It's interesting to observe students work through a particularly demanding drill. Perhaps where they start from being restrained or blindfolded or restricted in breathing, and they have to navigate out of the situation. Too often, I notice people missing the best part of this process, that being, the losing part.
Now, of course I don't mean a conscious and strategic failure. It's obvious we must eventually succeed in escaping, evading or surviving. However, it's our sub-conscious preoccupation with winning that hinders that very process.
By glossing over the fact that you're pinned down, struggling to breathe or in pain, you deny yourself the valuable opportunity of losing. You see, many others practice only winning. They stand at armâ€™s length, kick or punch, while the other partner blocks or evades. It starts and finishes at point one, in an almost tick-tock fashion. It's like seeing a drunk draw his arm back in ready for a haymaker swing, while you immediately block that line and perhaps punch simultaneously. Of course, easier said than done, but it's hardly walking the razors edge. It's almost a simple case of do or do not; will you freeze or react.
Personally, I'm more interested in often letting the strike, lock or whatever land (safely) and then studying how tense I become, how my structure changes, if my breathing stops and if I can return the â€˜kindnessâ€™ with efficient movement.
Failure to explore losing means the opportunity only arises infrequently when making mistakes accidentally. For example, you defend and counter some pre-planned attack 99 times and on one occasion you miss and get hit; then comes a momentary reaction that you may barely register or admit, then it's back to playing pat-a-cake.
So, slow down, breathe, stay in that dark moment where things are not going in your favour, then explore your behaviour with courage and humility. We may one day develop a relationship with failure and when that day comes, failure fails to exist.
About the Author: Jamie Robson is the founder/instructor of Systema Scotland; he is the first instructor in Scotland to be fully certified by Vladimir Vasiliev. Jamie has many years of martial arts experience and work with British Forces, Scottish Police and S.O.C.A. www.SystemaScotland.com
On May 4 2013 three great Systema instructors in UK are coming together to present Systema at Full Range seminar based on their extensive training at HQ school in Toronto, at Systema Camp and at many European seminars.
GARRY HODGINS of Systema Dublin, MARK WINKLER of Systema Wales and JAMIE ROBSON of Systema Scotland will offer numerous Systema topics on training, fighting and health. This event is highly recommended by Vladimir Vasiliev. Register now at: http://systemascotland.com/Events/
With over 200 certified Systema Schools worldwide and over 500 certified Systema instructors and instructors-in-training, it is easy to organize a highly successful seminar. If you wish to invite a qualified guest instructor to your facility and host a Systema event at your location visit Host a Seminar page.
The best training opportunity for 2013 is Mastering Systema 5 day seminar by Vladimir Vasiliev and Systema HQ instructors in Toronto, August 14 through August 18.