On this night, Vladimir taught us about the importance of movement. We learned about sensing movement, taking movement, adding to it and giving your partner the feeling of nothing being there. It helped us to further understand what we had previously done over the past couple of sessions of training and at the seminar.
1) In pairs, Partner 1 (P1) put their palm on Partner 2’s (P2) chest and pushed their body. P1 then had to walk backwards, still keeping enough contact with P2, in order to keep them connected. Gradually P1 got a little faster so that P2 would get drawn into the movement, almost lose their balance but not lose their balance.
When Vladimir did it, he said to “take the movement out of them.” When pushing Vladimir’s body, the contact was extremely light, and at times, there wasn’t any physical contact. Yet when he moved backwards and caught my movement, I couldn’t do anything but get sucked into his motion. It felt like when you suddenly trip over something, and you try to regain your balance. Your head is further forward than your body and your feet are trying to catch up, so that you can bring them under your head and not fall over. However, instead of regaining my balance quickly, Vladimir managed to keep me in this state. Because of inertia, once the movement was taken out of me, I couldn’t stop my own movement until Vladimir completed it. And because he was able to add his movement with the movement he’d taken from me, he was able to generate a lot of power. As he said, “power comes from the movement” and you could definitely feel it.
The moving backwards aspect of the drill was only done to give an idea of the movement and feeling. This can be done in a variety of ways and directions. For example, connecting with different parts of the body and moving up, down and around.
2) We next did a very interesting drill where your partner runs and then you try and get in time with their movement, so that you are running at the same rate. First, we watched our partner to try and get a sense of their movement. We then ran behind them and tried to get in step. It was interesting because once you were able to get in time, it was easy to stay in time if the movement was rhythmical and didn’t change much. The idea of this drill, for me, was to learn to be sensitive to your partner’s movement and link with it. We also did this for different movements, such as walking forwards and backwards, and at different speeds. We did this for a while in order to develop our sensitivity. By doing this, it really helped you find a connection with your partner, even if the motion wasn’t rhythmical.
3) The next drill we did was one that we practised when Daniel Ryabko came over.
Please read this:
You pull your partner towards you, using just the arm．You do it as lightly and softly as possible without any tension. The other partner relaxes, maintains the connection and lets themselves be pulled around. It’s essential for them to also be light, soft and sensitive to the movement. There isn’t any tension in the contact point because the person being pulled is moving their body at the same rate it is being pulled. The person who was pulled then becomes the puller and the cycle starts again.
When doing this with Vladimir, I, again, hardly felt anything but the light contact between the held hands. When I initiated the movement, Vladimir moved exactly in time with me. It was almost like I wasn’t pulling anything. However, after he took this movement, he was able to generate a lot of power and send me running for quite a distance. As we’d practiced on the other days, he received my movement, added to it without any extra muscular force being exerted and then took it over. The power came from the movement. I was able to sense the surging increase in acceleration as he rotated around my body but it wasn’t a sudden jolt, like when a car tows another car, it happened subtly and gradually.
4) The last drill of the night was kind of slow sparring where you’re working on sensing your partner’s movement, trying to connect with it and then applying your own movement. We basically tried to apply the work, that we’d practiced previously, in a more dynamic drill. I was lucky enough to work with Vladimir in this drill. His movements were very subtle and difficult to perceive. He kind of took the movement out of you, which then made you open for a strike. I noticed that it was difficult to feel his intention and he struck from blind areas. The strikes came from outside of my field of vision. I had the feeling that he was very connected to my movement and whenever I moved, he moved. It was like one movement. When he struck me, he affected my form straight away and, because of this, there was an increase in tension, which made it difficult for me to move and escape the next strike. An important point to make is that at no time did I feel excited, fearful or shocked by sudden movement. This is because of how calm and relaxed Vladimir is and, maybe, because it was about “learning about movement” rather than competing against each other. It was a great night with plenty of insights. And just to think, there was one more lesson left!