Tag Archives: Philosophy

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.

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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!

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.

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 🙂

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.