Back in the Game: Foundation of Systema

26 Jun

I have a confession to make.. for a number of months I have not been training in a Systema group, and actually have only been training solo.

My job means I travel around the world to a different country every week, which can be challenging to start a regular training class and means I have to make do with when and how, I am able to train.

Honestly, I really need a trip to Moscow, to get me back in the Systema mode, get a massage, go for a banja, do some lessons with Michael, Alexander, Vladimir Zaikovsky and the team.


Until then, I have designed a training program to get me back in the game, to relax and strengthen my body and psyche.

The first question that came to my mind is – What is the core of Systema? What is the Foundation?

The answer came as quick as the question and in fact was always their – Breathing.

Breathing is the beginning and end of everything we do, it can relax us, make us more powerful, stronger, healthier and can almost always be called upon, as an unlimited resource.

Therefore, I decided to get back to the root of Systema using breath training.

Most importantly, it had to be simple, so my first week, morning routine looks like this:

1-Tension-Relaxation exercise (From Let Every Breath) (20 mins)

2-Walking, with arms raised and different variations (20 mins)

3-Rolling – forward and backward, slow and fast and different variations (20 mins)

Try this simple routine, it will make you feel energised, calm and powerful. Most importantly it will get you into the Systema “state” pretty quickly.

PS – I will start posting more often, as I have a lot of past seminars and conversations with the masters to write up. As well as a few upcoming training sessions.

Feel free to request a specific post or video, or if you have any questions at all.

Until next time, Train Hard.

8 Responses to “Back in the Game: Foundation of Systema”

  1. Richard June 28, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    Brilliant Tom! Well done.

    • thomas July 20, 2016 at 7:54 am #

      Thanks, Richard. Hope all is well buddy!

  2. lukaslukoblog June 29, 2016 at 9:36 am #

    Very nice to see that you are still in the game. My request is simple, please describe and write more about your seminar experiences with advanced instructors. Their tips and advices about training. Thank you.

    • thomas July 15, 2016 at 9:11 am #

      Hi Lukas, good to have you reading. Will do!

  3. optimusprimalmatt July 1, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    Happy to see you still posting! May I ask what arm positions you are using? I have been practicing with arms to the side and arms in front. It has helped me relax my shoulders quite a bit. If I am also building structure and strength is it worth practicing in different punching positions with the fists closed perhaps?

    • thomas July 20, 2016 at 7:45 am #

      Hi, Matt, thanks for the comment.
      Different arm positions will relax the shoulders in different ways.
      The most common on are; above the head, out in front, and to the side.
      For the first two I would recommend palms facing each other. However there are a ton of variations.
      For example Sasha showed me one last year, arms out to the side walking 2 steps breathing in, 2 steps breathing out, on the in breath you rotate your palms and arms, upwards. On the out breath you rotate them downwards.
      Of course you can do with closed fists, or holding a stick in your hands.

  4. Matthew July 17, 2016 at 1:39 am #

    Is it possible that you could post things that are less likely to see in the west. I live in the USA but I rarely see things like sword work and other things like the stick massage. I can see some of these things but since I am not fluent in russian I can’t understand the videos. If possible could you post things like the sword work. I know you travel to a lot of seminars so I am really interested to see a lot of things that are typically not seen much in the states.

    • thomas July 20, 2016 at 7:52 am #

      Hi, Matthew, thank you for comment.
      Sure, no problem. The training is Russia is really different to the US, and honestly if you can make it to Moscow, would highly recommend training with Michael.
      Will post on stick massage and sword work in the coming weeks.

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