Patterns, Forms and Kata – The Russian Perspective

8 Feb

When i walked into the sports hall last week, there was a guy there giving a tai-chi lesson. I watched them for a while, standing in lines and rows, waving their arms in flowery motions in the air.

I begin to ask myself a question I’d thought about a few times: Do they really think this will help them develop into fighters? disregarding the social element, if it’s just for health or fitness, they could save themselves some cash and just stay at home and do it…

This goes for all types of patterns or kata, any way people spins it, it is still punching, kicking and slapping the air. This has nothing to do with the reality of combat. The main reason is obviously because you do not physically touch another person.

My thought is; instead of spending 30-40% of your time (typical for most common martial arts) practising movements in the air, do it with a real person, that moves, reacts and gives you feedback. This itself on every level, is healthier and most importantly, keeps your mind based in reality.

On the other side of the coin is people who spar all the time, this is ok, but if you do this for a while, you’ll quickly realise you will get injured frequently. The other downside to sparring all the time is that, typically when people move fast and without thought,  they repeat exactly the same things every time and do not learn.

Systema offers a different option, a way that prepares the person physically and psychologically. With both fast and slow work, from every angle, position and dimension, punches, kicks, wrestling and most importantly of all – a lot of body contact.

This work combined with special exercises and softwork, which are designed to improve body control, sensitivity and relaxation, means that after a while you can train longer, harder and faster, without damaging each other and in a way that drastically increases your level of skill – extremely quickly.

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