Through his seminars and activity on social media, as well as through other people sharing links to his work via Facebook groups and so on, Andrey Karimov’s profile is gradually growing. I’ve often mentioned here that Andrey’s approach to systema – martial skills allied with cultural knowledge – was a significant element of what attracted me first to systema, and later to Russia itself. So far, though, there doesn’t seem to be much information available in English about Andrey and his philosophy, so I thought I would put a few questions to him.
I originally wrote the questions in English, translated them to Russian via Google Translate, and sent them to Andrey via VKontakte. He replied in Russian, and I’ve presented them in English by using both Google Translate and Bing Translator; I found the latter to give the best translation in most cases. I’ve also edited the answers for readability. Of course, errors and misunderstandings will have crept in through this process, but I hope that this information will be of interest, and will be a useful introduction to Andrey.
Could you give us some background information about yourself?
Andrey Karimov, Russian; born 1971 in Yekaterinburg, the Middle Urals. Ethnologist. Expert in psychology; clinical psychologist. Member of the Council of Deputies in Krasnoobska. Head of Novosibirsk regional public organization “LAD”in Novosibirsk. Married with three children.
- 1987 – 1990: Engaged in the “Uralmash ” Olympic reserve SAMBO School in Yekaterinburg. Coached by Aleksandr Sergeyevich Fedorov (first world champion in Sambo0 and Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kozlov (honored coach of USSR).
- 1990 – 1992: St. Petersburg School Russian boxing, with Andrei Vadimovich Gruntovsky.
- 1992 -1994: trained in staff-fighting with Antonov Alexander Mikhailovich (born in 1929).
- 1994: trained by Cossack Piotr Nikiforovitch Vladimirov (born in 1911), master of unarmed combat.
- 1993 – 1995: trained in the Systema of Mikhail Ryabko in Moscow
- 1997: trained in knife-fighting by the Cossack Nicholas Ignatievitch Zadrutskogo (born in 1924).
- 2001: trained in unarmed combat by Joseph Antonovich Aglushevicha (born in 1917).
- 2001: trained with Anatoly Leonidovich Topychkanovym (born in 1929).
- 2002: trained with Cossack Roman Semenovich Morozov (born 1923).
- 2002: trained with Cossack Vasily Zhukovsky Bezrukov (born 1923).
- 1993 – 2002 Participated in seminars of Kadochnikov’s “Russian style”.
- 2009: organizer of the systema school RRB “Siberian Cossack” with Yuri Sheshukova.
- From 1995 – 2012, ran seminars in Russia, Italy, Serbia, Malaysia, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovakia, and Australia.
- 1995 – 2012: organized and led workshops for special forces and police.
- Awarded testimonials and diplomas of the Ministry of Defense of Russia and Serbia. Certificates and letters from the special forces of Russia. Awarded orders and medals of Russian Cossack troops.
- 1988 – 2009 :participant and organizer of ethnographic expeditions studying folk wrestling styles and melee competitions.
Author of more than a dozen publications in Russian hand-to-hand fighting. Author of the method of work with preschool children in “The Siberian Cossack System”, which was awarded the Gold Medal of the “Siberian fair“. Author of over 40 educational films on the “Siberian Cossack System.” Head of the Cossack military-patriotic camp“Siberian outpost“.
Your school is called the “Siberian Cossack System”. Do you have a personal connection with the historical Siberian Cossacks? Where does your interest in Cossack culture come from?
I have Cossack family connections. My interest first developed during my ethnographic expeditions. It was awakened by studying with Alexander S. Fyodorov in Sambo.
What are the basic aims and values of your school?
The main purpose is to assist people in the attainment of their own integrity, confidence and self-realization in the world. The skills of traditional culture are good tools for this: they encourage the human to BE – to ACT effectively. The system is a product of Siberia, a rich Cossack region. It produces a man who knows the boundaries of the possible and the impossible. In the word ‘Systema’, ‘Sy’ represeants a circle of like-minded associates; ‘ st’ represents ‘solidity’ or ‘faith’: a way of becoming a man under the blows of Fate.
A notable element of your teaching style is that you play the balalaika during classes. Could you tell us more about the role of the balalaika in your training?
The balalaika gives rhythm and tone. It balances the internal (mental) state and external pace of motor actions. It normalizes the function of internal organs. It allows the coach to achieve a collective productive effort. It removes fears and phobias.
What connections do you make between the cultural and the martial aspects of your classes?
The cultural aspects help the combat applications. Students develop better coordination, and absorb things more rapidly. It teaches continuous movement, different types of movement, and breathing. It is also a social psychology – teaching methods of interaction, and soft ways out of conflict.
Why do you teach singing and dancing as well as combat skills?
It’s all interconnected. This is learning to understand life and play an active part in it.
One thing that I’ve only seen in your school is the “nagaika massage” [Note: since I sent this to Andrey, I’ve learned that Mikhail Ryabko also teaches it]. Could you tell us more about the nagaika, and why it’s so important in your school? What is the background to this health technique?
The name comes from the word NAGA – giving (NA) movement (GA). In Russian, ‘Nagaya’ means ‘naked’. ‘Naga’ is also the Sanskrit word for ‘snake’. The whip bites like a snake; it is difficult to block. The whip teaches the method of proper motion, using the wave principle. It delivers a biting kick. Our whip exercises use special voice exercises, and develop a level of inner strength. The whip can be used to tone massage points, and can treat prostatitis, colds, anemia and other illnesses.
Another thing that’s quite unusual about your school is the way children and adults train together. Could you give us some background information on how you developed this way of training, and what the benefits are?
Being in the position of a child develops the power and energy of a person. It’s very useful for adults to become children and play! It builds three important social qualities: trust, will, and determination. Through these qualities we find new opportunities in life. To the children we give physical contact and support; they respond to us with gratitude and mutual understanding. It restores the connection /communication between times and generations, which heightens a sense of personal identity. I WAS, I AM I WILL!
I’ve read a number of articles about the Cossack academies in Rostov and Stavropol. Are you connected in any way with these organisation? What do you think about what they’re doing in southern Russia?
We work with many organizations. We have about 15 branches in Russia and about 12 worldwide.
You run a summer camp every year near Novosibirsk. Could you give us some background on what happens at these camps? Who goes to them, and why? What do you hope these camps will achieve?
The camp (“Siberian outpost“) takes place in a forest – Man’s natural location It is a place for initiation, for becoming a man. The camp develops qualities such as authority, responsibility, and ability to act decisively. The main objective of learn to be be independent and responsible; able to see, hear and understand.
You mentioned that your organisation is called “LAD”? Could you explain what this word means?
Finally, is there anything you would like to add?
Everyone always stands before the Divine Choice: to BE or NOT. Experience of our traditions helps us to survive, and then live with interest, creatively, realizing the Divine Talent and individuality of each!
Thank you, Andrey!