Systema sparring experiment

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Paul Genge, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Would you say its mostly based on posture/structure breaking?
  2. RobP

    RobP Valued Member

    To get a good overview of typical Systema class work and methods I highly recommned Steve Wildash's blog at

    There's a huge amount of info there plus video clips. Steve has an extensive background in Japanese styles and began training in Systema a couple of years back, so you get the view from a total "newcomer" to the art from a very technique-based background


    Last edited: Feb 15, 2010
  3. Paul Genge

    Paul Genge Banned Banned

    This clip might shed some light for you on the way the systema training method approaches things. In it a student is exploring working against push kicks. He has no set technique, but is working through the puzzle by identifying what principles he can apply and then playing with them. This way he creates his own unique solution to the problem and not a copy of mine or anyone elses response to the attack.

    [ame=""]YouTube- Systema student explores push kick defence[/ame]

    The advantage with this is that if the attacker alters any of the parameters of the attack such as tension, commitment or angle the student can continue to flow, because he is not trying to force something to happen.

    Hope this helps,

  4. Paul Genge

    Paul Genge Banned Banned

    We had a great session last night inspired by Alex Kostic's fist fighting DVD. The first thing we explored was using movement of the arms to protect us from punches. This was done both statically then on the move.


    next we started to integrate takedowns.


    lastly we increased the pace for some sparring.

    [ame=""]Systema sparring 23/02/10 - YouTube[/ame]
  5. Paul Genge

    Paul Genge Banned Banned

    Really good systema session tonight.  This time we worked on dealing with close range attacks. The reason for this is that most real fights start at an almost toe to to range unlike traditional sparring.

    This is a clip of me working against one of my students during the protective kit sparring part of the lesson. In my opinion the attacks are still a little to polite and need to increase in intensity.


    This is a clip of the same student working against my attacks.  I am not trying to be to technical with my attacks, but I am trying to give him a hard time none the less. 

  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  7. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    Far too casual about the attacks once even standing with both hands behind the back.

    As for the SAS connection ..the troopers I taught did not give a jot about defence, they simply wanted to learn how to take out the other guy fast and effectively.

    The answer was SAS surprise/speed aggression and sustain. In my opinion special forces do not have their own specific martial art. They use tried and tested pragmatic techniques .

    In the videos? Not enough sense of danger.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  8. Paul Genge

    Paul Genge Banned Banned

    Yes it is.
  9. Paul Genge

    Paul Genge Banned Banned

    This time we worked on dealing with close range attacks. The reason for this is that most real fights start at an almost toe to to range unlike traditional sparring.

    This is a clip of me working against one of my students during the protective kit sp arring part of the lesson. In my opinion the attacks are still a little too polite and need to increase in intensity.


    This is a clip of the same student working against my attacks. I am not trying to be to technical with my attacks, but I am trying to give him a hard time none the less.


    The reason for the experiment is that I was curious what would happen. The difficulty is choosing the right point to begin the experiment. Too early and the student does not have enough relaxation to make it work. This in turn creates fear and tension making the situation even worse. By drip feeding the increases in complexity and intensity I have found that this method works for some students at a far ealier point in their training than I first thought.

    What I want to stress is that the slow soft training you see in most systema clips is also an essential component in the way we learn, but without some sort of full speed work with real contact something is lost. The students can become incredibly smooth at slow speeds, but once the unfamiliar pace is introduced they freeze if they have not been systematically acclimatised to it.
  10. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    One good way to let students to examine their speed is to ask them to jump in the air, throw 3 punches before their feet land back on the ground again. If your opponent can not see your hand and only blur, you have some speed. Another way to examine your speed is to hear the sound of your punching generated by the air compressing.

    One good test to get used to the speed in training is to ask your opponent to punch at your face with full speed, you are not allowed to move your feet, but lean your body back, and use one of your hand to deflect your opponent's punch at his elbow joint.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2010
  11. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Bob Spour is a good solid muay thai teacher and ex armed forces, who got involved with Richard Grannon and claimed to be ex-SAS, to sell his wares.

    The same Richard Grannon who claimed to be a Cage Fighter who saw the systema light in the folowing videos:

    And it later turned out that his MMA experience wasn't as simple as it seems.

    And then trys to disassociate himself from systema:

    But thats all old history now.

    Still the videos you show are all overly complient, is there not a danger that by doing this your actually training the reciever to not keep there balance in a real life situation?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  12. kevin

    kevin New Member

    Hi guys,

    Kevin Secours here from Montreal. Heard I was being mentioned, so I thought I was chime in to clarify.

    Everyone teaches Systema differently. Truthfully, my approach is more of a fusion of the Ryabko method with Kadochnikov along with other elements. The key to how we roll here is that we maintain 3 phases to every lesson:

    1-Education: Understand why you are doing what you are doing
    2-Rehearse: Systema's slow work to softly explore the movements and explore the application of principle. Generally, we add contact and resistance first and speed second.

    3-Pressure Testing: Then we apply the material in a resistant dynamic, which may include protective gear, simulations, role play, range specific sparring, etc.

    Then we usually debrief and return to the education phase to discuss what we've discovered and learn and the intent is that with each return to the experience, we simplify and understand more.

    The clip of submission wrestling was noted to look like BJJ. I have 2 advanced ranks in JJJ and train shoot and sambo and fuse it all together. I teach jujitsu separately and take quite a different approach tot that material. Different students respond differently and each has their preferred method.

    As for my Systema approach, many do not approve of what I do. It is certainly not pure Ryabko Systema. I am unable to make the pure material work for me. It's not a perfect fit for my nature. I believe in clinching, grappling, etc and in my experience have been able to adapt it to professional and street applications. I believe in 2-on-1 arm control against a knife rather than a lot of the boxing and strike many other Systema approaches use, I use the body yielding work as a delivery mechanism, not as an end and means in itself, I advocate mouth pieces, cups, gloves and helmets often, we spar against different styles and we are constantly sharing, researching and evolving in our own direction.

    I do use a lott of Matt Thornton's "I Method". Matt has a very similar line of thinking to my own, but to give you an idea of where I stand, by simply hosting him I received a solid 50 angry emails from people who questioned me for hosting someone who criticized systema openly. I responded that in many cases, based on what Matt experience with Systema was, I agreed with him. My own experiences have been somewhat different, but not entirely and if I only associated with people who revered Systema, I would grow stagnant pretty quickly.

    I believe contact is essential. I keep things simple and gross motor. I do teach technique but always emphasize why they work by highlighting principle and lead progressions towards students playing freely. As a professional educator, I agree that most Systema instructors lack technical understanding and that some specifics must be shown. I have actually structured my approach and have a rather specific strata of technique and curriculum which I advocate but again, this is blasphemous for purists.

    In the end, we are teaching people how to stay alive. Do the best you can and only teach what you believe in. Hope this clarifies.
  13. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Thank you for the reply Mr Secours, that was an enlightening and honest post about your approach.

  14. tgace

    tgace Valued Member

    That was going to be my comment when I read the first few posts and saw the first couple of videos. That kind of training definitely has it's place but when the "boxer" is throwing them fast and is really trying to hit you it's a whole different ball game.

    Good luck with your training it looks like fun.
  15. Paul Genge

    Paul Genge Banned Banned

    Nice post Kevin. Since I have been openly changing the way I train I have had a number of responses of a very positive and some criticle nature. Each to their own.


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