Consistency is Key

There is one ingredient that keeps people from reaching all their goals – CONSISTENCY!

“Lack of Consistency can bring on a lack of Interest”

SYSTEMA Training at FightClub is no different. Through my years of training I have gone through many ups and downs in life, but the one constant has always been SYSTEMA. I have noticed more then ever before students that are impatient when it comes to learning. Too many times students do not give their training enough time to reap the benefits they are looking for. No matter what we do in life we will not achieve the success we want unless we work at it day in and day out for years and years. You can have the best teachers in the world, and train real hard every time, but if you do not stick with it consistently, you will wind up spinning your wheels. This will lead to frustration, impact motivation and ultimately lead to inconsistent results. I have yet to meet a student that trained consistently for 12 months and did not learn or reach fabulous results.

If your a student – get to class. 

If you are not a student – get started. 

If you start consistent I guarantee the results!! 

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This is the third part of the fifth chapter of an ongoing series entitled Know Thyself. You can find the first chapter collected here. The second chapter is collected here. The third chapter is collected here. And the fourth chapter is collected here.

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics in 2002, helpfully distinguishes between two otherwise indistinguishable systems of thought operating in the human body. System 1 is fast. It uses memory associations to draw conclusions and make suggestions for action at an unconscious level. It is the source of our intuitions either at work or in our daily life. Ever finish someone else’s sentence? Realise that ‘something was off’ about your friend? That’s System 1 at work. Most of our thoughts and feelings are, whether we are willing to admit it or not, the product of this system. We have in our body, for good or ill, a powerful ability to jump to conclusions. System 2, on the other hand, is slow. It is what we use to control ourselves and to verify or disprove our beliefs. When you hold your breath or keep yourself from saying something inappropriate you are making use of System 2. If we are not vigilant or aware of our cognitive biases and habits, our System 2s simply give ‘reasons’ for why our System 1s are correct.[1] I wrote about this in an earlier chapter with respect to moral codes. Ask a person why they hate someone or some subgroup of people and they will no doubt give you lots of ‘reasons’. Really though, they just hate by association.

As such, learning to be more rational in the manner that leads to wisdom does not mean learning to be a better problem solver or crossword finisher. It means learning how to be “more alert, more intellectually active, less willing to be satisfied with superficially attractive answers,” and generally more skeptic of our intuitions, despite their reliability in certain contexts.[2] It means recognizing, for instance, that even our deepest thoughts are profoundly affected by our moods. People in good moods are more creative and intuitive but prone to casual and superficial conclusions; people in bad moods are the opposite—less creative but also less lazy; “good mood, intuition, creativity, gullibility, and increased reliance on System 1 form a cluster…sadness, vigilance, suspicion, an analytic approach, and increased effort also go together.”[3] Being rational involves recognizing and taking into account these and other important variables when reviewing our beliefs and feelings. It means getting to know the powers and weaknesses of System 1 for the purpose of learning when to accept its intuitions.

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This is the second part of the fifth chapter of an ongoing series entitled Know Thyself. You can find the first chapter collected here. The second chapter is collected here. The third chapter is collected here. And the fourth chapter is collected here.

Once upon a time our distant ancestors lived in trees and walked on all four limbs. Then, over long stretches of time, having lost their arboreal habitat, they changed. The change did not occur suddenly, but at some point there was a transition towards the form of mankind we call Homo Sapiens, the Thinking or Knowing Human. Homo Sapiens is a dedicated tool user, possessing complex language skills and an ability to navigate sophisticated social environments. How did this transition from primate to mankind occur and why? Philosopher Colin McGinn, having examined archaeological, anthropological, and biological reports, speculates that the answers to the questions of how and why largely involve the human hand.[1] Whereas once our ancestors grasped branches, proto-humans began to grasp other materials, using them as tools and weapons. Perhaps because this strategy was so effective, early humans began to walk on two feet rather than on all fours, leaving their hands free to do more work. With its innate capacity to mold itself around objects, its fine sensitivity and delicacy, its general ability to learn and perform complex movements, and the sheer amount of brain matter dedicated to its use, the hand is our finest tool.[2]  Our brains in all likelihood co-evolved with our hands. From the hand we acquired our first symbolic language and our first social comforts. In many ways, it stands to reason that the quality of our humanity emanates from our hands.

Recognizing the entangled natures of what we normally separate into body and mind, contemporary anthropologists and neuroscientists insist on speaking of ‘embodied cognition’. Intelligence is not limited to the logical and abstractive functions of the mind. Our capacity for thought and imagination emerges from the body as a whole. But in recognizing this important point, we are still left with a number of questions, not the least of which is: how do we best think about embodied cognition? We can say with a high degree of confidence that abstract cognition, whatever its purposes and scope, involves the same areas of the brain that are dedicated to processing and implementing human movement. Cognition and movement use the same real estate. And both must take into account the condition of the body as a whole. [3]

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How hard should you train?

by Vladimir Vasiliev

Your goal

The goal of training is to accumulate power and not tension. I believe that with each training session, while doing the same or higher workload, we should get less tired at the end of the class.

We should try to perform each exercise in such a way, that with practice, we are able to do it with less and less exertion. This is achieved by utilizing only the muscles needed for the movement and keeping the rest of the body tension-free. Moreover, if you move naturally and correctly, your psyche also relaxes and your physical and psychological potential will be noticeably enhanced. This is your test, if your feel more calm after training, you have been moving correctly.

Take it in stages

At the first stage of your training regiment, you should train so that by the end of the class, there is always a reserve to react if an unpredictable situation happens. For example, if a street attack happens when you are walking home from class, you should have enough energy to defend yourself. At a later stage of your training, you should feel even stronger and more energetic after every class.

No fixed routine

Note that each day is different. There are days when you can go all out and others when you only do a few repetitions or a few minutes of work. This applies to both your body endurance and your will power to do the work.

Sore muscles

If your muscles feel sore after training, keep in mind that muscles generally adjust to a work load within three days. Make sure that you restore yourself with breathing, combative body massage, and relaxation after each session and your muscles will feel better. Also, when you are sore, let that day be your chance to work through an additional challenge.

Deeper objective

I look at each training session as an opportunity to look deeper inside, rather than making the body into a tough training machine. The objective is to become more human, seeing your own weaknesses or letting your partner win at some points.

In my opinion, the most valuable quality of a person is his positive disposition no matter what happens. Training sessions should be used to overcome pride and fear, and to gain humility and benevolence.


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 This is the beginning of the fifth chapter of an ongoing series entitled Know Thyself. You can find the first chapter collected here. The second chapter is collected here. The third chapter is collected here. And the fourth chapter is collected here.

For my twentieth birthday, my mother purchased for me two books which, in retrospect, would seem to have defined much of my future life. One of the books was entitled A User’s Guide to the Brain. Knowing that bodies are meat, and believing that consciousness and the soul are properties emerging naturally from the interaction of body and brain, I wanted a professional’s description of how the brain works in relation to the body and how I could best maintain that relationship. Body-mind maintenance seemed to me an important part of happiness. The advice given in the final chapter of the book, labeled ‘Care and Feeding,’ has echoed in my memory ever since. We should exercise our bodies because it improves self-esteem and wards off depression; practice complex movement patterns because doing so increases neuronal connections in our brains and makes us more sociable; continue to learn new things for the remainder of our lives because it makes us more creative and resilient; meditate because it gives our minds rest and calms our nervous systems; keep working at what we love to do because it gives our lives meaning; and get plenty of vitamins.[1] Believing in the reliability of this advice made it possible for me to see the beauty and utility of Systema once it was presented to me. I chose to train at Fight Club not only because it looked bad ass (it did), but because it would provide me with exercise, complex dance-like movements, new skills to practice, and a training in breath relaxation and mindfulness. All I would have to do was eat right and never quit working if I wanted to maintain a healthy brain. I practice Systema with the intensity that I do because I do not want to die an old, weak man with ill-health who can no longer remember the life that he lived.

Virtue ethicists, following Aristotle, sometimes distinguish between theoretical and practical wisdom. The former names the highest form of knowledge one can possess regarding the universal principles of the natural and metaphysical worlds; the latter names the highest form of knowledge regarding moral conduct. To have practical wisdom is to have “the ability to act rightly as a result of knowing what ought to be done.”[2] The information contained in A User’s Guide to the Brain, assuming that it is reliable, provides me with the knowledge necessary to act rightly with respect to my brain. In that sense, it contributes to my practical wisdom, giving me the means to take right action. This does not, however, necessarily mean that I am in possession of anything like wisdom in its fuller sense. According to philosopher Heather Battaly, the practically wise person “deliberates well, judges well, and perceives the world as she should. She recognizes opportunities for courage, benevolence, temperance, and justice. She also knows, for example, when and what she should face and when and from what she should flee; and when and whom she should help and when and whom she shouldn’t.”[3] Given the general fallibility of the human body and brain, and the powerful influence of social and cultural forces on our persons, it is difficult to say if anyone is truly practically wise, that is, has the ability to act rightly in all circumstance as Battaly describes. In the Latin tradition, the Greek word sophia, meaning wisdom, was translated as prudentia, or prudence. Being someone who feels that he is generally lacking in deliberation, judgement, and perception, I would like to put aside the word wisdom and refer to myself instead as prudent. I feel more comfortable thinking of myself as a prudent man, even if perhaps I stumble accidentally into the arms of wisdom thanks to the assistance of men and women wiser than myself. The prudent individual can recognize moments of wisdom in others and strive to experience such moments for their self.

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