight, and Remaining Human No Matter What

glenn-murphyIn addition to being a bestselling science author, musician, and tiger-handler (really!), Glenn Murphy is an instructor of one of the most powerful, esoteric, and valuable martial arts ever developed: Systema.

I first heard about Systema about 10 years ago, watched some Youtube videos of Systema master Vladimir Vasiliev, and promptly decided that the whole thing was a hoax. There was just no way Vasiliev could be strolling through a crowd of attackers and take them down without breaking a sweat. (See below for an example.)

Then I met Glenn, who teaches Systema in North Carolina. About 3 seconds into our first class, I was convinced.

My 15 year old son and I have been studying with Glenn for about six months now, and the practice has changed our lives.

In this interview, which unfortunately sounds like it was conducted in an echo chamber (thanks, Chapel Hill library study room C, with your glass walls), Glenn helps me unpack the wholistic nature of Systema, and its ability to strengthen and heal body, mind, and spirit.

We discuss:

  • the profound differences between Systema and other martial arts
  • the single most important element of Systema (that anyone can practice anywhere, anytime)
  • the problem with “psyching ourselves up” to go into battle (whether literally, or in dealing with everyday stressors)
  • “that's easy for him to say” – how to bring meditative awareness into the hard parts of life
  • why we slouch and shrink as we age – and what this has to do with chronic fear
  • the importance of knowing ourselves before we can respond effectively to our environment
  • the modern fear of contact and how to overcome it for our neurological well-being
  • the primacy of deep massage as a modality for healing and growing
  • and much more…

Enjoy, please share, and leave your comments below!

Links – Glenn's System school in the Triangle region of North Carolina – Toronto-based center of Systema training in North America – find accredited teachers, buy DVDs and books, and find out about workshops and seminars – Glenn's author site

2005 clip of Vladimir Vasiliev demonstrating work with multiple attackers

4 Responses to “PYP 066: Glenn Murphy on Systema, Subverting Fight or Flight, and Remaining Human No Matter What”

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  1. Rosemary Guy says:

    As someone who has taught tai chi for ages, I’m reaaly excited by this podcast and how well some of these ideas are expressed. I’ve always loved using massage in my classes too but since I’ve taught older people have incorporated this in different ways. I’ll review how I do this after listening to this wonderful podcast

    • Howard says:

      Thanks, Rosemary. Your tai chi classes sound wonderful – are they in NZ?

      • Rosemary Guy says:

        Yes I amt thinking of coming to North America……Toronto, in your spring. There is a handsome man who’d like me to come now. I’d like to do some mixed workshops……some delicious WFPB food and education, some mind body things including tai chi. Could be fun

  2. Thank You says:

    Howard, Thank You for another information packed podcast. Keep them coming 🙂

    Thank You

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