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Students and Professionals

I have always been drawn to martial arts and self defense and have tried several, each with their own merits, but what draws and connects me best to Kwan Lee’s Systema classes are how highly adaptable, relaxed and calm yet brutally effective they can be. Systema, to me, is strength from a new perspective. It is a martial art in which I can feel equal to and not at a disadvantage to the men in the room. We all do the same things, spar with each other and learn from each other.

Systema teaches street survival skills, recovery, preparation, and how not to panic but stay calm and focused in intense situations. The unique breath work and relaxation techniques it is based on have helped me in other areas of my life and my stress levels have dropped significantly.

The first time I watched a class and then took a class I wondered if I had lost my mind!!! But 2 years later I am more dedicated than ever in continuing on this Path and would highly recommend training with Kwan Lee and instructors Art Cuellar and Baron Quan at Balanced Path.

I have also taken the 30 minute Pathfinder Fitness classes and find it a perfect way to end the work day. An intense, challenging, fun workout that allows me to get it done and get on with the evening.

Kwan is one of the finest martial arts instructors in the world, bar none. Incredible skill, deep insight, ceaseless dedication to improvement (his own, and yours). Training with Kwan isn’t a workout – it’s an education.

Highly recommended.

Kwan Lee may be one of the most skilled currently active martial arts instructors in the world today. It’s rare to find someone with both his individual skill and a passion to impart his gifts to others. To meet them at a certain stage: that is serendipitous.

Kwan is committed to mentoring his assistant instructors. They therefore find themselves under a bright light– which makes them shine!

To put my perspective into context, I’m old enough to have seen Bruce Lee on tv during my childhood. Bruce was Kato in the Green Hornet’s brief run. By lucky chance, I caught one glimpse of him then went outside to play afterwards — in the dark amongst wind and trees, dazzled by human movement unlike any that I’d ever seen. That is my earliest memory of martial arts.

Now, I sometimes wonder about those who crossed Bruce Lee’s path. Especially here in Seattle, where his presence remains strong. Martial artists know & revere those who went the way with Li Jun Fan. But there were those who turned away– unable, for whatever reason, to partake. Because I train under Kwan Lee, I’m grateful to know that I’ll never look back at life with weary regret. There will always be reasons why you can’t “Catch a Fire”. But if you jump in — every dead-end reason (holding you back from who you are in this life) — will gladly glow like incense while rising up in smoke.

It’s time to partake! Consider this my recommendation to Join Balanced Path now 🙂

Kwan Lee is a great trainer and a fun person to be around. He makes the work of training very enjoyable. Martial Art SYSTEMA is unique and very effective!!! I would recommend SYSTEMA for everybody, no matter how old are you, in what shape – it works! In one lesson I understand how to effectively manage your body and avoid injury when falling, and much more!

If you’re looking for martial arts, fitness and/or self-defense training, look no further. Kwan Lee is the real deal. He’s a true master of Systema. You will be blown away by his skill and the quality of training you’ll receive.

Art and the other instructors Kwan has assembled at Balanced Path have all also achieved a high level of skill and knowledge that gets shared selflessly and effectively in every class.

I’ve searched dozens of schools looking for something like this and I can tell you that finding this level of commitment to and instruction of an art form is extremely rare. You owe it to yourself to come check out Balanced Path.

All my life I’ve been into sports, martial arts and fitness. I was always torn between the weight room (to increase my strength) and martial arts studio (to improve my technique). As I was getting busier with family and work, I realized that one of these two had to be given up due to the time constraints. However, every athlete will tell you that technique without body conditioning has very limited practical application. So my goal was to bind the two together in one place. Wishful thinking? Not anymore! Finally, after many years of search, we have this unique blend of your traditional strength training gym and functional self-defense school – Balanced Path. Balanced Path training allowed me to improve on all 4 fronts: (1) conditioning my body, (2) improving my technique, (3) understanding recovery and (4) perfecting my diet!

1. I tried out their 30 minute long High-intensity Interval Training (the “HIT”) programs – Pathfinder I and II for two weeks.  Results were astonishing! I finally was able to break my 200 lbs. goal. In 2 weeks I went down from 210 lbs. to 198 lbs.! I’ve been at it for over 2 years to no avail, while Balanced Path HIT training shredded those stubborn pounds in 2 weeks! Ta-ta!

2. I was taking HIT classes back to back right before the Systema martial arts training (self-defense module of Balanced Path). This has yielded very noticeable results as well. Often I compensate lack of technique with raw muscle power and then just push through the exercise with tension and strength.  In Systema however, we train to work with minimal tension to achieve maximum results.  After HIT classes, I was so exhausted that I simply had no choice but to work smart, not hard. The result – smoother, more relaxed work and deeper understanding of my own limitations.

3. What sets Balanced Path apart from every other gym is that there is wholesome approach to recovery before, during and after the exercise. This concept was introduced to HIT training by one of the top Systema instructors in the world – Kwan Lee and reinforced by HIT and Systema instructors Art and Baron. Once you get “gassed” and out of breath, all your muscles and all your tricks are useless – you simply can’t think, even less – move. What their Breathwerx class teaches you is how to prepare yourself for upcoming exertion, to maintain yourself during the exercise and to recover immediately after your work is done.

4. Finally, the forth cornerstone of Balanced Path is DIET! This is the most challenging aspect of training for me. I don’t have time to count my calories and cook well-balanced meals. So what do I do? I eat out and totally destroy my budget. Well, Balanced Path takes care of that as well. They will figure out an ultimate meal plan suited for your lifestyle and fitness goals (yes, yes of course it’s organic, non-GMO, minimally processed foods).  Moreover, Balanced Path proprietary phone app will evaluate your nutrient intake, will tell you where you may be deficient and how to remedy it. But why stop there? It will even generate a grocery shopping list tied to your detailed meal plan! Oh boy, where was it during my college years?!?!?

Indeed, Balanced Path is the first of its kind sustainable and intuitive fitness and self-defense studio in the Pacific Northwest. It stands strong on 4 whales of athletic greatness – (1) physical strength, (2) intuitive and rational technique, (3) sustainable and replenishing breath, and (4) well balanced, easy to follow diet.

I have been training martial arts back in China for 3 years, and I have never seen something like Systema. The expression of it is very fluid and subtle, meaning that every movement is covered within the sphere of breath but never out of that circle. This kind of balance and ‘flow’ is what every martial artist is looking for.

Kwan, our instructor, is just amazing. His demonstration with other instructors is always interesting to observe and very instructive. When watching they demonstrate, you can quickly tell that Kwan’s movements based on intuition- a second nature. His teaching style is one of a kind unique, the class is serious yet contains a bit sense of humor. After every class, we gather around and share our questions or comments on every motion that we have covered. Kwan always patiently explain how things work out and sometimes illustrate with beautiful analogies.
In both practice and tutoring, Kwan has reached a perfect balance. He is definitely one of the best instructors I have seen so far.

Truly, ‘Balanced Path’ is the right name for the studio. It leads you a path to where you become a more all-rounded martial artist or simply a better person. I think that martial arts ultimately should bring you a better self, and that is what ‘Balanced Path’ can give you.

About Amsterdam 2015:

On my way back from Amsterdam after attending the two day Systema Seminar instructed by Kwan Lee.  I decided to use the travel time to reflect on what I experienced.

It’s the first time I meet Kwan Lee and have the honor to train under him over the weekend. The seminar topic was “strength and flexibility and fighting against the wall.” However, and from my humble view point, the seminar was all about transcendence and raising above exertion. Kwan couple of times referred to as “to have agency over the situation.”

The seminar was physically intense. I did things I wouldn’t expect my body to be able to handle. Yet, the psychological intensity was even more challenging. Indeed, the exercises were psychologically challenging either by physical pain or by pain anticipation. And above all, we had to face those challenges with “agency” and raise above it through breathing.

It’s amazing to train with someone like Kwan where he explains his understanding of Systema as he took it from the masters. I felt that he took us through his learning experience and compressed it into two days to show us a certain path. As Kwan mentioned at the end of the seminar; “a lot of the work done in this seminar is homework for you.”

Thank you Kwan for your teachings and humble personality; a true master in the making.

Read her review of Amsterdam 2015: HERE

Having experience in Martial Arts and Martial Sports, I began to study Systema and have found it to be the most well rounded Martial Arts system I have ever seen. From breathing to relaxation to movement, training with weapons or empty handed, Systema allows you to move and train in a way that fits your body. It is a very individual art, not one that focuses on having everyone move in exactly the same way.

Training with Kwan has opened a new door in my life that allows me to appreciate what is possible in others and also let me realize that my body won�t respond exactly the same way as anyone else. We are all individuals and each of us has different responses to situations, so why try to train our bodies to move exactly like someone else? Systema allows each of us to be individuals and uses the basis of posture, movement, relaxation and breathing to properly integrate our bodies so that we can move in a natural way. Not having to learn techniques but allowing you to discover what is inside of you is truly a liberating experience.

As a military retiree as well as having many years of various martial art experiences, for me Systema is a scientifically developed Art that combines all human abilities, particularly physiological and psychological. What I most like about this Art is the fact that it strengthens the body and mind in an intelligent way, consequently allowing full power of your punches, kicks, and body control.

Seminar Hosts

Kwan is truly one of the old school senior instructors in Systema, his level of skill inspiring as is his humble nature. We really enjoyed Kwan’s method of teaching which was very understandable and down to earth.

Kwan is a very capable instructor in Systema and we are very proud to host him as he is a true ambassador of the art… His in-depth work and instruction on the breath coupled with his skills in freedom of movement are a model for us all to follow. I believe Kwan brings, transfers, and conveys, very closely, the essence of what Mikhail and Vladimir are attempting to teach us all in Systema.

Each day Kwan worked us through a progressive level of skill sets with a seamless flow of instruction, amazing demonstrations and a keen eye for detail.