Systema Striking

Systema Striking

I’m someone who likes to understand how to practice as much as what to practice. In our club we are fortunate enough to have not just one good instructor, but two.

The real bonus is that they do their Systema in slightly different ways – both of which are valid forms of Systema. What that means in terms of my learning is that I can work out the differences, look for the common factors, see the specifics and understand the different options available.

This has helped me look for patterns.

Something I focus on is Tai Sabaki (Japanese for body management). Over the years I have come to understand that what you see is not what you get. Which means that all the people that purely learn by rote are learning the end effect rather than the deeper skill – which may eventually present itself over time – but often doesn’t seem to. A faster way to learn is to understand the moves better.

Every hitting move has three elements to it:

– the hitty bit – the hand or fist

– the transmission part; and

– the power source.

What can look like arm/ shoulder muscle based strikes (and pulls) are in reality very different.

– the purpose of the hand is to deliver the power into the opponent – and this is best achieved by being “at one” with the opponent when power is transmitted i.e. connected. In a boxing type punch a lot of the transmitted energy is lost in the bounce and rebound.

– the purpose of structure is to deliver power down the channels that can deliver it – bones, joints and tendons, and significantly not muscle. Muscle absorbs energy – one of the needs for relaxed muscles in Systema is so that the other structures have priority.

– once you have those two elements, power can come from any number of different sources. Momentum, aka movement is one of those sources.

A Systema strike that superficially looks like it is an arm powered strike can actually use the much more powerful and less detectable forces of momentum from movement.

What this means in practice is that the fist doesn’t have to move much, but the body does and there are some wonderfully elegant ways of doing just that!

Interestingly that covers-off three of the core principles in Systema:

– Structure

– Movement

– Relaxation

And the fourth is Breathing properly.

#wholebodypower

Try some Systema you’ll learn something new about yourself!

Best
Julian.

Systema Reflections

 

Systema Reflections

Systema is one of those Martial Arts that is very different from most peoples’ perceptions of it. Having practiced it regularly for over 6 years now, I can truly say that it is the discipline that has taught me most about myself. It’s been tremendously useful.

Reading online discussions, most people’s perception of Systema is from videos, and opinions voiced about those videos. My view of it and what I take away from it is far from the aggressive fight system that many people think it is or fails to look like.

I have zero interest in Systema as a fighting art, but I have huge interest in Systema as a healthful practice giving intrinsic capability.

There is a widespread belief these days that having a little physical stress regularly is important, because when a stressful event happens you can handle it in a much better way. An important aspect of this is that the ability to handle physical stress transfers directly to your ability to handle mental stress.

My main practice is Qigong – Mindfully Connected Method. Again, most people’s perception of this is an art that is slightly more interesting than watching paint dry!

The reality is very, very different. The reason that Qigong is practiced slowly is that your body learns the whole movement much better when done slowly – this builds in powerful, supple body structures. If you charge through an exercise your body learns how to get from the start points to the end points, but not much else in between.

What is fascinating for me is that I see Systema as an application of Qigong. Many principles I know from Qigong are in Systema. There are strong indications that Qigong used to have far more Systema like elements in it in the past, but these have been progressively dropped out to gentrify the art. I think there are large benefits to training in Qigong for Systema practitioners – as there are some useful elements in it that I haven’t seen in Systema.

Systema, on first sight, seems to be a very straightforward discipline. It has four pillars: press-ups; sit-ups; squats; leg raises. And it has four main principles: breathing, structure, movement and relaxation. Simples! But the nuances are the real skill and they are also the real benefit.

Personally, I have been both amazed and surprised at the nuances. I like the analogy of climbing a tall mountain. From the bottom you can only see what’s immediately above you – but at each level there is yet another level to climb!

The latest nuance for me has been deep relaxation combined with an autonomous response. This is beyond letting go of tension, beyond re-training your muscle structures, beyond acceptance. The best way I can describe it, is letting go of intention – transferring from seeing and thinking what to do, to observing and letting your body do what it needs to do – at an autonomous level.

I’ve understood the concept for many years – even thought I was doing it – but when your body actually responds without your conscious input it is a very different feeling – a Eureka feeling! And your thinking brain is not involved – so you stay absolutely calm.

Anything you practice is going to have some good parts and it’s going to have some bad parts. Systema does have some concepts that I’m not totally happy with, but the positive aspects way exceed any of the negatives I see and experience.

If you want to not only get back in touch with yourself, but marvel at what you can actually achieve, do come along to a Systema class.

Class times are 8:00pm Mondays, in Guildford.

If you’d like to practice some Qigong, Body Centered Mindfulness or Whole Body Power training, please contact Glen (glen.robertson@rocketmail.com www.fusion4health.com) or me (julianj@threnergy.com www.mindfully-connected.com) for details on classes and workshops.

All the best for some inspiring, meaningful and healthful practice.

Julian.

Mindful Energy, Connection, Flow and Systema – A Reflective View

We hold regular workshops focusing on the principles behind flowing, structured powerful movement. The principles are useful for any form of exercise or self development but are particularly relevant to the flow and power in Systema. We make a distinction between training (drilling), application and flow, with flow incorporating the principles from both the training … Continue reading Mindful Energy, Connection, Flow and Systema – A Reflective View

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Systema – Neutral Points of Contact and Subterfuge

Systema Principles In Systema, the four main principles may be relatively simple and straight-forward, but the nuances are subtle and complex. One of the nuances that has taken me many years to understand (and I'm still going) is the concept of a Neutral Point of Contact. By neutral, I mean contact that gives your opponent … Continue reading Systema – Neutral Points of Contact and Subterfuge

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