Sistema Homoluden Seminar London 2013 Part three...
In this third article on the recent Alex Kostic seminar in London I would like to discuss what he described as full release and how he structured the build up to full speed training.
Alex is a master story teller. Anyone who has been to his seminars will know that they tell a story using movement and concepts. Like all stories they have a beginning, middle and end and the seminar was no different in that respect.
The beginning was technical details such as how to perform various punches and kicks at all angles and ranges so that it didn’t matter where an opponent was stood you could hit them with the most appropriate strike without having first to adjust your position. This is incredibly important because attacks can come from any angle in a fight unlike anything that happens in a one on one sporting or match fight.
By having specific methods to use the decision making process for new students is sped up and this is no different to teaching a student how things like structure breaking works before unleashing them on free play drills.
The next stage is to work on flow. This can be done in a variety of ways and different levels of speed and intensity. Alex had us carry out a number of flow drills including flowing between strikes on a pad, working at very slow pace against a non-resisting partner to practice feeling the tension for takedowns, Working at a medium pace using strikes to break and prevent grips and a number of drills which he called full release.
In these drills the attackers really try to hit you and the person in the middle holds nothing back. We tried a number of these drills with the goal of pulling the different strands of the seminar together.
One series of drills focused on grip and takedown defense. In it a number of people tried to take you to the floor and you had to remain standing, keep good form and escape or frustrate their attempts. What was good about this drill was that there was no emphasis on taking the attackers to the floor. Instead you simply flowed from one position to another noting as you went any opportunities they provided.
The reality of performing this drill was that it was an impossible situation. This was because we were not striking back or structure breaking and would always get taken down at some point with enough persistence from your attackers. That however was the point. By doing this a part of our Systema was isolated and worked on before being reintegrated into the whole.
In this particular flow drill Alex is exploring flow between grip releases and strikes with two attackers. One thing he advocated was using the grip release as a strike using the elbow as the forearm rotated out of the attackers grasp.
The culmination of the story was what Alex calls full release. Physically and physiologically there is no holding back. A student in the centre of the circle was kicked, slapped and wrestled with no restrictions on how they attacked.
The person in the middle used punctuated flow between strikes and kicks to stay safe. Emphasis was placed on the attackers being responsible for their own safety. In the middle there is no holding back.
Strikes go in every direction and because of their often large circular nature it was impossible to aim at specific people or targets. This meant that getting in to make an attack was incredibly difficult to do and gave the person in the middle space that would be lost with the smaller movement multiple opponent approach I have studied with Michael Ryabko at his Moscow Systema School.
In this video clip one such full release session is taking place. Notice how it is kept short and intense. This is because there is a very real risk with carrying out the drill, but it is only done by people who volunteer to be involved. One thing I am becoming aware of is that it is not for everyone.
For safety sake the person in the middle used open hand strikes and in Alex’s own training he follows the example of Skobar and uses boxing gloves and sometimes head guards to allow for more contact while preventing injuries.
This seminar was run by Foxy Boxing events. For more information about future seminars they are hosting check out their website.