Time is going by us all the time 🙂
To make ourselves more resilient and mobile at the same time, we can choose to take a simple breath in between to make things last longer.
Start doing pushups. Pause for one breath on the top position between each push up and gain more awareness and time in the plank. Pause in the middle or bottom (without touching the body to the ground) and you will gain more lasting power and stability within movement.
Start standing and transition between standing and laying down with your arms not touching the ground at all. Pause for one breath and relax what does not need tension first in the up and down moments (when you are standing and when you are laying down) and then pause twice in between these two positions and again take a full breath to relax what does need tension and you will be teaching yourself the delta of need and exists in a very wide arch of positions. It is also fun to transition between muscle and structure power. It saves energy and gives us more ability at the same time.
Start climbing a rope or doing pull ups. First pause in the low and high positions and allow the body to maintain only the needed tension to preserve the position and then twice in between. The learning will be more intense as if is a power movement but you will be able with time to transition some of the tension from the active parts of the arms back and shoulders to the body and maintain a lower level of activation with the same work done.
Keep breathing and see you in class 🙂
We move. We feel and we think. It is the definition of life.
The thing starts to get complicated when we separate qualities from each other and instead of putting everything in the same mix, We place them into boxes without knowing how they all work together.
We are bone and blood. Connective tissue and nerves and more. They have to work together as soft and hard, rope and stick and bungee cord. The more we have of one quality, the less is needed to achieve another.
In this example, let us discuss stability and fluidity. Stability can be the wholeness of your connective tissue, it’s health and span, The force of your muscles coupled with the activation of the nervous system.
Fluidity can be moving from different points in the body at the same time. Being seamless in your thoughts and actions and in all body parts working in sync.
The more we are stable, The easier it will be to move as one since you will need less tension to create a solid yet dynamic structure and it will be easier to let impact move through you and spread instead of rending your flesh and bones.
Here are three drills for stability that promote fluidity as well:
Yes you can eat the cake and have it whole. 🙂
- Walk on your hands/fists and feet. take a step with each breath phase and move forward and back, side and side, facing up and facing down.
- Place your self on your stomach and lift all limbs in the air. Turn from belly to back and return with each breath phase.
- Stand and tense your body whole, Relax as you exhale and roll to the ground and back up.
These drills are not complex and you need no gear to do them aside from time and wanting to. Make sure you practice with grace in mind and the joy will follow.
The sweet spot.
Why do we work? To get a job done. That is the easy part.
What is the job is a more elusive thing I hope to help you define for yourself.
I was asked how to work for more vigilance and tranquility or awareness and inner calm.
My answer is very simple. Avoid looking for something and simply notice. Anything else will set you on an imbalanced track toward some goal outside what is in the words of an old movie “What is best in life”.
An example of walking wayward of your path is making the path the goal. This means that you want to become a good Judoka or a good shooter in the range and forget the true goal of any martial art, which is getting you home in one piece after you prevail what life brings your way so you can be a good father or mother to the next generation.
If I was a good Systema teacher who could show and teach technique in movement, I would be less than useless.
My goal in teaching is giving the students and myself as the student who happens to lead the class themselves. It is not the way which matters but the keeping true to your values and continuing to both let go of what is not needed and getting to know yourself better so you can add more to your life and to the lives of your loved ones.
Why hit each other in the face? To become tough so you can withstand pain and go on? We hit each other in the face to learn about ourselves and to learn to accept reality so we resist it less and less.
What is the job? An ongoing mission to grace, honesty, ingenuity and our true nature, released from any hold.
Drills to illustrate the point
Move from standing to laying down on your chest. Change what part of your body cannot touch the ground each time until you find something that creates an obstruction. Move around that obstruction and create new pathways.
Join a conversation each day and impose a rule that you must include the word <insert a word here> in every second sentence of the conversation.
Find something that makes you uncomfortable and seek to understand what exactly makes you uncomfortable in it. Do not seek to change. Change happens all the time anyway. Forcing it only hampers in your grace and enjoying your life to the fullest.
In this video we do one simple thing. We walk (move) with the contact. That does not mean we walk passively but we choose our steps with awareness and breath leading. Breath, feel, move and keep human. Remember it is much easier to destroy than to build and move only in the speed you can keep yourself and others safe in.
Breath and relax the eyes
feel (direction and pressure)
feel where you are comfortable
Move from the breath letting the breath lead
There is an old army joke about a soldier getting two wishes from a Jinn. He thinks and things and then declares I want a magazine that never ends and poof it is laying in his eager hand. The Jinn asks for the second wish and after pondering the soldier says proudly I want another one…
There is actually quite a lot of wisdom in this silly yarn. We are taught that two is one and one is none in the army but in broader terms we learn to rely on ourselves and not on our gear. Things fail break or are” loaned” by someone who thinks they know better but never tastes the dirt. What stays with you is a spirit of mistrust in everything in the beginning from the timeline your commander issues to the rifle actually shooting. When you mature by a few months you learn to attach small and shiny items to yourself by more than one mean and learn to use things to more than their intended purpose. You can open a can with the front sight of an M-16, You can put torn flesh together with Locktite glue (a historical note is that one of the original uses was just that) and you can use your mind and body for just about anything.
It is a state of mind first of using tools with your mind being one of them. Thoughts of despair frustration and vengeance are kinks in the machine you are running and as you know you cannot escape a trap leaving parts of you behind and return to normal living. Learn to harness your mind by working everything together. Your emotions and body both effect the mind and it affects them as well. Ignoring a glitch in any of them will lead to not knowing why you are angry after not eating or sleeping for a while and if one part of the chain is stretched it is soon to break.
Make it not a habit but a drill to be used when needed to report to yourself on all your systems. How am I feeling ? Am I afraid or something or angry which is the other side of the coin. Is my body suffering from bad nutrition while on a trip or deployment ? Am I bored from patrol and drift away in my mind while driving or walking ?
These simple questions take the harness from the emotions thoughts pangs and pains and places them in you. It is simple but not easy so slowly start with this process and see what it can do for you.
Have a partner put you in a lock or lever such as a wrist twist which causes the tension to move from the impacted joint to the next in the tension chain and breath. Relax and walk and as you walk move your entire body to move that impacted body part and find the opening in your partner through this contact. For example if your partner takes your hand and and turns it so your little finger is facing up and and your elbow is twisted to point at your middle, relax your hand and become aware of his intended movement and tension and for example note that he is leaning on the hand forward. Take a step to the side to allow him to complete his movement and at the same time move your hand so he is unbalanced. This takes a lot of patience and awareness to do so progress slowly and don’t be afraid of moving all your body at the same time. Kneel, lever your own limbs, use your neck as a fulcrum and so on. Learn to find a way.