First session back today for Shrewsbury Systema. Andy had promised us a new year special which off course means hard work. I like having a joke with people I know when they ask what we do for a warm up and I mention we do 10 press ups and 10 sit ups. Needless to say they think easy pesy. Well lets just say they are not the sort of press ups and sit ups you typically see are they? Then hands behind backs (as if tied up), down onto knees and fall forwards onto chest without releasing hands and get up 20 times. Haven’t yet cracked that one I’m afraid to say.
The session then revolved around incoming straight punches to the shoulder. Rotating away from the strike and then executing take downs and administering strikes and then taking down. Working in groups of 3 we had two attackers alternating and moved around the floor. The great thing about Systema is you quickly start to improvise as you find yourself out of position or the strike comes at an odd angle. Doing multiple rounds of this as well as being the guy taken down continually was a pretty hard work out in anyones book.
What was really interesting about this sort of training is when you get really tired and the strikes continue to come in you still manage to find a way to work against them. Even if the strike comes in quite hard and fast Systema seems to allow you to really use the small amount of gas you have left to remain effective. Think about boxers for a moment. The first thing you see happen as they get really tired is the hands drop and the face is exposed and knockouts become much more likely. In Systema because there are no stances or guards as such, one can still defend against strikes even when the arms are too tired to hold up.
Just when we thought it was all over Andy ‘politely requested’ we finish off with a 5 minute pressup – lovely. I’ve only just got the strength back in my arms to raise my cappuccino as I write this post. See everyone again next week.