Systema questions

Discussion in 'Russian Martial Arts' started by thetruth, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. thetruth

    thetruth Black Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I've just watched some footage of Vasiliev on you tube. Unlike other military type self defence systems Systema seems to me like a combination of other arts. I see huge similarities between elements of systema and aikido, systema and kung fu with the odd angle punches and strikes. It also seems to entail pressure points of some description and the generation of chi/ki with its breathing exercises. I'm not a fan of the hitting of areas of the body relatively softly because you can. Does systema use this for demo only and use full strength strikes in reality? Also are these areas where nerve junctions etc are present or does one set up points in a similar vain to the likes of Dillman etc? As for the generation of ki, does one require breathing exercises before taking the strikes? As for all of the dodging and weaving between multiple attackers and using leverage of sorts to manipulate them. Is this for demo or does one practice this full speed? It seems like an art that would take a long time to become proficient at to even be able to defend yourself at a basic level using the techniques I saw.

    Just askin'?
    Cheers
    Sam:asian:
     
  2. Bob Hubbard

    Bob Hubbard Retired

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    • Founding Member
    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2001
    Messages:
    47,249
    Likes Received:
    764
    Trophy Points:
    248
    Location:
    Land of the Free
    I played with a few systema folks a while back. It's an interesting system, I described it as Tai-Chi on crack back then and they laughed and said "makes sense". It seems to be a variable system, hard when needed, soft when needed, with the body trained to flow at will between the modes. More than that, you'd have to get from someone who does it.
     
  3. Rook

    Rook Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I don't practice systema and most of my information comes from speaking to people and discussing it on the internet. I'm just answering because this part of the forum seems pretty low in activity. Someone with a better understanding of systema might chime in later to clarify things.

    The systema people will probably draw a distinction between their energy stuff and that of the CMAs.

    The systema I have seen and the people I have spoken to mostly practice at the slow motion you see.

    Don't know.

    Systema places a heavy emphasis on breath related exercises...

    The videos you see on youtube are practice, and are neither demos nor actual application.

    Systema claims to prepare people more quickly than many other arts. I don't know about the truth to those claims.
     
  4. Mark Jakabcsin

    Mark Jakabcsin Green Belt

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2003
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Carolina
    Initially people see similarities with the arts they are most familiar. Basically our personal filter selects what it understands. From my experience the longer one trains in Systema and the more one understands Systema the fewer similarities they see with their previous art. This is from personal experience and discussing this topic with several Systemaists that attained high ranks/experience in other arts.

    Please explain what a full strength strike entails? Systema goes for efficiency and effectiveness. What most folks consider 'full strength' I consider inefficient and weak. Example: Someone punches at 'full strength' but their body structure is such that 40% of the potential power of the strike never leaves their own body, their tension is such that 40% of the potential power reflects off the target back into the striker, and finally their choice of punch placement is so poor that it is unlikely to affect the enemy's structure even at full power. Hence the 'full power' strike imparts only 20% power at the wrong place. Call me lazy but I prefer to learn to be efficient so my 30% power strike imparts all of the power/energy into the intended target, thereby making it 50% more effective than the 'full power' strike. The above is only an example but it is an example I have seen, and demonstrated, many times with 'full power' strikers. Results may vary. :) Oh, and as for the soft looking Systema strikes please come feel them and report back.

    My exposure to Dillman is limited but no I would not say there is a similarity with his work.

    No, there is not breathing exercises BEFORE taking strikes. Learning to breathe WHILE taking strikes is important. Although Vladimir once told me that the first year he trained with Mikhail, Mikhail did not mention anything about breathing and the students had to learn to deal with strikes simply through movement. When he finally mentioned breathing it got much easier.

    Practice at any speed you like. It is good to vary the speeds during training. Slow speed is for learning. Fast speed is for testing what you know or what you think you know. I will say that the more attackers there are in a drill the more amp'ed up the drill becomes even at slow speeds, as long as everyone training remains HONEST. The idea is to challenge the student but to do so in such a way so the student has the opportunity to learn.

    I understand where you are coming from, unfortunately your view is based on what you know, not what you saw. (See comments above about personal filters.) It is unlikely that you saw a single 'technique' in any of the clips you watched, as Systema does not train techniques. Systema uses a drill based training methodology that encourages creative and spontaneous movement and problem solving that meet the current situation and allow instant adaptation to a constantly changing environment. While that is a mouthful and impossible to truly understand until you train for awhile, it is the key to why the Systema learning curve is so steep. Note: results can vary.

    Mark J.
     
  5. RachelK

    RachelK Purple Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Re: how long it takes to acquire basic self-defense skills, I have heard it cited than 4-6 months of regular (2X a week or more) Systema classes will yield respectable self-defense skills for many students. As Mark said, results vary.
    If my teachers were to hit me "full strength" all the time, I'd never make it through class. I'd probably have to be taken out in a stretcher. Practice is just that: practice. It's not the same as defending your life. There is no harm in pretending to stab your partner, pretending to break his arm or neck, and hitting him without intent to inflict serious injury. You should want to help your training partner and not hurt him. You can train realistically without turning it into a "real" situation. So I'd say yes, some hits are soft because we can hit soft, we have the luxury of not having to actually defend our lives in class. But not all hits are soft. I've seen people get hit almost more than they could take. I don't take such hits myself. But I certainly wouldn't call them soft.
    Hope this helps,
    Rachel
     
  6. Furtry

    Furtry Green Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    167
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario
    Mark has answered you completely. The next step is to try and see if you can handle the slow motion stuff.
    Funiest thing I've ever seen; a guy being KOed in slow-mo. He flinched so hard avoiding a punch that he ran in to a knee.
     
  7. thetruth

    thetruth Black Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Messages:
    555
    Likes Received:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    18
    By full strength punches as opposed to lighter ones I mean do you actually tap and lightly strike areas or is this just to demonstrate that the strikes are effective lightly so that when the are done harder they will be a lot more effective?

    I hope this makes sense

    Cheers
    Sam
     
  8. Mark Jakabcsin

    Mark Jakabcsin Green Belt

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2003
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Location:
    Carolina
    Sam,
    There should be plenty of footage of Systema training where the strikes drop, stop, crush, etc the attacker. Some of the training drills are focused on learning proper placement and alignment, hence force/power is not part of that particular drill. We also learn alignment and power through pushing so a fair amount of time is spent on pushing through the properly placed fist. Several drills let the student do this while moving his/her own feet, which generally causes some trouble. And yes we hit. Sometimes we hit as the person attacks. Sometimes we escape then hit. Sometimes we hit to escape. Sometimes we practice striking while on the ground. Sometimes we stand infront of each other and strike each other at the same time (Warrior drill). Sometimes one person stands and the other strikes him. Sometimes one person is in the middle with arms raised and 5 or 6 people stand around him and strike. Sometimes we do the same drill but the guy in the middle is on the ground and we kick him. Sometimes one person does push ups and two people stand on either side and kick him as he does pushups. One drill I just learned in Seattle: #1 and #2 hold # 3's arms out like a cross as #4 punches him from the front and #5 punches from behind. Then #1 & #2 pull #3's arms to create tension, then #6 grabs the legs to keep them from moving. The lack of mobility creates fear while being struck which makes it harder to deal with. We have many slap drills, face included. We also strike each other with sticks and whips for different reasons and resullts. The above is probably less than 1% of the different striking drills we do to learn how to strike and to learn how to receive strikes. The list goes on and on and continues to grow but the above might give you some idea of how Systema works with the topic.

    I do not know the clips you watched but if you look there should be plenty of clips of deep (different than power) strikes.

    MJ
     

Share This Page