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Page Revision Date - 13 Jan 2015 05:19
Systema is always characterized by a soft approach to combat that seeks to always be efficient and ergonomic, and striking is no different. Striking is almost always harder on the body and almost always takes more energy than any other element of any fighting system or martial arts. The reason for this is that the main method of generating power is to rotate your entire body and use your center of mass. This way, you can generate enough power to knock out a grizzly bear, but it makes you very tired and sore after a while. The reasons for this are found in Newton's laws of motion.
Newton's third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is known as conservation of momentum. If something pushes an object, that object pushes back with the same force. Conservation of momentum doesn't just apply to a straight push; it also applies to torques, which apply to all spinning or rotating objects. If you rotate your center of mass one direction, something will want to rotate in the other. The result is that you are not only fighting to start the motion of your body, but to keep your entire body moving in the same direction.
This on its own is very manageable with light conditioning, except for Newton's first law which states that objects in motion will stay in motion, and objects at rest will stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. This means that you need to put out a significant amount of energy in order to strike in the first place, and twice the energy to stop your body and move it in the opposite direction and retract your fist or your leg once you have made contact. If you are not conditioned properly, your second output may quite possibly result in a pulled or torn muscle or tendon.
You should always strive to be in your peak physical condition, however Systema is intended to be usable when you are not. To prevent inertia and conservation of momentum from working against you, it uses different, less conventional means of delivering strikes. There are two ways in which you can strike: with a wave or with rotation. These two methods of power generation are the foundations of every form of striking in Systema.
There are two concepts given in this video: rotational striking and the "paradox" principle. The paradox principle is where you twist your arm to make it easier to change the direction of an object. Although an important skill, it pertains to taking strikes in ways that save your arms and give you meaningful contact for structure breaking. For now, I will focus only on the striking aspect.
Your body is approximately 70% water and contains over 200 bones which form many complex joints and structures. As a consequence of this, if you sufficiently relax, energy put through your body will reverberate as waves which could continue for hours if you let them. The average person has no reason to even know of this property, let alone think about the ramifications of it, but for soft martial arts like Wing Chun or Systema, it can be used to gently take or deliver even heaviest of strikes at any range under almost any conditions.
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