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Low acrobatics part 3

In this article I would like to discuss the benefits of practicing Low acrobatics and their place in Systema.


Low acrobatics is the term used within Systema schools to describe the methods used to either fall to the floor, move on the floor and move on or around objects such as tables and chairs.  Depending which source of Systema you study you will be taught a certain number of specific methods of performing these tasks.

The question has to be asked, ‘What is the purpose of all this focus on falling over?’ 

In my opinion there are three reasons for studying these methods of movement.

  1. Health
  2. Self defense
  3. Tactical



One of the primary goals of Systema is to promote health within its students.   For some time in modern sports conditioning the benefits of joint mobility exercises have been well documented.  The act of rolling challenges and develops mobility like no other series of exercises. 

By rolling on hard floors and applying the principle of applying only soft parts of your body in contact with the floor we can use low acrobatics as a self massage. The body is incredibly clever.  Muscles carrying unnecessary tension will relax instead of fighting the pressure of our own body weight pushing it them against a hard surface.  Tension is literally rolled away to promote relaxation and freedom of movement.

Then consider the way the body has to engage the core muscles to control the movements on the floor and you can really see that there are very real fitness benefits to be had from a little daily Low acrobatic practice.


Self Defense

For some time the idea that the fight is likely to go to the floor has been heavily promoted and there is enough truth in that idea that it is worth developing some skill in fighting from the floor. 

Notice I did not say, “Developing the ability to grapple.”  Though in my opinion that is an essential part of the process.

Fighting from the floor has to include dealing with grappling, people stamping and kicking you, multiple attackers and try to address some of the concerns relating to weapons being used.  The first part of that process has to be becoming comfortable with moving on the floor.  One way to look at it is that Systema low acrobatics is the equivalent to a boxer’s footwork.  It gets you out of danger and puts you in a position to respond against your opponent’s attacks.

In fact I would like to propose that it goes further than this because in the right circumstances it becomes the response to an attack and creates many of the takedowns.



This area of Systema Low acrobatics is more often considered by those who carry firearms, but there is plenty in there to keep those that do not busy.

The ability to move to the floor smoothly and quickly while carrying a firearm is one skill that Systema Kadochnikova and its offshoots excel at.  The reason for this is that their systema was designed for use within elite military units.  If you carry a firearm the ability to move and work with it is going to be of far more use than any other martial arts skill.

For those of us who do not have or want access to firearms there is plenty to consider from the perspective of tactical low acrobatics.  Consider a situation where a gang gives chase after you.  Standing and fighting is likely to get you killed and escape is your only option. 

In this situation the ability to cross objects or go to ground and hide would now be a very big asset. Low acrobatics develops that skill.   


One last reason

Of course there is one last reason.  It's fun!!!

The sense of freedom gained from flowing over objects or across the floor using Systema low acrobatics is incredible. So go out there now and give it a go.