Day Four - An Ambitious Goal
Our final day of training was with Rob and his students. The goal he had set himself was ambitious because he wanted to teach us all the basic principles and drills we would need to further our studies when we returned to the UK.
Emphasis was put on having correct foot and arm position so that our weight was front loaded and the triangle formed by our arms pointed towards the opponent’s chin. This made them able to slide past attacks as we entered into them.
This idea of sliding and simultaneously striking then following up with further strikes to disorient and ultimately take the attacker out of the equation was incredibly effective when done correctly. On thing I found was that if my first strike rotated the attacker in the horizontal plane they were less able to back up and this stopped them creating more space between us. This was particularly useful if the attacker had a knife because pushing the attacker away gave them space to slash and stab as they withdrew behind the protection the knife offered.
We also looked at IZVOR stick defense. Like working against a knife the key is to act early, avoid the plane of attack using the sliding principle and secure the weapon whilst we delivered a series of strikes using trinity strikes. By controlling the knife this did not necessarily mean holding onto the weapon arm, simply controlling where it was through contact and the strikes we were using.
Using the arm as a plane to slide past the attack
Having avoided the attack control the arm and launch
your counter offensive
At one point we looked at how to use a jacket against an attacker. The principle was simple and caused their arms to be trussed together whilst the jacket also covered their head to stop them seeing what strikes you were using. This was great and when combined with Systema principles such as rotation in three planes it was a very powerful form of structure breaking too.
Using the jacket to tie up the attackers arms
Following a session on the basic IZVOR principles of grappling on the floor we moved into the see for a little wrestling practice. One thing we were encouraged to do was use the additional buoyancy to help us lift the opponents feet from the floor whilst we ducked their heads under the water. This was great fun. Something that was very similar to brothers play fighting in swimming pools.
At the end of the session we explored Yurmula, an attractive seaside town and where we got a coffee and locally made cake. This was followed by dinner with Rob and one last chance to discuss IZVOR, Systema and other Russian Martial Arts we had been in contact with.
Late at night Sunny and I returned to our hotel for the last time for more note taking, discussion and a little packing. This trip has been one of my favorite ones I have made in my journey training Russian Martial Arts. I cannot recommend the instruction we got enough or the care that Rob and his students showed us.
For more information in English can I recommend you look at his facebook group, European IZVOR seminar. On it he has clips from seminars and he is able to act as an interpreter for anyone wanting to as Michael a question.