This was the last night of training that I was able to have with Vladimir and, as usual, it was great. Areas which were covered in this class were: spreading tension throughout the body, using a limb to create movement that can then be applied to your partner, taking your partner’s movement, adding to it and giving it back to them.
1) The class was started off by Vladimir asking everybody if they had any questions or if they’d like to work on something in particular. A question was asked on how to spread tension throughout the body in a push up. Vladimir asked me to get into a push up position and said that I wasn’t using my feet. Vladimir then proceeded to get into a push up position and told everybody that the weight had to be evenly distributed on the fists and feet. When pushing Vladimir’s body in this position, his body felt very bouncy but not super soft or floppy. You would press it and the body would return to form straight away. And when you pushed, it felt like the push was being spread out through the body. He then asked me to get back into the same position and started to push me until my body found the optimal position. Until this moment came, every push put more tension and stress into the body. But once the correct state was found, the body felt very relaxed, stable and calm. The push would happen, the body would receive it and when the push finished, the body would return to the original form. Vladimir also demonstrated this idea by getting someone to sit on his shoulders with their legs on top of his legs. He looked very comfortable and from this position, he moved around, while still staying in the same place, to show that he could still move and that the weight of the person on top of him was being distributed throughout the body. Everybody, with a partner, then practiced this drill. Vladimir went around the gym, making sure everybody was getting the correct feeling.
2) Vladimir than showed us how to apply this principle while standing up. He asked someone to push him and then, from this movement, he kind of jumped back with both feet together so that his body moved as one unit. From the outside, it looked like he just jumped back when he was pushed. However, as in everything with Systema, you need to feel the movement, in order to get an idea of what’s really happening. The feeling of pushing Vladimir like this, was kind of like pushing a ball. It didn’t matter how hard I pushed, he bounced off me and always landed with his whole body together. My movement moved his whole connected body. There wasn’t any real impact, the movement of me pushing and Vladimir bouncing backwards was at the same time. It, again, demonstrated what we’d been practicing all week. The idea of connecting with your partner’s movement and not giving the feeling of any tension to your partner.