Tag Archives: Breathing

How to Create a Systema Workout

27 Jul

People often ask; Can i train Systema alone? What exercises should i do? How many reps, etc

This post is an answer to that question.

The number one most important thing is breathing. Number two is focus.

Breathing should be consistent, ongoing, and shouldn’t stop unless you are consciously holding your breath.

Your focus can be internal (inside you) or external (outside you) you can change what or where you focus on, for example in a pushup, consciously focusing on relaxing your shoulders or in a difficult part of a pushup (plank) hold, you focus only on your breathing.

The number of reps is not important, sometimes you do more, sometimes you do less, just don’t feel sorry for yourself. Let your feeling and mental state determine how far you go, sometimes go over what you think you can do and add in variety if you feel yourself getting bored.

One exercise i recommend you add in to your training, is one which many people overlook and that is walking. Walking and breathing; beginning 1 step inhaling through your nose, 1 step exhaling through your mouth, then to 2 steps inhaling, 2 steps exhaling and so on. This is a fundamental exercises, and if you think about it, one of our most common activities in life is just that – walking.

Walking and breathing makes us aware of our tensions, psychological and physical. We need to constantly relax our body in this exercise. After 20-30 minutes of this, your psyche will be calm and your body whole and full of energy.

So try this; design your own workout, be creative, watch some Systema videos on youtube and try to do those exercises. Blend them together and make up your own. The goal is a calm psyche, a powerful, relaxed body, and a strong spirit.

An Alexander Exercise – Muscle Control Part 1- from Paris 2012 Seminar

6 Jan

Stand sideways to a wall , put your hand comfortably on the wall, relax arm and shoulder, now rotate your hand, keeping your hand full on the wall, keep turning until your hand tenses then wrist, then elbow, then shoulder, your arm then straightens and the tension goes from your shoulder to your upper spine, lower spine, hips, leg then foot kicks out and then you step, this will turn you so you face away from the wall.

There is a video clip of michael doing this, that i posted:


Alexander showed the above, after this we sped up and ran to the wall – doing this motion and then letting the tension turn us and running the other way.

Alexander Andrichenkov seminar Paris – Dec 2012

19 Dec

This seminar was awesome, as i got to work with Alexander quite a lot. From working with him, i felt and learnt a huge amount. Working with him as with any of the top masters brings confidence, correct feeling, intuition and wholeness.

Alexander’s power, humility and skill of teaching was always present at this seminar. There was so much information and many drills in this seminar, here are a few;

Walking 1-20 and back down,
Pushups, leg raises, squats – 10 or 20 times each one
Slow Pushup, squat and leg raise 10 and 20 counts
Pushup position hold
– Walking inhaling and tensing up arm from fingertips to shoulders, exhaling and relaxing shoulders to fingertips then reverse. – in this also inhaling into and out of the part
– Walking inhaling and tensing up from toes to upper legs, then exhaling and relaxing from upper legs to toes.
– Walking inhaling and twisting arms upwards to tension then relaxing downwards, keeping your arms shoulder level out to the sides at all times.
– Walking on heels of feet, the walking on toes,
– Group exercise: walking, jumping forward, backward, straight up, situps together, going up and down from the floor together, arms linked. All of this in a circle, co-ordinating everyone’s movement together.

Stick work

– Forget the stick, concentrate on the person

– Spin the person around your axis or around his axis (spine)
– Person lays down on floor, holds one end of stick, you hold the other end, now using stick you turn him, he must relax, but keep hold of the stick
– Standing up, one person holds stick, you hold the other end with two hands. Now move him around, rotate his arms and body, try to tense his body starting from the wrist, elbow
arm, shoulder and too his spine, then manoeuvre him to the floor, experiment with small and large circles of movement.

Second part to come..

Vladimir Vasiliev Seminar Part 2 with Valentin Vasiliev

30 May


One person lays down, other person kneels above. Begin to shake the person, seeing the deepness of their relaxation by how the wave goes up their body, if it is stuck or restricted. Then tap the person all over, fast at first, with hands, then slower and deeper according to their heart rate, as it slows down – slow down the tapping to relax them.

– Extremely slow walking and walking backwards.

– Tenseing the body, up down, different strength’s, join with breathing.

– If your relaxed, you don’t have to breath,

“Michael said he’s relaxed so he does’nt have to breath”


There was a small group of us, that had a conversation with Valentin during the break, he had a lot of interesting things to say:

– If you have a hurt throat/solar plexus/stomach. Breath in a ball of air through your mouth and swallow it, that will relax the muscles and remove blockages.

– If you have a blocked nose open your mouth and breath in the same time through your nose and mouth and out at the same time through both. This clears the airways. This is awesome.

– He emphasized if you have an injury, immediately start breathing through the injured part. It heals it much faster.

– He said also that just breathing through your body, and in and out through your organs is a very good health practice.


Overall an awesome seminar, with many interesting experiences, when Vladimir came round i got to work with him a little, and that for me, was the highlight.

Vladimir Vasiliev Seminar – Hamburg 19/20th May 2012

25 May

This was an extremely interesting seminar!  I saw many old friends and “seminar goers” and met many new people, the atmosphere was very enjoyable. I have not seen Vladimir since 2006 and that was in the UK. His way of moving has changed a lot from the outside. He is still amazingly fluid, soft, hits very hard and invisibly but is at the same time a remarkable, calm, funny man. Throughout the seminar he was constantly making jokes, relaxing us all with a smile, while bombarding us with a torrent of incredible, interesting and useful information.

Now for some specifics:

Pushups – Pushing the floor away from you rather than pushing yourself up from the floor, a minor difference but very hard to achieve. Vladimir says pushing the floor away from you is the proper way to do pushups for striking. You can start this exercise from the lowest position on the floor, then going up smoothly. Start at a position when the muscles have no grab – cannot work… so you have to consequently use your tendons and ligaments. Vladimir also mentioned keeping the whole fist flat on the floor, and feeling the floor fully underneath your fist for the whole movement.

Then Vladimir said he will teach us how to go down in the Pushup, this involves releasing/relaxing your elbow muscles fully, allowing your body to drop to the floor. This took some work and muscle control.

Squats: The same thought also was applied to squats, the idea of pushing the floor away from you, with your feet. while keeping your feet flat on the floor, weight evenly distributed; between both legs and from front to back of feet. Then going down was simply a matter of relaxing/releasing the knees, letting the body drop to the floor.

The kind of psyche control necessary for this work is interesting; releasing, relaxing and letting go is not always easy.

Leg Raises: Lifting the legs up with a minimum of tension, rasing the upper legs first then the lower legs, kind of like a smooth, relaxed, wave-motion. Then relaxing them in the same way dropping/relaxing the lower leg and upper leg simultaneously but allowing the natural movement of the knees to work, hinging the leg first so that the feet impact a quarter second before. Again this was a combination of muscle control, relaxing and just letting go.

Vladimir showed all of these exercises in a calm, effortless way. It was inspiring to watch.

Next post: other exercises shown at this seminar and some ideas from Valentin Vasiliev, who was also there.