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Is your fascia holding you back during Systema training?

October 13, 2019


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 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. Email to book an appointment with Michael!

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.



Michael Mekhail – Systema Instructor and R.M.T.

Michael has been mastering the martial art of Systema since 2010 with the guidance of world-renowned Emmanuel Manolakakis. He has led countless Systema training sessions, including youth and adult programs, women’s self-defence workshops, personal lessons, and more.

Complementing his passion for martial arts and teaching, he works as a fitness instructor and recently graduated as a registered massage therapist from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy. He also spent three years as a counsellor for high school youth and First Nation communities, leading habit-mastery programs to help develop positive thinking, integrity and community.

Michael’s life mission is to empower others to improve their health. He believes that Systema is more than a martial art. It’s a mind-set for a holistic life – one that develops people physically, mentally, and emotionally.

toronto systema training

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

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