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Valentin Talanov: let's live harmoniously

Lately there is division between different groups of Systema. 
It shows in the inappropriate language in the commentaries.
instructors, unfortunately, use the principle of "divide and conquer", which contradicts the Systema principles at the very basis. 
We need to respect each other, even if we disagree. Respect the people who shared knowledge with us. Respect other martial arts. We will not be growing if our heads are filled with unhealthy competition and feeding our hubris. 
Yes, it is very hard to change our character traits, but it is possible to make a first step and have them function towards the good. 
Let's live harmoniously.

Question 1 to Valentin Talanov (Is this a personal "choice of weapons" due to his boxing background, to MR's influence or a ...?

Valentin is a striker (if we can say it in such rough terms). Is this a personal "choice of weapons" due to his boxing background, to MR's influence or a chosen strategy for civilian self defence?

Valentin Talanov:
I think we all have some experiance from previous sports practices. It very difficult to part with it, and there is no real reason to dump it. But Systema helped to improve the quality of and gave me a deeper understanding, both from the perpective of physiology, and psychology, to things i did when I was involved in sport.
I like Systema striking methodology very much, and quite possibly give it a bit more time. But, without a doubt, you need to be in control of your body, since our body condition (or state) impacts our nervous system so much. Grappling (wrestling) is a great help in that.
I try to develop and grow in all the aspects (directions) of Systema, and my applied work depends on the situation I am in.

Question 2 to VT (what would you say that is a proper order (progression) to learn Systema? What would be the basics? What ...?)

We all know we don't have belts or any graduation. We evolve at an individual pace, in an ascendence spiral of knowledge. However, it seems to me that there is a certain progression regarding skills and atributes we must develop in order to achieve more and more depth in our path. Saying that (considering this is correct), what would you say that is a proper order (progression) to learn Systema? What would be the basics? What drills and/or tools are most efficient so we can develop those attributes? Here is an hypotethic example: 1-to clean mind and body. Drill: breath holds and recovery. 2-body control/movement. Drill: moving constanly on the ground. And so on. Just the simplest overview, please I don't want to take you much time asking for a complex answer.

Valentin Talanov:
It is true, there are no gradings, titles or belts in Systema.
But in my opinion, to raise the standard of instruction, we should have testing b(of the instructors). We should also have separate sessions for the instructors. where we work on the framework (methodology) of teaching systema to others, we should answer questions, and do a deeper dive into the relevant topics.
The goal of regular instructor development sessions is not just to increase the professional level of knowledge, but also to raise the status of the instructor.
We need to understand that in the development of Systema there are different stages. Without basic knowledge (foundation) and lack of practical experience to attempt to go forward is pointless.
Systema, before anythings else, is a science about a human, and his interactions in society. Certainly, technical aspect of systema is important, but the psychological aspect is of no less importance. Therefore we need to know the mechanisms that allow us to successfully come out of problematic situations.
As banal as it sounds, breathing is genuinely the foundation of Systema. Breathing doesn't just help us increase our physical potential (ability), but allows us to control our emotional state. It is also very important to work with the body, which is a reflection of our psyche. All these things, when combined, produce decent results, give you a deepr understanding of what you do, and thus- confidence. Doubt exists through the lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge causes agression. Agression destroys. The choice is always with you. But in my opinion, it is better to create.

Question 3 to VT (about the breathing methods of Systema. When utilizing breath throughout the body, how does one breath...?)
When utilizing breath throughout the body, how does one breath from and to a specific body part; such as inhale to the calves and exhale from the neck? I utilize some tension to direct my focus to that area, but is this the correct way to do this drill?

Valentin Talanov

breathing in Systema is the foundation, the basis. and our breathing practices start from the time we encounter Systema.
there are three stages of breathing: inhalation, exhalation, and breath holds.

at the first stage we start connecting the breathing to the movement, i.e. we learn to breath throughout our movement.
next we work with breathing through tension, i.e. inhale and tense, exhale and release tension, and the opposite.

the next stage is working with the breathing while exercising (physical exertion). as we train, the questions appear - how to react to the stresses and to unfamiliar situations correctly, how to correctly receive the punches, etc.

and here we come to the next stage: breath holds. breath holds are an irritation that affects the nervous and the vascular system, and also inflicts tension on all the structures of our bodies.

and here the main goal, the main task is the fast recovery with the help of breathing. meaning that after the breath holds the breathing should be rapid (burst breathing). the depth of inhalation and exhalation is individual.
it is important to adhere to the main principle of Systema while recovering - that the breathing should not induce tension.

working on breath holds we achieve a very important thing - the elasticity of the nervous and vascular systems.

next we increase the stress by increasing the irritation to our bodies. meaning we do breath holds while going through physical and psychoemotional exertions.

and everywhere these two mechanisms apply - breathing and relaxation.

regarding breathing through different parts of the body, if we look from the point of view of physiology and anatomy, it sounds absurd. but in Systema there are practices like that, and their first focus is on sending the attention to different parts of the body. breathing helps to hold and concentrate our attention there.

here it is important to mention as well that the same applies to the work with the pulse, nervous tension knots, and the body fluids (blood, lymph, spinal fluid). first learning to feel it, then to manage them.

and the hardest, in my opinion, is the skill to remove yourself from the society, the outside, and to center the attention inside ourselves.

about diaphragmatic breathing:

diaphragmatic breathing is very beneficial.

First - because we remove the tension from the diaphragm itself, which allows to lengthen the amplitude of the lungs breathing.

Second, we stimulate the inner organs, which improves the metabolic processes and positively affects our health.

Third, we remove the intercostal (between the ribs) tension, and by that improve the performance of the cardiovascular system.

Fourth - doing diaphragmatic breathing, we also affect the sacral and lumbar regions of the spine.
On inhalation, the lordosis (curvature of the spine) increases, on exhalation decreases.
It allows the blood flow to become active. Which in turn allows to lessen the risks of the inflammatory processes in those regions.

How often it should be done? Like you brush your teeth - every day.

It could be done at any point throughout the day, whenever you remember and want to and feel that you can do it. It's important that you should feel no discomfort.

Question 4 to VT (how good should be the Systema instructor fighting skills & regarding the football coaching- should a coach..)
Valentin, i would like to know your opinion, how good should be the Systema instructor fighting skills.

Valentin Talanov, about whether a coach needs to play well himself:

soccer coach may not have practice playing. there are enough examples of this in world soccer.
but he needs to be a good analyst, psychologist, and mentor.
as a rule such people accomplish quite good results since they are not overwhelmed by stereotypes of the academic knowledge. such experts use new sport technologies and are not afraid to try.

how well should the Systema instructor be able to fight?..
I think that the technical aspect is not very important in a fight. what is important is the spirit.
a fight is a primitive argument in which we are ruled by our emotions, and which we later regret.
certainly an instructor must learn not only the technical part, but the psychology.
working on yourself, working with our character qualities is incredibly complex. but once we learn to manage not only our bodies, but our emotions - we can manage the emerging situations.
if you constantly prepare yourself to resolve situations by fighting only - know that you are destroying yourself as a person.
in training we often create a model of a real extreme situation. and it is important for us here to see how our psyche reacts to such situations.
sometimes, having a good technical inventory (toolkit), we are unable to use them.
I knew quite a few good boxers who could do miracles in the ring - and in a street fight looked, putting it mildly, weak.

Question 5 to VT ( I want to learn more about Systema approach to strengthening the psyche and the nervous system. )

Prior to theactual combat training in Systema, a person is given a lot of exercises for the development of all body systems. I want to learn more about Systema approach to strengthening the psyche and the nervous system.

Valentin Talanov:

the psyche of most people is incredibly overburdened. we see the reflection of that in the obvious hypertension of all the structures of the human body. 

there is a direct connection and feedback that shows the influence of the psyche and the body on each other.
based on that the method of strengthening the psyche is created. 

the first task is to remove the tensions from the body. 

the second task is to achieve an elasticity of the nervous system.

I don't think there is a point in describing the method itself. 
the important thing is not to destroy our nervous systems by fanatic and gruesome practices. 
our goal and our task is to create and strengthen.

Question 6 to VT (the question as a former sportsman. Can we consider sports fights with other martial arts adepts...)
Valentin, the question as a former sportsman. Can we consider sports fights with other martial arts adepts (preferably mma, box, wrestling) as a partial checking of Systema adepts skills. Here I mean not only technical, but also the emotional aspect of the fight.

Valentin Talanov:

many people came to Systema from sports or from different martial arts. so they look at Systema through the prism, the perspective, of sports. it's normal.

I see the main problem in a different issue - the methodology.
in my opinion, there are gaps in the basic preparedness, the principles of Systema are not absorbed and practiced, etc.
all of that together has us going back to our old experience and does not give us confidence in Systema.
yes, of course we like Systema, since it returns us to the correct frame of reference.

I agree that in training we need to create the situations that are close to the real ones, since that would allow us to identify and recognize the problems not just in technique but in the psyche.
the analysis of our and our partners' actions is very important.
and with that knowledge and considering the mistakes and the problems we return to the calm work, calm training.

and if someone wants to spar with other sportsmen, ask him - "are you sure of yourself and your knowledge?", and do not interfere with his choice.

of course, an instructor holds a heavy responsibility for the people with whom he grows. it is important not to destroy the personalities of those people who came to you with trust.

Question 7 to VT (about confidence and relaxation. When working with strikes and people that are tense my strike..)
1) This is a question about confidence and relaxation. When working with strikes and people that are tense my strike turns into a "half strike, half push". Then I feel tension in my shoulder and spine and the weight goes away from the fist. It happens especially with people that are tense, when I worry about hurting them by striking more. It also happens when I work with people that are skilled and confident and they don't "respect my punches".
2) When I deliver strikes often it just affects the person's muscles, and depending on how conditioned they are the strike is not that effective. When I have been hit by really good teachers there was no thought of resisting, also for the split second I forget all about the fight or the situation. I find that in most of my work the strike doesn't achieve that result. What I observe is that there is more "fight" that comes into the person. Then as the situation amps up there is a point where one person worries about injuries and they usually backs down.

Valentin Talanov:

I understand your problem. a lot of people encounter it. let's look at the roots of it.the first reason for it is doubts. there may be some gaps in the basics training, and as a result - a lack of confidence in the strikes. we need to know that when we strike, there should be no recoil back into the body.which means that starting at the very beginning of our training we should not allow the tension in the arm higher than the elbow, and later do not allow it higher then the pulsation in the wrist. there are specific exercises that precede this, which you assuredly do already.if you were ever in the sauna, you probably remember the state of your arms and your body after the steam room. relaxed body and filled up arms. the second reason is your purpose, your intent while striking. when you will do it with love, the quality of your strikes will change as well. and I am sure that your partners will start respecting you.the third is your emotions. they excite you and cause tension in all structures of the body. that results in the loss of the effectiveness of the strike, and you also provoke the partner to is, of course, very important to know and be able to receive the strikes on the body, to "take a punch", because it will give you more confidence and understanding in striking yourself. I hope my advice will help you in continuous growth and development, and do not be embarrased to return to the "first grade" work. I also go back to the beginnings with pleasure. because I sped through important moments, without which it is impossible to move forward. so I slow down patiently and learn.

Question to VT 8 (In regards to confrontation, whether it may be (physical, psychological, emotional). How would you work..)
In regards to confrontation, whether it may be (physical, psychological, emotional). How would you work with it from a Systema perspective, what do you suggest is best to deal with such?
I'd also like to add the fear factor that always accompanies tension and aggression.. What is the best exercises for such?
We have discussions about it at our school, following a breathing class. Also, I'm going home to visit family, and will be working friends on the subject.
Thank you for your time, and best efforts!

Valentin Talanov:

from a Systema perspective we need to know what happens within our bodies as a result of the outside influences.
and it is completely irrelevant whether it is a physical or psychological influence - our bodies react the same way.
the heart rate and the breathing change, emotions - emotional background - appears, tensions appear in all structures of our bodies.

let's look at a punch, a physical influence, as an example.
what happens to us during a punch?
at the location of the punch a lot of tension appears, and, therefore, higher blood pressure. people sometimes loose consciousness not from the pain but from the inability to handle the blood pressure.

now let's look at the psychological stress. an unpleasant conversation, as an example.
the same things happen - emotions, blood pressure rising, tension.

so we can conclude that the mechanisms that can bring us to a normal state are the same.
and that is exactly how it is.
those mechanisms (tools) are - breathing, relaxation, and movement.

working on breathing, we achieve the elasticity of the vascular system and the nervous system.
working with the body we learn to manage it. and, subsequently, to react adequately to different influences.

fear is an emotion that eats us inside like acid.
we need to learn to manage fear since we cannot be rid of it.
fear shows itself at different levels of the body.
at the neck - sometimes we cannot even scream.
at the heart - when it feels like it is jumping out of the chest.
the stomach, which feels unpleasant.
groin area - uncontrolled urination.
knees become weak.

that is why during training it is important to not only work with the body and the breathing, but also to simulate close to reality (stressful) situations, analyze them, and then build further training based on that analysis.

Valentin Talanov: how to use the punching technique against wrestling?

Valentin Talanov:

how does one use a punching technique against wrestling? I'll try to set forth the methodology.

at the first stage, it's important to allow your body to be taken into a weak hold, since that will allow your mental state to remain steady.
you will have an opportunity to see stretched out and tense places on your partner's body.
with the help of the pushes, you need to disrupt your partner's balance so that you can weaken or break the hold.
when your pushes become confident and sure, you may go on to the punches.
pucnhes are made to the same spots and following the same pathways as the pushes.
make sure to pay attention to and monitor how your partner's body reacts to your punches.
work has to be brought to its logical finish, (continued) while the partner stays in a dangerous zone in relation to you, even once the contact is broken.
first stage implies calm and constant work.

when you become confident and understand this level of work, ask your partner to strenghthen the hold.
monitor your condition, since as the hold becomes stronger, our nervous system will get very excited.
and that will cause tension in your body, which means that your work will not be effective.

the next stage is when we basically do not allow us to be taken into a hold.
again, we notice the tensions in our partner's body and push to those tensions. after working with the pushes, we punch.
once you become confident working like that calmly, ask your partner to speed up.
after high-speed work always analyze our actions and condition, and the actions of our partner.
and with the results of that analysis in mind go back to slow work.

the freer your body is, the more tensions you will see in your partners.
and later on you will understand their motivation as well.

Valentin Talanov: the training process in Systema will not be complete if it lacks massage and the analysis of the training

Valentin Talanov:

the training process in Systema will not be complete if it lacks massage and the analysis of the training. 

massage, as a rule, is done with the legs and feet. as a result students receive not only the relaxation of the body, but stabilize their nervous system.
it is very important for the subsequent analysis of the training, since the lack of the emotional background noise allows you to evaluate yours and your partner's actions more adequately. and to analyze your feelings and changes in the body and in the nervous system after the training. 

analysis of the training is your second training. 
first we learn to correctly articulate and express our thoughts, not only to ourselves when we are alone, but in the presence of like-minded people.
second - we learn to listen. 
and the opinions and points of view of the other like-minded people do not always coincide and agree with yours. 
in this case the rule of "in a discussion truth is achieved (born)" does not exactly fit. 
truth should be born in a correct and kind advice. 

I wish you all successes in our tough work.

Question 9 to VT (how can a pulse rate of 60 beats per minute be achieved?..)
how can a pulse rate of 60 beats per minute be achieved?
I heard the if one trains correctly, that becomes the invariable pulse rate. is that true?

Valentin Talanov:

if one trains correctly, the likelihood of the normal pulse is very high.
now we have to understand what we call correct training or correct approach to this issue.

first thing that we need to pay attention to is the fact that our vascular system is not elastic.
second - that our muscles are overly tense.
third is the unsatisfactory condition of our inner organs.
fourth is the traumas that we receive as a result of our actions throughout life.
all these elements combine together to give us the instability of the blood pressure and the pulse rate.

therefore the approach to the problem needs to be multipronged.
work with the breathing, work with the body, massaging the inner organs, using leech therapy and osteopathy.

when we talk about the breathing practices, we mean the breath holds work.
those are done in static positions, in dynamic ones (while moving), with different physical and psychoemotional stresses, and in different temperature conditions as well.

work with the body includes in it the Systema exercises on strengthening and relaxing the body, and the stretching exercises as well.

massaging the inner organs, or visceral therapy, removes the tension from the stomach, and the metabolic processes and the overall state of the body are improved as a result.

with the assistance of the osteopathy we normalize all the body's structures.

so the conclusion is such that once we are aware of the problem, first we need to identify the underlying cause of that problem. and then start using the means needed to solve it.

Question 10 to VT (about working with nagaika)

Valentin Talanov:
about working with nagaika:

it doesn't matter much whether the nagaika has a bullet in its tip or not. what's important is to give the correct pressure to your patient, i.e. not to harm. that depends on your state and understanding what you plan to do. 
sometimes it is enough to just raise the body temperature in the body of the person you are working with. by that you'll achieve higher relaxation in that person.
sometimes you work only on the spots of the highest muscle tension, etc. 
a lot in your work with nagaika will depend on your sensitivity, knowledge of physiology and anatomy, and psychology as well. 
I wish you success in your tough work.
Nelka Az Andrei Sherstniov, about nagaika work:

I want to add to what Valentin said: 
before you whip a person, you need to teach one to breathe correctly and to use the breathing to work with tension and with pain. 
nagaika is a very complex and not at all harmless tool. 
when you hit a person with it, you can bring into it different content and depth, so before you take the whip into your hands, you have to stabilize you psyche and nervous system.

Question 11 to VT (What would you recommend for solo training? For body and mind health of course but also for combat purposes.)
What would you recommend for solo training? For body and mind health of course but also for combat purposes.

Valentin Talanov:
this is a problem that became very acute currently. I'll try to help those people who do not have an option to practice with a group, and I hope this information will be useful to others as well.

the first is to spend more time on breathing practices, since it allows our vascular and nervous systems to become more elastic. potentially you react more adequately to different actions towards you, both physical and psychological. 

the second is the work with the body, which involves not only work with the tensions and relaxation, but movement as well. 
I highly recommend to do groundwork, moving on the floor, combining breathing and movement. those movements could include all kinds of rolls, moving (crawling) on your back, stomach, and sides. 
it is important to move slowly and continuously, increasing the pace of movement with time.
you must breathe according to the movement stages - one stage inhale, next stage exhale. 
groundwork positively impacts the brain activity, correctly molds our bodies, and we also lose the fear of a disadvantageous position (on the ground). 
later on we feel ourselves very comfortable and confident not only on the ground but in a standing position as well. since that is a question of your coordination, which will improve with your work on the floor.

it is very important to know how to fall and get up, not only while static, but in movement as well. all falls and ascents are done on an exhalation. the speed of the exhalation corresponds the speed of the fall or the ascent. 
later on you can combine your movements on the ground together with ascents and falls. moving continuously at the time, and keeping the breathing uninterrupted as well. 
it is important to strengthen our bodies while keeping them free. as a rule, the exercises for that are the slow exercises, push-ups, squats, the exercises that strengthen the abdominals (i.e. lifting the upper body and lifting legs).
there could also be static exercsises with breathing. for example, you stand in a push-up position on the floor, with the elbows bent to 90°. the pace and depth of breathing are very individual - what's important is that breathing should not make you tense. 

in these strength exercises it is important to adhere to the approach that when you worked out with the upper half of the body, you need to work out with the lower half, to stabilize the blood pressure in the whole body.

when we talk about breathing practices, we mean not only combining breathing and movement and stretching the breathing to the number of steps, we are also speaking about breath holds. in the olden times they used to say that breath holds are a fight with fear. 
this is a very important - and, in my opinion, interesting - subject. I'll try to shed light on it soon. 

regarding all that was written above - we need to eliminate the existing lacks in our fundamental skills and knowledge so that we can move forward and develop.


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