Fight Club

Discussion in 'Russian Martial Arts' started by Gordon Nore, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    Finally, I'm getting off my **** and going over to visit http://www.fight-club.ca/ in Toronto for a class tonight.

    I haven't trained seriously at my own school for nearly a year. Since '95 I had trained in a Hapkido-Shotokan hybrid. I want to get back to training, but I want to do something really different. Nearing forty-nine, hard ukemi doesn't hold the same charm for me that it used to.

    Since I'm on March Break from school, now seems like a good time to get started.

    The fella who runs the school, Emmanuel Manolakakis, has come highly recommended locally and on this forum. Looking forward to emptying my cup. I'll limp back tonight with a report.
     
  2. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    "I'll limp back tonight with a report. "

    I look forward to reading it. If you read this before you go please give my regards to Manny and Janice.

    Have fun
    Regards
    Brian King
     
  3. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    Manny sends his best, Brian. He said to me, "You know Brian?" He had wonderful things to say about you.

    Class was fun. A dozen people, plenty of room, good mats. The pace was interesting - a constant flow of activity, but nothing that left me breathless and puking after so long since training. Tonight's class, I guess, was focused on fist-placement and forearms. Some eye-openers:


    • 'walking' up an down the wall on my fists as I moved my feet further out -- really dynamic condition compared to the basic knuckle push-up
    • 'walking' up and down a person -- groups of two on one -- with my fists
    • always rolling out of a fall, which I've done before, but I'm used to break-falling
    • a lot of very intuitive striking
    This class ended in a circle, with each participant discussion what they got out of it, etc. A very mature, adult-ed-style approach.

    It was different, in that I was moving in ways that I don't normally move; and absolutely, the same, because Manny and one of his seniors told me the same thing my Sensei have told me since 1995, "Gord, loosen up. Relax."

    The intro deal is two classes for $15. Classes available at the same time five or six days a week, which is a real plus. My old school operates two nights per week through a community centre, so I can flex my time a bit.

    I'll try class number two and see if the payment options and schedules are to my liking.
     
  4. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Good for you Gord. So many say that they want to experience Systema but seem to find so many reasons to avoid it LOL.

    A few thoughts that may help you in your training…your mileage may vary of course. Every drill/exercise is designed to be worked on many different levels depending on the person doing it/them and what they are trying to work on. For instance the fist placement drill you talked about with one or more people walking up their training partner. It can be a fist placement drill for some, a fist educational drill (teaching how to form a fist to a body part or area, a breathing drill learning to focus breath thru or into specific body areas, a balance drill, a method to get one used to contact with out allowing fear or ego to gain a foothold, a tempering drill and so many more. All those are pretty intuitive I would guess and the people doing the drill right away usually understand what they need to work on and where they are weak. What a lot of people that are used to the “you do a technique two times then we switch and I do it two times” seem to often not see is that all should be working and training during every drill. In the same drill above it is easy for people to see what gains and experience that the partner doing the walking is getting, but it can sometimes be a little difficult to see what benefit or practice the one getting walked on is receiving (hint there are MANY). It is important to try to see what benefit what skill or body attribute is the instructor trying to bring out with any particular drill/exercise.

    So did you get a chance to strike some of your fellow students or Manny? Did you take any hits? Many people when they see on video or you tube Systema practitioners hitting have their doubts about the effectiveness of the strikes or the ability to absorb strikes with little damage. If you did not get a chance during this class I recommend you doing so on your second. Often new people are not hit more than t-shirt deep until they get more used to surviving but experienced martial artists often ask to feel the hits soon after starting training.

    If you have watched or read anything about Systema and said to yourself or to your friends “I don’t know I would have to feel that” or “that might work on some but not on me” I highly recommend that during your second class Gord that you ask to feel it to experience it for yourself. Every Systema instructor is very approachable and Manny is one of the better.

    You had a back injury I believe and like many of us that age and train may well have other injuries as well. I HIGHLY recommend that you also talk to Manny about those and how perhaps some of the breath work and exercises can help you in those areas as well. You spent our money so it is up to you to get every pennies worth. Be greedy in your training. After the instructor demonstrates what the drill is and everyone partner ups to do the drill take a moment and ask the instructor if you can feel the movement or whatever they were demonstrating, your partner will understand and will likely also be very interested in feeling what is going on. I cannot count the number of times that I thought I knew what the drill was but after a moments of hands on feeling realized that I was completely mistaken.


    Thank you Gordon for passing my regards and relaying his wishes. He is very gracious. It is always nice to let a friend know that you were thinking of them and sending well wishes. I thank you again for allowing me a moment to say a distant hello to an old friend thru you.

    I will be traveling to Toronto in May to train for a week or so and hope that we get a chance to do some of the work together then sir. Thanks for taking the time to post your report after class one and I look forward to reading about class two.

    Warmest regards
    Brian King
     
  5. NYCRonin

    NYCRonin Purple Belt

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    Brians got good advice for you, Gordon.

    And you made a fine choice in choosing Manny. (Wait until you meet Vlad and The Crew...take your time and Manny will get you where you wish to go).

    I am familiar with both of your previously studied arts - earned entry level shodan in Shotokan...and was later introduced to Hapkido things by 8 years of study in the older form of TSD/MDK....over 30 years ago.

    Systema has been called everything from garbage to transformational - this, of course depends on the individual (- results vary...as Brian mentioned)

    BUT - if this study winds up as good for you...buckle up your seat belt...its one helluva ride!

    And Manny is a wonderful driving instuctor...he has a well formed manner of teaching...and will not hog the steering wheel.

    Best of understanding to you, Gordon...have fun, be open to very different things in your study.

    You have one of the best of The Crew as your guide.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2009
  6. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    My comment about intuitive striking had to do with a grappling exercise we did, where the opponent would just grab you any old way, and we were told to look for the 'holes' and punch, so that part was more intuitive for me. The senior I worked with gave me a couple of shots. I'll be sure to ask Manny to smack me a bit. Getting hit I don't mind -- big falls to the ground, I'm not so crazy about any more.

    Another thing that impressed me was, and I'm starting to feel at 10:00 am, is the subtle but persistent strength training infused into the practice. So far, I'm pleased.

    G
     
  7. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Ah, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification

    That is good as contact is a great teacher but it is only part of the equation. It is also interesting to do some of the hitting, I know you have hit people before, but trust me there are differences that have to be felt to be understood.


    Glad that you are enjoying you exposure so far. Thanks again for taking the time to report on your classes and observations. So many have the desire but not the will to seek the training it is a pleasure to have a conversation (even if digital) with someone willing to step into the unknown and test themselves.

    Regarding the falling I think that you will grow to value Systema and the freedom and health benefits that the type of falling and rolling our practice developes.

    Warmest wishes
    Brian King
     
  8. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    I was back again tonight -- I'm off this week for March break, so it's a good week to change my routine -- and Janice was teaching. We did alot of defenses from (which I'm more inclined to responses to) grabs. Getting grabbed is kinda my thing, so naturally I was grabbing my partner in the ways that I'm used to. Naturally, was seeing very different responses to what I would normally expect. Normally rolling is something I would do as a form of escape from an attack -- rolling out of a lock was quite fun.

    Can't articulate it, but I'm intriguecd by the rubberiness of the movements. I've drilled like that in the past, but that's not how I fight. I would liken it to being like a garden hose that is full water. Strong but bendable.
     
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  9. Brian King

    Brian King Master of Arts

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    Isn’t it! Rolling and getting a lock is also very fun.

    I like that and might pirate it.

    Thanks again for the reports. Like letters from home and just as appreciated. I am getting 'itchy' and May seems so long away. I am already counting the days.

    Regards
    Brian King
     
  10. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    Feel free, but it's an expression my Hapkido-karate teacher uses for describing good ukemi. I can't take credit.
     
  11. JadeDragon3

    JadeDragon3 Black Belt

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  12. Gordon Nore

    Gordon Nore Senior Master

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    Dear Brian,

    Day Four of my Systema marathon.

    Manny kicked me today. It really hurt. Actually everybody was kicking everybody in the gut; alternately working to absorb it or to toughen up and see how much we can take. Manny and the fellow I was working with got me to try kicking the with entire sole of my foot -- for front thrust kicks I've always kicked with the ball of my foot.

    Interesting drill -- everyone all squeezed together in a crow. Each of us had to make our way though at the same time. First by pushing, then by slipping through sideways. Reminded me of carrying trays of beer through a crowed bar,

    So far, so good. Signed up for six months today, which gives me the choice of any three evenings to attend, or more. Got my FightClub T-shirt, and my DVD.
     
  13. Mark Jakabcsin

    Mark Jakabcsin Green Belt

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    Gordon,
    Welcome to the family. I hope to meet you in May when I am up for Vlad's seminar. We are coming in a few days early and will catch a couple of Manny's classes.

    Take care and enjoy,

    Mark J.123
     

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