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Unburden the Shoulders

Category : FC Club News


You’ve been unconsciously taught a shoulder position for your entire life, with elbows wide and shoulder blades shrugged. It’s in a “traditional” push-up, it infects bench press and it has become the posture of “backpack culture.” Due to evolutionary biology, chronic and acute stress instantly and semi-permanently, shrug your shoulders upward to protect your neck.


Yet, it’s the least bio-mechanically sound joint position and accounts for almost all pain and injuries to the neck and shoulders. There is a fix to it, but it won’t happen until you remain aware, focus attention on it, and develop a deliberate practice of relaxing the shoulders…


Here are 3 easy steps:


  1. Un-Shrug your shoulders. Pull your shoulders down toward the ground, as if carrying two suitcases of equal weight. But because of chronic stress and bad posture, most people have a constant shoulder shrug.
  2. Roll your shoulders backward. Most people have their shoulders rolled forward, causing their elbows to flare out away from their ribs. When your shoulders are rolled backwards, your arms hang effortlessly at your sides parallel with you.
  3. Pull your shoulder blades together, but don’t pinch them. This is an active but not tense balance.


We will be working with the shoulders this coming week in class!


See you on the mats,

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Health & Rejuvenation Workshop

Category : FC Club News

Health & Rejuvenation Workshop – Part 2
This Saturday


FightClub is holding an informative fundraising workshop geared towards understanding treating various dysfunctional health patterns in the body through breathing and massage principles taught in Systema – Russian Martial Art.


Two workshops will be held – A basic one on Saturday, February 25th from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm and a second intermediate one on Saturday March 25th from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Cost Is $25 per session – 50% of the proceeds with be donated to the Toronto East General Hospital.


“People exhaust themselves for nothing, try to develop 
skills that cannot stay on an un-prepared body”
                                                                ~ Emmanuel Manolakakis




Massage drills are a critical tool for preparing the body because it acts as an honest bio-feedback that lets you see the internal state of the nervous system, tissues, and psyche. People will often think their legs are healthy. Then you start to walk on them and they freak out. They realize that their fascia and muscles are dry and tight, the joints hurt and are scared, and the bones feel fragile. They realize very quickly that things are far from healthy. They may be fit and active, but they are performing on top of dysfunction.


Active massage work helps you build the internal awareness and sensitivity to feel your baseline health. You develop the control to pull tension and fear to the surface to be processed and released by the nervous system and psyche. This same awareness, sensitivity, and control can then be applied to your other activities. This allows you to adjust your training to ensure continued growth and health without damaging your body and psyche.


For more Information, contact: systema@fight-club.ca

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Showing Up to Train

Category : FC Club News


Hey FC Crew,

Half of anything is just showing up; physically and mentally, though the latter is more difficult. When you arrive to train it helps if you follow the steps listed below. This way you get the most out of experience provided at FightClub. 


1. With your social and personal issues, leave drama at the door. As those thoughts and feelings try to rush back in, shut the door on them, and take sanctuary in your practice session.


2. But bring your real problems to be worked out. Your daily practice is where things actually get done, one small repetition at a time. Look honestly at them and take wise steps every day no matter how small.


3. Be confident you will create positive change even if you can’t see it immediately. This faith stuff is hard. When you’re restarting from an injury, illness or falling off your practice, it can seem like it will take forever. But you’re one day closer. Just keep going.



4. But be humble: every action is seen. You can’t hide insufficient or excessive effort. You wear it and become it over time. Commit no self-harm out of omission or commission. Do the things that make you strong and health and don’t do the things that make you weak and sick.


5. Don’t overthink and over analyze; don’t pretend you don’t have simple options you can use right now. Yes it can be complicated. Don’t do those things. Complication is a waste. Do simple things one at a time, and they become complex.


6. But be thoughtful of the impact of your choices: you become the things you do – like you become the things you eat. Invest in high quality form like you would high quality food. You become what you repeatedly do. One day you will realize that awhile ago, you just showed up, and that was the mouth of the river that started everything flowing again.


These steps can transcend into other aspects of our lives, not limited to training, they help us live a more fulfilled life, to accomplish anything we set out to achieve and be better prepared than the challenges we may face.

Hope this helps,



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Category : FC Club News

The goal of a strike is to apply a direction of force onto someone and have minimal force or ‘recoil’ coming back into you. Consider a strike as a movement, just like walking or running, albeit more calculated, at its core it is still just a movement. A strike should not compromise your own movements and abilities. It should be performed in a relaxed manor. Tension will ultimately rob power and mobility. This is especially true for the shoulder and hip area. Think of a baseball pitcher throwing a ball or a golfer swinging a club. They are completely relaxed as they go through their movements. It is one true way of achieve maximum force. By remaining relaxed and you will also find that your reactions will be much quicker and power much greater.

Good placement of your strikes and proper body position and alignment is also critical to a good strike. Keep a good upright posture and look for forgiving spots on the body to strike. Learning to place your strikes onto the body is just as important as generating power. Training in this fashion is important and will help avoid injury later on when more power and movement is added. With such a variety of strikes and movements available this aspect of training is quite in depth. In short, a strike should fit onto a person like a key goes into a key hole.

Some fundamental concepts about striking are:

The whole body or any part of it can be used to strike, not just the hands, feet, elbows or knees. Don’t favour a particular strike – your situation will tell you which to use;


Avoid reaching or stretching to land a strike, simply move closer or be patient;

Know how to strike from as many possible positions, not just straight in front of you; and

Use the weight and movements that have been given to you.


Following these concepts will develop powerful, functional and efficient strikes.

The importance of taking and giving strikes is seen as vital in the development process. No padding or protection is used when training. The belief is that it will create false sense of safety and ultimately weaken the student. Training on heavy bags or using equipment to practice strikes is also not favoured. The belief is it only builds the ego and does not allow for the consideration of the other to develop. Its usefulness is seen as limited and does more harm to the body.

The goal of strikes while training is to ultimately build a good fighting spirit. It also helps students overcome the fear of contact and build trust with each other. In this fashion students learn to train hard and help each other at the same time.


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Tactics and Strategies

Category : FC Club News

Hey FC Crew,

Students often ask me about different ‘tactics & strategy’s’ so I though I would write a little about it. 

There are many tactics and strategies but seeing as we have no specific situation to refer to, I will mention the more general ones.

The main focus should always be on survival and safety. Whatever tactics or ‘set of maneuvers’ you use, the end result must limit or never compromise your survival or safety to achieve an end.

Keep moving – Given the option, people would choose to strike a still target as compared to a moving one. A moving target is more elusive and requires more skill and confidence. This is one easy and effective way of passively protecting yourself.

Keep good posture -This position will allow you great visibility, portrays confidence and keeps the body free to respond appropriately from all directions.

Remain calm – On the outside, even smile. It’s hard for people to be aggressive towards someone who is smiling. On the inside be serious and ready for anything, this is where it counts!

Conceal your skills – By doing what the situation calls for; not what you want to do.This will frustrate your opponent, limit the level of emotion involved and not turn a bad situation worse.

Offensive applications should be efficient and safe for yourself. For example a properly placed low line kick can be just as effective as a high kick and drastically safer. Excessive reaching or stretching will leave you vulnerable. Keep the body alignment and structure together.


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