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Why is Training Systema Outside So Important?

One thing that Systema advocates is getting outside of the gym and training in a natural environment.  Why is this so important and what is a natural environment?



When we train in a familiar space regularly the mindset we need to perform well can become subconsciously associated with that place.  By training in different places this is less likely to be the case and will allow you to learn to access Systema no matter where or when a conflict were to happen.


Little things such as being on a slippery or unfamiliar surface can impact how relaxed you feel and the way you react to attacks.  It is therefore important to regularly mix things up and get outside to train. 


Heading outside doesn’t always mean heading for the nearest green space though there is distinct advantages to doing this. Unless you are in the military most self defense situations will occur in urban environments.  Wether it be bars or streets these have various additional factors such as debris on the floor that need to be taken into account.  


One drill that Systema instructor Alexander Maksimtsov had us practice at a recent seminar taught us to make use of walls and railings when we worked.  In the drill we had to tell our training partner a funny story and throughout this tale we were to launch a number of attacks without stopping our story or making our movements obvious.  One of the ways we did this was to strike or push our partners into walls or railings as part of our attacks.  


When we trained in Yalta we practiced Systema low acrobatics on concrete and used various pieces of street furniture as obstacles to be crossed using different low acrobatic techniques.


However training in a natural environment is an incredibly powerful tool for creating relaxation, promoting health and challenging our Systema.  Particularly for students who live in cities getting out to the countryside is an amazing opportunity that should not be missed.  


When I trained at a European Systema Camp in Germany we spent many hours training on steep slopes and in the lakes.  This really changed the way that everyone moved and reacted to attacks.  


On the 24th March 2013 I will be taking my Systema group and any one else who wants to join us out onto the hills to study a principle based approach to learning Systema.  These sessions are the highlight of my training calendar and are always looked forward to by everyone who has attended one.  If you want more information about this and other training sessions we run please check out the Combat Lab seminar page.


For more information about how to train Systema and the Science it is based on check out the other articles in the Combat Lab Systema Blog and the educational material in the Combat Lab Shop.