Andrey Nikitin. Systema in life and sport. An interview of an experienced Systema practitioner.
I started to practice Systema almost 30 years ago, when the trainings were basically combat. Valentin was different from others even at that time. Everybody was interested in fight. A person came to training after everybody could see it on his face – he was at a party. There was a category of people so-called “show me a technics, I am going to be in army the day after tomorrow” and so on and that's why I was interested in Systema more like in an Art of Fight.
At that time I skied professionally and later I went in for triathlon. I can see more dynamic in triathlon competitions than in ski ones that's why I'm more interested in triathlon right now.
You grow older and think over you experience. While having physical exercise one needs to use body's resources and the thing here is the question of effectiveness.
In any physical activity one faces a question of a result. You start to think how to do it easier, quicker, more economical and effective. And here the System comes first: long monotonous work assumes consumption of energy and you understand that the younger are ahead of you and your body doesn't obey you as it used to.
If one takes Systema as a whole – it's many-sided: psychological, healthy and combat...
You can choose what is important for you at that particular moment. Self-defence and relative's protection in your casual life, physiology, if you, for example go diving and so on.
If you have an aim there's a question how to control it? How to control it if you know nothing about yourself? The Systema allows to analise, it lets you to understand yourself and when you do that you can control it.
The most important for me in applying Systema at sport is when you take efforts and then get the result. The Systema lets you rearrange your resources and control your body in a
more efficient way.
As a sportsman I have different point of view, during the race I start feeling muscles, joints, pressure and amount of liquid. During any training and any competition I try to save
energy, as my specific is different: long distances and it is important to reach the finish.
To train muscles and heart is the easiest. It's harder to train joints. Here the Systema comes to help you again. Valentin has passed through this for many times –injuries and rehabilitation.
There is a solution in Systema: breathing exercises and slow dynamic, strengthen of joints.
Nowadays our sensibility is killed in private life. It's very important for me how I feel and understand my body. The body is very complicated and it can handle giant overload up to a particular moment.
If you have sensory practice, you feel your body in detail. The things you see around are the final result of your work and understanding. Why somebody does everything better and faster? When you understand your inner thoughts, the final result contains of many details that you are willing to get. For example, if you move from the line of attack, redirect and control than you can let yourself change aims while moving.
As a rule, most people practice the combat aspect of Systema “I want to wrestle, I want to strike strong”, but one can't reach these aims without internal content. You need to know how to do it, how to change it for the best and what you have to change when the situation have changed.
This practice gives you experience that you can use in any situation in your own life.
The Systema has changed “brain” first of all. The most important here is to be honest withyourself. The true work and the true understanding will happen when you will find a conflict inside yourself.
The Systema came in my life once and will remain here forever. Even if I don't train, I use non-physical ways of Systema always and everywhere. To make it clear, for example, while having an aggressive conflict I never give support for my contradictor.
The most important is to be honest with yourself.