This is a drill for your sight awareness. To start being aware of the things your eyes see and your head ignores look ahead and let your eyes find two objects in your field of sight (all during this drill let your eyes find the objects naturally and don’t seek them out. This way you are adding ability through relaxation which will stay active when you relax which should be all the time) Now look in the space between those objects until your eyes fall on another object (tree, animal, shade, different color of the earth, dirt, line between tiles and so on) and repeat the drill in the space between the the new found object and the one closest to it. Repeat this seven times and than turn away from where you where looking and after a few breaths look again and relax your eyes. If you want to clean the tension from your sight awareness do this a few times during the day and night and make it a fun drill to relax with. Do this with your kids if you have any; it will be a great gift to them and if you are serving your country teach this to your brothers in arms.
Read More

Take three positions such as on one leg bending forward, comfortably aligned on two feet and leaning against a wall and in those three tense and relax each part you can separate and note the changes in the control and lack of it. Put yourself in an uncomfortable position or movement such as low walking and do this drill to become aware of the tension and through this start to release and clean it to be more free and healthy.

You can also do this while driving, walking the dog and so on. Use the time you have to give yourself more freedom. If you learn and leave the lesson in class it is worthless. Let it lead you and help you in everyday life.
Read More

Take a look at yourself when you are standing in the street, sitting on a bench and walking. Answer these questions: Would you pick yourself out from the crowd as someone who is a target for attack or robbery ? Why? Do you carry your bag like it is full of diamonds ? Do you carry it as if you don’t care at all? Do your eyes look forward or down ? Are you walking with energy or shuffling your feet ? Are your clothes fitting and easy to move in ? Do you look confident or meek? Too confident ? Are you average built considering the rest of the people around you now ? (are you visiting the Masai or the north pole ?)
Always take note to how people perceive you in order to handle situations more clearly and avoid problems as much as possible and note that we are stating something with how we dress and carry ourselves. For example a person with a small suitcase boarding a plane is usually on a business trip or a short trip but not always and a woman with a diamond ring on her finger is more likely to be married or engaged.
Read More

Here is a small drill in concentration or putting yourself here and now: Do a static push up counting your breaths up to 120 or 300 without loosing count or messing up your breath. Do the same drill for other movements (yes staying in one place is movement of tension and breath and so on) and see how you fare.

Another drill of such nature is to finish a defense from attack with the same breath you started with. This will help a lot in simplifying things and avoiding unnecessary movement.
Read More

Take the up position of the basic push up and with the breath tense and relax each part of you. Go down to the bottom and repeat the drill. Lie on your back and relax and tense and relax each part. Rise to the sit up position and repeat. Lie down and lift your legs overhead and repeat. Stand up and repeat, squat to the bottom and repeat. Notice the differences in the areas that also tense up when you tense and work to relax all the parts which are not in use. This way you will be able work more efficiently and avoid freezing and slowing down when it matters.
Read More

Take a partner and work with him either with your body or adding tools on surprise attacks from all sides with this in mind. Take a seated position and have your partner walk around. He will attack or hit you with something whenever he wants and you need to stay aware and survive and use what you have to keep moving (for example use the chair against the hands holding the knife or the bench as a tripping point to fell him and run away) Change places and explore. Do the same for different ways of sitting and standing, leaning against a wall or holding a newspaper and note to yourself to keep some of your awareness outside even when you are fully engaged in a job and to avoid disregarding the feeling of social discomfort. If you don’t like someone near you say so or get out of where you are. Defending a place is also important sometimes but that is another matter and still movement even in place (body guard, father, husband, yes I am a bit of a shovanist ) is key to staying alive and completing the job in this order.

And relax the face.
Read More

First start at a comfortable distance from your partner and place a hand or leg on him anywhere you like. He works to lever one of your joints (the neck is a lot of joints and free game) as a part of him walking and changing the angles between your bodies as a way to let you complete your move. He needs to feel the direction of the hold and move with it a bit and than to add a direction and lever you. Your job is to slap or hit him in the face or neck if he stands still and wants to lever you with just his arms or legs in place.
Fore example if Johny places his hand on the back of my neck and pushes backwards, I take a step foreward and turn at the same time and lift my lebow to lever his elbow. If I turn in place he can kick or hit me to let me know I am a sitting or stading target and using him as a point of reference in space.

Next do the same drill only using both arms or anything you like as you walk and your partner is coming to lever you and you work on relaxing and first moving with his direction and rolling as you lever him. Consider this a drill in relaxation and humility and not as a mode of conduct. Sometimes it is better to fall or roll than to be stabbed in the back or in the leg.  Your partner will make sure you are removing all of your body out of the way by finishing his movement to help you learn to be aware of all your parts.

Next use a knife to lever each other in a sitting position and you move with the direction of the blade to survive and use the natural movement of the body to hit and lever your partner. Use all of your limbs and body and work slowly so you can clean out habbits that come from a tensed reaction and not from your natural relaxed movement.

Next use a small stick or a rolled up paper to work against the lever of the knife your partner is working and remember to use both hands and to avoid getting fixated on the tool.

Next close your eyes and walk slowly in the space you are working in and have your partners push you in various places to help you relax and move naturally. Next you start to hit or lever as your body naturally finds a way out and than do a few of the basic four drills to clean out what mental tension came in during the work.

Remember the learning is meant to help you live well and survive in any situation. It is not the goal but a way to it.
Read More

Helping a partner clean out the fear of hitting others

First he or she needs to understand that in hitting each other we help ourselves clean out fear of the unknown and fear of contact and are actually making ourselves healthier.

Next simply do a few pushing drills such as:
using your fists to roll someone on the ground,
do push ups on each other,
place your fist and work on turning the person with the push while squatting,
Stand on one leg and work on pushing each other without tensing up and pushing with the ground,
walk up and down each other using first hands and than fists,
use your forearms to walk up and down each other on the ground,
squat in front of your partner and push his legs in different places first with your hands and than with your fists to first help him relax and than to lever him.
Stand up and use your feet and legs to push and lever each others legs,
Lie on the ground and roll on each other gently(without using your arms) to feel the tension and help it come out,
stand and push each other using your shoulders head, chest, hips behind thighs knees etcetera,
place your fist on each other and feel the breath and push on a specific breath phase,
stand or squat in a circle and push one person in the middle from one to another or all at once to help him relax and build himself each moment anew,
lie down and walk up and down each other without looking down to help each other relax.

Realize that in Systema we hit to relax the partner or whoever comes at us and to place him or her in himself which is doing good.
Read More Helping a partner clean out the fear of hitting others

Take a partner and stand touching him. Now take one step backwards and mind the space between you. Take another step and again mind the gap so to speak. Do this until you feel you are completely out of reach for him and relax. Now take a gun or a knife (use a practice piece or at least check it is safe for use) and draw it as your partner walks toward you. Check if you had enough time not only to draw but to be able to use the tool and have the rest of you also ready to work (eyes free, hand relaxed and ready and so on) Do the same for each step between you and increase the walk to a run and when he reaches you he works to control you either by using your tool or by any other way. Repeat the drill as both of you walking side by side and slowly decrease the distance between you. Remember to breathe and relax the eyes and once you are walking shoulder to shoulder you can choose either to work on his body and than draw the tool or at the same time. He works on his awareness and choosing his response and also you both learn your individual distances and logic whether to go for the tool or use what is at hand.
Later on you can use what is around you like a telephone book to create an obstacle or distraction and get more time for the draw or add more people and have all walking around and you have to choose your response when you recognize who and what is happening.
One of the most important things are to stay relaxed and avoid getting caught in one action and work desperately to complete it. Find variations to what you are doing (draw the blade in one hand and hold the person at bay with the other as you kick him or move behind a table and as you throw something on him with one hand you draw the knife) and remember to get to the result and leave the way to your intuition and what you can do at the moment.
Read More

Two good variations for knife defense are sitting on your behind with your legs stretched in front of you and sitting on the shins and knees with the behind high in the air. You stay or sway a bit in these two starting positions and your partner comes at you with a stab or a slash and you first let it come in, feel the direction of the knife and the body of the partner and relax and move with it. Once you are on the go add a direction of your own and work on moving your body out of the way of his knife and body, work to keep the knife engaged and in your awareness so you avoid having a struggle over a knife in tensed up hands (you will be cut badly and you will lose your awareness to movement and the view around you) or getting the knife away and getting a knee or fist well into your face or neck, Work to keep your eyes free from focusing on one point, keep breathing and feel your shoulders and hips work freely. The work on the knees allows you to feel how it is when the hips are tense in the start (walking in snow/mud for example) and will allow you to discover new ways you can move.

After you have done this a few times with letting the knife touch and moving with it start moving when you start feeling uncomfortable or threatened. Don’t worry about looking cool, the cool kids don’t know they are cool 🙂

A preparation drill for this work is to tense up a body part and as it is tensed up you keep breathing and relaxing and moving the hips and shoulders seperatly. Don’t forget to also tense up one hip and relax and move the other and the same for the shoulder.

Relax, Breathe, move, Live.
Read More