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Tips on pushing - Oct 13, 2015

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Tips on pushing - Oct 13, 2015
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Lots of exercises in Systema revolve around pushing an opponent, largely because pushing is the second step in the touch -> push -> strike progression. Pushing exercises teach to properly apply power to the opponent and allow the pusher to visualize the effectiveness of the power application.

Usually, students have no issues pushing a static opponent from any position. Static pushes are rather forgiving unless your opponent is much bigger or heavier than you are. However, most folks find that stopping and then pushing back an incoming (or generally, moving) attacker is much more difficult. This happens because movement brings into play to a larger extent pusher's positioning, direction, and timing.

Regardless of how strong you are, pushing an oncoming mass straight back against its momentum will always be hard. Our natural instinct is to lean the body forward, dig the feet in, and push back with the full strength from the shoulder. Unfortunately, the natural "method" in this case is inefficient - it takes a lot of physical effort, brings tension and at the end of the day has a rather low success rate. Moreover, if the opponent changes his direction on contact, the pushing arm typically slides off the target due to its tension; its power immediately goes to waste, and the pusher is likely to lose balance or even fall forward. Not a good scenario.

A much better alternative is to move off the line of attack to position yourself at about 30 to 45 degrees to the line and then push the attacker sideways rather than straight back. This requires much less effort because instead of having to stop and then push back, the defender gets out of trouble by deflecting, or redirecting, the attacker off the initial path (i.e., you don't have to fight the forward momentum). In fact, this even gives the option of letting the attacker pass and then pushing him in the back.



 

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