Place yourself on the fists and if you can on a partner and do a few push ups as you keep the wrist and elbow aligned but relaxed as possible. Now do a few jumping push ups as you clap your hands once or twice in the air minding to relax the arms and fingers as you do this. We do this to learn to relax the hands even on the opening and the closing of the fist so we can keep the arm free to move and let the whip move through it.
Another way to become aware of the tension in the arms is to first tense the shoulders as you keep the rest moving and relaxed. You move to the arms next and keep the forearms relaxed and mobile and than move to the forearms. The last are the fists and you need to find the direction in which to close the hand (for example bringing the fingers together from the sides as if you are trying to keep water in them) so they do not effect the forearm. Do the same with the legs as you push each others legs or push and roll a partner on the ground with just your feet and see how you can roll or screw your foot into him and give him motivation to roll where you direct.

Honest practice is understanding.
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There are many ways to reach awareness and the relaxation that follows and sometimes a certain way will work better for you than another so avoid becoming fixed on either. For example to relax your postures have a friend lightly push you as you balance on the heels or on one leg and to stay upright you will have to let go of the stiffness. You can have a friend swing a staff or a whip at you and the fear will help you move more naturally (after a while). You can have a friend whip your back as you breath fast (making the exhale longer and hence releasing more than taking in) and one other way I enjoy especially is to have a partner walk on your back and front as you breath and later on tense and relax each body part and learn to function better and become aware of your body. For example have a partner stand on your upper back and slowly tense up the neck and shoulders and relax. Have him stand on the front of your thighs (standing on the knees is much more painfull but will bring quick results) as you tense and relax the upper and than the lower muscles and of course play with this to find out what works for you. Continue to breathe and everything else will fall into place.
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Take a belt or a chain and pass it around your body from one hand to another. Go higher and lower and than work to pass what you chose over the shoulder to the other hand in an X first going from up to down which is easy as you can dangle the object and find it with the other hand and than find a way to do it from the back and up over the shoulder. Find your way.

* the hand goes up and over the shoulder and the other hand goes around and up the back (like scratching yourself) to meet it.
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Place one fist or hand and one foot on the ground and swing your body back and forth slowly increasing the movement and letting the center start and guide the motion. Change the arm and leg and do the same and see how you can make the beginning of the movement smaller so you relax and let the chain happen rather than pushing through your own tension. Do the same as you walk. It is the basic motion you need to work on. The legs hold you up and the hips guide them in the desired direction. This is best done uphill or up the stairs as you can relax the legs and let the hips guide them forward and than simply glide onto the support without forcing the leg holding the entire body forward. Try it.
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Start walking barefoot and place all your mass on the toes for a few steps. Continue to change the center mass to the heel, the outer side, the inner side and so on and finally when you are aware to how you place the mass, relax and let the body align itself to the center or wherever it rests for you. Walking is important so we should do it well and practice it. Taking things for granted and thinking you already know stops you from learning
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A nice way to slip the spine into place is to place both hands on the spine and push as you tilt and rotate your hips from side to side. Move your hands and continue to press on the spine center as you move your hips and let the wave coming from your hips relax and align the spine as well. You can also do this while wearing a vest or armour if you slip a strap under the plate or vest and pull on it with both hands.
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Awareness to the whole body is easy when you are relaxed and at ease so to learn to stay relaxed mentally and to move as a whole have a friend grab/hit/choke you with one hand and stab you with the other. It is good to do this against a wall as well to see how you move with no back and coming to stab you from behind and the idea is to say aware and move using the entire body and not just the area close to the strike/slap to the face/kick and so on. This idea can be adapted to anything you do from rolling to breathing and remember to not tense against the knife and to use your entire body: feet, hips. torso, shoulders arms and neck to find a way to survive and to keep your attention more on your survival than on winning a match or showing how brilliantly you move. Find the simplest shortest solution and try to simply walk out of it.

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Many times you will have only one working eye. It will be covered by something you have to carry or blocked by blood or a swollen cheek. To learn to move in this manner close one eye and have two or more people come at you and you with your hands at your back simply walk to evade. The people coming at you do not sway out of course to learn to keep to their own movement and not be dragged into yours and you need to see and decide which open space between you, you want to take.

Another point is where the partner holds the knife. If it is on his body he is likely to be calm and focused on his job, A knife half a way from the body is usually guarding the space close you the person and shows some fear and an outstretched hand usually means full aggression and no regard to personal safety. This is of course a generalization but take this too into account.

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Lie on the ground and breathe freely, As you exhale flatten your body on the ground push yourself into the ground. Notice how and where you tense up to do this and relax. Now breathe and tense up and note where your body moves up or down and how the changes form rests on the ground. Play with different body parts and indevidual muscles to find out what form and ressistance they supply and than start to move on the ground as you repeat this drill rolling from side to side and overhead. This drill comes to help you become aware to your own tension and release muscle tension that comes from fear of body injury. You still need some fear from the ground in your head to keep you from being cocky and get hurt as the systema guidebook states and you will get this if you work honestly on changing surfaces.
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Print a poem you enjoy or your favorite prayer (Mikhail likes Psalms) and read it aloud as your partner strikes you from various places including the back. This is a good way to learn to handle strikes that come when you breathe in a way that is not intended to take strikes and is important to feel. Do the same as you are walking and it is importnat to work in movement and on the go so you see how you can deal with many things at the same time, just like life. Work honestly.

My suggestion:

To Lucasta, Going to the Warres

Tell me not (Sweet) I am unkinde.

        That from the Nunnerie

Of thy chaste breast, and quiet minde,

        To Warre and Armes I flie.

True; a new Mistresse now I chase,

        The first Foe in the Field;

And with a stronger Faith imbrace

        A Sword, a Horse, a Shield.

Yet this Inconsistency is such,

        As thou too shalt adore;

I could not love thee (Deare) so much,

        Lov’d I not Honour more.

By Richard Loveless

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