On this day, Andy was kind enough to share some of what he learned at the Maxim Franz Seminar, which was organised by Ryo Onishi, of Systema Osaka, and happened on the 28th and 29th of May. Andy also pointed out that a lot of content is on the new DVD, The Combative Body.
To buy this new DVD, go to:
1) Simple ground movements such as: front rolls, back rolls and sideways rolls etc. In-breath for a 2 count, Out-breath for a 2 count and then a breath hold on the out breath for a 2 count. While doing this, you had to move slowly and stop at the end of each count, remaining in the position that you ended up in. This went up to the count of ten.
2) After we finished, we lay on our backs, relaxed and breathed in order to recover. We used burst breathing, if necessary, to do this.
3) We then did the same ground movements but this time breathed in for a count of ten and out for a count of ten.
4) Push Ups, Squats and Sit Ups – 30 seconds each for the first set and then one minute each for the second set. It was important to keep the repetitions smooth and to use the breath as a pump, in order to drive the movement. You could breathe out on the way down and breathe in on the way up or breathe out half way down then breathe in for the rest of the half and then the same on the way back. Of course, you could change the breath pattern around.
5) Partner 1 (P1) pushed Partner 2 (P2) around while both people were walking. It was important for both people keep their posture and connect with their partner’s push and movement. The person pushing had to push honestly and try to affect the person’s tension points when doing it.
6) P1, still receiving the pushes, accepted the direction of the push and used it to direct their hand or fist to a place on their partner’s body such as the head, back or stomach.
7) P1 grabbed P2 in a variety of ways and P2 had to escape. This was done while standing up and on the ground but in one smooth movement.
8) Standing up again, P1 pushed P2 with their fists. P2 had to breathe, relax, keep their form and move in a way that kept them close to the person and put them in a good position to counter.
9) While walking around, P1 pushed P2’s face with their fists. It was important for P2 to release the tension in their body that might prevent them from receiving the strike well. For example, the simple act of moving the hips and allowing the legs to follow took a lot of pressure off the neck when being pushed by the fist. The importance of keeping your form was made obvious in this drill.
10) P1 pushed P2 in the face with their fists again but this time P1 escaped by feeling the direction of the push and doing a roll to escape. It was helpful to allow your body to feel the right way to go and to have patience until the movement had ended. There’s usually a habit to roll out as quick as possible, in order to escape. Instead of doing this just wait a little longer until your body has felt the complete movement and direction of the push. The movement moves you. This is my comment on the drill.
11) P1 then struck P2’s face so that they could get used to the contact and to allow their body to move in such a way that released the tension that might accumulate in the neck, spine, hips and knee areas. Again, it was helpful to move the hips with the strike. It was pointed out that we should strike on the soft area of the face between the jaw and cheek bone.
12) P1 tried to grab P2 and with one hand P2 put out their hand in a straight line affecting the head of P1. This was done on the front, sides and back of the head. The movement of the hand, however, was very natural without any real desire behind it. The effect of the hand on the head affected P2’s form immediately.
13) P1 again tried to grab P2 but this time P2 raised both of their hands. One hand affected the head as before or just connected with one of the partner’s arms and the other connected to the other arm. You didn’t collide with their arms but rather politely met and guided the person’s arms until their movement came to a stop, their form changed or their own movement carried them passed the person they wanted to grab.
14) Same thing but P2 used both arms to affect P1. This was done by affecting the head and the arm at the same time. You had to feel the tension in the partner and kind of extend them so that they would lose their form. While receiving this, Andy’s hands seemed to feel very heavy and had an instantaneous effect on the body.
15) P1 tried to strike P2 and while doing this P2 put both of their hands on the striking arm. This was mainly done with both palms on the top of the forearm but Andy pointed out that it could be done on a variety of places on the arm such as the sides.
16) In a static position, P2 practised dropping their fists on the top of P1’s forearm. This was also done with one fist on the forearm and one on the upper arm, chest or face. It was important to relax your arms, but have slight tension in the fists, and drop them on the arms. Heavy hands are important for this work.
17) P1 again tried to strike P2 and P2 practised the above strikes while moving. It was important to move directly forward after the first contact. There was no defense. The attack was the defense.
18) P1 next practised “bouncing” their fist off the leading arm of P2 and used the spring to launch their fist to a different target such as the face. This was done while moving.
19) In order to clean out the system, we did a 40 second push up (40 on the way down and 40 on the way up).
20) Circle Up