Tag Archives: Michael Ryabko

New to Systema? Read This..

15 Feb

The last couple of weeks some new people have been along to the regular classes at Systema Scheveningen, and I’ve had a good opportunity to watch the different emotions they experience: frustration trying to understand something, wonder when something works, physical pain which they are not used to and fun when they are in a flow state with another person.

All of these myriad of emotions combined with a huge amount of new sensory data, is a lot to take in on the first lesson. We’ve all been there.

When I train with Michael I still feel the same, as a beginner taking his first class again. I like to feel that, because it means I still have a lot to learn and with that challenge comes fun.

Advice to new Systema-ists – Breath, enjoy and smile!

How To Get Better at Systema By Training Smart

31 Jul

A common question about training in general is; should i train everyday?

The answer for most things and Systema is, yes. The more you train, the better you get – you should of course listen to your body, but as Systema practitioners we should know this.

10,000 hours – An interesting idea

Think about this if you train 2 times a week for 3 hours in total that’s 156 hours per year. You may, if you’re lucky become a “master” in 40/50 years. But if you train 1 hour per day, 365 hours per year you can cut it down to 10-20 years.

A strange thing also takes effect- in that the more you train, the better you train. For instance if you watch Michael do some breathing, one short cycle is enough to relax his body and psyche and he’s ready to work. You start to train smarter, become more aware and develop balance in daily life.

Intensive training – What makes a difference

There are a few exceptions to improving skill and the best way to improve your skill rapidly is to; Train with the Russian Instructors, especially Michael. They can see things you can’t and correct mistakes you don’t know about. They accelerate your training, through 1: giving you the correct feeling of good work and 2: changing your psyche, removing fear, so you become more calm and confident and learn to just do it.

Lesson from Daniel

If you ask Daniel how do i become good at Systema, he laughs and says “time”. He goes on to say many people want to get good and they come to training 1 or 2 times per month or leave and come back. Commitment. Continual daily action, as with learning other things, is the most important.

Something that Michael and the other russian instructors teach is, breath, relax and enjoy 🙂

Moscow HQ Seminar – Internal Work (April 2013) – Part 3

18 May

Part 3 – Letting the weapon pull you up from the floor

These exercises are an extension of the last two parts.
Hold a stick in your hand and then keeping your shoulder relaxed, raise your arm straight in the air, relax your whole body, raise the stick and let the weight of the stick carry you around. When you do this correctly it should feel like the weight pulls you forward and up lightly and with power.

Now you have a feeling of the weight and power of the stick or sword. Next comes a drill which i found extremely interesting:

Step 1- Lay down, completely relaxed,
Step 2- Hold the stick at your side, pointed up in the air, again relax your muscles and then slowly lean the weight forward and point the stick into the air, into a trajectory that feels like it is pulling you up.
if you do this correctly you will sit up and continue to a standing position.
Have a look at these videos, you can see when the muscles are heavily involved and when they are minimally involved, it can look effortless:

Now try the same from a cross legged sitting position, with the stick in both hands, sticking it through the air in a trajectory that pulls you up. Then try the stick on one side of you, held in one hand, flow the stick through the air, and again in a trajectory that feels as if it pulls you up – to a standing position.

After quite a bit of this work, Michael told something interesting; he said that in the old times, the knights and warriors would steer their horses using their sword by pointing it forward and turning it different directions,
the horse would feel the weight and would change direction, turn and move according to how the sword was held.

Exercise with Michael

7 Oct

I could only find a short clip of this:

Go to 12:20 , watch michael and try it.

Moscow HQ Seminar March 2012: M. Ryabko and Moscow Instructors – Sun

6 Oct

Sunday was also a very interesting day:


With a hammer

– Mikhail demonstrated on big Sergi with a rubber hammer, how to make the strike go in.

– I asked to try and had a go just with my fist and also with the hammer, but he was saying my strike was empty, he grabbed my hand and with ease, confidence and power lifted it up and dropped it onto big Sergi sending him to the floor. Without Michael holding my fist i could not produce the same result, they were just “normal” strikes. Very interesting to feel this..

– When you strike imagine you hit a nail in to the wall/floor

– You strike to the floor/wall/ceiling to go in and past/through the person.



– Intention to do something, know what you want to do with your partner.

– Relax everything and put all the power into the fist

– Tension in psyche stops the punch

– Punch him so his weight goes onto his heels then takes him to the floor.

– when punching, as you reach “him” inside squeeze fist a little bit

– Learn how to give tension and relaxation


Psychology, Breath and Balance:

–  Everything is psche, First calm your psche. If you can be sensitive and look inside yourself, find and know yourself then you can take the next step – sensitivity and perception

– Punch as if you had a stick/knife in hand, move elbow up and down and sideways to change direction of punch, straight elbow, elbow up or down.

– Rolling 1 inhale, 1 exhale in 1 roll (1 breath cycle), 1 roll – 2 breath cycles, 1 roll – 3 breath cycles etc up to 5 then back down.

– Inhaling for 1 roll exhale 1, inhale 2 exhale 2, adapting your breath up to 10/20 (getting faster when rolling), then back down.

– Hold stick in your hand, find natural position where you do not feel the weight of the stick, then using only your hand lean the stick one way and feel where the stick leads you, your body moves let the stick lead your movement, same with knife – let it lead and carry you

–  Michael showed an exercise that can only be seen, it was an exercise in sensitivity, feeling, tension and using body position and feeling, I’ll find the video and post it soon