Tag Archives: Sensitivity

How to Develop Systema-Style Softness

30 Dec

A common question people ask in Systema is; how do i become soft?

First it is good to understand, what is softness? At a basic level it is relaxation combined with sensitivity.

How do we develop this?

The answer again is time. Although i’ve found that daily practice of the following Systema exercises speeds up the process:

Walking: Systema-style, so with breathing patterns and full body relaxation, for a full  and in depth description see: Let Every Breath… Secrets of the Russian Breath Masters

Rolling: With breathing, relaxes your body and psyche. Most importantly rolling is extremely good for relaxing the spine, which determines how you will move.

Pushups, Leg Raises, Squats – These exercises work on the main core muscle groups, and with repeated practice you learn to relax the unnecessary muscles and use only the needed. This strengthen’s the right groups of muscles in a balanced and even way. With breathing you also learn how to move without tension, in the main planes of movement.

Getting this feeling of relaxation and softness is key and maintaining it is also important!

Let me know in the comments how you keep yourself relaxed and soft.

Happy New Year to you all!

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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.

Moscow HQ Seminar – Internal Work (April 2013) – Part 2

11 May

Part 2 – Letting the hand, blade or stick lead the movement

The general principle in these drills is to let the weight of the stick lead the movement, and to let the stick pull you in different ways, so you don’t have to use muscles or force.

The first exercises were with a stick and were as follows:
Lay down on the floor, completely relax your body. Hold the stick in your hand facing towards the ceiling, continue to relax your muscles.

Slowly bring the stick across your body, carving a trajectory in the air, as to turn yourself, while relaxing every other part of your body. It should feel like the weight of the stick pulls you.

To do this correctly you need two things: relaxation and the right trajectory of the stick.
This is hard to explain, so here’s a video:


Watch from 2 mins 15 seconds

Then try the same exercise but now using just your hand, you can see in the videos below Michael gives the person something to reach for and guides him along the right trajectory to turn himself using just his hand.

Try the same with your hand the opposite way, reaching behind your back , leading from you palm, relaxing the rest of your body, as if the hand is pulling you.

Try the same exercise with your legs, with them leading the movement, and relaxing the rest of your body, especially your spine.

Try different ways of letting your hand turn you, For example; not only reaching across the body, but keeping the arm on the same side and just rotating the wrist and letting that turn and connect your body.

These are difficult exercises that require awareness, concentration and relaxation. You will feel when you do these correctly.

 

If you have any questions let me know, as these not easy to explain from a screen!

Moscow HQ Seminar – Internal Work (April 2013) – Part 1

5 May

This for me was one of the most interesting seminars I have ever been too. The topic was inner work, and Michael explained and demonstrated a lot, which was very interesting to see. See the video below for clarity.

Part 1 –  How a Blade or Stick can Correct Your Body, Give You Strength and Deepen Your Relaxation

– The first exercise was standing straight and relaxed and holding a stick in your hand pointing straight up, completely relaxing your body. Michael said that if you hold it correctly it will feel weightless and will help you have a straight back and good form. He went to explain that while holding a stick in this way and continually relaxing ourselves – this will heal and straighten our spine, it will help to align us in a correct form.
Change hands – do this for 15/20 mins just to get the feel of it

– Bring the stick in front of your chest, so your hand it about stomach level, find a relaxed comfortable position there. Relax all your body, from spine, to bicep, forearm and wrist, leaving just enough tension to hold the stick, – if you do this right the stick will almost hold itself. Michael explained that when this is done with either a stick or a blade, actually seeing the weapon – the wood or the metal – will give you strength, confidence and power. The effect is much more apparent with a sword.

– Bring the stick into the first position arm held at your side, stick pointing upwards. Relax again your whole body, now this is hard to explain – you just have to feel it; Put all of your body weight onto the end of the stick, transfer your body weight right to the end of the stick. Now lean the stick very slightly forwards and let the weight take you forward, and walk. Bring it back straight and try the same backwards, sideways. Let the weight of the stick shift your body weight, different directions.

– Same exercise as before, tilt the stick slightly forward and let its weight guide you, just walk forwards, keep walking around, relaxing your body as much as possible, feeling the weight of the stick and it’s weight “pulling” you forward.

One last Post… Daniel Ryabko Striking Seminar Notes

29 Feb

One last post before i go to Moscow for a month, I will be filming some clips and making notes, they will be on here when i return.. Good luck with your training 🙂

For now i leave you with my notes from a seminar i went to in London 2007 with Daniel Ryabko:

 

The main focus was on striking and taking strikes.

– Getting hit/ taking strikes is more important than giving strikes

– 1 person lays on floor and lifts 1 body part in to the air eg arm, leg etc

Other person kneels next to person and positions/ places fist and tries to relax the group of muscles that is tensing to keep that body part in the air. Vibrate / move fist around in area where tension originates from to relax those muscle groups and the lifted limb should slowly lower.

– Same with striking, Person tries to get up and you try to find the tension and the point of balance “the moment” to stop the person getting up.

– A saying of Mikhails “timing is everything” , “the right place at the right time”

– When pushing on someone with the fist do not change direction or push in a different direction just place the fist differently and move it around to relax the person downwards.

– When pushing someone with the fist do not create tension in yourself and therefore the other person will not tense as there is no force in the push, there is nothing for him to resist against

– Person lays down and you push your fist in him, so he feels he has to move and he moves.

– Laying on floor, push your fist into the person, so he feels no pain only the power.

– Sitting down push each other with the fists and try to take away his force with a push of your own.

– Standing up push the person with the fist and you should place the fist so that it move the person (very light pressure is required)

– 1st strike/push to control the person – 2nd strike/push to take their balance “give them a direction to fall”

– Taking strikes you exhale on contact, you exhale the pressure of the strike from your upper chest

– The stomach should be full with breath and the breathing should tense up the stomach

– You should exhale in your mind before you exhale with the mouth

– You touch the person in a place that cause their form to be disrupted and they move around to distribute tension and ensure that no tension arises in them

– For fullness inhale and tense the body and exhale and try to keep the feeling of fullness in your body. Exhale into yourself.

– Getting hit by Daniel is an experience, whenever you can get hit by one of these guys do not pass up the opportunity.