Groundwork

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The best place to begin exploring movement and body mechanics is the ground. On the ground, your body is open to new possibilities and you will discover things about yourself that you were not aware of. With practice, what you learn on the ground will open up new possibilities in standing positions as well. There is a degree of flexibility and strength conditioning involved, but for the most part, you are expected to explore your personal range and movement. In this set you will learn the principles of ground movement, to relax underneath an opponent, methods to stay on top of an opponent, and moving with a partner. You will learn how to transition from ground to standing positions, to fall from Standing and sitting positions, to take down standing opponents from the floor, and how to deal with grabs, holds, and strikes from the ground.

As always, class is safe and slow for beginners and experienced martial artists alike. Students are taught and expected to work safely with their partners. The spirit of fun is paramount. We recommend the following study materials for this unit::

Breath for Internal Control by Vladimir Vasiliev
Let Every Breath… by Vladimir Vasiliev and Scott Meredith
The Secrets of Systema Ground Fighting by Martin Wheeler

Daily Homework:: Spend 10 to 15 minutes on each exercise daily.

I. Pyramid Breathing with basic exercises Start by relaxing, then when you are ready, hold the breath on an exhale and do one squat. Come back up to standing position and recover with burst breathing. Next hold the breath on exhale and do two squats…three…four…up to fifteen, or as long as you can hold the breath. Do not rush this exercise, relax, and work unhurriedly. The goal is not to finish the exercise, it is to relax and do work under pressure. Repeat this exercise with push-ups and leg-lifts.

II. Practice falling to the floor both forwards and backwards. Turn your attention inwards, when do you feel panic? Where does it start and how does it spread? When do you feel tension? Once you have a good understanding of yourself, try to exhale the moment you feel panic or tension. If the panic or tension starts in your chest, exhale out of the chest with your intention (use your imagination and visualize the breath leaving your chest.)

III. Free movement on the floor with attention on muscular tension and comfort.

IV. While lying or standing, relax and breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. Inhale slowly and tense up the body starting with the head all the way down to the feet. Feel every muscle tense up in a wave-like motion down to the feet. Go slow. When the entire body is tense, pause and exhale as you relax the body from head to feet. Now inhale and tense the feet all the way up to the head, pause when every muscle is tense, then exhale and relax the feet all the way up to the head. You must time your inhales and exhales with the rate that you tense up or relax your body. Next practice rapid inhales and exhales. Inhale and tense the whole body at once, exhale and relax the whole body at once. Exhaling through the mouth will help disperse tension quickly.

V. While lying flat on your back, relax and focus your attention on your pulse. Start with your chest, then try to find the pulse in your neck or face. Spend no more than a minute or two developing the sensitivity to feel your pulse in one area and then move to the next. When you are ready, feel the pulse in your hands, abdomen, thighs, and feet.

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