Home Classes Martin Wheeler's Systema class on April 11, 2011

Martin Wheeler's Systema class on April 11, 2011


Ex 1: Split in pairs and start grabbing each other (on the arms, shoulders, neck, legs, body, etc.) and applying light pressure / tension to stretch and warm up your muscles. The person being grabbed gives a little tension back. Both partners need to breathe throughout the exercise and avoid turning it into wrestling. The objective is to continuously apply light pressure and give a little opposition to the opponent. Do this while standing up, then sit down or lie down and finally continue while going up / down freely.

Ex 2: Sit up on the floor back to back with your partner and push each other with your backs in different directions; then put your heads side to side and apply pressure/opposition to tilt opponent's head left, right, or back and / or grab it with an arm from behind by raising the arm over your head.

Ex 3: Lie down on your back to form one line with your partner facing opposite directions. Make sure your legs touch (first, your matching heels touch each other flat and then the ankles touch on the sides). Start working against each other's legs (push back and forth or sideways). Roll over onto your chest and repeat.

Ex 4: Face each other lying on your chest. Grab each other by hands and apply pressure / opposition; try to move your opponent's arms and do not let him move yours, with the same light tension. Repeat lying on the back.

Ex 5: #2 goes on all fours on the floor (standing on his knees and straight arms). #1 straddles him facing in the opposite direction and hooks onto #2's thighs from the inside with his feet underneath the body. #1's butt should be sitting just below #2's shoulder blades. From this position, #1 lowers his back on exhale until it touches the floor and does 10 sit-ups.

Ex 6: #2 lies down on his back, lifts his arms straight up and forms fists. #1 goes behind his head, puts his own fists on top of #2's and leans his body over them. Both #1 and #2 start flexing their elbows on exhale at the same time to do a push-up. As #2's elbows touch the floor and cannot go farther, both partners straighten their elbows on inhale to compete the push-up. Repeat 10 times.

Ex 7: #2 lies down on his back with his arms close to his body and #1 lies face down across his chest. On inhale, #2 needs to sit up keeping his body straight and allowing #1 to slide down toward his legs. After that, #2 rolls his legs on a side on the floor and pulls the knees toward himself under #1's body (either on the left or right-hand side). To continue, #2 leans his body forward and stands up first on one knee and then straight up bringing #1's body up along and supporting it with his hands from underneath.


Ex 1: #2 stands on all fours (knees and either elbows or straight arms). #1 continuously crawls or slides (back and forth, head or legs first) under him, between his legs or arms, slides on his chest or back over #2's back down into a forward or backward roll, etc.

The objective of the exercise is to learn to move continuously without stopping. #1 needs to focus on breathing comfortably – then his mind will not panic and the body will find a path to move without any deliberation.

Ex 2: Same exercise with #2 lying on his back with arms and legs raised up in the air.

Ex 3: Same exercise except now #2 applies pressure to pin #1 down or hold #1 as he moves. #2 can pin down #1's body, neck, arms, or legs at various stages of his movement, best when #1's current move is almost complete. #1 job is the same as before – focus on breathing and allow the body to find a path to move and / or escape.

Ex 4: Same exercise; after escaping from #2's hold, #1 grabs #2 and pulls or pushes him along in the same direction so #2 loses balance and has to either break the defensive position he is in and move together with #1 or fall down.

Ex 5: "Surfing".

#2 lies down on his back. #1 goes face down on top across his chest or stomach.

  • Base exercise: #2 starts to move continuously to escape from under #1 (roll, turn, sit up, or crawl in all directions) and #2 needs to move his body, turn it by moving legs around, or roll over to always stay on top. Both partners need to breathe and avoid tension. This feels as if #1 is "surfing" over #2's body.
  • Variation: As he surfs on top of #2, #1 focuses on making his body light and supports it with legs and hands so it moves barely touching #2 with the stomach, chest, or back.
  • Variation: While surfing, #1 focuses on applying light pressure with his chest, stomach or back to pin #2 down as he tries to escape.

Ex 6: #2 lies down on his back. #1 puts his fists onto #2's body and leans over the body in a push-up position. #2 starts rolling and turning (first slowly) and #1 must reposition his fists onto the newly exposed areas to remain on top. #1 needs to continuously readjust the position and direction of his body by moving his legs in sync with his arms. As both partners get more comfortable, #2 starts moving faster and #1 starts lightly hitting him with fists, then placing his elbows on #2's body instead of fists, and finally, hitting with both fists and elbows. This exercise is also great for strengthening #1's arm joints.

Ex 7: #1 sits on top of #2 who needs to escape from under him first by pushing #1 off with fists and then by hitting the body to force him off.

Ex 8: Partners sit up on the floor against each other and touch, push, or grab each other continuously. The objective of the exercise is to work on your sensitivity to contact and movement – as soon as touched, you need to escape. Always work "in 3D" with your limbs and body moving at the same time and independently of the other parts. For example, if the opponent touches your arm, move it back and simultaneously start moving a leg or the other arm to hit, push, or touch back. Treat the attacking limb as a knife and to not oppose it – your body needs to be agreeable and move away immediately as soon as it is touched (you can actually try this exercise with a dull metal training knife with a pointed tip so the defender's skin could feel its pokes and move better to escape).



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