1. Smile with your fist.
Let’s hit each other more this year. It’s easy to get lazy in training, especially if you’ve been training with the same people for a long time. We forget to deliver strikes when the class isn’t about striking. We should always be willing to hit our partners and they should be aware of the possibility of contact in training. Remember to breath, stay relaxed, and smile with your training partner. With every hit comes a fist, and with every fist comes a smile. I look forward to being hit by old friends and new ones.
2. Don’t fight yourself, fight the other guy.
Don’t let your tension hinder your self-defense. You see this sometimes with improper breathing. Tell me if this sounds familiar – you get hit in the gut, your breathing was all wrong, you double over trying to catch your breath, and you forget everything except trying to breath the right way again. We forgot all about who caused you to double over in pain and lose your breath. That’s because you’re no longer fighting that person. You’re now fighting yourself. That hit affected you in a way that caused you to worry about yourself and not what the other guy is doing to you. Don’t fight yourself, breath, relax, and move on.
3. 5 Push, 10 Push, 15 Push too.
Have you ever heard about a 5 minute push-up? How about 10 or 15 minutes? Let’s try some of that in 2013. We work on the 5 minute push-ups each month and are reaching our 5 minute goal. Each year brings new challenges and reaching the 5 minute mark is one of those challenges. Once 5 minutes are reachable, than 10 minutes and beyond.
4. Just Move.
One of the best things ever said to me about Systema came from Martin Wheeler during his knife seminar in Delaware, “Just Move.” And I’ve been moving ever since. Try to keep a constant movement when working with your partner. What Martin saw in my movement is that I was stopping. I would move out of the way than stop and wait for another attack. I was moving against the knife and not moving against the man. Once the knife missed me I would stop my movement and wait for the next knife slash. If I kept moving within the person’s attack, it became more freeing to see the possibilities of my defense. Just move everyone.
5. Make more friends.
Each year gets better with Systema training, including all the new friends we were able to make in the Systema community. Let’s continue that going forward. Reach out more to those in the Systema community with discussions and training tips. That’s the plan every year. I hope to meet new and old friends while training in Systema any chance I get each year.
6. Stay Healthy.
Warm-ups and exercises in Systema may look strange to some people. Don’t let that bother you. Try a whole class of breathing exercises this year. Remember to breath and relax through your push-ups, squats, sit-ups, and leg lifts. Spend 20 minutes walking on each other for that deep tissue relaxation to get rid of that tension our bodies hold. Pick a body part and spend 10 minutes working that part of the body with breathing. Stay relaxed, fluid, and healthy in 2013.
7. Don’t bend over.
Remember to keep your back straight. Let’s all pledge to squat more this year. That is to say whether you’re working against someone and put him on the ground or just simply picking up a pencil, squat rather than bend. Bending breaks form, breaking form leads to mistakes, and mistakes leads to problems. Let’s keep that form working for you.
8. Stand weird.
I pledge to stand weird more often each year. That is to say weird for those outside of Systema. When we rock our hips forward which allow our bodies to work as one unit instead of two separate pieces, we look strange to the outside world. Our hips are protruding, our shoulders are back, our backs are straight, and our knees are bent. You usually only see that in the class room, but let’s take out of the classroom sometimes. Here’s to a year of strange looks coming your way.
9. Try something different.
Take the four exercises of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and leg lifts and try something different with them. Be inventive and creative with these exercises in the New Year. Try some new exercises as well. I’ll give you two to start off with in your training. One is push-ups with someone lying across your back. The idea is to do a push-up without relying on your muscles. If you rely on your muscles, you’re never push off the ground with someone on your back. The idea is to use movement and relaxation to push off of the ground. You’ll be amazed with the results. My new favorite parlor trick is removing your t-shirt without using your hands. Some of you might have seen this on Vladimir Vasiliev’s new Clothing DVD. It’s challenging and fun. You have to stay relaxed and move body parts independently from each other. Have fun with that one. So try some new ones in 2013 and see what happens. Just remember to breath, stay relaxed, and be careful. Work up to the more difficult ones you try, but give them a try and see what happens.
10. Travel for Systema.
Plan some training trips this year. Plan a trip to Toronto to train with Vladimir and his instructors, or plan a trip to a Systema school somewhere else in the world. I plan on making a trip to Toronto this year to train with Vladimir, and a trip to Martin Wheeler’s next Master Class. Travel for seminars as well. You’ll get to meet fellow Systema students, meet new friends, catch up with old ones, and see the amazed looks on the faces of those who are trying Systema for the first time.
I hope you enjoyed this list for Systema resolutions every year. This list gives me a lot to think about every new year. Remember to have fun with Systema training. I wish you all the best in the New Year. Breathe, relax, and I hope everyone has a great year.