Systema Class Notes – Thursday, 17 Jan 2013

Theme for this cycle: Moving and Striking with a Weapon
Area of Focus: Form/Posture

Class Objective(s):

  1. We’re going to work on what good form is and how we lose it and how we get it back
  2. One of the situations we’ll work through is being attacked with a knife
  3. We will start to draw our own knives as part of responding to a knife attack

Breathing Exercises:

  1. Hold a push-up position for 5 minutes
    1. Keep breathing
    2. Maintain form
    3. Relax the non-essential muscles
    4. Move what you can
  2. Hold a half-squat for 5 minutes
  3. Hold a 45 up sit-up for 5 minutes

Joint Mobility Exercises:

  1. Shoulder rotations with the palm-up (per Brad, we will call these figure8’s?  They’re common to Chinese, Filipino, Indonesian martial arts)
  2. Keep the knees straight and walk on your heels

Work Specific Strengthening Exercises:

  1. Nothing specific here tonight


  1. 1 on 1 – one partner pushing the other (not alternating) – the person being pushed needs to stay rigid, in good posture and get pushed over
    1. Next, as the person pushes (slowly), let them deform you out of good form, and then move what you need to return to posture – by necessity, this is going to be slow work.
    2. I’ll control the switching back and forth, and we need to do this with multiple partners, particularly of differing heights.
  2. Same as #1, but the pushing partner is going to use a knife to make the person deform
    1. use the knife to take them down and then “lift” them back up – once each
    2. then one person will use the knife to deform their partner, and the partner will return to form – this should NOT be faster than #1
  3. Rather than deforming in response to the attack, or reaching for the knife, when the knife comes in, avoid it – keep the hands down – a live blade demonstration may be called for here (body straight – arms/hands in – breathing and moving)
    1. Add in following the knife with a hand/arm – maintain good body posture – don’t bend into the attack (i.e. focus on the blade)
  4. Same knife attack – move/evade/protect – draw your own knife and start cutting – usually best to start with what’s close
    1. With all of these, we need to be changing partners often – lots of reps
  5. NOTE – at any point, as the attacker, if you meet resistance, cut, that’s what a trained “knife fighter” will do

Self Defense Applications:

  1. We’re still working with striking/pushing/knife attacks – should be pretty self-explanatory


  1. Over the last two weeks we’ve been working on Moving and Striking with a Weapon through the lens of the 4 principles of Systema: Moving, Breathing, Good Form, and Relaxation.
  2. We’ve working on deploying our knives while responding to an attack, and using them in conjunction with our strikes
  3. Next week is integration week – we’ll take the work of the last two weeks, and extend it into other areas such as
    1. disarming the knife while striking
    2. drawing the knife and striking while on the ground
    3. dealing with multiple attackers

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