Systema Russian Martial Art – Massage


It’s not just your muscles that can cause tension during training. The problem could be your fascia.

What is it? Fascia is made up of a continuous sheet of nearly translucent tissue that wraps around (and in between) every muscle, bone, and organ throughout your entire body. It looks like silvery skin. You might have seen the filmy substance before if you’ve ever skinned a chicken drumstick. Yes, humans have that too. All over. In fact, your body is held together by this stuff. The craziest part? It’s all connected – the pull of fascia affects everything from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. In short, fascia allows for different parts of our body to work in sync, making our movements easier and more dynamic.

Have you ever seen a robot move? That’s how we’d look without fascia.

What does it mean in Systema Russian Martial Art training? The challenge is if we are not moving or we are constantly sitting in certain postures (like at a computer), your fascia will get moulded to those positions. In other words, you’ll feel stuck in that posture, which will limit your ability to move with ease when training.

On the other hand, when fascia glides smoothly, it increases your flexibility and energy – rather than fighting against the resistance in your own body, you free your body to work with your partner’s tension.

How can we improve it? The good news is that doing Systema helps. The diverse movements we practice every class are key to breaking up your fascia – and ultimately any unwanted postures.

Here are some other ways that you can free the sticking points in your fascia:

1. Reach for it. Literally, open yourself up and reach with your arms and legs. Look up, lift up your chest and take in a deep breath. Stretching and twisting through movement creates a shearing effect that helps the fascia get unstuck and glide smoothly.

2. Move differently. The more variation in your movement, the more you’ll break up the stickiness in your fascia. Try a new move in class, take the stairs at work, or even simply choose a chair that forces you to sit in a different position.

3. Get a massage. Regular massage is rooted in Systema – and for good reason. Massage therapists can break apart your fascia during treatments to help improve the fluidity of your movements.

It’s inevitable – our daily lives impact our posture and movement. But a little stretching, movement, and massage can go a long way to work out those kinks so we can train better.


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Archery Classes – Holding Steady



While I am teaching in archery classes, how to hold steady a bow is a popular question. I summing up the answer like this … maximum relaxation is the key to keeping the bow constant. If you bend a muscle, it shakes; it would be stable if you would relax your muscles. You cannot relax completely, but by using the skeletal system, you can relax most of your muscles because the bones should be stable as well as the muscles.

You should use the muscles that are larger and strongest, the ones closest to the spinal cord, to hold up and back the body. The farthest from the backbone, the less steady it is. Relax your arm and let your bow shoulder hang from the bones of your shoulder. The sight pin and forearm of the release hand must be relaxed, and the elbow should be pretending to do everything. This is used to hold back and up with a large muscle between the shoulder blades. Concentrate on rest factors and your steady arch, once you achieve the anchor position.

Finally, you’ll never be steady if you shoot a bow with tension. So try and feel as relaxed as you can. Pull back and settle into your shot, let the arrow fly with relaxation.


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Kid’s Martial Arts Lessons – FOCUS


Focus is important in everyday life. Without focus, it is incredibly difficult to think clearly or get important activities accomplished. Parents if you know of other parents that have kids struggling with ‘focus’ forward this email to them – SYSTEMA at FightClub may be your ticket!

The way SYSTEMA at FightClub build FOCUS

Consistent Instruction on How to Focus

Kid’s martial arts lessons are structured in such a way that they are different. No two classes are the same and therefore kids need to pay attention and focus a lot more then if they follow a routine. Warm-ups, lessons, and drills are physical as well as mental challenging – this sharpens the mind!

Consistent Instruction on What Focus Is

Focus requires consistency and practice. I use repetition and respect to establish the focal points that lead to sharper and more focused minds.

Individual and Group Effort

SYSTEM is very much focused on each student learning to ‘know yourself’. Warm-ups and exercises give a lot of individual effort based achievements. While partner and classes drills build communication and group effort based achievement.  This leads you to focus on both individual and group levels.

Posture and Breathe

During classes, kids are taught the correct posture and breathe. Good posture and breathing certainly affects all life aspects. Power, strength, confidence, and FOCUS all come from good Posture and Breathe.

“Focus is not a habit, its a skill”.

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Systema Training during Hong Kong Protests

“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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The Hook – Archery Classes


When you place your fingers on the bowstring, do you actually look where you’re placing them? Or do you simply grasp the bowstring and start drawing? Rushing to place your fingers on the string is one of the most common archery mistakes. Taking a second look at your finger placement can pay big dividends for your shot.

Hooking the bowstring with too much finger tension – or in the wrong place on the fingers – can cause many issues. The problems range from missing the target entirely to developing painful finger blisters.

Therefore, make sure you place your fingers on the string for each shot exactly as you were taught in archery classes, and be sure your hand position relative to the bowstring is consistent. Hooking properly and consistently creates tighter groups!

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