Games for Young Children to Promote Safety

The following games are activities for children and parents that positively reinforce foundational Systema skills and personal safety.

Attention! Do not participate casually; breathe and maintain a good working state throughout. Remember that you are teaching by example.

Rolling on the Floor:: There is no need to teach a child to roll. Your child will follow you, imitate you, and do very well over time. This exercise teaches ground mobility with a splash of impact training.

Ring-Around-the-Rosie:: Great for young children. Play the song “Ring-Around-the-Rosie” over stereo and run, skip, or walk in large circles with your child. When the song plays the line “all fall down,” show your child how you fall onto the floor and get back up again. You may also listen to other children’s songs and periodically say “Fall!” and fall in place with your child. Instruct your child to try falling forward after a few rounds falling backward. If your child falls softly, tell him or her “nice fall!” This exercise teaches children to fall softly without tears or fear of falling (which generates the tension that causes harm in serious falls.) Children will fall; best teach them to fall well. Continue reading

Learning by Experience/Play

Both children and adults will learn the most through first hand experience or “play”. The power of such experiences should never be underestimated! It is not enough to teach someone, step-by-step, the function of certain techniques, to elaborate on philosophies, or fill the mind with statistics–that time is largely wasted.

Consider the following story:

“As a child, my family sat down for dinner together every Sunday and dad would ask each one of us what we learned at church that day. I was particularly attentive and quiet in class, but for some reason, when dad asked that question, I could hardly recall what the topic was. Ocassionally, if I prepared and thought about my lessons during the day, I could give a sentance or two about the topic. Nevertheless, I could not remember what we learned last month or even the week before. As I grew older I recalled some of my teachers, but not others. I recalled those teachers who really showed love for us. I recalled hardwork. I recalled fun. I recalled consistancy…but I never recalled the lessons. As an adult I taught the same age groups and I realized the lessons were still foreign to me. When someone asked if I remembered any of the Sunday School Lessons, I replied, ‘only the ones I taught.'”

Even adult students of Systema often can’t recall specifically what they learned in class or at a seminar, repetition may help in this regard, but unaccustomed students won’t remember these things. Instead, they remember the experiences, feelings, fun, love, comfort or discomfort.

Proper training for small children will focus on games, laughter, and valuable time spent with a parent. Proper training for adults will focus on practice, attribute drills, variety, and fun. This is the correct method of learning Systema.

Learning by Example

Typically, Systema is not taught to children under 3, but a parent may start to teach a child Systema from the moment they are born. Anyone who has paid much attention to a newborn’s breath knows that for the first few months of life, babies breathe in cycles, progressively becoming quicker and deeper and then slower and shallower. A child’s breath needs to mature and develop through practice, physical development, and imitating its caregivers.

As you practice daily, your child will notice how you breathe, how much fun you have rolling on the ground, doing sit-ups, push-ups and squats. There is no need to teach them; they will get down next to you and explore it themselves. Your example is enough.

Adults learn by example as well. Through videos, instructors, and peers, adults learn by observation. Often there is no need to “teach” because words will just get in the way.

For more information on teaching Systema to Youth, see Konstantin Komarov’s article “Kids in Systema”