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March 10, 2005


Patrick R. Sullivan

"wearing a suicide note"?


Just what trial attorneys need - a nutcase of a failed Plaintiff killing a Federal judge's family! It's bad enough that all of them are painted as venal, brain dead, and evil - now we have to add killer to the mix. I will happily grant that there are some charlatans (think, the former V.P. candidate) in the Plaintiff attorney bar. But there are many others (like my bosses) who truly and deeply care about the welfare of their clients. My firm routinely reduces their fees (sometimes to a mere fraction - as low as 5 or 10% of settlement) if taking our fee in full will adversely affect the client's financial recovery. And let's remember - this potential plaintiff was so goofy and out of reality that no ATTORNEY would take his case!


"I don't suppose anyone needs to be apologizing to any of the hate groups, but this is quite a plot twist." A rush to judgment is a rush to judgment, and is wrong, period. Mr. Hale's views are despicable, but that didn't mean it was right for the media and the blogosphere to tar and feather him.


"I don't suppose anyone needs to be apologizing to any of the hate groups, but this is quite a plot twist." A rush to judgment is a rush to judgment, and is wrong, period. Mr. Hale's views are despicable, but that doesn't mean it was right for the media and the blogosphere to tar and feather him.

Bill Peschel

Um, TruthHurts, wasn't Hale in trouble because he solicited someone to kill the judge's family? There's a big difference between reporting what's on the record and "convicting" him in the press. Hale made himself a suspect, not for his beliefs, but for his actions.


BIll Peschel writes: "Um, TruthHurts, wasn't Hale in trouble because he solicited someone to kill the judge's family?" I'm not an expert on the case, but I'm pretty sure Hale was convicted of soliciting the murder of the judge herself, not her family. That was one of the first clues that the murders of Mr. Lefkow and his mother-in-law had nothing to do with Hale's original threats against Judge Lefkow.

The Zero Boss

Yeah, Hale's kind of in jail for recruiting an undercover agent to "snuff out that rat". Apology my fat white ass.

The Zero Boss

TH: Oh, well, that makes a BIG difference. We're so sorry we impugned the murdering scumbag's reputation.

Jim in Texas

A friend with access to the information informed me that the Lefkow killing was aimed at the husband, not the Judge. The killer had supposedly gone to the husband's law firm and tried to get the firm interested in a medical malpractice suit. When the firm declined the killer blamed them for all his problems.

The weird thing, if my friend’s information is correct, is that the killer went to the husband’s law firm several years ago, not recently. I guess he’s been mulling over his options?


Apparently, the inside skinny among Chicago police is that they found both fingerprints and a cigarette butt from which they extracted DNA, but there were no matches of either in federal databases. My news is at least a couple of days old, though, so it predates this bizarre twist. Point is, if my rumor is true they should be able to match up the decedant with DNA or prints in a trice.

I would have blogged this myself, Tom, but I'm quite tied up in The Big Easy.


Oh, sure - why apologize to someone who's been slandered repeatedly in an off hand way simply because he hold unpopular views, especially if it turns out he is innocent. After all, we have to remember that he is a BAD GUY, undeserving of the usual presumption. I'm not going to qualify this with the usual "his views re dispicable, but...".


>We're so sorry we impugned the murdering scumbag's
> reputation.

"Fake but accurate", eh?

It's going to be a ton of fun watching the right-wing bloggers back and fill over this.


I hate Nazis as much as the next guy,but let's be honest here.The most sensible thing said in this whole case(apart from today)is Hale's comment to the effect that 'he would have to be STUPID,to have anything to do with this murder when he is being sentenced in the VERY near future'.
As soon as I heard that I thought he was innocent of THIS crime.It was such a transparently TRUE thing to say.A person would have to be a complete idiot to have ordered this NOW.If he truly wanted it done,why not wait until after his sentencing hearing?Not much to lose at that point,if you don't get caught later,.
Nazi or not he deserves apolgies should this story be true.Rushes to judgement are increasingly harming perceptions of the legal system,and the ridiculous media attention to CRIME stories is not helping much either.


There's no harm in pointing out the obvious suspects, but a lynch mob is wrong even the man it goes after is worse than the one who actually committed the crime. And if media attention makes it harder for police to pursue leads that don't cater to prejudices of newspaper columnists then we are all less safe.

See if the columnists in question ever allow the "people I don't like are so bad that it doesn't matter that I was wrong," excuse to be used by anyone but themselve.

An apology isn't owed to hate groups but IS owed to readers.


Interestingly this is another case of a person blaming a authority figure in government for denying them access to/payment for health care services they believe they are entitled to and seeking revenge in some manner. Burkett anyone?


wow. i wonder if you guys would defend osama bin laden or zarqawi or saddam using the same logic. what? they're not presumed innocent until proven guilty? oh, ok.


no bb, this is more like pinning the blame for 9/11 on Saddam, which we are told time and time again is a sign of the foolishness and ignorance of the American people ... often by the very same columnists who got this case wrong ...


I just saw a report on MSNBC the DNA on the cigarette butt matches the suicide, so it looks like case closed.

Cecil Turner

Okay, maybe it's just me, but when I hear about a traffic stop for a tail light, followed by a suicide complete with note confessing to a notorious murder, it makes me go "hmmm?" (And visions of a sheriff standing over a bullet-ridden corpse saying: "the most complete case of suicide I ever saw.") Combine that with various reports of 9mm vs .22, one or two men, and whether it was the judge dismissing the case--or her husband not accepting it, and I think there are a couple of pieces missing.

Not that this is likely anything but the usual post-event confusion, but I suspect we don't have the whole story yet.

D'Anne Burley


Hmm strange because Bart Ross had NO TEETH!

By D’Anne Burley

On March 11th, 2005, The mainstream media reported as follows:

DNA Links Bart Ross To Lefkow Murders

· VIDEO: CBS 2 News reports.

Mar 11, 2005 7:35 am US/Central
CHICAGO (CBS 2) Authorities investigating the shooting deaths of a federal judge's mother and husband are still searching for the weapon used to kill them.

Police today returned to the home of U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow to search again. Spokesman David Bayless says investigators checked to see if Bart Ross might have thrown the .22-caliber weapon onto the roof, but no gun was found.

Ross killed himself with a nine-millimeter handgun during a traffic stop in Wisconsin this week and left a suicide note confessing to the slayings. Tests matched DNA on a cigarette butt found in the Lefkow home to Ross and evidence points to him as the lone killer.

Bayless says investigators are wrapping up loose ends of their investigation and finding the weapon is one of them.

Meanwhile, investigators also collected more evidence to from Ross' home.

On Friday morning, a Chicago evidence van and several forensic investigators arrived at Ross’ home to learn as much as possible about the chain-smoking, Polish immigrant who appears to have murdered Michael Lefkow and Donna Humphrey.

But mean while it was stated both in Mr. Ross’s statements and alleged medical records that he had loss his teeth during his reconstruction of his lower jaw, both from the amounts of radiation he had received and also within the procedure to create another jaw. It was stated he could not hardly open his mouth and that he was on high doses of codeine and morphine to stop the pain, so how could he smoke a cigarette let alone act by himself in committing this crime?

The article about the coroner appeared within the local Chicago Newspaper but seems to be no where located on the internet now why?

In addition, the murder of the Russian born Military Martial Arts Specialist whose business was not far from Judge Lefkow’s home seems to still remain a mystery, whereby though there were two men taken into cusity no arrest were made, on man was hospitalized. I also found out that Arkaryi Stepanovoskiy was also in training in the police department but there is nothing other than a article verifying this. All seems very strange and in the case of Bart Ross there was a second man who now does not exit.

Sofiya Stepankovskiy

The Wheeling Murder Case what was reported:

Police question person in deadly Wheeling shooting

By Charles Thomas

March 8, 2005 (Wheeling, IL) — Police in northwest suburban Wheeling think they know who is responsible for the murder of two men. Arkady Stepankovsky, 29, of Des Plaines and Roman Drobetsky, 34, of Wheeling were shot behind a shopping center at 1780 West Hintz Road in northwest suburban Wheeling. They were eastern European immigrants and their killers are believed to have similar backgrounds.

ABC7 Video Clip

One man is being questioned by police. Police have not said whether he is a suspect or witness.

Neighbors said they heard a disturbance just before the two bodies were found around midnight. Witnesses heard as many as five shots around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the ally between a Wheeling apartment complex and strip mall.

"I have never seen anything like this. It's very quiet and not even teenagers are roaming around here. It's very quiet neighborhood. It's shocking," said Mike Ha, business owner.

One neighbor told police there were two groups of men involved who shouted at each other in a foreign language. Another neighbor told ABC 7's Stacey Baca that she heard a bottle break as well as shouting before the gunshots.

"Most of the time they are shouting loudly. That's it. I didn't understand what they are saying," said a young woman who did not want to be identified.

When officers arrived, they found the bodies of the two men and a third man alive at the scene and covered with blood. He was taken to police headquarters for questioning.

"I heard he had blood all over his legs and something on his head," said Marla Obisto, neighborhood resident.

The major crimes task force is assisting the Wheeling police in the investigation.

The young man, Arkadiy Stepankovskiy, was stated to be as follows from his site:

That he was a certified instructor of Chicago Systema Academy. Born in the USSR, Akradiy has been practicing marital arts for over 16 yrs, prior to studying Systema he achieved instructors rank in Okinawa Karate/Samurai JuJutsu, close Quarter Comabt and Shotokan Karate-do. He also formal trained in close quarter combat and shotakan Karate-do. His expertise involves 7 years in Personal Protection field as Head Bouncer and Security Specialist.

If you look within the pictures of his website you will see three men one including Akardyi, the one on the far right looks a lot like Bart Ross without the deformities.


Look here is a better picture which tells me hmm well, what do you think or is this just another conspiracy?


Mr. Vladimir Vasiliev - Director and Chief Instructor of the Toronto School of Russian Martial Art

Born in Tver, Russia, Vladimir studied at the Moscow Spetsinstitute and received intense training from Mikhail Ryabko. Vladimir's work spans across 10 years of extensive military service with the Special Operations Units in SPETSNAZ, including regular high-risk covert assignments and missions. He also served as trainer for paratroopers, swat teams, and elite bodyguards. Vladimir moved to Canada, and in 1993 opened the first school of Russian Martial Art in North America. He has since personally trained and certified over 20 qualified Russian Martial Art instructors in 7 countries. He continues to offer training in fundamentals of the System as well as specialized training for law enforcement officers, military, and other goverment personnel. Vladimir's award-winning video series can be found here

What is the special training – Spetsnaz, used for crowd control READ ON!

Relax. Keep your movement loose. Open up. All these phrases are ones you would normally expect to hear during a typical tai chi practice. But, this isn't tai chi. It is the beginning of a class in Russian military martial art system as taught by Vladimir Vasiliev. (For those readers unfamiliar with Vasiliev's qualifications, let me begin by saying they are impeccable. He was one of the foremost operatives in the Special Operations Unit of the Russian military. Not only is his military combat experience extensive, but he also trained government bodyguards and law enforcement personnel in Russia. Having had the opportunity to preview his latest book, I expected Vladimir to be a man emotionally hardened by the years and rigors of his hazardous former profession. Although fit and competent, Vladimir epitomizes the traits I see and respect in other battle-tested, close-combat teachers. A sense of humor, humility, serious determination and above all a true understanding of the purpose and execution of his deadly art.)

Unlike most traditional teachers and styles, Vladimir Vasiliev and the System concentrate on exploring and understanding the strategy of combat over the techniques of combat.

While Vladimir speaks of being relaxed, one should never confuse this with being lax. The manner in which warm-up exercises are performed soon puts this idea to rest. Push-ups involve training partners supplying resistance, with up to four people doing the exercise in unison. Although this is more like the Special Forces style training I expected, even here the concepts of relaxation and free movement permeate the atmosphere of the class.

Today, Vladimir's lesson focuses on groundfighting. Although it is not the standard fare for military close combat, it is, nonetheless, a subject that has lately garnered more than its share of media attention.

Vladimir begins by explaining that in military operations there is no real distinction made between groundfighting and other aspects of close combat. It is only in sport competition that such a distinction occurs. In a real street fighting or in a military operation, no dividing line exists between where one type of combat ends and the other begins.

However, he added, because soldiers are encumbered by their gear and are usually armed, (remember, the Russians excel at the use of the entrenching shovel) the majority of training revolves around armed or semi-armed tactics and combat from the standing position. Having said this, Vladimir is quick to add that there are certain specific instances where groundfighting is destined to come into play.

The perception that you are exposing yourself can be used as an effective strategy, both offensively and defensively, if your opponent perceives the opening as an apparent weakness and therefore an opportunity to attack.

For example, in evasion and escape it may be necessary to dispatch an enemy guard by taking him to the ground. In this instance groundfighting would be coupled with training in sentry and counter-sentry tactics. Another situation where ground fighting may be employed is in law enforcement or security. In countering an attack initiated in a crowd, the use of firearms may be prohibited, especially when related to reaction time and collateral damage. Often it is much safer and expedient to take the attacker to the ground. Because of the potential for fatal injury, realistic and effective ground fighting techniques must be employed.

This need for proper technique in obtaining submission from an opponent is related by Vladimir in a serious anecdote taken from personal experience.

His story takes us back to his days as a special operative in Russia. Vladimir and his team were involved in tracking and apprehending three (physically large) and extremely dangerous criminals all wanted for murder. To elude capture, the three chose to leave the city on foot on a dark and moonless night. Besides being moonless, the weather that night was brutal thanks to a constant, driving rain. Tracking the fugitives under such circumstances was difficult and Vladimir and his teammates had to separate. As a result, Vladimir was obliged to follow the criminals by himself.

Vladimir successfully tracked the criminals and intercepted them, as they were moving down an extremely muddy and slippery dirt road. Realizing that he stood as their only obstacle to freedom, Vladimir understood he had to act quickly and decisively to prevent them from getting away. Unfortunately for Vladimir, the criminals also realized the obstacle he presented and attacked! All knew this struggle was to the death. Vladimir must be killed to avoid having a witness to their escape. (They were, at the time, unaware that a team of special operatives was actually on their trail.)

Because the path was so slippery, the fight quickly ended up on the ground. During the melee, whenever a criminal would grab at Vladimir's uniform, he would simply yield that particular article of clothing to him. In a short time, Vladimir was fighting without either jacket or shirt. This strategy had the desired effect of preventing the thugs from holding. Vladimir was able to gain a clearly distinct advantage and outmaneuver his opponents.

Coupled with the clothing strategy was another technique Vladimir employed with great success. Because of his specialized training he was able to intercept the strikes both punches and kicks of one opponent and redirect these attacks into another opponent. As a result, the fugitives ended up hitting one another and, in essence, defeating themselves. Gaining the final advantage proved easy and Vladimir held the criminals until reinforcements arrived.

In the lesson that followed, Vladimir demonstrated and meticulously explained The System's essence of combat (in general) and ground fighting in particular.

Unlike most traditional teachers and styles, Vladimir and The System concentrate on exploring and understanding the strategy of combat over the techniques of combat. That is, they are not concerned with a fixed response to a set of predetermined situations. As Vladimir explains, in combat, fear makes you perform actions contrary to what the situation may call for.

For example, you may be used to holding a knife in only the reverse grip (blade down), he explains. During an encounter with the enemy you find yourself holding the knife with blade up. If you train in fixed response or are faced with a scenario not covered in your training then fear may cause you to attempt to reverse the grip, rather than simply delivering a straight thrust as the situation calls for.

In groundfighting as in other facets of combat, it is important to understand fear and deal with it accordingly. If you relax, you lessen the tension, which is usually the physical manifestation of fear. Once the tension/fear is reduced, you will be able to prepare a suitable counterattack.

A specific situation in groundfighting or grappling may involve a person or persons trying to apply painful twisting actions to your limbs or joints. Although your natural reaction is to tense up to resist the pain, this response will actually intensify the harm. If, on the other hand, you allow yourself to view the total situation rather than concentrating only on the area afflicted with pain, you will easily reduce the pain focus. This allows two things to happen:

"You will reduce further injury by discontinuing your (natural) tendency to tense up; and
"You will free up your mind and give yourself the opportunity to respond to the situation in a creative manner.
Coupled with this natural response in combat comes a deeper understanding of the strategy of combat. Of particular benefit is knowledge regarding the movement of the opponent in response to manipulation of specific target areas of the body to obtain the upper hand. (Or, at the very least, position your opponent to obtain the upper hand through a series of intermediary steps.)


The Strategy:
Utilize rotational force to deflect a blow or kick. Understand that striking the back of the knee joint will cause it to bend, thereby collapsing the body.
The Application:
You are lying on the ground. You open your body up, creating a target which your opponent attempts to kick or stomp. As your opponent attempts the stomp, contact his leg with your knee and either kick or hook/deflect his foot.


The Strategy:
Redirection of force. Range of motion of joints. Utilizing lever action (rather than simply muscular strength) to apply pressure to the joint.
The Application:
You are on the ground. Attacker throws a kick from the side to your head. Contact his leg with your forearm. Raise your elbow and lead his leg over your head toward your other arm. (Redirection of force).
Use your right arm to push his foot up while hands are pushing down on the knee. (Lever action/range of motion of joints.) Follow up with an ankle lock. (Lever action/range of motion of joints.)
In both instances the defender did not attempt to use strength alone to defeat the opponent. Given the disadvantage of being on the ground, strength actually has little importance in the execution of the techniques.
In both instances the defender did not attempt to use strength alone to defeat the opponent. Given the disadvantage of being on the ground, strength actually has little importance in the execution of the techniques.
To understand how this principle works defensively, consider the following: You are on the ground. Your opponent is kicking or striking at you. Your natural tendency is to roll up in an effort to protect yourself. While a natural reaction, your rolling up has three disadvantages:

It restricts your movement;
It restricts your vision, especially if you cover your head or face;
It causes you to tense up, thereby assisting in your own injury. (Remember our previous discussion on relaxation?)
By restricting your movement, you are restricting your own ability to counterattack either through a direct application of force (striking or kicking) or through strategy. Although it is not always necessary to see an opponent to successfully strike him (you can strike and hit a target with your head turned) it is a distinct advantage to observe his action and movement. Determining angle of attack along with other pertinent intelligence all aid in success in combat.

To successfully exploit covering-up as an offensive strategy, it is imperative you first train to overcome your real natural tendency to cover as a means of self-protection. Offensive strategy exploits your opponent's perception that you must be covered to be protected. (After all, that is what his instinct and training dictates!) Covering is simply a ruse on your part. By presenting an exposed (or what it perceived as exposed) or open target you are actually controlling him by drawing your opponent into a trap and gaining the advantage by knowing exactly where your opponent will strike.

As soon as he sees an opening, your attacker automatically considers it a weakness in your defense, a break in your armor, so to speak. By the time your opponent realizes his mistake, this Russian military will have already claimed another victim in the groundfighting war.

The logic of the movement is impressive and the technique taught by Vladimir is effective. Even though he doesn't claim to emphasize groundfighting, and his instruction of relax and open-up still echo of tai chi, it's all part of the strategy and the deadly efficiency of The System.

* * * * *

Another Column read this one from Russian:

On the day of the storming, official sources claimed that fifty terrorists had been killed. A few days later the figure suddenly dropped to forty-one. What happened to the other nine? Were some of them, perhaps, hostages mistakenly regarded as hostage-takers and treated accordingly? Originally, official sources said that two of the terrorists were captured alive (and members of a television crew claim to have witnessed someone being taken into custody by authorities shortly after the building was stormed). Now the authorities say that all the terrorists were shot. Since the bodies of the terrorists have been secretly disposed of, we may never know how many there were, or in what manner they died. The various discrepancies in official accounts cannot be satisfactorily investigated or resolved. Oddly, and a bit suspiciously, not a single terrorist was left alive for intelligence purposes.

This sort of confusion on the part of the Putin administration has been typical. Throughout the crisis and its aftermath, official information policy has ranged from conspiratorial reticence to clumsy obfuscation to outright lying. Vladimir Vasiliev, the deputy minister of internal affairs, declared in the first hours after the storming that sixty-seven hostages had been killed during the assault on the theater— and that not a single one of them had been a casualty of the "special means" used to neutralize the people inside the building. Only days later, indeed, were the authorities even willing to concede that the "special means" used had been gas, and it was only four days after the special forces raid that the minister of health finally explained that the gas was "based" on fentanyl. Despite the admission that a volatile and potentially lethal gas had been dispersed throughout the theater building, other officials persisted for days in blaming the casualties among the hostages on their poor state of health after their fifty-eight hours in captivity rather than on the gas itself. (Among the motives for this campaign of disinformation, aside from the fear of the negative effects on public opinion, was nervousness about the international implications of using gas, which is regulated by the Chemical Weapons Convention.[1] )

But look at this one:

The A–Teams

They train blindfolded, eat rats for breakfast, and assassinate all the bad guys. They’re special forces, the world’s elite commando units. But which one is the toughest?

Maxim, March 2001

by Shane Mooney

They’re the cream of the world’s military crop: The Army’s Special Forces, the Navy’s SEALs, Britain’s SAS, Russia’s SPETSNAZ, Israel’s Sayeret Matkal, and France’s GIGN. Every member of these elite units can live off bugs for a week in subzero climates, dismantle a bomb blindfolded, do a HALO jump into a hurricane, and kill normal humans with a single blow to the fibula. They help win wars, destroy terrorists, and rescue furry kittens from trees (or so we’re told). They can attack and secure an area the size of France in the blink of an eye (as opposed to actually overthrowing France in the blink of an eye, which anyone can do).

But which of these commando groups is the toughest? Maxim interviewed current and former special–forces members and scores of military experts to pierce the wall of secrecy surrounding these uncompromising combat units. We uncovered their amazing histories and achievements, their freaky training regimens, their freakier weapons. So judge for yourself which group has the biggest cojones. But do us a favor: Keep your opinions to yourself. These guys know where we live.


Green Berets may laugh when you mention Rambo, but Stallone’s superhuman psycho wasn’t so far–fetched.

In 1952, anticipating an inevitable confrontation with the Red Army, Fort Bragg created the first Psychological Warfare/ Special Forces center in North Carolina. America’s most intense—and least compromising—commandos have been kicking ass around the globe ever since.

Selection and Training
Only army specialists with a sergeant’s rank or higher and airborne certification need apply for the Q–Course at Fort Bragg. The Assessment & Selection Phase lasts three miserable weeks. A typical daily itinerary: marching a minimum of 17 miles, tackling a 1.5–mile–long obstacle course that emphasizes vertical obstructions, and drifting with full gear in a pool for hours on end. At the end of the program, recruits must complete the dreaded Star—a 11.2–mile nighttime land navigation course through murderous terrain. An assessment board then decides who continues.

Phase Two is where recruits are separated into specialist courses, which vary in length. Weapons specialists, for example, train for 24 weeks. By the end of the course, they know how to make a rocket launcher with (believe it or not) just two pieces of wood and a battery. One of the instructors’ favorite exercises is the Pile Test, in which five weapons are completely disassembled and thrown randomly into a heap. The trainee must put all the weapons back in working order within 30 minutes. And yes, neatness counts.

By Phase Three surviving recruits combine their individual skills with all the other recruits in what’s called the Robin Sage exercise. Detachments of these soldiers parachute at night into North Carolina’s Uwharrie National Forest in a mythical scenario complete with a specific objective—and hostile natives. Those who are successful are at last qualified to wear the famed green beret (a once contraband item formally endorsed by President Kennedy in 1961).

Unit Highlights
During the Gulf War, even before the air raids began, Special Forces carried out deep reconnaissance and surveillance, prisoner snatches, combat search and rescue, target designation, general intelligence–gathering missions, and raids. They were able to get through occupied Kuwait all the way to Baghdad, tracking down SCUDs.

Personal Combat Story
“I was on commission in Sierra Leone working with the government when, after one particularly wearying battle with the rebels, a general evacuation was called.

“When we arrived at the designated Medevac site, we found 90 frightened, healthy rebels who wanted to defect back to our side waiting in our chopper. However, the thing could only haul 60 personnel—we were extremely low on fuel and night was falling. It was critical that we be wheels–up within a minute, but our excess ‘baggage’ wouldn’t un–ass the chopper. It was a tense situation. Most of these guys were heavily armed. The one nearest me laughed when I asked some of them to get off the aircraft. So he seemed the natural choice to grab by the shirt and toss out the door. He landed flat on his face. He staggered to his feet, and spitting blood, drew down on me with his rifle. I leaped out and booted him in the chest before he could shoot, but then found myself encircled by 30 of his buddies—all pissed off.

“Their commander stepped forward and said he was going to execute me. Wouldn’t have been the first time I’d been threatened like that, but I could hear all their weapons being turned off ‘safe.’ Thinking quickly, I told them that if we hurried I could get the first load out and come right back for them. He agreed. Moments later we bugged out…and never returned.”—Lieutenant. A.G. Hawke, 35, 10–year Special Forces veteran


Don’t talk to them about James Bond: 007 is Mr. Bean compared to these real–life combat machines.

The SAS is the archetype for most of the world’s special forces. The unit is the brainchild of Lieutenant David Stirling, who in 1940 imagined a regiment of highly trained operatives for stealth attacks against enemy Axis powers. But when he tried to get his written plan seen at the Middle East Command Headquarters, he was refused entry. Undeterred, Stirling slipped over the barbed–wire perimeter fence, evaded the sentries, and barged into the office of Major General Neil Ritchie, the chief of staff. Stirling was given carte blanche.

Selection and Training
A Brit can sign up for SAS training once he’s done his 36 months of military duty. For the first month, days start at 4 a.m. and go until at least 10:30 p.m., and all the time in between is spent marching through the Brecon Beacon mountains in Wales as recruits learn to navigate in the dark or during rain, using hand–drawn maps. Then things start to get serious as the weight carried and distance marched is steadily increased until it culminates in the Endurance March, a 37–mile trek to the highest points in the Beacons (nearly 3,000 feet) while carrying at least 55 pounds of backpack along with a rifle. New recruits and even one certified SAS man have died during this phase. But as one officer noted, “Death is nature’s way of saying you have just failed SAS selection.”

Those who manage to survive spend the next 14 weeks learning how to handle just about every weapon known to man, in case they need to kill an enemy with his own gun. Silent tracking, silent killing, sniping, explosives, and field medicine are just some of the skills taught during these three months.

During Combat and Survival Training, the recruit must live off rats, hedgehogs, or whatever else can be trapped in the jungle, all the while avoiding capture by vicious “enemy” troops. Even if he does survive the week uncaptured, he must then surrender to an Interrogation Center, where he’ll spend most of his time shackled and hooded, listening to the sound of beatings and vomiting of nearby prisoners, knowing he’s next.

Those who keep their wits about them continue on to the four weeks of extreme parachute training before officially becoming members of the SAS. The unit spurns special uniforms in favor of traveling incognito. The only distinguishing features are the beige berets and Winged Dagger badges that are seldom seen outside the Regiment’s barracks.

Unit Highlights
In April 1980, Iranian terrorists opposing Khomeini’s rule seized the Iranian embassy in London and took 26 hostages. Almost immediately, the SAS had a life–size replica of the embassy built for training. When given the green light after eleven weeks of negotiations failed, 24 black–clad troopers armed with Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns burst through the windows, skylights, even the walls. They shot and killed five of the terrorists and captured a sixth. No hostages were killed during the 46–minute operation.

Personal Combat Story
“For my first tour, in the early 1990s, we were carrying out surveillance of PIRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army) strongholds in Northern Ireland.

“After a few days, my partner Paul decided to show me where the local pub of one of the PIRA commanders was. As we turned into the area near Falls Road, a sight greeted me that sent a shiver down my spine. Fifty meters ahead was an illegal VCP (vehicle control point) guarded by three armed, masked men. It was too late to back up. I drove toward the VCP as slowly as I could without looking suspicious.

“Paul whispered to stay calm and remember my training. I had practiced for this situation dozens of times, but now it was for real. I was halted by one of the masked gunmen and told to wind down the window. He asked who I was. I smiled and then, with a maneuver I’d practiced a hundred times, drew my pistol and fired two shots into his body. Paul jumped out of the car and fired at the other two terrorists. A second later I was doing the same thing. After about 10 seconds, we jumped back in the car, did a quick hand–brake turn, and were on our way out of there. We later found out that we’d killed all three of the gunmen.”—Andy Wirral*, 35, seven–year SAS veteran


In 1974, the U.S.S.R. formed its own elite unit. They quickly became brutally efficient.

Some like to equate Russia’s SPETSNAZ (SPETSialnoye NAZranie, “troops of special purpose”) with the Green Berets or Britain’s SAS, but anyone even remotely familiar with their Cold War recruitment and training tactics knows that there is no way such intensity would be allowed in the West. In 1974, Yuri Andropov established the stealth military group SPETSNAZ Group Alpha to act independently of the Red Army and to carry out any mission—legal or not.

Selection and Training
During the Cold War, Soviets didn’t fill out forms asking to join the SPETSNAZ. SPETSNAZ chose them. Men from all walks of life were observed and handpicked for the arduous, long–term service by military superiors.

To this day most of the recruits training for the secretive unit don’t even realize they are prospective SPETSNAZ members until many months, even years, into the process. Notes former SPETSNAZ Vladimir Vasiliev, “Even when you are chosen for this training, no one tells you that it is something special until you get up to a certain level…but no matter how high up you get, you never get the whole story.”

Of all the world’s special forces, the SPETSNAZ is perhaps unparalleled in the time it devotes to mental training to toughen and magnify all the senses. Soldiers are blindfolded for hours until they are able to understand the exercises and principles the instructor is teaching without the benefit of sight, or thrown into pitch–black rooms for hours.

The physical training borders on cruel and unusual punishment. “We’d be forced to go through unbearable pain during some of these exercises,” says Vasiliev. “The trainers would bend your arm back until you started screaming. Then, as if this wasn’t enough, somebody would get a knife and start poking you with it. You were then given the choice of two extremes—having your arm broken or being cut with a knife.”

All SPETSNAZ soldiers learn Systema, a Russian martial art many experts consider the best technique for knife defense or fighting multiple opponents—essentially the most complete way to maim and kill. And thanks to inmates of the gulags, the soldiers have an endless supply of opponents to kick, beat, and abuse in the hand–to–hand phase of training.

Unit Highlights
In 1985, terrorists stormed the Soviet embassy in Beirut and abducted several Russian officials, demanding that the Soviet ally Syria stop its efforts to drive Palestinians supporting Arafat out of Lebanon.

Then Soviet president Gorbachev was quickly able to get Syria to stop its operation, but the kidnappers were slow in releasing the hostages. The SPETSNAZ quickly went into action, rushing to Beirut and giving the extremists 48 hours to free their people. When the terrorists let the deadline pass, the SPETSNAZ actually kidnapped four of the kidnappers and sent one of their decapitated heads in a bag to the terrorist chief, promising further unrestrained action.

The captives were quickly freed.

Personal Combat Story
“In the mid–’80s, a dangerous prisoner in the medical unit of a large city prison seized a female doctor, held a knife to her throat, and began dragging her toward the first set of exit doors. The internal alarm was activated, and an emergency call went out to my SPETSNAZ unit. While the murderer made his way through the corridors with his hostage, the unit arrived and one of our men replaced the prison guard on the other side of the exit doors. The criminal yelled to have the doors opened, saying he was prepared to slit the doctor’s throat.

“Our guy was done up to look old, with scruffy hair and thick glasses. He started to whine and complain that it was his first day on the job and he didn’t know what to do. Fumbling though his pockets, he took out a gun, held it by two shaking fingers from an outstretched arm, and offered it to the prisoner. Then, in the blink of an eye, the sniffling guard flipped the gun into his hand and blew the guy’s head off.” —Vladimir Vasiliev, 35, a 10–year SPETSNAZ veteran.


Battle–tough and ultrasecretive, this commando team is known simply as “the Unit.”

While the Israeli army has numerous special forces, it’s the combat–tested Sayeret Matkal that’s entrusted with the most important, highly classified, and difficult missions. The unit was formed in 1957 by an officer named Avraham Arnan. Since then its operatives have led almost every notable counterterrorist and hostage–rescue mission conducted on behalf of the Jewish State. Current Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak is one of Sayeret’s more prominent alums.

Selection and Training
The Sayeret Matkal remains one of the most secretive of the world’s special forces; precious little is known of its training techniques. Once a person joins, he starts a regimen known as Maslul. The first four months of training are dedicated to basics at the T’zanhanim (Paratroopers) infantry brigade, with a special emphasis on physical fitness.

But the real fun starts at the IDF Counter Terror Warfare School, where the recruits undergo a five–week Takeover Units Course—learning how to storm airplanes, wear disguises, rescue hostages, and work such modern–day booby traps as exploding cell phones. Next, the recruits start LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) training, learning navigation skills. Once that’s completed, they’re finally given the prized commando insignia, but there’s a catch: Due to their secretive nature, they’re not allowed to wear it.

Unit Highlights
On June 27, 1976, PLO terrorists and the German Baader–Mein group hijacked Air France Flight 139 at Athens International Airport shortly after takeoff. They demanded the release of 53 fellow terrorists. The plane landed at Entebbe airport in Uganda, then ruled by tyrant Idi Amin, who secretly supported the terrorists. The hostages were corralled into a dilapidated terminal. As days went by most of the 246 passengers were released, except for 104 with Israeli passports or Jewish names.

Sayeret went into action. The plan: fly 2,620 miles to the airport under the guise of being President Amin’s entourage and raid the terminal. Four C–130 Hercules transports took off toward Uganda, flying beneath radar. Above them flew a Boeing 707 communications command post, and above that flew several F–4 Phantom jet fighters to intercede in the event a hostile country tried to stop the operation.

Before arriving the 707 radioed ahead saying that Amin was on–board and requested the runway lights be turned on. One of the C–130s carried an exact copy of Amin’s black Mercedes, loaded with Sayeret commandos.

As the Mercedes drove toward the terminal, another of the C–130s dropped explosives at the end of the runway to cause chaos and panic. The terrorists opened fire on the speeding car; the Sayeret returned fire and dropped their targets. The unit then stormed the terminal, killed the other terrorists, and hurried the hostages onto the revving C–130. By the time the plane was airborne, a mere 15 minutes had passed. Eight terrorists had been killed, and just three hostages.

Personal Combat Story
“In April 1984, we got word of four terrorists who’d hijacked an Israeli bus with several dozen passengers on–board. They demanded safe passage to Egypt and the release of hundreds of PLO prisoners. Almost immediately, we went into action, practicing various tactics on a similar bus. “Our first course of action was to try to resolve the situation peacefully. Under the command of Major General Yitzhak Mordechai, the security authorities spent 10 hours trying to negotiate, but to no avail.

“Shortly before dawn, five of us stormed the bus. I was the second one on. I immediately spotted the terrorists and shot and killed the one closest to me who was reaching for his gun. A second terrorist was taken out by one of my comrades after a brief exchange of fire, and the third and fourth terrorists surrendered. Aside from the terrorists, we had only one casualty and seven seriously wounded, including a fellow unit commando.”—Daniel Strauss*, status classified

Editor’s Note: This incident ultimately ended in scandal, as the two terrorists who surrendered were summarily executed by their Israeli captors, who then tried to cover it up.


Although France fought like a girl during World Wars Une and Deux, it has since redeemed itself.

The greatest impetus in forming one of the world’s premier counterterrorist units, GIGN (Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale—National Gendarmes Intervention Group), was the 1973 Palestinian storming of the Saudi Arabian embassy in Paris. Since then the GIGN has been involved in some 650 incidents involving guerrillas, terrorists, and all–around bad guys in its 26–year existence. In that time they’ve freed well over 500 hostages and made twice as many arrests.

Selection and Training
Before a frog can join the ranks of the GIGN, he has to have a minimum of five years’ experience in the Gendarmerie (a division of the police force). Those who volunteer go through a basic qualification course, during which candidates must prove a resistance to tear gases and the ability to beat the crap out of wild attack dogs and their fellow cheese eaters alike. But the most important qualification is being able to shoot to neutralize, not to kill. Only 10 percent of applicants pass this initial qualification phase.

The GIGN spends the next 10 months learning parachuting, high–speed driving, hand–to–hand combat, and rappelling. But the training always comes back to shooting. In one of the more unique elements of training, each new member is shot with a .357 Magnum while wearing body armor so he’ll get used to the shock of being shot in the field. A soldier spends a minimum of two hours a day in firearms training, a routine that continues long after he’s earned the right to call himself GIGN. Predictably, GIGN operatives are considered the best in the world when it comes to weapons.

Unit Highlights
On December 26, 1994, the third day into a hijacking that had already seen three of the 177 hostages murdered, the commandeered Air France Airbus A300 landed in Marseilles to refuel. Moments before, an identical plane carrying 40 GIGN operatives had landed at an adjacent airstrip. The Algerian gunmen demanded 27 tons of fuel, instead of the usual 10 required to fly to Paris, leading many to believe they planned to blow up the plane over the city.

At 5:17 p.m., the commandos stormed the plane and walked into a “wall of gunfire” that took out the first four GIGN. Two GIGN units entered the back of the airbus and hurried the hostages out while the terrorists were pinned in the cockpit. After using .357 Magnums, MP5s, and concussion grenades, the GIGN heard someone scream, “Stop shooting! They’re all dead in here.” The navigator and pilot had used the terrorists’ bodies to shield themselves during the gun battle. Eighteen minutes after the raid began, unit commander Major Denis Favier radioed the tower, “The operation is terminated.”

Personal Combat Story
“When some think of counterterrorist units, they usually think of commandos storming a plane and having a shootout, but we are taught the principle of a single–aimed shot; that is, taking out the enemy with one accurate round. In fact, if there are a lot of hostages, we prefer to eliminate as many adversaries as possible in a simultaneous sniper volley. That’s exactly what happened in 1976 when Somali terrorists held 30 French schoolchildren hostage on a school bus in February.

“During that incident, I was one of 10 snipers deployed to the scene. We took our positions and proceeded to wait for hours until just the right moment. My commander had mild sleep–inducing agents mixed in with the food brought for the children. We hoped it would cause them to sleep, thus getting them out of harm’s way. It worked, but still it wasn’t until after eight hours of sitting perfectly still in our sniper position that we were able to take out the first four terrorists outright. Almost immediately, the fifth and sixth terrorists exposed themselves, and I was able to drop one of them with a single shot. Another one tried to flee through the back of the bus but was killed by local forces in a heavy firefight.

“Had we not been trained to be patient and wait for just the right moment, I know the casualties would have been tremendous.”—Antoine Delmas*, status classified


They made their reputation in Nam. Now they’re even more hellbent on getting the job done.

You may think that if Survivor’s Rudy Boesch could hack it, it can’t be a big deal. But you’d be wrong. The first Sea–Air–Land (SEAL) teams date back to 1943, when they were known as Naval Construction Battalions; the unit was officially created 19 years later by President Kennedy to conduct Naval Special Warfare in Vietnam.

Selection and Training
Any Navy grunt who manages to pass the intense physical can attempt to be a Navy SEAL. However, the Navy weeds out the weak the only way it knows how: by putting recruits through hell. In fact, there was one class without a single graduate. Injuries are expected, and there have been a few deaths since BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) started.

The program lasts 26 weeks and the first segment takes up nine grueling weeks of it, during which more than half of all recruits drop out. Days are spent running, swimming, and tackling an obstacle course that is generally considered by the entire U.S. armed forces to be the toughest anywhere. During this first phase, recruits have their hands tied behind their backs and their ankles bound together, then are dropped in a pool and made to avoid drowning for 30 minutes.

In the sixth week, Hell Week starts just before midnight on Saturday, when troops are awakened by M60 machine–gun fire in their bunkers. For the next five and a half days, they’ll get about 20 minutes of sleep per day and the time not spent running will be spent in the water. There’s so much water time that troops are checked every 12 hours for hypothermia. During Hell Week recruits get a fourth meal, but since they’re burning up to 15,000 calories daily, they still lose weight.

Next up is Demolitions/Recon/Land Warfare training. But even recruits who successfully learn all the specialty training don’t become official SEALs until they pass the Basic Airborne Course and serve a six–month probationary term with an assigned team. Once that’s accomplished, they’ll receive the gold symbol of the Naval Special Warfare: the Trident pin—or the Budweiser, as it’s affectionately called.

Unit Highlights
During Operation Desert Storm, a 16–man SEAL team led a decoy mission on the beach just north of a point called Mina Sa’Ud to aid in the success of the allies’ western ground attack. The night before the ground war was to begin, three pairs of SEALs planted charges near the shore.

At the designated time, two HSBs (High Speed Boats) raced to within about 500 meters and unloaded every weapon they had onto the beach in a mock amphibious assault. Moments later all the preplanted explosives detonated, making a huge boom that could be heard miles away.

Later it was learned that elements of two Iraqi divisions (about 20,000 enemy soldiers) had remained on the coastline, even after the ground attack had kicked off, to defend against the beach assault that never came.

Personal Combat Story
“I was stationed in Colombia helping the government down there. We all knew that the FARC [guerrilla revolutionaries] were getting ready to attack our base; we just didn’t know when. So I was lying in bed at about three o’clock in the morning, when I hear boom! boom! The guerrillas were launching giant gas cylinders at us, some of them even filled with acid.

“I got up and threw on my clothes. My team was running by my room, and I was throwing them Galils [Israeli assault rifles]. Bullets were whizzing by my head and explosions were going off in the background when suddenly the phone rang. I pick it up, and it’s my wife: ‘Hi, how you doing?’ she asked.

“While ducking to avoid the ricocheting bullets, I replied as calmly as I could, ‘Oh, pretty good, pretty good.’

“‘So, what’d you do today?’

“Bombs are going off all around me, and I’m still trying to keep calm. ‘Oh, not much.’ Finally I was able to discreetly get off the phone, right before all hell broke loose.

“Colombia is a war zone, so the people there are always prepared for the worst. So while we were under attack, I needed to run to the base command, about 500 yards away. While talking to the colonel, I noticed that all his secretaries had Galils strapped to their backs while taking notes just like other secretaries. It’s at that point you realize you aren’t in Kansas anymore.”—Petty Officer First Class Tom Doland*, eight–year SEAL veteran


So why this being taught on the North is side of Chicago Illinois, in a building off of Sheridan Rd., and Broadway and why was the instructor here killed? Huh?

Another fact is that the police and or government official release pictures of two men in the beginning of the Judge Lefkow case look at there pictures:

In addition there was also a school located in Milwaukee Wisconsin,



Wesley Manko

4947 N. Wildwood Ave.

Milwaukee, WI

United States


[email protected]


What was said about the murder is Wheeling which was just one day before the alleged suicide of Bart Ross in his car in Wisconsin.

A telephone call, then two dead

By Stacy St. Clair and Avian Carrasquillo, Daily Herald Staff Writers

Daily Herald.com

Suburban ChicagoILUSA - As he rushed out of his Des Plaines home Sunday evening, it seems Arkadiy Stepankovskiy had no idea what was waiting for him. The martial arts instructor promised his wife he would be back in 30 minutes.

Less than hour later, he was dead.

Police say Stepankovskiy, 29, and 34-year-old Roman Drobetskiy of Wheeling were killed shortly before midnight Sunday. The two men were fatally shot in an alley behind a Hintz Road strip mall, authorities said.

A third person also was injured. Wheeling officers, however, would not release the person's name or the extent of the injuries.

No one has been charged with the shootings, though police say they have two men in custody.

Authorities declined to give a motive for the slayings or say why the men gathered behind the strip mall after most of its businesses had closed for the evening.

Ekaterina Stepankovskiy said her husband received a phone call from an acquaintance around 11:15 p.m. Sunday. The caller, a fellow Russian immigrant, said they needed to meet as soon as possible.

Arkadiy left immediately, promising to return in a half hour. At 8 a.m. the following morning, authorities came to the couple's Des Plaines home to tell Ekaterina Stepankovskiy her husband was dead.

Police offered no explanation for the slayings, she said. She says she has never heard of Drobetskiy and doesn't know his connection to Arkadiy.

"I want to know how my husband got caught up in this," she said. "He was a good man. He was a great, great father and a great, great husband."

Arkadiy and Ekaterina Stepankovskiy emigrated from Russia about 10 years ago, family members said. He earned a computer programming degree from DeVry University and taught self-defense classes throughout the area.

The couple also has a 5-year-old daughter, Ariel.

"He was a creative person and very generous," his wife said. "Many times he would forgive the class fees for children who didn't have the money."

Stepankovskiy ran the Systema Academy of Self Protection in Chicago. The school teaches Russian martial arts, a discipline that unlike its Asian counterparts has no preset moves and focuses on handling violent confrontations.

His academy biography says he had been studying karate and close-quarter combat for more than 16 years. Stepankovskiy also has seven years experience as a "head bouncer and security specialist," according to the bio.

He taught classes throughout Wisconsin and Illinois, including a knife-throwing seminar last year in Des Plaines. Photographs on the academy's Web site show Stepankovskiy in the woods, fending off attackers and hurling both large blades and ordinary kitchen knives.

"With his experience, I don't know how this could happen," his wife said.

Drobetskiy's family could not be reached for comment.

Police are still investigating what prompted the shooting behind the strip mall at the intersection of Hintz and Old Buffalo Grove roads. The alley backs up to the Mallard Lake apartment complex.

Mallard Lake resident Mary Hirsch jumped out of bed after she heard gunshots outside her apartment building. The first four came in rapid succession, she said.

"(They) came one right after the other, and the last one came about a minute later," she said. "I thought they were fireworks."

Authorities cordoned the parking lot outside Hirsch's apartment and kept many of the strip mall's shops closed Monday as they scoured the area for evidence.

Autopsies on both men are expected to be done today, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

Killings: Stores closed as police sought evidence

I located case information that indicated that the man Drobetskiy, was in a car accident but nothing else on him, and I wondered if his injury was such that caused him to get killed. I don’t think that Akardyi knew any other the men who were killed and wounded and I am alleging it was he who killed Drobetskiy, and wounded the second man, the third was taken by police and it was rumoured later released.


Here another article about the murder victim in Wheeling from 2003

Working "The System"
by Jennifer Alders

The Chicago Sports Review - November 2003

Breathing. It's what I have done all day, every day, for my entire life. It's a mindless, easy function, at least while I'm going about my daily routine. But after been thrust into a Russian Martial Arts Self-Defense Seminar, I discovered breathing -- rather, remembering to breath -- could be really hard. Upon entering a room comprised entirely of men, a site that could make any woman forget to breathe, I was instructed to accompany the other members of my class in getting down on the floor and stretching. Now, it sounds easier than it is. Using the floor to stretch every muscle in your body is difficult, especially if you are aware of the fact that you are about to learn self-defense with 20 men. It makes you forget to breathe.

Breathe easier, though, may soon be possible, thanks to a new school in Chicago. Arkadiy Stepankovskiy, a refugee from Uzbekistan who moved to the United States almost a decade ago, started The Chicago System School in late June (http://www.system-chicago.com). Rather than teach new movements, "The System" allows the students to take advantage of their natural reflexes. When you hear the word 'Russia' a few images must come to mind -- snow, Anastasia, the Cold War -- but certainly not martial arts. But "The System", started by Mikhail Ryabko and Vladimir Vasiliev, is a Russian martial art, one that only introduced to the public after the fall of the Soviet regime. Before that it was used exclusively by members of the Soviet Special forces (SPETSNAZ, GRU, and the KGB). Ryabko, who now is the Colonel of the Special Operations Unit with the Russian Military, was trained from a young age by one of Stalin's bodyguards. Vasiliev, now the Director of the Toronto School of Russian Martial Arts, was a former student of Ryabko and worked for more than a decade on SPETSNAZ.

"The old Russian warriors that studied this had to learn how to heal themselves after they had been injured in battle," comments Emmanuel Manolakakis, an instructor and former student of Vasiliev. After reading an article about defense against multiple attackers, Manolakakis was skeptical. "I never thought someone could fight five guys with a smile on his face," Manolakakis said, "He did it so pleasantly. His students were happy and laughing. They were serious but they enjoyed what they did; I never thought you could have that balance."

Manolakakis led a seminar on Oct. 3 and 4 at The Chicago System School while visiting from Toronto. Ground protection and defense against multiple attackers were the focuses of each class. "The seminar showed us that we are going in the right direction:' Stepankovskiy commented, "With Manolakakis, it got personal. He opened up and spent a lot of time with my students and they were very impressed." One student, Andrius Schmid commented on the seminar, "There are a certain number of principles that you see through out. Unlike karate, where you learn the most violent way to finish someone, [the System] is a lot more about controlling [your attacker] and the situation. I've had some situations where I've had to cool someone down and I've found this works."

And you never know who is a trained killer. The class consisted of men short and tall, large and small, handicapped and yet still fully able, old and young. It made me realize that the person I pick out on the street to be cautious about may not be my biggest threat. And you never know who could defend themselves the best. While an attacker may have chosen me because I am a woman, I know how to defend myself.

Manolakakis commented about the seminar, "The people were smiling, and when I see that while they're trying things in very unusual positions, that's great. You can study punches at home, but what you study here gets people comfortable and gets them out of their shell. A smile on their face and comments afterward usually tell me it's good."

Paul Czapinski, a student of Stepankovskiy has been coming to the school for about month. Previously boxing for three yeas Czapinski now drives three hours twice week for class at the school. "You base everything on instinct. It's not regimented to 'you must do this and that'. You never feel like you are wrong," said Czapinski, about the differences between boxing and The System "[Stepankovskiy] might tell you're not breathing, he might tell you you're being boring if you keep doing the same thing, but there no aggravation when your defenses go down -- and they will go down. It's hard to go of some of your old principles, but once you do, it's wide open. Some days it's just like dancing."

It's true that, while I was the least experienced in the class, I had an advantage over some of the other students in that I didn't have to unlearn previous maneuvers. The System is based purely on instinct, channeling your instincts to protect yourself. Throughout the coarse of the seminar, others were able to learn from me as well.

J.L. Blount has been going there a couple of weeks. "There is a good energy at this school and a camaraderie between the people", Blount said about the dedication of the students.

And after getting used to being the only woman in a class of men, the camaraderie and energy where both apparent to me. It being my first experience with a martial art, the other students were more than willing to provide me with advice and personal insights into which moves would work the best for me. It was as if I had 21 teachers and I was their student. But that is what it's like every week for all the students at the school. Constantly switching partners for exercises is stressed so you can all learn from each other.

"There are three women in my club," commented Manolakakis, "It's very serious for them, and that's what I enjoy about working with women as opposed to men. Men do it sometimes for ego. It's a totally different aspect [with women], and it's enjoyable to see how they apply it. Because I have seen women apply it in a way that I hadn't thought of before."

But it has not always been an exercise involving camaraderie and fun. Stepankovskiy studied something like The System called "Close Quarter Combat" in Uzbekistan, but he had never been taught the principles, only the technique. After a year, his teacher had been moved from Paratrooper work to the KGB. He and fellow students had to start doing karate in basements secretly because at that time, for political reasons, if you studied karate you could be sued and sent to jail. Once he moved here, Stepankovskiy started teaching self-defense and working as a private security guard. While attending a seminar for police officers about a year ago, Stepankovskiy showed a [Vasiliev's] saw moves on a tape and it reminded him of some of what he had been doing In Uzbekistan. Stepankovskiy

called Vasiliev, they started talking, and in May Stepankovskiy went to the seminar held in Toronto. "Vasiliev allowed me to go to the first day of the seminar for instructors," Stepankovskiy said, "And Vasiliev said to me, 'Don't forget, it's not what you do, it's how you do it.'" That seems to be the philosophy of those studying The System.

Stepankovskiy concluded, "I did it because I was trying to create something else for myself professionally, but then I realized that The System is not really martial arts; it's the system of your life. It's a small extent of your health system, which consists of four points -- strength of your body from the outside, cleansing of your body from the inside, breathing, and moving. It doesn't matter how you look on the outside, it matters how you are inside, because that's what you need to survive. You don't only need to survive an attack; you need to survive stress -- [whether it be] stress from a dispute with your neighbor or a coworker. You have to be a good person, and that's what The System is all about -- making you a good person. I'm smiling and that's what my life is. We want people to come out of this a better person, not an animal or sick killing machine, that's not the point. It's not a philosophy; it's life."

I realized after taking the seminar that, while I had learned useful self-defense maneuvers, the trip home from the school would be the best time to attack me. Once I got over the fact that I had just spent the last two hours rolling around on the floor with men, I felt the soreness in every muscle in my body. And I realized-I was forgetting to breathe.


The stories conflict and there are indeed many unanswered questions which is seems that the mainstream press is not investigating nor will or can share with the general public. And again this is outrageous because they salaries depend on our purchases of the news that they are offering up to us.


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