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The Systema Trinity Strike


Originally taught to me by Vladimir Vasiliev the ‘Trinity’ or ‘Trinity’ strike has been something that I only realised the fine details of once I started to study with the Kadochnikov Systema School of Alexander Maksimtov.

I would like to take the opportunity of writing this article to share some of this information in this article.


Choose your weapon

Back when I first learnt this I was taught that the trinity strike was performed by hitting with the fist, followed by elbow and finally the fist or edge of the hand with the same arm being used to produce all three strikes.  The strikes were connected by a continual thread of movement and allowed the striker to hit in a more rapid series of strikes than is achievable using conventional punches, where the arm has to be withdrawn to throw the next shot.

However Alexander Maksimtov is less than happy with the use of fists.  He has several reasons for this. 

The first is the vulnerability of it to getting broken it contacts something hard such as the forehead and another is that an open hand can also grip as well as hit. Unlike the fist which has to open first before it can take hold of anything.

Despite this the sequence of strikes is the same for fist or open hand.  First the hand makes contact, followed by an elbow and finally another hand strike.


Continual movement

As I have discussed in my article on the principles of movement a continually moving centre of mass is fundamental to systema’s method of combat.  Movement is driven from a point of pressure such as the feet or if hit the force of the opponent’s fist on our body.  If stood so that our feet are side by side this movement is from side to side in a figure ‘8’ movement. 

Also the arms move continually.  If practiced slowly they drop back to the sides between strikes so that there is no unnecessary energy expended holding them up.  However as the pace of the strikes increases the hands never drop because the interval between the strikes is too small. 


Next jet is in bound

When a hand connects with the target for the third of the triple hits the next hand has to be inbound to the target in a similar fashion to the way fighter jets follow closely behind each other to drop their payloads in what appears on the ground as an almost constant barrage.


Division of weight

As we have seen in my article on the physics of striking hitting downwards generates more force due to it using both our mass and the acceleration of gravity.  The elbow is a very robust and powerful weapon and it is therefore preferable that our weight be sunk with this strike.

In this clip Alexander Maksimtov runs through the four directions of ‘Triple Strike’ that he teaches.  This is done at both slow and fast speeds so that you can see what is happening. 

Though there are numerous directions of hitting with this method he uses four basic directions as a teaching tool.  The advantage of doing this is that both instructor and student can see if they understand and have sufficient control of their body to perform the strikes effectively before experimenting with other directions of strike.




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