No this is not a blog about washing your hands or shampooing your hair after training, this is about getting rid of mental and physical dirt that gets in the way of feeling.
In Systema most of what we practice comes down to contact and feeling what the other person is doing at any moment in time. Lots of our drills use contact as a mechanism to be sensitive to where the other person is during the drill and react or act accordingly. This is a very useful mechanism, but certain things get in the way of actually feeling!
In Systema there is a lot of talk about relaxing the body and working from a place of minimal tension and whilst this is very easy to say, it can be quite hard to do. Our own relaxation can be a bit of a mystery to us especially if we are not aware of our tension – which is quite common . Unless you can feel your own tension, you will not be able to release it and relax. This is one of the reasons for the tensions drills that we do from time to time which build awareness of our own tension.
Once you become aware of tension then you have to find your own way to release it, first when still and then when moving (this takes time), however when you are in a relaxed state and you make contact with someone else, then you can feel their tension much clearer.
So, this means that tension not only prevents you from being relaxed yourself, but it acts as a barrier to feeling tension in others. This is what I meant by being clean. By reducing the tension in ourselves we effectively clean our bodies and allow ourselves to feel.
Once we can feel physically, then we have to take this relaxed feeling to the mental and emotional stage and try to eliminate tension there as well, because mental and emotional tension hold us back just as much as physical, however this will be covered in future blogs.