Know, respect your adversary

Publisher’s Note: Last winter, we warned that civil war would break out in Ukraine. It was a forecast that stood alone at the time because tensions within Ukraine appeared to be waning. A few short weeks later, however, Ukraine did, indeed, erupt in civil war, and the volatility continues today. In our spring Trends Journal, we renewed our deep concern over the situation, warning that Washington and the European Union were “stoking a war that can’t be won.” In this article, we offer a rare insight into what it means to provoke war with the Russians. It comes from my combat martial arts instructor, John Perkins, a man who has taught me much and whose insights I respect deeply. The story speaks volumes.

Back in the early eighties, before Glasnost, I worked for Americans for Human Rights in Ukraine. The organization was dedicated to freeing prisoners of conscience held in Soviet prisons and insane asylums, which seemed synonymous back then. During this time, letters from thousands of Americans were sent to various officials in a few of the Soviet Union’s satellite countries, demanding freedom for these people, who mostly were imprisoned for speaking out against the harsh and brutal treatment meted out by their Soviet rulers.

Part of this organization’s mission was to escort some of these released prisoners from their jails or asylums (the Soviets often placed dissidents in mental institutions and filled them with mind-altering drugs as punishment for their protests). Many of these people were permanently damaged by this form of torture. These men and women were then escorted to a European nation, or the US. Once relocated, they were helped to get back on their feet to, ostensibly, spread the word of how the Soviets treated the general population.

While in Ukraine, I met and spent three days with a man who went by the single name of Terren. Standing 6’5” and weighing about 260 pounds, he was a Russian Ukrainian who worked as a bodyguard.

I worked out with Terren. I had many conversations with him.

During my time with Terren, I was introduced to his method of fighting. He told me he had been a professional circus wrestler for many years and he knew a method of fighting which originated in tenth-century Russia called The System. Later I found many practitioners here in the US — where it is called Systema — who trained in and taught this method of fighting.

One day, out of the blue,  I asked Terren if he believed in God. He pantomimed his answer, ”When I break neck, I don’t see soul. If I see soul, then I will believe.”

This is a glimpse into the mindset of atheistic Russian warriors. Cold when killing, but cordial when having friendly conversations. Terren said they are masters of duplicity.

Perhaps some serious thought should be applied when dealing with this type of personality.

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