"Systema Breathing" DVD is the companion to Mr.
by Paul McCaughey, June 26, 2006
Vasiliev's ground-breaking book "Let Every Breath", which for the first time outside of Russia, explains and illustrates the ancient art of Russian breathing exercises and health cultivation.
Mr. Vasiliev's DVD collection on Systema, The Russian Martial Art, has received critical acclaim for its contribution to the areas of self-defense and personal protection. In "Systema Breathing" he shows us how to defend ourselves against a very different enemy, the silent killers of stress, tension, pain and fatigue. For this reason alone, this DVD makes a significant contribution to the areas of exercise and wellness education.
Mr. Vasiliev begins with concepts and principles of correct breathing, by showing us how to breathe continuously in a tension-free manner. He shows us how often we stop breathing during normal daily activities because of anger, fear, concentration, money, deadlines, etc. and how this immediately creates larger and smaller tensions in the body. "When we stop breathing, the brain demands the body’s oxygen and the body is deprived and becomes tense, which stops circulation and leads to many health problems."
Mr. Vasiliev shows us how continuous breathing informs correct movement and naturally anticipates effort, which allows one to adapt to stress. As an ex-special forces operative and trainer in the elite special operations unit, Mr. Vasiliev has a deep understanding of stress and its effects on both psyche and body. He shows us how inhalation through the nose and exhalation through the mouth allows us to breathe with a maximum of efficiency and minimum of tension. He explains, "Your movement should stay inside the breath". This has two meanings: first that we should breathe sufficiently, not more or less in quantity than we need.
Mr. Vasiliev demonstrates that too much air intake creates tension in the upper chest, which then inhibits movement. Secondly, the breath should precede and complete each movement, with each cycle sufficient in quantity to the required activity. Another accessible technique involves exploring breath control in exercises involving tension versus relaxation.
Mr. Vasiliev instructs his student to inhale and increase tension throughout the body, then release tension during exhalation. Again the task is led and completed by the breathing. Then he instructs to inhale tension into isolated areas such as the arms, while keeping all other parts relaxed. Finally, on the inhalation the tension is generated in a wave from the feet up through the body into the hands, and then released while exhaling from hands through the body to the feet. As the viewer, you can try these as you are watching. Any initial tension that the body is carrying will be cleared out with the tension you create and release with the breath.
Another useful method is "audible" breathing, which simply means breathing so you can hear it. This is used to remind us to breathe during all activities, which will eliminate more and more of the silent stress associated with forgetful breathing. Mr. Vasiliev cites three levels to Russian breathing practice. The first level is breathing without movement, such as when lying, kneeling, sitting or standing.
The second is breathing in one position, but with movement cycles, and here he uses the common exercises of push-ups, sit-ups and squats. He explains these as 'breathing exercises', not kinetic or strengthening exercises, and that these well known movements work extremely well because they exercise all the muscle groups and tax the lungs in diverse ways.
The third level is to take breathing into motion, matching inhalation and exhalation to the natural rhythm of walking or running, increasing the length of the breath up to as much as ten steps and then back down to one. In each exercise, he carefully instructs how to keep the lungs open through proper body use, such as keeping the back straight, hips and shoulders properly aligned, so that the diaphragm is not compromised and the intercostal muscles fully advantaged.
It is a pleasure to watch Mr. Vasiliev. As he explains, demonstrates and leads his students through the exercises, his body communicates an ease and effortless capacity to perform any task, giving his teachings a solid feel. In class demonstrations, I am used to seeing him run circles around his attackers. In “Systema Breathing”, his stillness, relaxation, clarity and effortless movement showed me how that is possible. Mr. Vasiliev points out that our purpose is, "to replace the physical effort with the breath effort", so that eventually the muscles are no more tired at the end of the repetitions than at the beginning.
He shows how to use 'burst breathing" with short inhalations and exhalations to switch pain receptors off, and then longer, smoother breathing to clear out tension and pain. Where Mr. Vasiliev's book, "Let Every Breath" clearly explains and illustrates Russian breath and health cultivation, the DVD shows us how it is done. One is left with the impression that Mr. Vasiliev has only begun to teach about breathing, as hinted when says, "Most of us think that the breath stops only with the lungs, but it can penetrate to wherever you need it to go." I have been involved in Eastern breath practice and teaching for over 30 years now and I can tell you that “Systema Breathing” and its accompanying book, "Let Every Breath" are seminal works in our understanding of the breath and it’s potential to change our physical and psychological reality. Useful to all, Systema Breathing gives us the capacity to significantly change our quality of life as we go about our daily routines. Now that's worth our time, isn't it?
Between our ‘entrance’ inhale & ‘exit’ exhale we huff, puff, gasp, wheeze, pant & blow in more or less successful efforts to get a grip on physical, psychological & occasionally spiritual aspects of our existence.
by Sergey Makarenko, June 28, 2006
What often get disregarded is the connection between that huffing-puffing & our trinity.
First book-DVD diptych by Vladimir Vasiliev is dedicated to the cornerstone of the astonishing Systema’s efficiency – God given bridge between physical, psychological & spiritual segments of a human being – BREATH.
Readers-viewers are guided to acquisition of effective self-control skills applicable by any breathing individual who would like to retain that quality despite various life, sport & combat challenges. Situations where stress, load or fear generated tension reduce one’s ability to comprehend, to react & to respond efficiently happen with all of us & unfortunately we often suffer from inadequate self-control.
If you already know how to navigate through a panic shock, exhaustion, injury pain, fear of failure/height/depth/width, instant or accumulated tension – you already have useful survival skills & may not need new Vladimir’s breathing set. Otherwise – get one!
Incredible content & effectiveness!
by Thong Thong, July 09, 2006
Having been a professional cyclist for 12 years, I decided to test some of Vlad's drills on the bike. I used pedal revolutions to measure the effectiveness of various exercises. The results were simply astounding! I crested my usual mountain top in 1/3 of the time w/out any lactic acid build up in the legs while pedaling a 53X18 gear. It's as if I had doubled my lung capacity instantly and the recovery period was equally astounding. Highly recommend this DVD for all & especially athletes.
Vladimir is brilliant, humble and inspirational -- keep up the great work.
by Antonio Terranova, May 15, 2007
Usually hearing about breathing exercises one thinks Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi or styles of Kung Fu.
by Bryan Wilson, November 08, 2007
When I heard about the Russian Martial Arts using breathing I was skeptical about how useful any of it would be. I was very surprised when after reading the book and trying a few breathing exercises, just how helpful it was. It\'s not about making you hit harder or giving you more than human abilities, rather it is simple straight forward ways to increase your lung capacity and stamina. The first part explains simple ways to breathe more efficiently and ridding yourself of stress. It goes on to a few simple exercises which help to increase your lung capacity and get you used to breathing while under stress. If you are exerting yourself without breathing well, odds are you won\'t last long. Anyone could benefit from this book, if it\'s for running a mile or just reducing day to day stress.
Since starting Systema, I have been able to recognize when I am tense (which seems to have been most of the time previously) and to learn how to relax.
by Scott Tulleners, December 15, 2010
This has been a blessing both in my daily life and on the fencing strip.
As a competitive epeeist, I'm very excited about the pronounced improvement I've noticed in my fencing. In modern fencing, you need explosive footwork, tiny blade actions, which are reliant on fine-motor skills, and a highly honed sense of distance and timing. Before I started Systema training, I would get tense during a bout, and my blade work and footwork would become extremely sloppy and poorly timed. Accordingly, my performance would vary wildly from bout to bout. Since I've started to integrate Systema breathing and relaxation principles into my fencing, my performance has become more consistent and has improved dramatically. I still get tense during bouts, but because of the Systema exercises I have been shown, I am able to recognize that I am tense and use my training to relax. I noticed improvement after my first month of training, and I've continued to improve since. I would encourage anyone who is interested in improving their performance in any area to take Systema.
je tenais a ecrire ce mail , pour dire a quel point les principes du systema expliques dans le DVD breathing avaient ameliore mon quotidien .
by Karel Fani, November 01, 2011
Ca fait quelques mois que je l'ai achete et que j'appliquais les diffrents principes dans ma vie quotidienne , au travail , pour porter des choses et ca m'aidait deja beaucoup . Mais depuis vendredi 14/10/11, je me suis fait opere d'une hernie inguinale (dans le bas-ventre) . De retour chez moi le vendredi soir , bouger me fait mal et faire nimporte quel mouvement m'est assez penible, c'est la que les principes du systema m'aident incroyablement : par exemple utiliser une partie du corps en en decontractant une autre , evacuer la douleur et les divers tensions grâce a la respiration . exemple pratique : je suis couche pour me relever je maide de mon bras en decontractant mon ventre tout en respirant correctement et si ca me fait mal quand même j'utilise la respiration explosive. voila un exemple parmis tant d'autres pour dire a quel point le systema m'aide quotidiennement. Le plus etonnant dans tout ca c'est que je n'ai appris des choses qu'en regardant des DVD et videos sur internet. je n'ai encore jamais mis les pieds dans un cours 'reel' de systema...alors si un DVD a pu m'apprendre ca , qu est ce que ca va être quand je pourrai pratique "pour de vrai" . Ma conclusion c'est que je remercie Vladimir Vasiliev et toutes les personnes qui ont permis de rendre le systema accessible a tous .
bonne continuation, salutations
My name is Alex Vaughan and I am a Captain on the Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department and a father of four children.
by Alex Vaughan, March 22, 2013
As a Captain I am responsible for making decisions that affect the well being of the citizens in Kansas City and of my men who serve under me. As a father, I face the same process with my family.
I have recently started taking Systema classes with Stephen Crews of Strategos International and have really enjoyed it. The new techniques of self defense, breathing and exercise help in my work as well as everyday life.
In the past, I have faced many stressful situations on the fire ground or other inherently dangerous or emotional scenes. I have to stay calm and focused while making tactical decisions. Maintaining focus has been difficult because I tend to start breathing through my mouth more than I should and that habit can interfere with keeping up a calm persona in a highly challenging situation.
Now, Systema breathing techniques help to sort through the decision making process much more effectively and to be more at peace with my emotions and physical body.
While in house fires and in search and rescue mode - I practice burst/recovery breathing. And while responding to emergency scenes - the calming counted breathing helps the tactical process. It relaxes me mentally and my body does not hinder my thinking and my actions.
In short, I am fully confident that I will continue practicing what I have learned through Systema with the breathing techniques and look forward to training consistently in the future. I know it will help me achieve a higher level of physical and emotional peacefulness while experiencing the rigors of my calling as a firefighter and a father of 4.
Captain/EMT, T-11 / C, Station #29
Kansas City, Missouri Fire Department