Systema SpetsNaz "Russian Style"
Hand to Hand Combat

RUSSIAN MARTIAL ART VADIM STAROV




The Systema Pshychology

The study and practice of this discipline involves a complete system of physical and spiritual health, relaxation, and courage in the face of all forms of adversity. But most of all, it involves a philosophy of life, peace and decency seldom seen. It disciplines its students to relax while striking, rather than focus to generate maximum power, allowing you to strike at unusual and unexpected angles, to smile in combat rather than adopt a fierce visage or announce your intentions with a blood curdling yell. There are no fixed training patterns or combinations of movements, all training is based on the reality that unexpected things happen in combat.

The methods of SYSTEMA SPETSNAZ hand-to-hand fight are multipurpose and frequently combine an impact and protection, a throw and a painful method, disarmament and causing misbalance. During the training of movements in a contemporary hand-to-hand fight we adhere to plastic forms which with the help of natural circular movements and circulating exercises enable to train people with a technique easily and fast. The core of the system is training of a hand-to-hand fight through coordination and psychophysical exercises which enable to form universal skills of hand-to-hand and firing fights in the shortest terms, which, however, require periodic recurrence, detailed work and perfection for successful practical application. When skills are perfected, less time is spent on the technics and more time is dedicated to special physical preparation.

Since the first days of the course a SYSTEMA SPETSNAZ fighter is taught the essence of "fight thinking", grounding the skills of constant readiness and the ability of instant estimation of the situation with the best decision made. When a SYSTEMA SPETSNAZ fighter is trained, after being trained with other systems, he is not retrained, but is trained with new techniques, as much as possible implementing the skills gained before.

All the branches are based on the general coordination and psychophysical basis that after an initial preparation enables a person to easily master either any of the chosen branches or several of them. However it is necessary to pay attention, that there is a certain order of mastering and perfection of technique groups. Thus, for example, it is not advisable to master a course of counteraction to the adversary armed with a knife, not being trained with a brief course of a knife fight. (The initial course of a SYSTEMA SPETSNAZ knife fight, hereinafter referred to as "Knife 1C" or just "1C", is intended for development of firm skills in order to apply some of the technical elements needed for a destruction fight with both a cold steel armed hand-to-hand fighter and unarmed one. The "Knife 1C" is a component of BARS.)

SYSTEMA SPETSNAZ differs radically from all existing fighting systems and is accessible for training. It is possible to train a person with basics of survival, a firing and hand-to-hand fight during 45 days. A 45-day course is made for people of a wide age group and an average level of physical development.

Training of SYSTEMA SPETSNAZ hand-to-hand combat enables to prepare professionals of high class hand-to-hand combat and to avoid many drawbacks of the majority of other training systems, namely

* Lack of techniques for solution non-typical situations.
* Lack of reliable protection patterns.
* Breakaway of trained technical actions from real combat conditions.
* Lack of introductory psychophysical exercises.
* Learning of protection techniques without attacking ones.
* Adaptation of methods for certain positions of the attacking person, which is dangerous in real situations.
* Ignoring natural manner of body movements.
* Beginners learn complex technical actions, ineffective without a long-term practice.
* Biased inharmonious formation of psychophysical abilities of trainees.
* Learning complex, multi-element methods without learning of simple technical actions. This process can be compared to studying languages. To remember huge number of hieroglyphs is much more difficult than to use an alphabet which consists of several tens of letters for making any needed word.
* Learning of inharmonious combat systems in which the emphasis is put basically on one type of the methods ignoring the rest, which, certainly, makes a combat situation dangerous.
* Learning of techniques which do not provide real advantage over a physically stronger adversary.
* Learning of technique without strong theoretical basics of a hand-to-hand fight, medical and special knowledge. This list can be continued, but the already mentioned facts are enough to understand all the worth of the suggested technique.

A combat complex without weapons against an unarmed or armed adversary. Within the framework of this complex training of a hand-to-hand fight using non-typical impacts with hands and feet will be carried out as well as

* throws;
* suffocating and painful techniques, injuries of body integuments (eyes, nose, genitals, etc.);
* painful and breaking impacts on joints and neck;
* breaking impacts on bones.

It is very difficult to overcome a physically strong, prepared adversary in a hand-to-hand fight. It is much easier, without entering in a fatal opposition with him, to cripple him with unexpected, hardly perceptible, but very effective methods. It is not only physical strength that is decisive in a hand-to-hand fight, therefore from the very first training, besides physical and technical exercises, there also carried out psychological preparation for removing complexes and beliefs which are harmful to a hand-to-hand fight. The program of training also consists of mastering medical complexes for rehabilitation after hard trainings and development of flexibility, extension, activity of joints. These complexes can also be useful to those trainees who were injured earlier. In training of a hand-to-hand fight there is training of shock forms, training of receiving bodily impacts without harm for health, ways of mental and emotional strengthening of methods, instant mobilization for a hand-to-hand fight and many other things...

A destruction fight with a small cold steel and improvised objects is focused first of all on those who want to protect themselves effectively, but do not have enormous strength.

You will effectively learn in the shortest terms how to conduct combat using improvised objects or a small knife which is not considered to be a cold steel against one or several adversaries, armed or unarmed, prepared with traditional techniques of eastern combats. You will be able to any object which you will grasp as a killing weapon in a hand-to-hand combat.
Psychological Problems in Martial Combat Arts


This article refers to common psychological problems encountered by the trainees while studying combat arts, particularly in contact oriented martial training.

1. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

Once you learn Martial Combat arts, you can knock down any opponent of any size.

Correct Thought:

When you are confronted with a taller, heavier & more aggressive opponent, you are in trouble. Martial arts does not make a superman out of you. After a study of martial arts, you will understand the probability ratios of you winning better & you will be able to estimate the opponent’s strengths & weaknesses & use this knowledge towards your survival or victory.

2. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

When a student comes to learn any full contact Combat art, he or she is of the impression that Fighting is a magical art, comprised of secret techniques. He feels that once these techniques are learnt & mastered, he can effectively knock out any bully or opponent using these secret techniques!

Correct Thought:

There are no secret techniques. All techniques are correct body responses & specific reactions to a particular attack. or form of assault. These responses are skills which have to be learned by the body at a reflex level, so that they can be reproduced in the advent of an actual attack by the unpredictable opponent.


3. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

Martial Combat arts makes you lose your fear for fighting!


Correct Thought:

Martial arts do not take away your fear. They make you comfortable with it. Fear is a necessary component of human psyche. It is a protective instinct which gears you for a fight or flight. Fear must be used to channelize your action in the appropriate direction. There is a difference between fear & cowardice. Fear can either make u a coward or a hero. It depends upon how you channelize it!

4. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

The Senior Trainee is always going to beat the junior!

Correct Thought:

The senior is person who has spent more time training than u. Like u, he too comes with his set of fighting weaknesses, like say, small frame, female gender, excess weight, etc. His journey is about finding a way around his weakness & also in improving his skill.


Many a times superior skill cannot overcome superiority in weight, height, aggression & gender. Females are generally smaller built than males & also more gentler in predisposition, hence less combat ready. Some people are more aggressive & may have greater drive, will power & determination to win. Some people are naturally muscular & possess greater strength, which may enable them to overpower their seniors.

However, the senior is to be respected, as he possesses superior attributes & qualities. He has endured the tough martial arts journey longer than you & risen to a degree of skill far above yours. He has tided through several injuries, numerous sparring bouts, strenuous physical training & is psychologically more combat mature than you.

So disrespecting the senior is certainly going to slow down your combat progress, as you miss out on benefiting from his combat experience. So, even if you beat the senior, you will not be able to beat his seniority!


5. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

During Sparring, the Senior Trainee intentionally hurt you to teach you a lesson!


Correct Thought:

As a junior, the psychology of sparring is beyond your ability to grasp, so dont start guessing.

Sparring in the class is generally safe & supervised. The Instructor who is conducting the bout controls the sparring partners. He stops the bout when he thinks you can get injured, as he is more bothered about junior safety than senior, who is combat seasoned. On the contrary, if the junior starts scoring on the senior, your instructor may not stop the bout.


At the same time, there are certain experiences you must have in order to train in full contact combat. These experiences are being handed over to you in a safe & controlled manner, as prescribed, without serious injury.

So you are actually being meted out preferential treatment! So it is wrong to think that you are being intentionally hurt by the senior.

6. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

I will get the better of my Buddy the next time we sparr!

Correct Thought:

You must realize that your colleague is there to help you to put your ideas into action. To see whether your technique works, as most of them will not work on your seniors.

Your colleague gets a punch on you, good. Establish a relationship with him, so as to get comfortable working on techniques & sparring with him. You are both here to learn to fight your future opponents, not to get the better of each other.


7. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

I will correct my Buddy in the presence of my Instructor


Correct Thought:

In the presence of your Instructor, Never correct your senior. You will be doing the job of the Instructor at the expense of not concentrating on developing your own technique.

If your colleague makes a mistake & your Instructor is ignoring it, it will be because of a purpose, the correction may not be a priority in the teaching process.

8. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

I will dominate my Instructor! - Dominatory Talk, Behavior & Attitudes

Correct Thought:

The student tends to dominate his Instructor by speech, gestures or attitudes.

Retort reply (Back answering), contradicting without taking time to understand, or refusing to acknowledge a statement all are speech dominations.

Placing your hands on your hips, Staring constantly, Facing away while being instructed & not acknowledging the Instructors presence are all gesture dominations.

Attitudes like ‘I don’t care for you” & ‘Not following proper respects procedure (like a bowing)’ & not following the orders issued in class are dominatory.


Dominatory attitudes are always noticed not just by your Instructor, but by all your seniors & your Teacher. In the beginning, you are often excused as time is given to you to develop correct attitudes. But later on, dominatory attitudes will make your Instructors lose interest in training you & will offend your Instructors.


9. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

The Trainee student who wants to fight with his Teacher & score over him!

Correct Thought:

When you join the training, you have preformed ideas of your Teacher - That he will be serious, hard, tough, loud, stern & reserved in his approach.

However as you train you may find that he is easy going, soft spoken, comfortable with criticism, ignores your errors, & easily approachable. This may make you feel that he is “soft”.

As you train with your Teacher, you may at one point feel that he is not as seasoned as you first thought. This is the time to correct yourself.

Your Teacher has probably put in decades in to training. He must have been in numerous bouts, competition or otherwise. He has faced several challenges & emerged successful to be able to establish his reputation which drew you to learn under him in the first place!

If he is over looking your mistakes, it is because he understands your stage of learning. If he is soft spoken, it is because he does not see the need to portray toughness. If he is comfortable with your criticism, it is because he is patient with your faults & wants to give you enough time to learn. If he is easily approachable, it is because he believes that you have a right over him.


If you punch him, he will probably say ‘Good!’ If you kick him, he may say ‘Wow that was good!’ If you parry his attack, he may say, ‘You are learning fast!’ If you get the better of him, he may say ‘Hey man- You got me- you are great!’ But make no mistake – he has seen it all, done it all. In all probability he is just encouraging you. If he desires, he can show you his superiority with ease, but he will usually refrain from doing it. As he is not here to fight you, but to teach you to fight. And the goals are clear in his mind, at all times.


If you are lucky to sparr with him, remember that he will impose no threat to you, but will only want you to give optimum performance. Because, in the arena he has lived in, he has seen much more violence than you can ever imagine. He will have harnessed bullys, controlled rough houses & tamed more aggressive opponents than you can imagine.

So learn whilst sparring with him, because he is your Teacher – The only man who can help you to change your self in combat! And may be , even in life!

And therefore, do not mistake his ‘Softness’ for ‘Weakness’. Remember, the Bruce Lee adage ‘Be soft, yet not yielding, Be firm , yet not hard”

10. BEGINNERS IDEAS: Wrong Thought:

I will quit, if I get ego problems!

Correct Thought:

Ego problems are very common in fighting arts. Fighting arts precipitate inherent dormant ego problems.

When you begin to learn fighting arts, you are very apprehensive of your seniors prowess, but as you progress, you find that they are all human. They make mistakes, have weaknesses & are not as omnipotent as you first thought.

As you learn, your confidence grows, & there comes a time when you feel that your seniors & Instructors are no big deal & you begin to underestimate them. At this point, you must realize that you are on the wrong track & correct your thinking (as already explained before).

Now, during bouts or during exams, when you are beaten, ridiculed or taken to the height of tiredness, your ego crashes & you suddenly start disliking everyone who has shown you that you are not as good as you would like to believe. Then some students may suddenly want to quit & escape from the class which brings them back to reality.

If this happens, Know that there is only one reality. The reality of Combat – where there is only one opponent, some big horrendous unknown enemy who will cross your path in the future, when destiny decides……. And it is your training Class, your Teacher, your Instructors, your Seniors& your Colleagues who stand on your side to train you for that big fight!
And a good Martial Combat Artist is one whose training destroys the ego, rather than build it!

“Punches and kicks are tools to hack your ego, your fear and your hang-ups.”

Bruce Lee, Tao of JKD

 

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#1 2013-05-02 07:27
Fantastic, I love your teaching philosophy for it is exactly like mine. I also had many ego and hang-up issues and the only thing that helped me was precisely what you mention above. Bravo! I wish I had learned from you since the beginning, I would have saved myself decades of internal struggle.
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