Tag Archives: Tension

Becoming Truly Relaxed

28 Sep

In Systema one of main aims is to become more relaxed, calm and free. In the beginning most people take this as “become floppy”, which is ok, this is a period of learning and after a while most people swing back to being too tense, then too floppy continuously until they come to a mid point where they are relaxed, strong and whole.

Some exercises to help with becoming whole:

– Push-ups, leg raises and squats with Breathing – These exercises will give your body a correct form.

Walk on the back massage – This will keep you relaxed and make you feel more “full” and whole

Wall walking – This will connect your arms and your legs together

– Getting hit – This will make you full and relaxed, as you learn how to collect your body together

Walking – a fundamental part of your training. Try some of the exercises on this link – this is from a seminar with Alexander Andreychenkov.

 

Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions on this.

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Systema Health Practices – Part 1

15 Aug

There are a couple of books that have been written on Systema health practices. Here i’m going to share what i consider the most important or core practices to keep your body healthy, mobile and free of tension.

Massage

Commonly called the “walking on the back” massage, the Russians have a whole series, that massages every muscle in your body in an intense way and that provides the best conditions to relax and remove large and small tensions from your body.

You can get a full description of this here: https://thomashogarth.com/2012/04/27/day-1-part-2-moscow-class-alexander-sasha/

Or if you prefer a seeing it yourself: https://thomashogarth.com/2013/05/28/ryabko-systema-massage-video-lesson-alexander-moscow-2013/

This massage is absolutely key and all of the Russian masters stress that this should be done after every class or as often as possible.

For your relaxation , health and body form, nothing beats this massage.

Breathing

Breathing is not only essential when training, but all throughout our lives, especially when we become stressed or scared. Breathing is something we can rely on, something we can go back to, when everything else is out of control. Breathing can be done by feeling, for example if you need energy you breath faster or if you want to calm your psyche you breath slower and deeper.

The main point is control. Understand and feel the power of your breath and you will have a never-ending hidden resource.

Walking

In this day and age we sit a lot more than is necessary or healthy. Sitting ruins the body’s natural form and increases tension levels in our spine and legs. Standing on the other hand is natural and walking is even better. Our bodies were made to walk, stretch and move. In this modern world we work at computers all day, sitting on a chair and when we get home, our first instinct is to sit down. If you look at places like India and China where they sit cross legged or kneel down, they have much less instance of back pain and physical body issues, even as they grow older.

Check out this interesting article on sitting: http://lifehacker.com/5879536/how-sitting-all-day-is-damaging-your-body-and-how-you-can-counteract-it

So what can you do? as the article suggests standing can often help combat the negative effects of sitting. The best thing you can do is to take a walk, Systema style, so combining breathing with your steps and consciously relaxing your body. This will work wonders for your body and your psyche. 

Read this for more tips on adding walking to your training: https://thomashogarth.com/2013/07/27/how-to-create-a-systema-workout/

Part 2 – Banja, Stomach massage, the stick and whip

Daniil Ryabko Seminar, Veendam October 2012

10 Nov

This was an extremely interesting seminar with Daniil Ryabko, and very well organised.

Here are my notes from the Saturday:
– Lay on the floor, put one hand above your head, with your arm stretched out, then slowly using just your hand turn your body over, as you go along, when you feel tension in your spine, relax and go furthur, then repeat.

Video of this in Moscow:

– Next, you lay on the floor, and your partner tries to turn you over, by levering your arm and doing what he wants, relax completely and he cannot do that, try laying face up and face down.

– You lay on floor, partner holds and locks your wrist/arm, then you move the tension around in him so that he loses balance, by just turn your hand

– By turning your hand learn how to switch the muscle that the person is holding and the tension shifts in them, you group them together, and move them as a whole.

– Standing up, your partner tries to lock you, you just relax your arms and turn your wrist, not engaging any other shoulder or arm muscle, two people then try to lock you in same drill, relax your arms and switch the muscles.
If you do this right you will switch the tension and they will have no support on your arms.

General things:

– If he doesn’t do anything, you don’t do anything.

– Work with his movement, when he gives you something, work with it
– Keep him connected to you
– His tension is towards a direction, turn his tension by just turning your hand, only your hand
(daniil made this look easy)
– When he gives you tension on one muscle, turn and change the muscle so you feel no pressure
– Changing the muscles happens inside you, so people cannot see it
– Make all your power go to your hands
– Turn just the hand, do not engage shoulder or arm muscles, keep them relaxed
– Pushups, leg raises and squats to clean ourselves
– Not only now, you have to relax all the time in your life

Exercise with Michael

7 Oct

I could only find a short clip of this:

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

Ryabko Systema Massage

15 Jul

I’ve been intending to write this for a while. While i was in Russia this year i experienced this special massage given by Andre at the Systema school. Words can not even describe it. It was the most painful thing i have ever experienced, and since i was 13 have done various combat sports, but nothing touched me at the level this did. It was a physical and emotional adventure, a rollercoaster of various massages with small sticks, whips and swords.

(To none Systema people this will sound strange but trust me when i say this is effective on a very personal level, you face your fears directly, as the body holds the fear from childhood and life in the spine and deep muscles, making it a very emotional experience)

What happens:

I started out standing and sitting on a vibrating platform, to relax surface tension.

Then, the lady that was translating and helping said “one rule: you have to keep breathing”

Then i sat down on a massage chair, with my head through the hole, leaning foward. Firstly Andre pasted some massage oil on me, and then with small wooden sticks, began to press them either side of my spine in to the muscles, at first easy and working up and down my spine, then even more strongly. Aferwards they were slid up and down the spinal muscles. I then laid down and the lady took over.  This seemed like a very long session with different types of sticks sometimes being pressed onto the bone, sometimes onto the side muscles and connective tissue, After this treatment with the spine, shoulder, neck, head and hip muscles, They took out the Russia crowd control whips and began the standard Systema massage, with 2 types of whips. After this i was fairly, emotionally worn out, and it finished with a sword massage (difficult to describe), This whole massage was about 1 hour, and by the end some of my muscles had difficulty moving, my shoulders were low and my whole back was straighter. I felt it directly – that something had fundamentely changed. It still feels the same to this day, my back, body and more importantly mypsche structure was corrected to a degree that changed my personality and feeling. It was profound.

Some french guys that were in Moscow around the time i was, their video of the massage and thoughts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFuaoEpO_aQ

Other People talking about the massage:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT78PTmvEAg

I highly recommend you go to Russia to experience this or go to a seminar where one of the massage guys will be there.