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I always come away from a systema training session having learnt or achieved something and sometimes, like this week, it can be quite profound.

Our training included how to use burst breathing to heighten our senses and improve our reaction and relaxation whilst moving. At first I was sceptical because I’d always used it to simply recover when out of breath and couldn’t see how it could possibly be used any other way. How wrong I was!

By burst breathing, either whilst moving and avoiding others or doing floor work, it creates a sense of awareness that sharpens your reaction time, you move more fluidly and at the same time helps you maintain full relaxation. I found myself able to avoid attack much quicker than before and despite moving rapidly for some time, never became breathless. The same for floor work and four pillars. By continuing to burst breathe during these exercises the body maintains a level of relaxation whilst at the same time building endurance so that you feel almost invigorated and able to continue far longer than when using normal breaths. My level of concentration increased dramatically and recovery was far quicker.

Systema, once again, has astounded me by teaching that large, complex movements are not necessary, that by using breathing as the foundation for all movement, we are capable of far more than we realise. This beautiful art has transformed my life, not just physically, but also emotionally and psychologically and anyone wishing to learn more should come along on a Tuesday evening and find out for themselves just how amazing it is.

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