Take one hand and place your foot on it. Press hard till you feel the pulse in the hand and until you feel the start of an uncomfortable feeling. Release and note how it feels when the blood rushes back to the pressed limb. Repeat this drill for the elbow, foot and so on and after you went over the body and felt the recuperation repeat this drill and now work on relaxing the pressed part of you and trying to breath through it in order to keep it alive and mobile. (no new set of lungs is supposed to appear but you work to be aware of the skin breathing inward and outward and working to deepen this feeling to the bones and thus enhancing awareness and healing in that part. Paying attention to the temperature and inner pressure of the vassals is also very helpful in speeding up your recovery and you general health.)
Other things you can do is to move the rest of you which is not under pressure (you can simply have a friend stand on you when you are prone) in a movement which helps the part under pressure breath and relax and speed up your own breathing in order to clean out building tension.
We cut ourselves off every day when we hold our breath or freeze a part of us in a position such as holding a phone over a while using the head and shoulder press or keeping the toes tucked to keep the sandals from falling off. This drill brings this to the surface so we can change and clean it out and move freely and naturally.
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Take two friends and a knife. One of you will walk with eyes closed and one is the observer. The third will come at the walker using this tactic or another. Come at the walker and use one limb to push or pull him in one direction and as he tenses up press the knife to him in the direction of his tension and than move to lever him using the knife down and out. A good way to lever with the knife is using the throat in combination with the forearm (note to avoid getting tense yourself) or by using one leg of yours to plant of of his legs and levering his hips or knees. Another tactic to help each other to learn to be aware and choose what to do rather than react in tension without distinction is to strike using the body and only when the walker receives the strike strike again with the knife. This way both learn to pay more attention to all of them and to avoid cutting the contact with the attacker so you will be able to gain control over him. The third partner will advise as to the tension that is apparent in your movements and in the direction you look or move your head when in contact. If he is able to come near enough to the loving couple and strike them lightly it is a good idea to help each other learn to spread your attention in all your body.
Remember that contact is affecting both the body and the mind and help each other learn to clean their fear and tension without hurting them. For example a blade to the face or between the legs is important to practice and this work with your eyes closed will help you learn to pay attention to the rest of your senses.
Keep moving, keep breathing and keep thinking avoid being a drum. It only makes a sound when it is hit.
If you are working in a lit environment remember that closed eyelids can still pass some light. Note if you can feel where the light is cut off by a tree or a bush, where the ground is cooler if you are working with no shoes and perhaps you will still be able to notice the attacker by absence of light he creates on his approach. Nothing is lost unless you give up on it.
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Stand in a particular piece of land such as a small clearing in the bush or on the carpet in your house and close your eyes. Have a friend use grab push and pull to take you toward a certain spot with the code name trunk of his car and you need to work to stay on this ground or return to it again using movement without hitting. Levering and twisting is good as well as long as you remember you are working with a person here and you need to do the same for him later on. This will sharpen the already there sense of direction and feel you have in your body and allow you to find new ways to keep moving and working. Add more people to the drill later on on either side and work to let your senses help you work when you are not bombarded by the full spectrum of the sight (through closed lids you can still feel and sense light direction and intensity…).
Later on add the limitation of holding your hands overhead or being tied with legs shoulder width and see how you fare in this prediction. There is no set of rules to follow except what works and what feels truly right.
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Go to a local park or the general outdoors and look according to the conditions you find, what you can use to survive against dogs and other animals. Since dogs and wolves are poor climbers you can look for a hard to climb children monkey bars where even if the dog jumps or clambers you can dismount it easily, You can go into the river if you are a good swimmer and the temperature is right for swimming. You can use an old dry branch and your lighter to create a buffer of fire if there is no pack of dogs and you noticed the threat in time and you can use public restrooms if they have doors that can be closed or barricaded.
Most important of all are your humility so you will not ignore what you see and feel before you feel it biting you in the ass (literally :)) and your relaxation so you pay attention to your senses instead of working within you inner voices.
One more note is to pay attention that dogs as well as humans have a predator instinct to follow and kill what they conceive as escaping pray. In humans it is mostly dormant but still in the back of our heads and in dogs and all wild meat eating animals it is very accessible and once it is on very hard to turn off. If you have a pack of wild dogs and you kill the first one that comes at you the rest will follow and finish the job. If you cripple the first one you have a chance of scaring them off by being calm enough to show them who is more dominant in terms of pain and noise. This works for people too but I hope you don’t get to find that out for yourselves. Keep moving and keep comfortable in all ways.
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Time passes if we notice it or not. Most of the time we have a digital or analog watch on our wrist, pocket or vehicle so we only notice it by these means in the same way we mostly use and are aware of the parts of us which are in front of us.
Sit near a tree or a post or even a building in an urban setting and note how much time it takes in breaths for the shadow of the object to travel a set distance. Double the distance and note if there is a difference. You can do the same for your own shade if you are standing in the sun or you can place a stick in the ground in front of you if you are on the ground. This gives you a better awareness of the day and night coming and going and the levels of sight it provides for you. You can use artificial means like the burning of a log or for how long it takes a water cup to cool enough to drink and paying attention to what is already there will open new doors for you to be able to make better decision on how to spend your time.
If you are walking in a cold weather note how long it takes your body to adjust to the new heat and wind travel levels and through this you will note your own temperature and this gives you another opening to reach control of the blood pressure and pulse.
Just like getting into the car and driving or taking your mobile phone and calling your family when some bad people arrive and they outnumber you by one knife or more it is important to build a fire before you start trembling with hypothermia or finding your way home before the sun sets and there is no light in the double canopy forest.
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Squat down as low as you can with feet flat on the ground and your eyes looking forward and up. Slowly with your breath raise your arms and place your hands at the back of your neck and note how the shoulder position is displayed with your elbows. Now slowly move your body using your ankles as pivots and move forward and backwards and side to side in order to gain more awareness of your tension here and learn to be more free in this crucial point. After a while fold your arms at the lower back and again note the position of the shoulders and again move your torso to become more aligned and free in movement and in using your eyes and at last do the same drill with your arms free at your sides. Note that when they will be in line with your body it means you have your shoulders right over your hips. Now relax and let the hips and spine align so your breath will be easier and you will move better. This is a taxing drill sometimes and you can grow into it by using the support of a wall so you will have the feeling of relaxing hips spine and shoulders and from this your freedom of movement through relaxation and awareness will grow.
Keep breathing and using your eyes to see and your body to feel (avoid feeling where you are with your eyes!)
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There are many ways to relax and learn to do your job better and more efficiently. One way is to learn to use your eyes better while in movement. Even when we drive our bodies are rather silent and when we move it seems harder to use your eyes to notice and do something about what you now aware of.
Start by slowly rolling while you focus on the end of one of your fingers throughout the roll. Change fingers from time to time and keep breathing all the time. Add another finger from your other hand to this and keep track of both of them during the rolls and yes when you are up as well. Work to do this in the most comfortable way you can and stay upright when you stand and move.
Next use a shoe lace or something like it with a tie at the end of it and focus on the tie during the roll and the standing time. Add after a while another shoe lace held in your other hand and watch them both throughout the rolls and standing time.
Last have a partner stand at various distances and angles to you and roll. after a while add him moving to to the drill and at last keep track of him moving and a non moving object as well like a car or a tree.
Remember that the benefit from this work and most of Systema work comes after the learning is done. During the work you receive a much needed humility dose and the benefits to your performance in body and mind and soul will come to you afterwords when the dinner is digested.
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Lie on your back with your legs in the air and place your partner on the same line of your body with your heads facing away from each other. Use your legs to move and lift your partners back off the place he is in while you keep yourself in place and keep letting the breath lead you. Do the same drill when you are side by side left and right and finally do this using one leg against two or include more than one partner.
Have fun and remember you can change almost any drill in order to include your kids at home in it and you can always learn something new.
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Have a partner poke you with a pen or pencil and let it sink in. Use the breath to push it out and only in the point where you are touched. Do this for the entire body while smartly avoiding the eyes 🙂 and work with patience to really learn to move each part independently and with control. Breath is key as always and work on doing this during all three breath phases or if you have time on the inhale, pause, exhale, pause in succession.
Before you do this drill, tense and relax each part you can think of while in the static push up and sitting and standing and note the differences. You will work from uncomfortable positions as you will be surprised as you do the work in the service or defending your family and the more you can do to lessen the gap between what you know about yourself and what someone wants to teach you with as blade the more you will have a chance to survive. Another way to do this is to tense up completely and to let a partner move you about (playing pendulum with you upright using his fists etcetera) and by this and from time to time managing the tension level to half and slowly to the lowest measure which keeps your form you will learn to spread yourself in your entire body over time.
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Take a few friends and stand in a small circle with one in the middle. Start to push and pull him or her with the intention of moving and hitting your circle friends with them. This requires you pay more attention where the middle person is more free in his movement and you can use that open door to work on someone else. The one in the middle will work on not giving support by resisting all the pushes and pulls and moving so your head is not hit and your alignment is not rigid and bent. If the middle bends down the circle will jump on him to pile on him and lever him so you learn to avoid tying your shoe in a mob 🙂
Keep breathing and walking even in place and don’t try to keep your footing. Sometimes it is better to simply lift your foot off the ground and navigate in the air than to be trampled. Choose how to work instead of reacting. Another point is to push and pull using the legs and feet and to also push and pull on the neck and head. Respect yourself and your partners and work honestly and with care to learn rather than practice what you think you know.
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