Living Systema: Why I wrote it.

When I went on the 2012 Systema Camp with Vladimir Vasiliev, we were able to ask some questions at the end of the last days session.

I asked him how in the absence of any kata or techniques, we could practice Systema alone, without a partner.

He looked at me a little quizzically. I guess he was searching for how to answer a question on a concept that came so naturally and obviously to him.

He then got me to stand up and guess how many paces away from him I was. He then asked me to close my eyes and walk the 8 paces that I guessed towards him.

That was his answer. Typically simple and yet profound. In every action and moment we could and should be studying.

How often does our training end when we take off our kit, zip up our bags and leave the training hall?

This moment really got me thinking about how to train Systema more and more.

  • How do I walk?
  • how do I stand?
  • how do I deal with people? Do I get tense and rooted, physically, mentally, verbally, emotionally?
  • How do I allow my breathing to naturally adapt to whatever situation I am in?
  • Do people notice me when I move, or can I move in a way that people do not notice.
  • Do I pick up on things that aren’t right in a situation and then act upon them?
  • How much tension am I carrying moment to moment and can I release whats not needed?
  • What about mental tensions?
  • How much is my posture compromised by my thoughts and emotions? How do I restore it?
  • How do I get out of my own way and become more and more natural in my movement, my responses, my breathing, posture?

In short, how do I live this art? I wanted to find a way to work on it in every moment, in a way that wasn’t  too intense or obsessive, but was natural. It should enhance my life not be a chore.

This book, Living Systema, has been my collection of thoughts distilled into 30 practices comprising physical movement, breathing, balance, tension and awareness.

Like so many writers, It is the book that I wanted to read.

It is not meant to be a definitive dogma but rather an explorers guide. You should take it and run with it. Use what is useful and then build and expand it.

I sincerely hope that you find it of use.

Copies are available on Amazon. Here is the link.

My sincere wishes for your training and health.