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Systema Mind Games

When I first travelled to Toronto to study Systema one exercise that Vladimir Vasiliev gave me stood out beyond all the others and it was something I practiced in my own time, not in the class. 

In this article I would like to share with you this  valuable lesson in the hope that you too will put the time aside to get the benefits it offers.


Be honest my friend

In this exercise we need to write down our days activities on a piece of paper starting with the very first moment we woke up through to the time of starting the exercise.  This sounds really easy, but the trick and in turn the most difficult part of this exercise is being honest with the piece of paper.

Not only should you write about what you did, you should write about how it felt to do those things and why you did them. Also ask yourself your opinion of why things happened or others carried out certain actions.  Keep your questions open and use words such as who, why, when, what and where to start your questions.

Literally write everything word for word as it goes through your head.  Do not try to abbreviate or interpret what you think, simply honestly record it on the paper and move on to the next part of the day.

Remember detail is essential.  Instead of writing I ate breakfast, describe how you made it, the order of consumption and of course how you felt doing this.


Writer’s block

Every writer knows the feeling of struggling to find the next thing to write.  In this drill it is not uncommon to have blank moments, but there is a strategy for getting around this I want you to use. 

As an example if you find yourself writing about an incident in the day and when it comes to describing how it felt or your reason for doing a certain action, but the answer does not pop into your head for recording on the paper write a direct question to yourself such as, “Why did I do that?” or “How did that make me feel?”

Keep writing that question over and over again and very quickly an answer will pop into your head and the process continues until you get to when you started the writing exercise.


Don’t get off track

During the process it is very easy to get distracted by physical sensations such as hunger or cold.  Also you may notice something in your environment such as another person or the weather.  If this happens simply write down your observations and then continue writing about your day.


The final stage

Having committed everything to paper the last stage of the exercise is to take your piece of paper and burn it.  The reason for doing this is that it disposes of anything that you wrote. 

It is a bit like making a confession to a priest. Both the paper  and priest cannot divulge what you shared with them to anyone.

During the writing and burning process there was an amazing feeling of unburdening.  When I did it in Toronto I literally felt tension dissipating from my body as I wrote and a friend who often sat with me in the coffee shop when I wrote said he could see me visibly relax as I hit a crucial point in my scribblings.

I did this exercise every day for the six and a half weeks that I trained on that trip to the Toronto school.   Its effect was incredible and worth the cost of making the trip alone.  So give it a go.  If it benefits you encourage others.  Maybe write a few words of your own about the process and post a comment or two on our Combat Lab facebook page.