The Short Route of KnowingMarch 27, 2012 by Konstantin Komarov
To me, the essence of Systema is learning to deal with any unfavorable environment, which means increasing the chances of survival. One cannot account for every possible negative scenario that we may encounter in life. Therefore, we cannot prepare for each possibility separately. Instead, we need to prepare for all at once. Thus in Systema, the specific techniques and methods of work are not as important as the changes occurring in the student’s body and psyche.
My service in the army also taught me to overcome any negative impacts. The thing is, I had to learn differently, through overcoming myself. Over the course of four years of study at the military school, by running I have probably circled the Earth. We would run so much daily, morning, day or night, in freezing cold and sweltering heat, always wearing boots and uniforms, often with weapons and full gear, sometimes on skis, through obstacle courses, through the woods, across fields, on- or off-road. I hated running with my guts. I would ask myself – “at the age of cars, IVFs, APCs and all kinds of armored vehicles why, oh why do we need to run and march on foot so much?” Back then I could not answer that question.
In addition to that, physical training was also a part of other disciplines such as tactics, firearms, topography, defense from weapons of mass destruction, or military vehicles. This “PE component” included many miles of walking or running with weapons and gear, often wearing personal protection equipment; timed getting in and out of vehicles; loading / unloading ammo; mounting and taking down weapons, among other “pleasures”. In short, during the first two years I moved about exclusively by either marching or running. I kept asking that same question “Why do we need this?” even in my dreams!
Suddenly, after the graduation and getting to my first assignment, I got it. I knew why I had suffered. My commanders and teachers had helped me develop a stable psyche and stamina – the two qualities that determine one’s readiness to withstand negative impacts, and therefore survive. As the old military saying goes “what does not kill you makes you stronger”. Indeed, by overcoming yourself, you can tap into inconceivable powers! I realized that I had this internal strength, and so did my subordinates. Otherwise, they would not have followed my command.
So, the army taught me well to overcome myself, while Systema teaches self-understanding. In the army I shaped myself through a variety of drills, while in Systema I can develop myself directly. Under a good Systema instructor, this is a shorter route. Yes, there are drills, but I know exactly how each one changes me and why. I can build myself from the ground up, discover and correct my own shortcomings and strengthen the qualities I need. Systema is a marvelous, subtle instrument of self-development, which helps build a sound foundation for any movement, any activity. And not so much through overcoming but more through understanding yourself. Trust me – this process is faster and much more enjoyable.
Try a little experiment. Watch a video recording of a relatively simple dance (modern or folk) and try to copy the moves for a minute. If it is working, you are on a right Systema path. See, Systema training gives your body freedom to easily repeat any unusual and complex moves.
Would you like to take the challenge of overcoming yourself and reap the benefits? Try crawling without the use of arms or legs, non-stop for 20 minutes and up to 90 minutes depending on your fitness level. Then, in a class, do some wrestling with a partner or practice simple strikes, grabs and escapes on the move. Those of you, who succeed in overcoming yourself, will get an amazing, outstanding long-term result. This happens because we do most activities with our arms and legs, while the trunk is less capable of movement. But this approach is not for everyone. At Systema Camp this summer, I’d like to share with you the tasks that are easier, more engaging, and more fun. Together we will master
most interesting things! See you there!