The four main principles of Systema:
1. BREATHING – is calm and rhythmic and controlled even when under pressure.
By avoiding holding the breath we learn to avoid;
– Rigidity of the body and mind
– Slowing of reflexes
– Giving way to fear
– Becoming physically exhausted (breathing hastens the removal of the metabolic by-products of muscle metabolism)
The breath is trained through various drills, exercises and experimentation. There are also specific breathing techniques used to heal and energize the body. Seek out the book – Let Every Breath…by Vladimir VASILIEV with Scott MEREDITH. It covers the foundation, principles and exercises used by the Russian breath masters.
2. RELAXATION –
Learning to fight whilst remaining relaxed has many advantages:
– Mental and physical reactions are faster
– A relaxed body allows for the diffusion of strikes impact energy, the energy from the strike has less chance to penetrate.
– Physical exhaustion is delayed
– Falls on hard surfaces are less likely to result in injury if the body remains relaxed
3. FORM – Keeping the body upright at all times ensures correct structural alignment. This translates into the body working as one piece and allows it to work efficiently.
4. CONTINUOUS MOVEMENT – in the body and mind
– Helps to avoid attack
– Prevents the fighter from being surrounded
– Boosts striking power, also adds an aspect of the unpredictable as the strikes can come from odd angles/trajectories