Playing in the dark

Yesterday evening’s Systema session in Matt Hill‘s academy mostly took place in the dark - or at least without room lights, so the room had only a little glow from outside. For this session, we each had a training knife - just like the real thing, but totally blunt. We were working on relaxed movement, and cultivating sensitivity to the changes in embodiment when a person decides to make a move with harmful intent. Shades of the Pink Panther!! In case you were wondering, I have never been involved in real-life physical violence and I don’t live the sort of life that would expose me to it. Except somebody once bumped hard into me on an escalator in London but he was texting at the time so it was probably not intentional and I let him off. Systema doesn’t teach the sort of neat moves I could show (off to) people who ask for a demonstration. It doesn’t have any of those photogenic set-piece martial arts sequences - quite the reverse in fact. In the unlikely event of me getting caught in a tricky situation, I have no idea whether Systema training would help me look after myself. But don’t take that as a challenge … 😉 I originally started attending in January 2016 because the EFC course with Mark Walsh and Francis Briers (recommended) required me to take up something new and different. I tried kendo, and 5Rhythms dancing too, but Systema felt like the one I needed. Lots of playful, free-form physical contact with no need to master set sequences of movement as I would in partner dance or formal martial arts. No...