How Far We’ve Come

Class Notes: Multiple Opponents

By lbeacon, at Systema SLC

Looking back, over the past few months we have studied the core principles of Systema.  We learned to recognize tension and how to release it.  We practiced strikes with “springy” fists and a relaxed body; we practiced receiving strikes comfortably.  We explored basics of grappling and ground work.  We studied with weapons: sticks, knives, guns.  And then we tried to do it all at once, with multiple opponents.

When we train one on one, our intellect has time to process what is happening and respond to it.  This is great for learning new principles or delving deeper into familiar ones.  But it is difficult to really test ourselves against a single partner without drastically increasing the speed and force of our movements.  To develop trust in our bodies and see where residual tension may be hiding, we need another approach.

Training with multiple opponents allows us to test ourselves and the things we have learned without increasing the intensity of our sparring.  It is a safe way to push our limits and locate our weaknesses.  This is because we are constantly acting and the situation is fluid, but no single opponent is particularly menacing.  By periodically returning to group work, we can examine how far we have come.  Other martial arts may utilize exams or tests to mark a student’s ability, we allow group work to mark our own.

“Systema can be thought of as a selfish art, do your work and let your opponents do theirs.”

– Mark Zamarin

Examples of stick and knife work with multiple opponents can be found here.


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