Our Training

Training at Valley Systema

You might be wondering what it’s like to train at Valley Systema. We’ve tried to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about our classes on this page.

What is the usual structure of the class?

  • Classes usually start with a warm-up period that emphasizes joint mobility and proper structure. Sometimes the warm-up with include a bit of a work out, other times it is very gentle. You are encouraged to participate at a level appropriate for your fitness. After warming up, we move on to drills focused on the topic of the day’s class. Drills start out simple and slow, and progress in both complexity and speed. At the end of class, we gather in a circle to discuss the class and ask questions.

What topics are covered in training at Valley Systema?

  • We cover a wide range of topics in our training, including (but not limited to):
  1. Hand-to-hand training
  2. Defense against and use of traditional weapons such as knives and guns
  3. Defense against and use of improvised weapons
  4. Ground fighting and correct falling
  5. Defending against multiple attackers
  6. Defense in non-traditional settings, such as in confined spaces, in a car, or up against a wall.
  7. The psychology of violent confrontations, and how to use breathing and relaxation to control your response to an attack.
  8. The fundamentals of protecting your loved ones as well as yourself.

Can I come watch a class?

  • Of course! Observers are always welcome. We think you’ll learn more about us if you participate though. We will help you get started, and your first class is always free.

Is there a specific beginner class?

  • No. All our students, regardless of experience, train together. The instructor and more experienced students will help you get comfortable during your first few classes. Beginners are welcome to start at any time.

Will I need to sign a contract?

  • Contracts are never required! Students can pay monthly, per class, or purchase a 5 or 10 class punch card. If you plan to train every week, it is cheapest to pay monthly.

What should I wear to class?

  • Systema does not have a uniform; you can wear whatever you find comfortable. We encourage you to wear something that gives you good freedom of movement. Many people wear gym clothes, or loose fitting pants. Many people prefer to wear long pants, since we often spend at least part of our class on the ground. You can train in either bare feet, socks, or clean, soft-soled street shoes (think wrestling shoes or clean tennis shoes).

Do you offer kids classes?

  • Youth Classes meet on Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30 PM. See our Kids Classes page for more information.

Do you offer women-only classes?

  • We generally discourage gender-restricted classes, and encourage women to join our regular adult classes. If your organization wants to host a women’s self-defense seminar or class, please contact us at tiffany@valleysystema.com.

Do you offer private lessons?

  • Private and semi-private (up to four people) lessons are available in Roanoke and surrounding areas. For more information and to schedule a lesson, please contact us at tiffany@valleysystema.com.

My group is interested in offering a self-defense seminar. Is that something you can help us with?

  • Yes! We are happy to work with your group to develop a self-defense class that meets your needs. Seminars can range from a few hours to an entire weekend of training, or even an ongoing class. For more information and availability, please contact us at tiffany@valleysystema.com.

Where can I learn more about Systema?

  • We recommend you read our article “What is Systema?” linked below for an overview of Systema. For additional information, we recommend the Systema Headquarters website, which has many articles discussing a wide variety of topics within Systema. You are always welcome to contact us or pay us a visit to learn more.