In yesterday's class, I tried to share some of what I learnt from Konatantin Komarov at the Systema Excellence seminar. The main purpose of the lesson was to learn how to deal with fear with breathing and relaxation while constantly trying to pay attention to yourself and keep calm while in a stressful situation.
Konatantin Komarov said at the seminar that fifty percent of the work should be internal and fifty percent should be external. If you are only doing external work, you are missing out on half of the training. I feel this is very important not just for Systema but for life. By doing Systema with this thinking, we can learn to stay calm while things on the outside are very stressful.
The analogy Konstanin gave about this form of training is that it is like a glass of water that has a lot of sediment on the bottom. He said that we can only live in the clear water. So, in training we shake up the glass so the sediment mixes with the clear water. By breathing, we are able to able to get rid of the mixed water and return to living in the clear water. This gave a new depth to my training.
The purpose of this lesson was to constantly breath, pay attention to yourself and remain calm while doing all of the exercises.
1) I walked around swinging the stick causing the students to move and and escape. Konstantin did this as the first warm up drill a the the Systema Excellence Seminar.
2) Push Up, Squat, Sit Up, Leg Raise - A slow ten seconds up and down with burst breathing.
3) Laying down on our backs, we did breath hold drills. We held our breath for as long as possible and when we couldn't hold it any longer we did burst breathing until we recovered. Konstantin said to do burst breathing twice as long, or more, as you held your breath.
4) We felt our pulse in different parts of the body and then joined then together at the end.
5) In groups of five, one person lay on the bottom while the others lay on top of them. The purpose of this drill was to breath, relax, get used to the weight, see what body parts could be moved and then from there escape. This was to be done with breathing, patience and minimal tension. If you felt fearful, you were to use burst breathing to calm yourself down.
6) Konstsantin called this the " Golden Brick" drill. Unfortunately, I didn't have a wall so I used a "Golden" tree. The students made four lines, 3 rows deep, facing the tree. The aim was to touch a specific part of the tree, turn around and make your way through the crowd in a straight line. While doing this, you had to try to breath, pay attention to yourself and stay calm. We did this 3 times. This is a very fun drill and everybody enjoyed it.
7) The students made two lines facing each other. They had to walk passed each other while again observing themselves and keeping calm. This was done twice.
8) The same thing was done again but this time they had to stand closer together so that it would be more difficult to get passed.
9) Next each line linked arms with one another. The two lines then had to walk towards each other and get passed. This was a great drill because it really got them excited on the first go. This was done 3 times and it was pointed out that the students remind themselves to breath, be vigilant and keep calm even though what was going on on the outside was exciting.
10) The two lines again walked towards each other but this time they did one strike on someone from the opposite line. They had to choose one person that was in their path and strike them. We then did this for two, three, four and five strikes. You had to change the person you struck each time but only strike that person.
11) For this drill, two lines, one behind the other, faced the other opposing two lines. You walked towards the opposite lines and struck somebody on the front row once and somebody on the back row once. This was done for up to five strikes. For example, five strikes on the person on the front row and the back row. Again it was important to breath, pay attention to yourself and keep calm. You also had to keep moving forward and not turn around to punch somebody in the back. If you didn't complete your four strikes on the person, that was ok.
12) Ten slow push ups, squats, and sit ups with breathing.
13) In pairs, you walked up to the person and tried to scare them, make them feel uncomfortable, pretend to strike them and sometimes strike them. The person on the receiving end had to breath, pay attention to them selves and keep calm. In this drill, it's a good idea to ask your partner how they are feeling so that you can learn from each other the various effects of different stimulus.
14) In pairs, you had to deliver three strikes to your partner. The first strike was be done with anger and hate, the second with no emotion and the third with kindness and love. After each strike, you were to give your partner sometime to rccover and observe the effects of each strike. This is an extremely interesting drill.
Everybody felt that the angry strike was the least deep. It was annoying but not that bad. The neutral strike was a little deeper. However, the strike with kindness was by far the deepest and most powerful strike. All the members seemed to be amazed by this. When we did this in Toronto, everybody had the same result. This really shows the power of kindness.
15) Ten slow pushups, squats and sit ups.