Systema Articles / 18 posts found

Control Tension with Systema Conditioning

by Vladimir Vasiliev
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In Systema conditioning, we try to create all the exercises so that they lead us directly into the highest levels of fighting skill. Training drills are not distinct from the martial art but rather form the intensive energetic foundation for all defensive and offensive movements. One of the variables that interferes with our effective movements in any fight is tension. I’d like to present you with some useful physical drills that help you control your tension, while you are strengthening your body and developing your breathing at the same time. This progression can be performed as a stand-alone, independent training […]

Systema Pushups

by Vladimir Vasiliev
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A few years ago, when I was visiting Mikhail Ryabko in Moscow, he demonstrated a slow fist Systema pushup against the wall. I still clearly remember how standing next to him, it felt like a huge beast filled the room, the wall was droning and buzzing under his fists. Systema pushups are not just exercises for shoulders and chest, they are a comprehensive method to prepare for fighting and strikes. The way Mikhail did it, he had full sensitivity of the surface his fists were on, and he was not just moving his body up and down, he used the […]

Working Against Multiple Opponents in Martial Arts

by Vladimir Vasiliev
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Working against multiple opponents in martial arts is challenging both psychologically and physically. In Systema, there are a number of simple things to understand and practice to help you gain control over your external and internal opponents (i.e. your attackers and your own emotions). The first skill to acquire is moving away from the line of attack. It is important to learn not to freeze when a threat comes at you. If you are not very experienced in working against two or more opponents, your tendency will be to keep them in your field of vision all the time. You will find […]

3 Types of Fear – 3 Ways to Breathe

by Vladimir Vasiliev
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We can view our fears on three levels. The first one we can call Personal Fear. It is the type that develops without any physical contact. It has formed inside us as a result of a verbal threat, an aggressive scene, a potentially scary situation. We might be only partly aware of the true causes and the magnitude of that Personal Fear. It is our internal picture that may or may not be accurate. This fear comes along with a specific type of breath interruption – irregular inhale and exhale, constricted breathing, or a choking breath. Second is the fear […]

Tense Shoulders – The Bigger Picture

by Vladimir Vasiliev
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When I observe students in class, at seminars, or when I evaluate instructors through the Systema Video Program (SVP), I see one most common limitation – tense shoulders and hips. In this article, let’s look at the tense shoulders. We should understand how it seriously damages our moving and fighting potential. 1. Unfortunately, it is not obvious to many people that with tension-filled shoulders, we are not able to lift the arms freely or maintain good posture. Therefore, everything including balance, power, and precision will suffer. 2. The sight of tense shoulders in a fight is a signal of your […]

How Hard Should Your Systema Training Be?

by Vladimir Vasiliev
Your Goal The goal of Systema training is to accumulate power and not tension. I believe that with each training session, while doing the same or higher workload, we should get less tired at the end of the class. We should try to perform each exercise in such a way, that with practice, we are able to do it with less and less exertion. This is achieved by utilizing only the muscles needed for the movement and keeping the rest of the body tension-free. Moreover, if you move naturally and correctly, your psyche also relaxes and your physical and psychological […]

Mastering Systema: Striking Spirituality

by Vladimir Vasiliev
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I attended two days of the Mastering Systema seminar in Toronto, Ontario. It was a week long event, and I was there for the weekend finale. There were different themes for each day, Saturday’s was health and fitness and Sunday’s was knife work. Photo by Melissa Vasiliev They were exciting, busy days where the training was set within the framework of the daily themes, but the lessons were broad and deep. It was expertly shown to us that Systema is a method of self-defense based on a specific type of physical and mental conditioning, enhancing sensitivity and bringing forth inner […]

Be a Moving Target

by Vladimir Vasiliev
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Everyone knows that shooting a moving target is much harder than a fixed one. It requires additional efforts and skill. Something similar happens in a fight. If a person utilizes continuous movement, the complexity of working against him is infinitely higher. It makes not only his single opponent helpless, but also a multiple attackers. Even a group of armed attackers looses the advantage when faced with a relaxed person who is always ready to react on a free and spontaneous level. Working on the move provides a unique feeling of distance and almost chess-like combinations in a fight dynamics. Such […]