Systema Russian Martial Art – Training The Legs

Leg Work Systema Style 
by Emmanuel Manolakakis
I’ve had a lot of questions from students about how to develop leg movements, working flexibility, and creativity. Below I have compiled some drills and training ideas that I hope will help everyone. These are just a few ideas that have helped me personally and my hope is that they do the same for you. If this is something that interests you please join me on Sunday, May 27th from 12-4pm for the ‘Kick It’ Systema Leg Seminar at FightClub.
1. Stick Rubbing
Begin by rubbing your legs with a stick (any kind will do). Rub as hard as you can without causing any pain. ‘Wake up’ your skin.
2. Stick Tapping
After rubbing your legs start tapping them all over. Tap as hard as you can without causing any pain. ‘Wake up’ your muscles.
3. Joint Rolls
Roll your ankles, knees, hips and waist, one at a time in a circular fashion. Make the circles as large as possible, without losing balance. Remember to breathe. Imagine you have a pen stuck to the joint and you want to draw a circle in the air.
4. Movement Stretching
A. Start to stretch legs out from standing position. As you reach the end of your flexibility for a given movement, switch into another direction and continue with your movement/stretch. Just never hold any one position.
B. Same as number ‘a’ but use a wall to help you stretch. Remember don’t hold any one position or your breath.
C. Same as ‘a’ & ‘b’ but now go the ground and use the ground to help you stretch.
1. Wall Work
Squat up against a wall. Make sure that your back, heals and shoulders stay in constant contact as you go up and down with breathing. Same from the front
2. Vertical Jumps
With your feet in a comfortable position – jump straight up as high as you can and land as softly as you can. Think of how a cat lands – very softly, almost catching itself upon landing.
3. Tension
Contract your entire lower body during inhaling then relax on exhaling.
Repeat 1 & 2 with the left and right legs.
Repeat 1 & 2 with the front, back and inside of the legs.
Hold the tension or relaxation as long as you can inhale and exhale.
4. Piggy Back Walking
Put someone on your back and start walking. Focus on breathing and posture.
1. Broken Leg
Make one leg straight and declare it broken. Go to the ground and get up without disturbing or bending the injured leg.
2. Move a Chair (standing)
Put a chair in the middle of a room and start moving it with your feet first. Then progress to using your knees.
3. Move a Chair (from ground)
Put a chair in the middle of a room and start moving it with your feet first. Then progress to using your knees.
4. Shoe Toss
Get a pair of old shoes – ones that don’t lace up. Practice taking then half off and throwing them from your foot with a whip-like fashion. Once proficient in the move, focus in on targets on a wall and try to hit them with your shoes. Start to see your legs and tools as well as weapons.
Systema Russian Martial Art offers so much creativity to its students when it comes to developing their ‘craft’. Play with the ideas I gave above and try to develop your own slowly over time.
Good Luck and I hope this helps,

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