“Experiment” Class #1

“What happens if we do _________ instead of _____________.”


That was the theme for our first “Experimental” class this past Wednesday. This was nothing like our usual type of class. Though we are normally fairly informal, this was taking informality to new levels. We were a group interested in seeing what would happen if we changes approaches, versus an instructor teaching a given lesson. We were part of a circle, interested in results and willing to go outside the norm.

I was as pleasantly surprised by the number of people who came, as the results from our physical “tests.” Patterns emerged over time and we gather quite a bit of information, just before Mother Nature started to “dim the lights” so to speak. 

The patterns noted were:

  • We tested what would happen if we moved from the Kidney 1 point of the foot versus our usual moving from the heels. Almost to a person, virtually everyone found that though it was initially quicker, it was unstable and did not provide the options for counters and additional attacks and movement in general. In other words, moving on the heels was far superior in almost all ways.
  • We also tested the “landing zone,” post movement. Again, we compared heel/mid ankle versus Kidney 1 and once again, the heel/ankle landing section provide more stable and allowed greater freedom of movement.

Though Kidney 1 has many health benefits and is very effective for other arts such as Nei Gong, it is not something we found to be effective for basic movements in Systema.

We also tested a series of striking methods. We did the following:

  1. Strike in our typical fashion.
  2. Strike, while “closing” the exit area.
  3. Strike, while “pulling” the energy out the exit area(s) and directing them.

Method #3 was incredibly interesting as well as effective. We were able to use basically the same amount of energy, yet move our partners in a much more dramatic fashion compared to #1 and #2. In fact, we were able to take down our partner at times by simply “pulling” or following the energy to its target area on the ground.

We also found that by “closing” the exit point, the strength of the strike was greatly weakened. Though it produced a full feeling, it did not have that same type of piercing  feeling that accompanies a strike. It should be noted however, that when a second strike was applied and method #3 was used, we were able to get an even greater effect and move post-striking movement from our partner. It is as if the energy of the first strike remained in limbo until a second strike ALONG WITH directing the energy was felt. Very, very interesting.

I have been an Acupuncture Physician for about 20 years. As such we tested 3 common points for their effects on the body — Kidney 27, Large Intestine 11 and Gall Bladder 25 all with unusual and distinct effects. The healing aspects were also discussed in detail. (If you are interested in this topic, I will be doing a presentation on November 3 in Sarasota for the Florida Systema Group.)

The results:

  • Kidney 27 had an effect but on breathing and the heart, depending upon the direction of the strike. It certainly can be a lethal strike and must be used with caution.
  • Large Intestine 11 is localized to the arm, but struck correctly, has an effect on the lower body as well.
  • Gall Bladder 25 had a powerful effect locally and perhaps the most unusual effect systemically — for many there was the “wrap around” sensation. This is predictable as it is one of the major point of the Dai or Belt meridian. . . the meridian that wraps around the waist.

Overall, this was a spectacular class. To a person, we had so much fun yet at the same time, gather a lot of useful information.