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The laws of human survival

The Laws of human survival

Systema Kadochnikova teaches three basic laws of human survival.  The purpose of this article is to outline these and  discuss how they should affect the way we live our lives.



95% of effort should go into foreseeing potential dangers.  By observing our surroundings we should be able to identify possible dangers prior to them ever becoming an issue.  Put this into the context of driving a car.  If when driving along a road we should make use of our mirrors to see if there is any dangers coming from behind and must constantly scan as far as we can see looking for pedestrians or other vehicles that might pull into our path. 

This is the same when we think about self defence. Most attacks have a build up.  Muggers follow their victims to assess if they are safe to rob you, drunken thugs start by making aggressive eye contact before escalating to a physical attack.  Again if we pay attention to our surroundings we can prevent these happening, but the essential lesson to be learnt is we have to be paying attention. 

This is where alcohol can cause us a very real problem.  It stops us from noticing what is going on around us and prevents us from seeing any build up of threats or even how our own actions may put us in danger.  It is for this reason that I prefer to drink in the comfort of my own or friends homes where they likelihood of incident is reduced by the limited company and familiar surroundings.


4 to 4 ½ % of our effort should go into avoiding any identified threats. Realising that taking a short cut through a park at night is potentially going to put you in the path of attackers looking for a lone victim could get you mugged or worse.  By simply taking the long way around we can prevent us from every being in danger prior to the threat materialising.

Whilst socialising we might notice an atmosphere developing between members of our own group and another.  Simply by moving on to another bar an incident may be avoided.  However if a similar pattern of events develops between your group and separate group from the first I would start looking at the company you keep.  Often jokingly I tell my students and friends that my 1st rule for self defence is that they need to choose their friends and spouses carefully.  My reasoning behind this is that the majority of murders and assaults are committed by spouses, sexual partners and people that the victim knows socially.

Our health is another area that we can avoid putting ourselves in danger.  By recognising that certain food groups are inherently fattening we can avoid them from our diet and prevent us every needing to lose weight.  Also by studying sports science we can also see that certain exercises if performed with poor form have a significant risk of injury attached to them.  These exercises can then either be avoided all together or the correct technique learnt to remove the risk they present.



Action should only be for 0.5 to 1 % of your time. It is for when you have not been able to see the possibility of danger early enough and have not taken steps to avoid it.  In self defence it goes way beyond thumping an attacker on the nose or performing some other self defence technique.  It might be that you call the emergency services to assist in a situation, shout for help or use some sort of act to scare off your attacker. 

When driving it might mean that you swerve your car when another vehicle pulls into your path.  If however you had noticed the potential for this happening early enough you could have slowed down to allow the vehicle out or sounded your horn to warn them of the potential danger prior to any collision developing.

Another way to act when we are in danger is to adopt a lifestyle change.  Take a person who is obese as an example.  All the medical research indicates that being overweight is detrimental to their health and that by losing weight they can reduce the likelihood of contracting a number of debilitating and possibly life threatening ailments.  They have failed to avoid fattening foods in their diets for a significant amount of time and regularly consume more calories than they expend in activity.  Removing some of the offending food stuff from their diet though a step in the right direction is not going to have sufficient effects on their weight and a more drastic lifestyle change is now required.

This can only be rectified by a complete overhaul of the way they live their life.  A weight loss diet has to be used and exercise needs to become a daily part of their lifestyle. Being on a short term diet will produce short term results, but long term if they return to their old lifestyle they will end up in the same or worse condition than before.  That is why they need to adopted a way of living their life that is healthy and just as importantly sustainable. 



It always takes less effort to avoid a situation than deal with the aftermath.  Systema advocates that we live our lives in a manner that we do not destroy ourselves, family or society.  This means we should apply the principle of foreseeing dangers to these important things and if necessary take steps to avoid any conflicts that may harm them.  By learning to operate our lives we can have the greatest influence on others and our relationships with them.  We can become an inspiration to other or provide support when others need it.  This part of Systema is more applicable to most people’s lives than learning to fight.  This is because most of them will never have to deal with a physical confrontation and by applying these principles this threat of danger becomes even less likely to occur to them.