"Then when I came, as Dante puts it, "midway upon the journey of life", I found something amazing, that shocked my senses and stunned my mind - the Russian breathing and combative training system of Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev. I found these teachings to be a pure distillation of a thousand years of the uniquely intense Russian spiritual and physical culture."
"Russian military operatives who have undergone this training can easily perform tasks which pose seeming contradictory requirements for gentleness vs. strength: disabling an attacker while cradling or protecting a small child; opening a door quietly while drawing and firing a handgun, striking or immobilizing an opponent while maintaining control of a speeding vehicle"
"this book doesn't teach martial arts as commonly understood. Martial arts are mainly applicable to security professionals. Police officers, bodyguards, and military and corrections personnel require these highly specialized skills. Survival, on the other hand, is for everyone. What I've been taught by the Russian masters has freed my mind, strengthened my body, and cleansed my soul - surely the best foundation for survival and thriving."
"I chided myself - who are you to judge a famous teacher in this arbitrary way? What difference would it make, even if he does drive right on past? It's obvious from the videos that he can fight, and that's enough. Yet I couldn't stop wondering about it, as I heard the approach of another vehicle. I watched my narrowly visible road-slice."
"It is fascinating how adaptable Systema really is to virtually any human situation or task ranging from resting to fighting."
"I was unconscious, with my jaw and face more or less destroyed. Blood and teeth and other nasty stuff littered the pavement."
"The exercises go beyond the physical, as they challenge you to overcome weakness and self-pity. By performing the work outlined here, you learn to conquer yourself."
"For leg raises you can begin with either a complete and sufficient inhale or exhale. Then hold your breath and perform 5 to 10 relaxed, even, and smooth leg raises, while holding your breath."
"The purpose of prolonged breath holds in training is to condition you not to switch into the panic state in a real emergency, such as prolonged underwater submersion or when gas fumes have poisoned the air."
"If you approach the work as first and foremost a breathing exercise, rather than physical conditioning, there ought to be no limit - just as there is no pre-set limit to how long you can sit comfortably breathing in an easy chair!"
"After several passes of 'wave' breathing, you may want to try the 'quick freeze' version..."
"when you understand this work perfectly you can instantly "tense up" only your Nervous System, that is, your nerves alone, without any obvious muscular tension at all!"
"I was undergoing specialized military training, and one of the tasks was to chase down my 'opponent' as we tracked many kilometers across huge open snow fields on cross-country skis. I was required to carry a full military supply pack, with a complete load of ammunition and other heavy equipment."
"You won't understand the miracle of breath until you push through your own limits."