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Alexander Maksimtsov Systema Seminar 10th November 2012


On the 10th November 2012 Systema students met at the Barons Court Tube station for day two of the Systema Kadochnikova seminar with Alexander Maksimtsov.  A short time later we were warming up in the grounds of a local teaching hospital.  You might wonder why this seminar was taking place in this location and not a sports centre or commercial gym. 

The answer is simple Systema is a martial art designed for survival in extreme situations and these do not occur in gyms or on mats.  For that reason students do not where gym clothing or train within gyms whenever it is possible to train in a natural environment.  I know the phrase natural environment conjures up the image of training in a wood or remote hillside, but for many city dwellers this is not a natural environment and one in which they may have to use their Systema skills to survive an attack.

The days Systema training commenced with an analysis of our physical relaxation before moving onto a detailed look at how to change your direction of travel while keeping your centre mass from stopping its movement.  This was combined in a series of drills with figure eight movements of the arms and low acrobatics.

The next topic was how to use leverage against the fingers.  To explore this we started with our fingers interwoven with our partners.  From this position we both had to try and put each other to the floor, roll them into a face down position simply by using leverage and the basic principles of Systema structure breaking.    Unlike some versions of this drill I have done, this was performed against a student who was not only trying to resist your efforts to get them to the floor, but they were trying to do exactly the same thing to you.  This made the problem solving element of the exercise fascinating and a real challenge.

We then moved through some drills designed to teach you how to react to being struck while simultaneously giving your partner an opportunity to learn how to strike pre-emptively without them realising what you are doing before it is too late.

To do this our partner closed their eyes.  When we pushed or slowly, but honestly struck them on vulnerable points they relaxed and moved with the vector of force and if we only touched them gently on the same points, shouted or clapped they did not react.  One important point for the striker was to move in a natural way.  It is not natural to walk with the hand and leg on the same side of the body swinging together.  It is so unnatural that if we do it the defender will see it coming from a mile away and react before we get to hit him.

To avoid that and us setting ourselves for the strike before we delivered it Alexander had us perform a Systema drill that I want to share with you.  We had to tell our partner a funny story.  We had to be expressive and this involved making larger movements than most people are used to.  Our faces had to be relaxed and smiling while we talked to our partners and entertained them with our tails.  From time to time without warning or stopping the flow of the conversation we had to strike or kick them.  Sometimes we hit them into walls or fences so that we had to pay attention to ourselves, the stories, our opponents and lastly the environment.

Lastly I got to work integrating figure eight, footwork and Systema structure breaking training with a Swiss trainee Systema instructor, David Savoy.  These was a fantastic opportunity to bring together the material I had learnt over the last two days and start to integrate it with the new information on Systema Kadochnikova we had with what I already learnt.

If you want more information on the Science of Systema Structure Breaking or how to structure Systema Drills Check out our ebooks and downloadable video lesson in the Combat Lab Shop.