Are You A Selfish Systema Lover?
This weekend I spent three days teaching Systema students and instructors from all over France where they have a growing community of classes free off attachment to any one school of Systema.
This article is something they wanted me to write and I dedicate it to them and their hard work.
What Is A 'Selfish Systema Lover?
Studying Systema is a partnership. Both parties have to engage fully for both people to get satisfaction and yet there are those that like to hold back and deprive their training partners of the energy they need to get a full experience.
Systema is an art that excels at capturing and using our attackers inertia. Yes it is possible to work when this is deprived, but many of the drills make use of the movement of our opponent’s and turn it against them. This is why I like my students to work against a stick or bat before moving onto a weapon such as the knife where it can be used effectively without committing any mass behind it.
Yet there are those in our community who like to tap their partners with no commitment instead of providing a realistic attack. Working slowly makes this even easier to do because they do not have to hit anything with force. This is one reason why I like to use the foam bat.
On the seminar students were hitting each other so hard that if they got it wrong many bats broke with the force of the strikes. This was because they were not selfish and tried to give their partners as much energy and intention as possible to work with.
To work in any other way, unless there is a clear instruction to hold back is the sign of a ‘Selfish Systema Lover.’ Alex Kostic points out that this negative behaviour is a form of passive aggressive behaviour and I agree with his diagnosis. These people want all the gratification whilst controlling and destroying their partners experience.
Not only does this waste valuable training time it can destroy a partner’s confidence and set them backwards.
In my training methods wether fast or slow I put the responsibility on the attacker to be a good lover and provide the sort of experience that is guaranteed to improve their partner. In effect it is a teaching relationship and this develops a bond and trust that never ceases to impress me.
If you haven’t heard of it yet we use the 70/30 rule in all our training. The goal of the attacker is to feed attacks that allow our partners to succeed 70% of the time and only fail on 30% of the attacks. this is done by varying speed, resistance and complexity of the attacks. This way the students get more difficult challenges as their ability grows.
So next time you are training develop a teaching relationship and be a good lover. Feed them attacks that most of the time they can deal with, but from time to time push the boundaries of their abilities and you will grow together.
This is video of material shot on day one of this amazing seminar. I hope it inspires as it did the participants and myself.
For more information on Combat Lab's approach to studying the Science of Russian Martial Arts and learn how to train it for self defence check out our other Systema blog articles and the educational material in our Combat Lab Shop.