I would like to say thank you to Ryo Onishi for a great special class and seminar last weekend. The main theme was opening your perception and practising this principle in many circumstances. The principle was about opening up your perception rather focusing on a specific area.
Physically in Systema we usually practise opening up by returning to a good posture after fear has set in and the body has closed in, say after a strike. When the body is relaxed there's freedom and when there's tension there's fear. Ryo came at this from a different perspective though and suggested that we change literally how we look at things.
Instead of focusing too much on the problem, for example a grab, or what you want to do, for example a strike, you relax your eyesight and use your peripheral vision as much as possible but in a relaxed way. By doing this the body followed your perception and opened up naturally and you felt more freedom, rather than being constrained by the immediate problem. It also helped to look at different people or places.
This change in perception had a dramatic effect on the effectiveness of whatever you were doing. By changing this perception, it relaxes you and the problem becomes no longer a problem and it gives you more freedom and power. This also relaxes your partner slightly too. Open perception equals freedom while focused attention equals imprisonment.
This was work that we had practised previously at other seminars but Ryo came at it from a different direction, making it accessible for students to experience for themselves. It's very hard to write about this, so you really have to experience it for yourself but it's something everybody can do. It's slightly like when you're trying to find your car keys you can't but when you give up they suddenly appear.
Also big thanks to Masashi Ueharaand the Systema Tobu club for the great organistaion and all of my training partners.