We started class tonight with the familiar warm up section consisting of light jogging, bouncing on one leg, rolls, etc. All of these exercises place the emphasis on breathing and relaxation…conditioning is a by-product.
This was followed by the Systema core exercises (push ups, sit ups, leg lifts and squats). Again the emphasis was on form, relaxation and primarily breathing.
The theme of the drills tonight was on dealing with punches. The first drill was based on the idea of actually receiving a punch (which is sort of inevitable at some point in a real life confrontation) and then allowing your body to find a way of letting the punch dissipate. In other words, rather than blocking, simply let your body deal with the punch in such a way that it doesn’t find a real sticking point, which is where all the damage will come from. The next drill expanded on this concept by also including subtle stepping, which will either totally deflect the punch or at least not provide it with any real penetrating ability.
I was again amazed at the simplicity, subtlety and economy of the Russian System. Some of the drills may not always look beautiful and expansive like the methods found in other arts but I assure you that there is a deep beauty in the simplicity of it all. More to come next week.