FightClub Club News

Systema Training during the Hong Kong Protests

October 8, 2019


“The Hong Kong protests have now been taking place regularly for the last 3 months.

I won’t go into the politics of it: I have friends on both sides of the conflict whose friendships I cherish more than any ephemeral cause, so I’ll leave it at that.  I have been working in the recent protests for the last 6-weeks and have been in the heart of the action that you may have seen on the evening news.

I was assigned to escort foreign clients reporting on the events. Some gigs were relatively easy as the protests were peaceful for the most part.

There were however instances such as last Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 where protests and riots achieved their utmost chaotic point.

In the past, I have been cast into situations where Systema training kicked in and did so in a manner that was almost automatic, reflexive, didn’t need  to look for it, think about it, remember it or solicit it… it was there, like a backup program, ready to go off at a moment’s notice when the situation required it.

Last Tuesday, Systema training operated on its own…the running, the breathing, both at times and used so unconsciously that you just sometimes wonder how you kept up with the pace and dealt with the various unusual situations in a very calm and relaxed manner:

One of my favorite training lines in Systema is “How the hell did I do that?” and… How the hell did I go through this? Whether it was keeping oneself calm when a (very loud) tear gas grenade detonates at about a meter away… 

Whether it was remaining relax as second nature and holding my breath when my gas mask seal was not properly done and my eyes and skin began to burn when they came in contact with tear gas…

Whether it was navigating the sometimes highly emotional crowd and insuring, by body language and attitude that everybody was safe and sound and remained civil.

Finally, whether it was managing one’s breath as one starts to run in the chaos composed of fires, tear gas, water cannons having a field day and riot Gear cops charging the crowd, in all these instances, moving, breathing, staying relax and keeping your posture were the key to remaining composed, relax and controlling my state no matter what the situation.

All of this all of these skills would not be a part of my personal toolbox had it not been for 5 years of training at fight club. Were it not for that haven on Donlands, I would never have such a tale to tell. 

Every time I come across a situation like this, whether it’s like the events I’m describing or any other situation that causes the mind to rush or panic, Emmanuel’s training has switched on immediately, allowing me to make the best of the situation.

I am not sure how long this crisis here will last here, it remains the city I fell in love with and I’m not planning on going anywhere… in fact, I invite you to visit… tickets will be dirt cheap soon.

And if you’re training at Fight Club, you’re in the right place.

Enjoy and make the best of your training: if you can push your partner further: do it! If your partner can push you further: let him or her.

This is training that will follow you and help keep you composed and, dare I say, safe, in various incredible situations (do you seriously think I ever thought I’d be writing something like this?), not just for the moment, but for the rest of your life.” – Janik Litalien


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401 Donlands Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 416-200-0200

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