Ok, I’m fixated on this swimming-Systema connection right now.Â But trust me, it’s good.
So I had my next swim lesson which focused on my stroke and how my entire core — and thus my body — rotated along my spinal axis in the water with my arm as it extended forward through the water.Â This total-body stroke allowed me to move more efficiently through the water and not fatigue so fast.Â In addition, we focused on my body rotating my head to get air, as opposed to my head poking out of the water trying to find air.Â Basically with good Form and my skull connected to my body.
Awesome lesson in body mechanics.
On to the experiment…
I spent Thursday pondering how to take the lessons from the pool and apply them to my upcoming Systema class that evening.Â It wasn’t hard, actually.
When I did Tai Chi I learned that people refer to it as “dry swimming.”Â Well, the same could and should be said of Systema, only more so.
We opened class with some ground exercises based on this idea of the arms moving the entire body along with them instead of disconnecting the arms from the body.Â That work progressed to taking this swimming movement to escape from grappling/ground hold downs.
Students had successful, amazing results.
We progressed to stand-up work, again with the extending arms rotating the body to evade, escape and position yourself for hidden, effortless strikes.
Again, stupendous results.
All in all, a 100% Successful Experiment.
A last word:Â Watch footage of Mikhail Ryabko at work.Â Notice how every time he moves, his whole body moves, how he turns his body while breaking structure or striking.Â “Dry Swimming” indeed.
In the end, good movement is good movement–in or out of the pool.
So I took students into using these movements into take-downs, teaching them to not “root” and take down attackers from whole-body movement.
A third time?Â Smiling students taking each other down with ease.Â Success.