Moscow 2014 – New School with Zaikovsky: Insights and Exercises

1 Jun

During my time in Russia last year, many things had changed and the “new school” was established. In general there were some different teaching methods than with the “old school”, and in my mind this was created to separate from the copy-cats and lower level teachings of Systema, made popular by a number of Russian/international trainers.

New School – A lesson in Internal work:

Whenever I train with Vladimir, I always come away with many new insights and this particular morning was no exception. He started off by saying that “internal work is a completely different way of working”

Exercise: You and a partner each grab each others hands, you can interlock fingers or just place palm against palm.

The basic idea is the partner applies pressure, you absorb his feeling, allow it to fill you up, then you give it back to him. Give him support, then take away the support, keep a relaxed body but a “full” hand.

Vladimir made a point of saying that you should make your hand alive, keep awareness and sensitivity there, it feels like a light tension or fullness just on the point of your hand.

Also, do not wait, always keep your body switched on or ready to work, or know how to switch your body on fast.

When you initially touch the persons palms, touch the whole person/connect with the whole person, their body.

This same drill can be done with a grab, someone applies a grab to you, you abosrb their tension, follow along it and then put this tension back into them, while keeping a straight body form. You have to flow or move inside the person.

This is very subtle work and if you do it correctly will require almost no force. This type of wok also opens up many new areas of sensitivity and awareness.

General advice:

Get the feeling and just do it. No hesitation, stay switched on, aware and in the moment. Conscious in the situation. Don’t react, move a little before. Pump body out a bit, get some form, relaxed but not floppy. Another way to describe this feeling, just before your muscles tense is the correct feeling, tensed is too much, just before. Not too little, not too much.

On working with a person: Treat the person as a person not just a body. Hit him, forget about you, its about him.

Advanced drill – for internal work:

This drill follows on from above, but requires more sensitivity as you have to feel and see the persons tension without direct contact. One person push’s a stick into you, you feel the direction and tension applied by him, and you redirect the tension into him or take his power away- so he feels he cannot push. If you get the hang of this, you can then try the same drill but now on the move and a little more dynamically.

On Taking Strikes: With this exercise as with others, there is an important piece of advice, “Dont be a victim, always be working”. Even when taking strikes, take them as if you would hit back afterwards.

Sparring Tips:

Be above the situation. Control the other person. If you are too much in the situation, you will be reacting to him rather than working ahead of him. Your mindset needs to be on another level.
Have a higher awareness than the situation.
Fast and soft movement, hit what is nearest to you, the arms etc
PUNCH for him, not just to punch. Punch him



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