Note: This interview was done around the year 2000 and since that time Matt has reformed his group as PRAMEK
So, Matt, what is your background in the martial arts, and the background of the people in your group?
The Kadochnikov Style-U.S.A. group represent a wide background in
martial art, from extensive to relatively no experience in martial
art. Some of our students have 30 years + in martial art training and
numerous black belts, while some have none. Some are former military
and special forces, while some are simply just everyday people
wishing to learn a system which they feel is applicable in their
everyday lives. Our interest and experience vary, but our goals are
all similar. My personal experience has simply been in Russian
Martial Art, which I feel is a great positive in my training
How did you get started in the Russian MA, then? The RMA are very rare in North America!
A few years back I was surfing the internet for information on Spetsnaz. As a child, the Russian military constantly intrigued me in that they were our "enemy", but so similar to us. As I grew older my interest in Russian culture and the military grew into a side hobby of reading and watching the History channel or some other channel's documentaries on the Russian military and Spestaz. One day, I happened upon Russian Martial Art on the internet, and was greatly intrigued because here was my opportunity to actually train in the system that I read the Spetsnaz trained in. I began, like others, getting videos and going to seminars and camps
How did you find out about Mr. Kadochnikov? It must have been very hard to initially make contact and meet him?
I, like others, actually saw a video that had Mr. Kadochnikov in it , and was overwhelmed by his skill. He was unlike anything I had ever seen. Some of the older members of the group I trained with had seen the videos before I had. Unbeknownst to me, they had contacted the school about training, and were discussing a trip to the original foreign student seminar. As I kept training in the system I was with, I began to find that I was just unfulfilled. There was something missing, and the more I watched that video, the more I wanted to find this man on the video, Kadochnikov. I knew, in my heart, that he was the "missing link" to the beautiful art I was studying. I was then approached by the members in my group about Mr. Kadochnikov. As I saw our training group numbers dwindle and my own personal thirst for this system grow, I began to research more and more. Soon, I found myself working with translations of the Kadochnikov system and studying on my own and with my group. Then, one day, I finally decided that the Kadochnikov system was where I had been going, if not had been, for a long time.
I was lucky enough to be friends and training partners with those
two gentlemen, who had opened my eyes to so much more. I found myself
eating right, training harder and more efficiently
importantly, I was learning. I was learning the science, and it was
propelling me and taking me above everything I had studied in the
past. Suddenly, the pieces fit, and the puzzle was more complete.
They had the connections, and the rest is what we are currently
Could you tell us about Mr. Kadochnikov's background? He is seen in many old training films from Russia, but until recently his name was almost unknown here.
Those training films are really not that old (*grin* ) You can read much of his history on our American website, as well as on our main school website from Russia. Many want a bit more information, so I will share some from an article about Mr. Kadochnikov. In Russian naval slang, "grandpa" means "chief mechanic." Truly, as one begins to study the Kadochnikov system, they begin to see why Mr. Kadochnikov is called "grandpa", as he is a master mechanic. He was born before World War II into a military family, and for example his grandfather was a Cavalier of three St. George crosses. Mr. Kadochnikov was raised in a family style of Russian Martial Art, which like in other families, had been passed from generation to generation. From his grandfather, to his father, to him. He went in to the Air Force and was an outstanding cadet at the Special Training Center and was then taught special combat skill by the units and it's officers, which had been passed to them and which they used in combat. He then went into a Special Operations Unit, where he applied all of this knowledge in real life.
In 1962, he retired from the military to pursue his academic studies and the ideas that had been formulating in his head for years. When he came out, he went to an engineering school, Krasnodar Polytechnic Institute, and studied. It was at this time he began to take his family style and experience in the military style and began to apply science to them. He began to create a system in which science, from mechanics to geography, explained Russian Martial Art, combat fighting and survival. This made it much more efficient, and he truly made it much better. He came to the Krasnodar Military Engineering School in 1982 to teach, among other things, his system of hand to hand combat. After much work and advertisement, in 1986 word had spread on a larger scale about what he had developed. He had developed, over the years, a truly modern system of scientific combat fighting and survival. In 1995 the school, and his system, became open to the general public. He has worked since the 80's to promote his system of Russian Martial Art, and is among the most well known martial artist and researchers in Russia. He is called "grandpa" by many in the Russian special units, three generations of his students, and now even us, Americans.
Could you tell us a little about what training in Russia was like?
Members of Kadochnikov Style-U.S.A. went over in April 2001 for the overseas students seminar. It was the first contact our group had with Mr. Kadochnikov and his school, in person. Though we had been studying his system since early 2000, this was the first actual time to train with Kadochnikov. One can currently read a review by one of our members, Michael Martin, at the English section of the main school site (link)
Of course, among the highlights was actually training with Kadochnikov and his trainers, especially his son who is now featured in a picture as one of the teachers at the school. When people watch the videos of Kadochnikov, and are amazed, one can only say, "Look at the videos, and now try to think of someone raised by Mr. Kadochnnikov in his system from childhood...raised by the creator." And you have his son in this thought. In a word, his son and the other trainers were amazing. It truly changed the lives of those who attended.
The trip lasted over a week, in which many topics were covered. It
was basic introductory course that helped the group fill in the
blanks from studying overseas for a long time. Everything was covered
in the system in regards to combat fighting and, most importantly,
survival. In the Kadochnikov system a thorough understanding of
science (mechanics, physics, human anatomy and physiology,
kinesiology, geography, psychology, etc) is vital to being able to
actually make the system work in one's own way, and all of these
topics were covered in great detail. The training was eight hours a
day, with tours and many lectures and discussion session along the
way, as well as an Easter dinner.
What are some of the main principles and concepts of the Kadochikov style?
There are many principles of the Kadochnikov system and I will try to address a few.
First, it is a system, and not just a style. The Kadochnikov system is constantly evolving, much like our understanding of science and the world around us. We are constantly adding, subtracting, adapting, and encompassing we are constantly learning. In this system, we have the freedom to do this. The system and it's tenets are then applied to any situation as we as practitioners choose to apply them. It is a survival system, and so we learn to survive efficiently in any scenario. As we are learning combat fighting, we also learn general survival how the human body works, land navigation, how to read stars for time and direction, how to breath, how to move, how to shoot...we study issues like these. As a science, we add new hypothesis' and test them, take out things which do not work for us as individuals, and constantly the system is evolving, from person to person, generation to generation. For example, right now, I am reading a book The Anatomical and Mechanical Bases of Human Motion. The book is wonderful and very informative. There is much from this book that addresses subjects within the situation. The basic principles and constants do not change, as they are scientific principle, but the use and adaptation of these principles by practitioners is what makes the system so efficient. It's the individual adaptation of the universal principles of the system which makes it so unique.
Most people are interested in our system of hand to hand combat and efficiency in combat. I will give a glimpse of the tip of the iceberg while trying not to make it too complex or simple when it comes to the science of the system For example, in combat we only want to use 25% of our available bioenergy. In studies in Russia, they found that Kadochnikov's students only use ¼ of their energy, occasionally using more (Only when we must do we use more, let's say 50%, but only for short periods.) At 25% of our available bioenergy we are operating at an optimal level. How is this done? How is this efficiency created? Think of a car 2 tons of steel which one must control. First, the car must be started and the engine must run, which is using numerous sets of machines to do the job and use energy to make the car move. Then, we simply take hold of the steering wheel, press the gas, and use these machines in order to steer the car. Once the car is in motion, it is very easy to control through the use of machines. It is the same with an opponent he does all the work and then we control, or "steer," the work as we wish. In being efficient, and using machines of efficiency while working with an opponent, we are able to use very little energy, yet achieve the maximum result.
By studying the human body, one begins to view the human body as one machine. We view combat between people as machines creating work, which creates energy and power, which is ours to direct as we wish. Our own body is a machine. Let's say the other machine is another human, an enemy. Psychologically, we must remove emotion and association and think of this other person as merely another "machine," subject to the laws of nature just as anything else. The enemy is just as uncertain as you, and is subject to fear, gravity, laws of physics, pain, etc . Let's say we are locked in combat with this other person, who we now view as another biomechanical kinematic structure. When we are locked in combat, we are creating energy which can be used to our advantage. As we push, pull, strike, grab, etc., we are creating energy from the work that is done. An example is if you are grabbed by the wrist. It is much easier to create a fulcrum to break the lock than it is to jerk or move in an inefficient way to get away from this grab. The fulcrum is efficient, a jerk or strained pull, even many strikes, are inefficient and waste vital energy. When we use this machine (the fulcrum), we then create more machines to do work. If we were to jerk away, we would use energy and then be out of contact; if we were to use certain strikes, we would use energy and break contact both of these avenues mean we must reengage to begin the process again. So, we create a fulcrum by means of the biomechanical structures, such as the entire arm. It is almost like a cycle we are constantly creating machines to create efficient work, and we dictate the power and direction of these machines.
I am often asked how it is possible that we only use 25% of our available energy. To give an idea first, we must exist in efficiency in our movement, we use all of our 256 extents of freedom our muscles are relaxed, we are acting in an autonomic state, our breathing is controlled and monitored, etc. In other words, our machine is working efficiently. Then, we begin to monitor our opponent. We avoid impact (through a knowledge of physics and mechanics), as impact breaks down machines if one is injured, he must use more energy to compensate for the injury. By avoiding impact, we are constantly setting up our opponent to move in such a way that he will follow a plane and go into a spin which will bring him down (for example, a helix motion). We control our opponent and maintain zero relative speed to achieve non-impacting contact and use his movement and inefficiency against him, so that he will be the one who is using energy and he will be using that energy to lose.
I have merely addressed the tip of the iceberg, and could honestly
write pages upon pages about the processes. There is so much more
behind these few paragraphs, literally books could be written to
describe it, and they have been written to do so. But this should
give readers an idea of why the system is so efficient and great, yet
spare readers the total science behind it all! The science is very
much the key, and that is where training comes in
.to apply the
science and explore it's application.
How does this training differ from or compare to some of the other Russian styles seen in North America today?
You asked of differences and comparisons. There are a number of styles and systems of Russian Martial Art in America now and to compare and contrast them all is a difficult task. Some trace back through different teachers and lineage while some actually trace back to the Kadochnikov system. In meeting students and teachers from other systems, I think we all have the same motives at heart the betterment of the student through Russian Martial Art; and the exposure of Russian culture and traditions to America. Russian Martial Arts have many general themes and similarities such as natural movements, soft work, and many unorthodox ideas. Such common themes and similarities come from Russian Martial Art's cultural and traditional evolution over thousands of years. Some systems are made for sport, some are made for health, some for combat. The Kadochnikov system is made for survival feeding the physical, mental, and spiritual hunger of it's practitioner. It strengthens the mind through knowledge, the body through efficiency, and fastens the spirit, which is vital to surviving any situation. Our training is an education in which we learn the science behind the principles and concepts. For every two hours in the training room is an hour in the research room sometimes, it's reversed. Our training method is an education, then the application of that education in a safe, non-egoistic training environment. What sets us apart, I truly believe, is the material we learn and the application of that material. The Sysytem of A. A. Kadochnikov is truly unique. We, as students, truly understand what they are doing. There is no proverbial "book" with every other page left out, or students are just left to guess what to do next. Once they decide to take the step to learn the system here in Atlanta, and soon throughout the United States, we make the commitment to make sure that our members are able to learn everything, and then apply it in there own individual way and movement. We work through problems in our own individual way with our own natural ability and movement. There are no rules in combat but those of nature and those we impose upon ourselves. We recognize this, and begin to utilize it in the utmost extreme. We are combat fighters and our own scientist and engineer I feel the Kadochnikov system truly makes us these things.
Now that you have established a training cadre in North America, what are some of your plans for the future?
We are asked daily what our plans for the future are going to be. Many want to be involved. So, we are working in a number of directions. We are spreading information as quickly as we can. We have our manuals and books from Russia, but they are in Russian. So, we are working and translating them. We building our own small library, and doing our own research. One must remember, this is a complete system, and our training materials and what we train in, while specific, is broad. So, we are translating, and researching. Then, we will begin to put some of this out for the general public to see, so they will have an understanding for the future Training is available in Atlanta and we have our structure and means of learning, and preparing.
And what of the future? We are not in competition with anyone, but only in competition with the ideas and aspirations we have, and the obstacles which challenge us in achieving our goals. The future, in most ways, means "spreading." How are we going to spread this system? We've got a number of ways in which we are working to maintain purity.
First, our main challenge is purity. Only in it's purest form can the Kadochnikov system be used, and only in it's purest form should it spread. The Kadochnikov system is not a system that can be learned by videotape or reading alone one must experience it first hand. As one of our group members recalled from Russia, "One can come and take what they want, and maybe use one technique and think they are doing the system, but only when one takes the entire system can heo use it in the way it is meant to be used." We are currently working with others in the US and helping them learn, some of whom have been working with this system in different means and levels for a little while now. This makes "distance" learning much easier because they have been exposed to the system. But, this is an announcement for the future.
As to spreading in the United States on a mass scale? Not everyone can afford a trip to Russia to train. So, we are working with the school in Russia to possibly bring a representative over early next year for seminars in the United States so that others can gain experience in the system and what it is. We will begin to work to spread information so people have an idea of what the system is, so when the seminars occur, people will come armed with man's most important weapon: knowledge. The key to survival is knowledge, and we hope to give others the knowledge we have been exposed to.
We have many plans for the future, and one needs to merely watch
our site for more information
Are there other groups in North America affiliated with Mr. Kadochnikov?
That I know of, no.
What could a person who was interested do to get involved? How many training groups do you have in North America?
Study, is the first key. Our web site is not just for being pretty. I often say, "A man could merely pick up an anatomy book and learn to defend himself." This is very true. On our site, now, we have some keys to learning right now. The tenets that are outlined are vital. Those who wish to take the path of being scholars will soon find out how important those tenets truly are. As we release more information, people will begin to build their knowledge. Over time, this will culminate with them training with us in Atlanta, our future satellite training groups, and at future seminars. Mainly, to get involved, email us. We respond to every email, and though we might ask for patience, soon we will have ideas for those wishing to study to start studying by.
I often tell people, "In school, before one tests Newton's
theories, they read about them. Then they go into the lab to test
them." The same is with our system. Right now, people must begin to
think outside the box and study, and then we will present the
opportunity for them to train!
Is there anything else you'd like to tell people about your art?
The system truly speaks for itself, as people will begin to see. If it did not, then why would so many speak of this "white-haired Russian man" in the videos? This is a system for all a survival and combat system that is more for the intelligent than the physically fit. This is a system for the single mom with children, the policeman on the street, the soldier in the field. It is a system of survival, whether on the battlefields of our cities or the battlefield's of another land.. You can give a man a technique and he can defend against another technique but if you give a man one concept, he can defend against 10,000 techniques. Mr. Kadochnikov gave his system as a gift to the people of Russia and to Russian culture, and we wish now to give this gift to the American people and American culture. Just like in combat, all that is needed is patience we will accomplish the mission before us, go beyond our goals, and give this gift to others.
Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. Best of luck in your mission!