Russian Systema – Weight Seminar Review

Working with Weight Seminar Review – Part 1 

~ by Mark Fan

On February 9th, 2020, Emmanuel taught a seminar at Fight Club about working with weight. As we know, the Systema approach suggests that we act with the minimum amount of muscular effort – so how do we respond to someone who is using muscular effort against us? Emmanuel explained that effective use of our body weight can help us respond without over-activating the musculature.

The Content and Progression of the Seminar

Emmanuel walked us through a clear step-by-step experiential process, with several stages (my memory of the exact order may not be perfect here):

  1. Feeling your own weight on the floor (static position)
  2. Feeling the transfer of your weight as you move (e.g., the weight falling from one leg to the other while walking)
  3. Jumping and being pushed while you’re in the air to feel how your weight moves
  4. Grabbing and lifting your partner and feeling them pour their weight into different directions, and how it can be used to load your body
  5. Pouring your weight into a partner who is grabbing you in a bear hug to overload their structure and lock them
  6. Transferring your weight through both of your hands to take down an approaching partner
  7. Transferring your weight through a stick that both you and your partner are grabbing with both hands
  8. Transferring your weight through one hand to your partner
  9. Placing your weight on two people are locked together in a tight grab; apply the weight in the right spot and you can help one person gain the upper hand
  10. Transferring your weight through your hand to an incoming knife stab hand

In each stage there was an attempt to impart the “feeling” of weight. As you can see, we progressed from grabs (where the linkage between partners is relatively stable, and allows for transfer of weight from one person to another), to more dynamic movements Russian Systema such as a strike with a single hand to an incoming stabbing hand, so that weight can be transferred quickly when the contact time is short.

I’m still processing the information and will write more over the next few weeks.


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