Saturday, 13 August 2011

A Very Interesting Facebook Exchange

The following is an online conversation that took place on my Facebook wall between myself and Systema Instructor Stephane Beaudin of Club Nagaika ( in Montreal.

Justin Ho
To be able to recognise your area's of weakness without judging them and turning your awareness into a burden. This is a skill in itself. It is also a prerequisite to improving without restricting yourself.
It is also a key to make your practice of any skill quality practice. Many talk of the 10 000 hour rule, where it takes 10 000 hours to master a skill, what is often not understood is that these hours must be quality practice, and that demands the the activity be difficult enough that you will make mistakes, but not so difficult that you cannot understand how the mistakes are happening. The awareness you describe allows us to ride this subtle line on the way to mastery.

It's funny. Emmanuel was talking to me only yesterday about the 10 000 hour rule. He has also mentioned the importance of establishing good base training, where you are comfortable and able to maintain your level of activity for longer periods, which is a much more sustainable option then just running your self ragged for less hours.

Stephane Beaudin
Combat capacity is all about being able to contrast bursts of super intense physical work with very complex cognitive and fine motor skills. How fast you will be able to switch from one to the other, how strong you can make the contrast between the two is the key. In self defense, think of running with Parcour jumps, using your phone to call for help, fighting multiple armed attackers, then pulling off shoelaces and belts to tie them up. In the military, think of sprint and dive with 40 pounds of kit repeatedly, then shoot a head sized target at 200 meters, then carry large containers of ammunition over obstacles, then set up a theodolite (a delicate precision device used in surveying that is also used to set up machineguns and mortars for indirect fire) perfectly.

‎...At this risk of sounding daft, simple things like run because you breathe, restore yourself while running, and speed up then slow down with breathing suddenly start to seem VERY VERY IMPORTANT
Of course, that is what will allow speed of transition and strength of contrast between the gross and fine motor activities! It's what can make a Systema practitioner almost superhuman, it's one thing to shoot a head sized target, it's quite another to do it after running an obstacle course, it's one thing to quietly survey a landscape for signs of the enemy, but much different after a 20 mile forced march and on your 50th hour with no sleep. It's that ability to do the intense stuff in the same state as the subtle stuff that makes what we do so powerful for combat, everyone else is targeting the fighting and the conditioning as though combative success did not also depend on the fine cognitive and motor skill tasks, and how fast and precisely you can do them between the bursts.

Dude, you mind if I share this on my Blog? 

Stephane Beaudin is a certified Systema instructor. He has served in the Canadian military, worked in the security field and has been actively training and teaching Systema in Montreal, Canada since 2004. Stephane’s school “Club Nagaika” has recently moved to a new expanded gym space, customized specifically for Systema practice!

For more information go to:

Justin Ho
Principal Instructor
Systema Sydney Russian Martial Art

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