Too Much Tension

Reflecting back, I just have to shake my head and laugh.

The first time I met and trained with Vlad was several years ago  in Toronto. It was a cold November weekend completed with snow and hot chocolate. 4 days of physical training and a lot of lessons learned. At the top of the list was “tension.”

For those who have trained with Vlad, the phrase “too much tension” is one you will hear 101 times over the course of a seminar. That weekend in Toronto, I remember him providing that as an answer to a detailed question. A period of time passed and again, “too much tension” was Vlad’s answer to another question. And another.

My initial reaction was one of doubt. (Yes, it is rather embarrassingly idiotic now but bear with me.) When I hear one pat answer to multiple questions, the proverbial “red flag” always seems to come up. Such was the case that weekend.

Over time, that memory and that phrase began to haunt me, so to speak. I began to realize that far from being a pat answer, it was in fact, the solution to many Systema errors I was making. It was the solution to many errors I see my students making. In fact, it was/is the solution to many of life’s issues — too much tension. Relax, breathe and move. Add those into the mix and problems seems to weaken if not dissipate completely.

I look back now at the folly of my thinking when I first heard that phrase. It was too simple. It was too easy. Just 3 words — too much tension, spoken over and over, serving a reminder that simplicity and repetition are always great methods of teaching. Even more so, tension chokes the flow of energy. Tension causes stiffness and lack of movement – the antithesis of what we are trying to do in Systema.

As the years of training have gone by, I have grown to deeply appreciate those 3 easy, simple words. They work for Systema.

They work for Life.