Tag Archives: Striking

Systema Class Training in the Netherlands – Scheveningen

26 Oct

Moscow HQ Seminar March 2012: Mikhail Ryabko and Moscow Instructors – Sat

23 Sep

This was a two day seminar on Strikes, while i was in Moscow. Mikhail led the seminar and other instructors taught for an hour of two to show their own perspective.

Striking, Balance and Feeling

– You sit facing the opposite way from your partner, shoulder to shoulder then you push them with your fist, keeping the shoulder and body relaxed. If you – just do it, don’t tense up before or you give him support, you just push him to the floor.

– standing facing partner they lean onto your fist you hold them, to the point that they can’t recover balance then let them fall.

– Same drill as above but now as you hold them you squat, move around, then walk away taking all their support in one motion.

Drills to relax stomach

– Person lays down, other person kneels down and pushes fist into partner, person on floor breathes and relaxes and lets in pressure, lets pain go, spreads it out to the whole body.

– Then person kneeling down places knees on persons stomach and puts weight on them. person on floor lets pressure in and their stomach and body relax. Daniel kept saying “let it go” – “the pain, the fears”

Wall exercises

– Partner is against wall, leans a bit and you push them, just with your fist, into the wall, go inside the person to hold the weight/spine/balance then give them a direction left/right/up etc and push.

– Same exercise now with two partners on wall, both lean forward at different times and you catch their balance the point where there weight is floating, where they start to lean and their weight is free, you push with the fist. Relax your body, shoulders, hips – feel everything.

Pushing drills

– Pushing with fists simultaneous 1-20 then 20 to 1 punching.

– Person grabs you and you push them with your fists to release yourself, not so that he grabs harder or more. in 1 motion or in 2 or 3, counting outloud, 1 ,2 ,3 etc.

– Push and punch with whats there, arms, body etc. don’t pull arm back to punch again, the motion continues.

– Push one partner with your fist so their weight is on their heels, stay with them keep contact don’t lose him, then change direction of elbow and push more.

Words of wisdom

– If your stomach is tense, then legs are tense, if legs tense then stomach tense.

– Do it- don’t pretend to do it.

– No empty movement, know what you want to do and do it

– Stay in situation, focus, Wake up.

– Remain calm inside – breath

Martin Wheeler – Movement and Striking Seminar – London April 21/22

30 Apr

I recently went to a seminar with Martin Wheeler in London. I found it extremly interesting and eye opening, it was a fairly small group so i got to work with him in a few demonstrations and be hit by him. I was blown away by his depth of skill in Systema, and his ability to show and demonstrate ideas. It was very different watching him and working with him, and things that looked visible on the outside, were invisible when you were working. His strikes seemed to come from nowhere and the power and fullness was incredible to feel. His ability to control, feel and change mine and others psches was immense. Some details and drills:

– Recomendation for the knees, if you have had an injury, how to heal them quickly – Walking on a carpeted floor on your knees forwards, backwards, sideways etc for a short time, breaks up grissle and old tissue, to allow new tissue to grow.

– Walking is very important, the most fundamental exercise, we can do it everywhere, feel where we are tense. An exercise to become aware of where we place are weight in our feet = Walk stepping on the toes pulling yourself forward and allowing the foot to place on the floor. Looks kind of like skating.

– Walking tips – weight on whole foot, relax hips, knees, don’t bob or sway.

– Exercise 5 mins – 1) AT AN EVEN PACE: Pushups, when tired situps,when tired leg raises, when tired squats, and repeat for 5 mins. 2)Then same thing but AS SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE for 5 mins – BREATH. 3) Then AS FAST AS POSSIBLE for 5 mins- breathing matches the movement.

– Recovering: when restoring yourself the burst breathing, should not tense you, but should relax you.  Learn to clean yourself with the breathing.

– An exercise to feel the heaviness of your arm and to feel your way into the person. Lay/drop your whole arm on the person- on their body somewhere, and feel the way through in one motion, think of the persons muscles as rocks and in between is the water, you need to find the path of no tension where the water is.

– Flow is not fighting, flow is designed for learning, learn how to break the flow.

– Touch the person with the fist on a deep level, of his body, his psche.

– Own the space, where your body is, Own The Space.

– Don’t find the other people, Find yourself, don’t lose yourself.

– Balance between tension and relaxation, control to go both ways, but your neutral state is a balance.

– Squats on person laying down keeping weight the same and relaxing body.

– Pushups on the person, keeping the weight the same on the partner in every point in the pushups not letting the weight come into your hips or legs, but keeping all the weight in the arms/fists.

– Massage: Very important in systema.

Person 1 lays down on front, P2 then kneels on P1s muscles starting with the lower leg, P2 use bone/shin of knee to apply pressure, make the other person work/breath. Work up their upper leg, then onto their back, use both knees at the same time, kneeling on person, working up the muscles alongside of their spine, .

P1 then turns around and lays on back, P2 walks along legs then along, stomach and on chest.

P2 then pushes into P1s stomach in different places, letting P1 work and relax the area before moving on, interesting how much people hold/tense the stomach muscles and don’t realize it.

Martin demo’d by having someone push their fist into his stomach, and you could see it went right in almost to the floor, very inspiring to see.

Deep Massage:

Learning how to clean the spaces between the joints, working on the collar bone. Partner 1 pushes their thumb under the collar bone from P2, and rubs it along the length of the bone and feels the grissle and roughness, try to smooth it out relax the connective tissue between the bone and muscle. This can be done with any muscle and bone join. Make it intense for the partner. Make them work.

Overall an amazing seminar, with a very real and interesting feel. I look forward to more seminars with Martin.

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.

Konstantin Komarov Seminar – Psychological Preparation For Combat – London May 2007

6 Feb

This is a review of a seminar i attended in London 2007 with Major Konstantin Komarov.

It covered Psychological preparation for combat. These descriptions only scratch the surface. You really had to be there to feel it.

– Systema vs other martial arts is a fundamentally wrong question, Other martial arts focus on sport application, we focus on real life application. Like comparing an actor swordsmen and a butcher who chops meat, kk said – I have no doubt as to who would win.

– Three responses to fear : To fight the other person, To run away, To curl up in a ball and let yourself get hit. Systema gives us a 4thoption.

– I other MAs people are taught to pile aggression onto there fear, so that when they feel fear they instantly go aggressive, that might be ok apart from if a bigger, stronger more skilled guy comes along and hits/ beats them then they will break and the fear will be set free and will rip them apart and it will be almost impossible to build them back up, they will be broken.

– The people who are most aggressive are also the most fearful.

– In systema we are working in order to make a deal with the fear, to understand the fear and to work with that fear.

– You should have no intention to strike, you can see how the intention to strike shows on someones face and body.

– When approaching people, approach them in such a way as not to tense them genrally from a 45 degree angle, if you approach directly straight on or directly from behind then they will feel it and tense up.

– When Breath holding after an exhalation, you should feel the place where the fear comes out or is present and it is a diagnosis tool, you should pick an exercise for that area where the fear comes out.

– During static pushups/ other exercises all the thoughts and sensations that come into your mind are the balls of fear being released.

– During these exercises you should keep all your thoughts inside of you, concentrate on breathing.

– Burst breathing is very important, it relaxes you because every inhale is when your body tenses up and any exhale is a relaxation. In burst breathing the exhalation is longer than the inhalation so you are mostly relaxing yourself.

– In everyday life small unesscessary contractions of the muscles cause tension blocks in the body, when these accumulate the other muscles try to compensate. Eg- tension in the leg causes the hips to tilt, neck tilts forward and hips compensate.

– In slow exercises go back to points in eg – the pushup where the movement is jerky and that is where the balls of tension are, keep working on the movement until it is smooth.

– Strike in a way so as not to tense the person.

– Do not hit the bones it is not nesscessary it will hurt you and your partner.

– Removing a strike – If the peron you are hitting is tired or tense then get them to breathe, talk to them let them take a breather, hit the tension and lightly hit them to get them used to your fist again. Before hitting them go around them and gently place the fist and give gentle hits, so you can get used to hitting their body and they can get used to your fist..

– At end stage of leg raise breathing in through arms and out through legs. Variation is to put knees on floor over your head.

– Taking strikes to face – Shut jaw, teeth together but do not clench, relax neck, let other person just place fist first of all and then hit softly then harder, you can take it by letting head go sideways or tilting the head.

– Slow exercises – There are balls of tension in the muscles and they block the flow of blood and breathing so the breath does not travel thoruhg that area. When people do fast pushups they go right past the tension and more accumulates. In slow exercises we go through the full range so that the tension is stretched.

– What is systema – systema is compfort in yourself.

– Striking drills – Hold persons spine with one hand and with the other hand you push with the fist and then start to hit them. Go right round the body and push with other hand against front and the hit them.

– You go up to person and give two strikes to the body and one to the face continuous but not rushed.

– 1 person kneels down beside other person who is laying down. Person on floor trys to use just arm to strike kneeling person, body should not move, kneeling person can hold laying down persons body or shoulder to stop them moving.

– Same as previous drill but now laying down person moves around a hits knelling person any way he can

– A normal strike is not a hard strike, a normal strike is a correctly positioned strike.

– 1 person walks forward normally and the other person watches them and diagnosis’s there tension where it is. While walking p2 then mssages p1s tension and points out to p1 where he is tense to help them relax it.

– Fear balls are blocks in the body manifested by tension. It is stored as balls of fear.

– When striking someone build up the strikes otherwise if you give the person one big strike then fear comes/enters into the body and every strike that the person takes after that will cause more fear and tension to accumulate.

– P1 walks up to p2 and touchs him anywhere, try to touch him in a way so as not to tense him, p1 then alternates between striking and touching, strike should be just like touch but should speed up a bit at the end.

– Hit just with the arm.

– P1 walks around p2 in a circle and p2 hits the person however he can

– fight like you are buttering toast

– wrestling with partner on ground p1 puts weight on p2 somehow, p2 follows the movement and escapes then continues, this is done to rid the mind of behavioural patterns, clean the nervous system.

– You only learn when you do movements that are unusual, unique, your own.

– When doing pushups fists should be on the last knuckles little, ring, middle, To align wrist so it is straight.

– If you rest on the two front knuckles, then the wrist will not aligned and when you hit most of the force will go in different directions.

– One person standing at front, 3 people in a line about 3 metres away from him in a line, the 3 people walk at him and either touch him or strike him. The person at the front has to recognise the intent to hit and move away if a strike comes or stand there and let them touch him if it is a touch.

– 4 people sit down in a line and 1 person walks in front of them and the four people sitting down watch the one walking and give him feedback as to his walk eg – if he is tense in the shoulders or his arms stay stiff.

– Taking strikes – strikes create internal preesure in the body/stomach and you should exhale through the chest to get rid of the internal pressure. You should also be relaxed when taking strikes.

– When moving through crowd to avoid being hooked on each other relax your shoulders.

– Russian game – 3 people stand in a semi circle, a different person standa about a metre away from them with his back turned. 1 person from the 3 has to hit the person standing at the front with back turned. Person at front has toquickly turn around and identify who hit him. When he turns around everyone should have their hands in the thumbs up position including the hitter

– Fist push exercise – p1 holds body still and lets p2 hold his fist and elbow. P1s arm and body should be completely relaxed with minimal tension required to hold the wrist in alignment. P2 uses p1s fist as a ram and hits p3 with it, who is standing in front of p1. p2 should also just push the strike into p3. If p2 feels tension in p1s arm or back or wherever then he should massage/ hit the area to relax it.

– Our intuition is the ability to use the senses to sense that something Is going to happen by feel/internal voice.

– When the muscles are tense they create a subtle pulsing in the body that blocks the intuition and senses and means we cannot feel or hear our inner voice.

– When we concentrate on one sense all other senses do not function properly

– Eg – when we concentrate on sight our hearing goes.

– We must learn to trust trust our senses and not think about them consciously so that they all work as one whole.

– When looking for someone in a crowd you do not need to look or stare directly use your peripheral vision

– The body and the psche are one and not separate entities.

– P1 stands 20metres away from p2, p1 then turns round so his back faces p2. P2 very slowly walks towards p1 with an intention or attack and a physical obstacle. P1 has to feel his body and raise his hand when he feels something. P2 should tell p1 what his attack and intention was and p1 should tell p2 what he felt. Same drill but with p1 facing p2 with eyes closed.

– Two people walk towards one person who is also walking towards them. They are pretend muggers, you attempt not to make eye contact and try to get past the two people without agitating them or causing them to stop you, eg- sneezing , looking at another apparent object.

– Victimisation criminals choose those who have certain qualities –

When the thoughts are inside the body

Eg – head down not standing straight, those that make eye contact look nevous, not confident,

– When thoughts are on the outside – looking around at others, smiling.

– Relaxed confidence is the best thing

– Usually a change in behaviour is present when somebody is carrying a weapon.

– Spend 30 mins at a train station and you will see some very interesting things – people watching.

Massage and health

– When doing backwalking when a part of the body is stood on, there will be a higher blood pressure somewhere else, but if person on the floor is tense then the blood pressure will not go through correctly, a block.

– Tension from pressure should be distributed throughout the entire body.

– Many illnesses are psychosomatic such as stomach ulcer. Eg – you are scared and stomach tightens if is is not relaxed then the stomach develops an ulcer, tension means lack of blood flow, blood cannot get to stomach. After this situation stomach should be relaxed.

– Give the person a problem and let them solve it.

– Back walking – Put pressure on lower back or other part and if they are aware of it they can relax it.