Systema a discussion

Discussion in 'Russian Martial Arts' started by Gweilo, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    5,377
    Likes Received:
    3,861
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Lexington, KY
    Good on those guys for keeping an open mind while working with the Systema guy, even without sparring.

    I can't claim to have any great insight into Systema. I had a few practice sessions with some relatively beginner seminar students who were working to start a club in Dayton some years back. I've also watched a bunch of videos. I've done some on-and-off experimentation over the years on my own based on what I've seen.

    My impressions from what I've seen are as follows:

    They have some interesting body mechanics which could be useful in a variety of situations. In particular, they have some good relaxed power generation.

    They seem to have a lot of practice devoted to just internalizing that relaxed movement and using it in an instinctive fashion, rather than drilling specific techniques.

    I suspect sometimes some practitioners may get so caught up in those movement drills that they start confusing them with actual application. (Or a teacher who may know better may demonstrate techniques this way in order to impress students. I'm thinking in particular of Vladimir Vasiliev. He's clearly very skilled, but I've seen lots of footage of him demonstrating knife defenses which will absolutely get you killed if you try them.)

    Systema has a distinctive flavor to the movement, but the concepts are not unique to the art. I've occasionally seen some similar demos in certain CMAs. I've seen a couple of MMA fighters mix in certain elements of the movement in their fights. (Don't think they got it from Systema, but you never know.) The technique the guy showed in the video of hitting with the shoulder off of a clinch is one I learned from a JKD/BJJ instructor 20 years ago and by coincidence my own coach used it on me during sparring last night.

    For a one-on-one fight at range, I don't think Systema punching is overall as good as boxing punching. However it does offer some interesting options for working in the clinch. I played around with some Systema-style punching during sparring last night and was able to land some sneaky shots from close range.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    17,118
    Likes Received:
    4,109
    Trophy Points:
    308
    I don't see that style of punching as they described it being especially unique.

    I do what I call a trailing hook. That is kind of that action.
     
  3. Gweilo

    Gweilo Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2019
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    122
    Trophy Points:
    43
    @Tony Dismukes , I agree, the relaxed movements and strikes are not unique to systema, but what some viewers do not understand is, when they see the drills, where a strike lands, it's not solely about absorbing the strike, it's twofold, absorbing and or narrowing the angle of impact, it's also about moving or using the whole body, to avoid, defend and attack, and I also agree with some of Vladimir's videos show some forms of knife defense, that will get people hurt if they tried them on someone who was half decent with a knife,and again the drill is twofold, trying to defend against the initial attack, knowing when to move rather than defend, but also, there is a side to Systema that trains the phyche, the more you know how to use the knife, the better you become at detecting the movement of a knife attack in its earliest stages, but we could watch nearly every other art and point out potential flaws with some technique or other, My approach is take what's useful, and put it in the locker. Some of the training drills we do are about a feeling, we constantly scan our bodies for tension, trying to keep us as free moving as possible, and yes I think practioners do take the drills as a matter of literal technique, when they should be looking for the shortest or most direct counter in a way that hides the strike, or from an angle that is difficult to defend, followed very quickly with a 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. Systema is no better than any other art out there, just different in its basic philosophy and application of training, and a large part of the training to develop the breathwork.
     
  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    21,371
    Likes Received:
    6,245
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    Good points, as usual.

    A lot of the commentary I see about Systema (especially your reactions here) ring of things I've either heard or said about Aikido/aiki arts. In both cases, I think the movement training is part of what differentiates that group. It's not really necessary (we could find faster ways to competency than training that relaxed movement), but it's an interesting approach. And folks in both camps sometimes get lost in the drills and very focused on them, rather than application. Which, I suppose, is fine if they're okay with departing from fight application (which some groups in Aikido are, and state that fight application isn't really the objective). And in both cases, I think there's a benefit beyond fight application (which I also see in folks who really get into the relaxed, patient approach in BJJ).

    I suspect something that's not often said, but more often felt, is that folks just really like the movement approach (and, thus, the drills for it), because it feels good. They like learning to relax that tension, move fluidly, etc. And in many cases, I think folks are okay trading some efficiency of learning fight skills (taking longer to get to competence in some areas) for that. But I think folks are sometimes loathe to admit - because of marketing they've used or responded to - that it is a slower path to competence in fighting.
     

Share This Page