Meet a Real-Life Super Soldier

The theme of the super soldier is quite prevalent in popular culture. The release of Captain America adds to a long list that includes “the Manchurian Candidate”, Joe Wright’s “Hanna” and recurring characters like Wolverine or Jason Bourne exploring the idea of transcending the physical and mental limits of humans to allow actions that would otherwise be impossible. Historical examples of this thinking has typically resulted in failure, and more importantly, human tragedy. Nazi Germany’s programs seeking to raise children in controlled environments devoid of compassion, or the American MK-Ultra program seeking to erase and rebuild personalities in test subjects are well documented examples of this.

However, during the cold war, in the Soviet Union, programs with similar intent have had much more success. Training methods created for certain special units allowed their members to reach to the limits of human physical potential, as well as maintain physical and mental health in the most difficult situations. We are very lucky to host Vladimir Vasiliev, a veteran of such a unit at Club Nagaika on August 21 and 22. The generosity and humor of this exceptional man show how this training has given him exceptional abilities without damaging all important human qualities. You will be able to learn the most effective methods to prepare the body for combat or any other form of extreme stress, as well as how to overcome fear. These methods are offered within a martial art that was, until recently, classified as a military secret and is simply named “Systema” or “the System” in Russian.

By Stéphane Beaudin

Stéphane Beaudin is a Russian Martial Art instructor who periodically welcomes outstanding instructors who teach regular people to overcome injuries and achieve the limits of what is physically and mentally possible in combat and everyday life. His school, Club Nagaika, is located in Montreal.

Video information: The video above features signature techniques by former special forces soldier Vladimir Vasiliev and also features some information on fear and agression by Konstantin Komarov, also a former member of Russian elite forces. All Systema instructional videos are available at

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