Victor Kuznetsov

Vasilich (as Victor Kuznetsov is respectfully addressed by his students) was born in 1949. He set out on the path of martial arts mastery more than 40 years ago to become later on one of Russia’s most well known masters of Taijiquan. There are many Russian Taiji practitioners today but few of them know that Vasilich was the man who imported this art to Russia in the 1980s. He is a genuine master of Tui Shou and is one of the most remarkable Tui Shouist in the world.

Vasilich is a martial arts “prisoner” because all his life he regarded martial arts through the prism of the principles of “listening” and “gathering” and perceived real life as a war: destruction is everywhere and, in order to survive, one must get hold of  every chance and carefully calculate every step.

Most of his life he lived like someone in a forest where he could comprehend the true essence of things; where he could be honest to himself; and where he was alone with himself and with his skill. His self-exacting nature attracted many exceptional martial arts practitioners to communicate with him. His approach to learning Tui Shou was typically Russian: when meeting a martial arts master he tried to get him drunk and challenged him to a duel. He was never defeated because, if he felt that his opponent possesses good fighting habits, he would befriend him and start learning from him. If he did not succeed, he never met this master again. For him this was a principle: life is short and reaching a high level of mastery requires a lot of time. He realized that he could learn from his enemies and if any of them were stronger, he took it as a necessary condition for improving his own skills and methods.

Vasilich is a teacher who is always ready to experiment and learn something from his students if there is anything to learn from them. His training methods look harsh because he leaves the impression that with each movement he is confronting himself. Like all true masters, he has his own views on life. If we have to describe them in one phrase, this would be the “position of freedom,” similar to the one assumed by the “prisoner” who wants to escape from prison.

We could spend a lot of time talking about the philosophy and the ideas of Tui Shou and yet, we sometimes forget that the most essential principle in Tui Shou is to remain a student: i.e. to preserve one’s serious attitude to knowledge and not to waste one’s time. These are the qualities which help a student understand that he is bound at all times to be victorious, most of all over himself.

The people who have practiced with Victor Kuznetsov for several years or even for several decades claim that all his movements are not just Tui Shou techniques and not even a constant deepening of the comprehension of the very essence of martial arts techniques. They are a philosophy of life as Kuznetsov understands it. 

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