From Russia, with love: Systema

A quick shout out to my friend Rob Poyton of Cutting Edge Systema, who has started a new blog, which hopefully he’ll update regularly.

Starting with a background in various martial arts Rob moved into Tai Chi, then later discovered Systema, the Russian system, and quickly converted. I’ve always been impressed with the practical and down to earth way he approaches training. He’s also very generous with his information and produces lots of videos showing the sort of work he gets up to. Whatever they do, it always looks like they’re having fun, which is a lot more important that you’d imagine in martial arts!

Anyway, his most recent post is about reality in training and contains this great quote:

“Ultimately though, if you want your training to be “real” I suggest you work on a behavioural level.  Rather than learning some techniques, or even working on the principles behind the techniques, you train in such a way to make your work something you are rather than something you do. Under any kind of stress, your breathing works as it needs to – rather than you going into a breathing pattern. Your body responds to hostile contact as it would a hot object.  No thought required. No plan or technique, just appropriate action.  Freedom of thought and freedom of movement go hand in hand. Not clouded by assumptions, fear or agression, just doing what needs to be done.    Training in this (Systema) way develops faith in the body, leaving your mind free for other things. Not blind faith, but faith developed over a wide and deep range of training which challenges us on all levels.

It’s difficult to overstate the benefits this has on our overall life. Whether applied tactically, combatively, sporting, or just everyday living, your training becomes reality and reality becomes your training. The world is your gym. No constructs, no wishful thinking, no fooling ourselves, but a powerful way of dealing with life as it unfolds before us.”




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