Monday, October 01, 2007

Systema and Personal Growth

We had a guest trainer yesterday, James, who taught us the basics of Systema.

Systema is a Russian martial art, often advertised as the martial art used by the Spetsnaz. I personally think that the association with special forces is highly misleading. Contrary to expectations, it's probably closer to chinese internal styles than the hard styles I'd expect from being a special forces martial art.

The interesting thing about Systema is not the art (though the art is fascinating in itself) but the pedagology behind it - it literally trains you to learn about yourself and what works for you.

One of the central tenets to Systema is the concept of space. Everyone literally has a "bubble" of comfort around them. Learning where this "bubble" starts determines the style that is best for you. Some people might be more comfortable infighting - the comfort level dictates therefore that grapples and locks would be your primary arsenal. Some people might have a comfort zone far out from their bodies - their fighting style would involve a lot more strikes.


By sheer serendipity, my boss was talking about the book "Now: Discover your strengths" and the philosophy of working to people's strengths, instead of working to compensate for weaknesses. Part of this exercise involves finding out what your "space" is too - then developing around this.


One of my personal objectives for learning martial arts is as a form of integrated learning. My sentiment is that my own personal growth has often been obstructed by my lack of understanding physical systems - and what better physical system to study other than your own body.

I'm somewhat pleasantly surprised to find out how much I'm actually managing to integrate the lessons of martial arts into real life and vice versa. Martial arts is turning out to be a much more involved learning experience than I thought.

More thoughts on this in a while. I promise.


-ben said...

'Heard a lot about Systema. Thanks for the blurb!

Anthony said...

Not all of the press about Systema is good. However, that being said, I -like- their training methods and philosophy.