Start this drill with your hands naturally at your sides and hit each other all over noting and sharing how each strike feels and moves you. Try with open hand, fist, elbow and so on. Next raise the arms from the elbows to the common ready stance people take and repeat the process noting changes in effect. Next change the footing and repeat and than sitting and on the ground. Finally do this as you walk and move differentry on the ground and you will learn how our frame and tension changes as we move mass from limb to limb and how to relax more so we are free to move better.
Place your fist or hand on your partner standing up and lean on him. Feel were he tenses up and were he is relaxed throughout the motion and you will learn where and how deep to strike from various positions. Go for the legs, torso, arms, neck and use all the angles you can think of. Check if some leans change the breath phase or alter the speed and depth of it. Use both hands and check were the tension lies between the hands and how it is lead to the ground through the hips and legs. Check which brings him up and gives his form support and which takes away his balance and force unwanted movement on him. Change places and check how you can relax and mininize the force you are using to keep your form under this drill. Don’t stop your breath if you loose your balance and have to move and remember that nothing works all the time. change partners and see how this is learned on another and what you can take from this.
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I have just returned from a seminar with both Vladimir Vasiliev and Mikhail Ryabko hosted in Bern. It was a wonderful event of meeting friends and making new ones from all over the place. We al learned a lot by talk and by movement. The spirit of the teachers stands above all with generosity and skill we can all feel fortunate to experience. The topics were health and natural movement, single and multiple attackers and mass work. Working with knives and of course all was covered in a way to open the eyes of the novice and to bring further understanding to the sligtly more experienced. I enjoyed many lessons from both teachers and one that I think is important to share is that the basic drills they give are complete and should be understood and not left after a while. The mastery comes from being good at the basics and this is a great lesson for life.
Again my thanks, Sharon Friedman Systema Israel.
A nice humbling way to teach yourself to receive and give (in that order) strikes can be this or a variation of this drill. you take the arm of your partner and he relaxes the arm and shoulder so only the form of the fist (just form no clenching) and the alignement of the wrist and elbow is kept. Now start to free the arm using yours and slowly start to use the arm as a ram to hit you in different valocities and places. You may find it silly at first but it works to give your body the feeling of being struck by a relaxed fist like a hammer and gives your parner the experience of hitting without tension so his body can learn to relax more and “give” more to others so they can learn too.
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This drill is taken from Vladimir: You create a path in a crowd using a two man team. One takes them off balance and brings them to his rear as his shadow who stays behind him takes the threat out so the forward can continue. Try to answer these type of questions with the simplest answer and you will learn to do more with less.
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A healthy comfortable posture. Sometimes we are required to stay prone or sitting for a long breadth of time. It can be outside or in an office building but either way you can make a difference. Check your posture: are you slumping without support and gathering tension in your lower back ? Is one leg pressed to the other or over the other and blocking the flow of blood and oxygen to your tissue ? is your head held in a way to tense up the shoulders. Did you raise your shoulders without noticing from other mental tasks that do not come from you ? Did you do something good that is new and you would like to keep doing it with awareness ? Even sitting down can make you healthier. You only have this moment.
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some bodyguard work:
Walk with a person in school and better yet in the field or in the street and maintain a fixed distance from him as you go together and from time to time change the hour you are to him (in front 12, behind 6 to the right 3 and so on)
Walk with a person and keep people from reaching him and touching him without hitting or intimidation. Use simple body mivements and gestures and stay calm. redirect and stop only as the last resort. For example you can point somewhere which is natureal and by that form a block with your hand that is impolite to cross and if it is crossed you can act withing social acceptence to protect your mark.
Walk with a person and as the shot is fired (hand clap, shout, can dropped on the floor) you move him swiftly away and cover him.
Walk with a person and have him act histerical (shout, run away and so on. You cannot expect the mark to work well with you all the time) calm him down as you continue to move and look for changes and developements as you do this.
protect a door or a corridor from people passing through with the least amount of force, try to explain and maintain a calm body language and breathing. Remember to look for new things all the time
Walk or stand with a partner and have others try to come up and steal grab a bag or hat and so on. Protect the life or the mark and remember your priorities.
In all your drills and work remember the goal behind it. As you move together you have fun and relax and learn about yourself. You should have the notion of blending into the movement of another deep in your head and body and self mastery shall grow from there. Stay humble and honest so you are all here and not partly thinking of how great X is or how good you will be. The key is right in the breath you are taking right now.
Some more on group work:
Lie in a row so your bodies touch from foot to shoulder and have one person lie on his back accross you. You roll together to pass the person along the line without loosing him to the sides and continue till everyone does this.
form a line with hands across the shoulders and do these drills together without loosing contact or creating tension: sit up and stand up. Walk in circles and around threats (unstructor with whip) rolling forward and backwards. Sitting against a wall with no chair and getting up again. Walking with the same leg or opposite leg. Do the same drill with people opposign each other and in couples entangling elbows while bach to back.
Now form a line with people in the static push up and have each end crawl under the people as they use their fists elbows torso knees and feet to strike them till all the people have passed through. Than do this drill with the people climbing over the row of people in the static push up.
form a circle and go down to a push up with one arm on the ground and the other on your friends shoulder, go down and up together and smile. Now sit side by side and cross hands over shoulders and legs and do sit ups with a straight back and leg lifts overhead and don’t forget to smile. Now stand in a circle or in pairs and hold each others leg at hip level and squat together
A bit of team building: One person closes his eyes and his partner directs him toward a knife on the ground (or a bag it doesn’t matter) so he picks it up with his free hand (not his favored gun hand) and do this drill without decding on direction protocol in advance so you learn about the preconceptions of each other and learn to adapt and work together as a unit.
A drill for two or more people. One person lies on the floor and the other squats next to him and pushes or hits off the body of the other in order to rise up to a standing position with the least effort. Try to either help the squater to rize with the right breath to push him off or circumvent his attempts by redirecting his drive elsewhere. There is a lot to be learned from the simple things.
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