Systema is generally taught to students of at least 16 years of age. The majority of students are adults and the number of teen age students at Charlotte Systema is limited. Open mindedness and a desire to explore new possibilities are vital to learning the system. Attentiveness, maturity and a desire to push boundaries are likewise imperative to learning. Finally, basic manners, open communication and a concern for others is essential in creating a positive and safe training environment.
Emphasis of Training
The training method encourages each student to move spontaneously and naturally to solve difficult survival situations. Students learn through a process of good motion (surviving) and less than good motion (not surviving). Doing things incorrectly is an important part of the learning process; repeat a motion long enough that ends in poor results and the body will learn what NOT to do. Hence the training drills used are a process to teach the body how to move and how not to move. All of this requires a good deal of honesty and maturity for every student. Speeding up to hide poor motion lacks honesty and such action cheats the body out of a vital learning opportunity.
Much of our training is done at a slow and controlled speed. Faster speeds are used on occasion to test what the student knows or what he thinks he knows but very little learning is accomplished at fast speed. Things either work or they do not but it is difficult to determine why or explore all of the possible options available. A slow continuous training speed allows each student to feel and understand what works and what does not work, thereby increasing the rate of learning. Although kicking it up occasionally to full speed motion provides a certain enjoyment and contains valuable experiences. Hence the majority of training drills are done slowly but there are times the speed is limitless.
Very quickly each student begins to understand that while their body is unique there are some basic principles of structure and motion that are best observed. Form (or posture), proper breathing, relaxation and continuous motion are the basic frame work that we train around in Systema. Drills are designed to teach each student the importance of each of these principles as they relate to the individual and also how to exploit weaknesses of these principles in the opponent. Since every drill relates to these principles the principles literally get drilled into the student until they become natural and no longer require conscious thought. This enables the Systema practitioner to incorporate these principles in his daily life as well as during a violent or stressful situation.
Areas of Study (in no particular order)
- Breath/body motion coordination
- Dynamic strengthening and flexibility
- Rolling and falling
- Complete breathing method
- Understanding of posture breaking, balance breaking and throwing skills
- Escape and evasion training
- Strike training using all parts of the body
- Strike adsorption training
- Knife defense
- Disarming of weapons
- Restraint and joint techniques
- Pain compliance techniques
- Ground survival
- Mass attack training
- Psychological methods and understanding
- Relaxation and healing methods
Systema is a drill intensive learning system designed to challenge each student’s current skill level as well as teach them simpler easier methods for handling violent situations. The drills in the System are readily adaptable for any level of skill and any current training system. The best teacher is experience, hence the drills are designed to challenge each student’s current ability and help them understand improved methods of application by experiencing a wide range of difficult situations.
Technique based systems teach a student a specific reaction for a specific situation. This requires the student to accurately analysis the situation, remember the correct solution and then apply the solution to a constantly changing environment. Since life frequently throws us a curve ball it is important that students learn to accept and adapt to any situation quickly and smoothly. A drill based system encourages students to see reality as it is not as he/she wishes it to be and to react to that reality, instead of attempting to force a prearranged technique in the inappropriate situation.
Knowing that it is impossible for each student to be the biggest, strongest, and fastest person in every encounter, Systema encourages mobility and natural movement with minimal effort, i.e. efficiency. Surviving difficult and uncomfortable situations is the goal of Systema and the Russian training method. This is accomplished by repeatedly placing the student in dynamic and challenging scenarios that require a survival mindset. Survival is rarely clean or neat, it’s simply about getting the job done in the most efficient manner possible. Systema helps each student explore his or her strengths and weaknesses in order to develop an individual survival strategy.