Movement in the Russian Martial Art of Systema

Michael Chin Worcester Systema MovementAs a martial art developed by the Russian military, Systema focuses on relaxation and breathing techniques in addition to hand-to-hand and weapon combat. On the Russian Martial Art website, Vladimir Vasiliev describes the secret of systema and its unique method of combat.

His first piece of advice is to always be on the move. It is a lot more difficult to attack a person moving around than a person standing still. Constantly moving around adds another level of complexity that an attacker has to deal with. This is also the case for multiple attackers. When an opponent is relaxed and spontaneous, the attacker not only has to think about how to attack but also where to attack. Vladimir describes this kind of fighting as “chess-like,” in that every move is calculated to confuse the opponent or use a group of attackers against themselves.

The difference between the relaxed movements that Vladimir is speaking about and the more typical jerky, tension-filled movements is a major aspect of the art of systema. When an opponent fights with jerky motions that are basically just position changes with small stops, it becomes a lot easier to guess their next move. In systema, fighters are trained to fight in completely relaxed and smooth, both in body and mind. This is done through exercises in consistent combative breathing techniques and internal control.

Systema focuses a lot on the mind as well as the body. Vladimir says that when someone is fighting with tension, they are really taking power away from themselves. Fighting with tension is an illusion of power when really they are fighting with fear. Tension and fear are negative emotions that take away from the true reality of power. Power, flexibility, speed, and accuracy are qualities that humans contain a large reserve of but need the proper training to successfully unleash these qualities.

For more on the secret of movement in systema, visit Vladimir’s article on the Russian Martial Art website here.

The Origins of Systema – Where It Came From

Michael Chin Worcester What is SystemaIn a recent article by Systema HQ, many people know martial arts but many don’t know about Systema, the Russian style of martial arts that dates back to the 10th century. System was first used as a method of repelling invaders from the north, south, east and west. Since Russia is such a large country, they needed people ready to defend the country from all directions. These battles to defend the country, happened in the blistering heat of summers and the cold days of winter. The russians were usually greatly outnumbered by the enemy forces. Because of their shortcomings, they created defense tactics that combined string will and innovative moves in order to compete with said enemy that wanted to invade Russia. The style of Systema is natural, free, with no strict rules, structure, or limitations. All of the tactics are based on instinctive reaction, individual strengths and characteristics.

In 1917 when the communists came to power, they suppressed all national traditions. Anyone who was practicing Systema at the time could be severely punished. However, as time went on, authorities realized that how effective and deadly systema was that they incorporated it in a few Special Operations Units. In Systema, the synergy of three components creates a true warrior: combat skill, strong spirit and healthy body. The body needs to be free of tension filled with endurance, flexibility, and effortless movement. The spirit of the warrior needs to be calm and free of anger. Lastly, the combat skill involves moments that are both precise and instant. This complete set of concepts and training components is what gives systema its name. Acquiring the martial art skill is a way to improve the seven physiological systems of the body including the three levels of human ability the physical, psychological and the spiritual. The goal of systema is not to necessarily be destructive but rather to make sure your training and attitudes do not damage the body or psyche of yours or your partners.

Another name for Systema is “poznai sebia” or “know yourself.” Taking the time to train in Russian martial art will sure help to showcase the full spectrum of your limitations. The roots of Systema are in Russian Orthodox Christian faith- the belief is that everything that happens to us has an ultimate purpose. That is to to basically help us understand ourselves. It was very interesting to see how something that could be considered deadly and self defensive could have so much meaning and roots in religion.

This blog post is based off of this article.

Michael Chin’s Training Lineage

Michael Chin Worcester Vladimir VasilievMichael Chin was certified by Vladimir Vasiliev to teach Systema at Mass Bay Systema. Vladimir is the director and chief instructor of Systema Headquarters located in Toronto. Vladimir was born in Russia and was trained in Systema and other intensive combative training. In 1993, he moved to Canada where he founded the first school of Russian Martial Art outside of Russia. He has trained and qualified 500 instructors in the Art of Systema. He is also an award-winning producer in Systema instructional videos. He has multiple government awards including the very prestigious “Order of Duty and Honor” and “Order of Loyalty” awards.

Vladimir received his Systema training from Mikhail Ryabko in Russia. Mikhail is a Russian Colonel and used to be assistant to Russia’s General Prosecutor of the Ministry of Defense. Mikhail worked in the Russian militia and trained the Minister’s security guards. He has won multiple awards for his work in the Russian military and protection of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served in Russian’s special unit for ten years, aiding in military affairs, hostage operations, counter-terrorist operations, armed criminal neutralizations, and training operatives in Russia’s special task unit.

Since Russia is the biggest country in the world, it had to innovate it’s own fighting style to combat invaders coming into Russia from it’s many vantage points. Russia had multiple enemies with various weapons and distinct forms of fighting; therefore, Russia had to develop a form of fighting that was based on instinctive reactions, individual strengths, and quick learning. Their fighting style had to be versatile, practical, deadly, and effective so that they could combat any type of enemy in any circumstance.

You can learn more about Systema here.

This blog post is based off of this page.

 

Systema Works both Body and Mind in Central Florida

Michael Chin Worcester Systema TeamworkMembers of Central Florida Systema are engaging their very own challenge called the “one million movements challenge.” The organization is the Orlando area’s only Russian martial arts school and has members ranging from 18 to 58 years old. Starting this year, the school took the challenge of attempting to do a combined one million movements that involved pushups, leg raises, and squats. Today, they are about one-third of the way towards their goal of one million.

When David Orman first proposed the idea back in January, people thought it was a crazy idea; however, as time went on, it acted as a motivator and people began to buy into the idea and even like it. Orman’s focus during his Systema classes is classic towards the growth and development of body and mind. On one side, he hones in on the self-defense aspect with relaxed and focused movements. On the other side, he puts emphasis on personal growth and development in using the martial arts. How hard you can kick is just as important is how you treat and respect people. Martial arts are used to protect yourself against the dangers in the world, and part of protecting yourself and others is a natural affinity for the people and community you share your life with.

Other than the physical health benefits that come along with the “one million movements challenge,” there are also psychological benefits. The goal on one million movements is a challenge for the entire team, fostering a sense of community and encouragement throughout the class. The number one priority is to help solidify the group, so that the entire class can reach the goal of one million. You will get stronger by not only helping yourself, but by also helping the people around you. Even with striking and sparing, members are not only gaining physical strength, but they are also gaining psychological strength in the courage that it takes to take a hit.