To be Calm in the face of adversity,
Brave in the pursuit of discovery,
Creative instead of destructive,
Agile in moments of suppression,
Humble in times of success,
is to experience Freedom in the body, mind and soul.
Why Martial Conditioning?
The aim of Martial Conditioning is to remain calm and centered in the face of adversity. This goes far beyond basic physical conditioning.
In the training we are learning to play with external forces and pressures that are being applied to us. Can we remain calm and comfortable whilst under the pressure of being attacked, or being at the limit of our physical capabilities? How we respond to these pressures often mimic the way we respoond to external pressures in everyday life, such as, pressure from your partner, family and professional situations.
Martial Conditioning training allows us to understand the forces. Forces are constantly being applied to our beings in every moment, be it external or internal. How we respond to these forces displays the essence of who we are. If we can sense and be aware of the forces acting upon us, we can then spontaneously respond with the appropriate actions.
To sense, results in connecting, which means to comprehend the direction, depth and energy of a force, only then can the relevant action be taken to either, accept and embrace it or to neutralize and dissolve it. The more centered and calm you are, the earlier the force can be felt. For some, this means, neutralizing the energy of a negative intention before it has had the time and space to manifest.
The training provided here at Warrior Spirit is based upon the Russian Martial Art, Systema.
Originally developed in Russia in the 10th Century, to repel invaders, Systema was brought to the attention of a wide audience – and adapted to the demands of civilian life – by Vladimir Vasiliev. This adaptation has not diminished its effectiveness: Systema is a complete martial art that not only teaches techniques but also forges a strong body and a warrior spirit.
Systema works on all three levels of the body; the Physical, the Psychological and the Spiritual. It does this by applying four integral principles;
- Correct Structure
Breathing is an unconscious physiological function that we can, however, to a certain extent, control.. Through it, we can act on the cardiac rhythm, the nerve impulses and on the muscle tone. Breathing is the quickest way to dissolve excessive tension throughout the body, the inhale calms the mind and the exhale relaxs the body. It is through breathing that we learn calmness, attention and lucidity.
Relaxation is the state of the body and mind that makes it possible to accomplish a task effectively with the least required effort. It is not about being collapsed but about doing exactly what needs to be done. It corresponds, in a given situation, in using the minimum tension whilst facing a situation.
Structure refers to the proper alignment of the body. If the body is not properly aligned, it becomes weak. The muscles contract excessively and the mind becomes numb. If the body is aligned, the body feels light and the mind becomes agile.
The Movement Systema develops is both natural and continuous, as opposed to most martial arts that teach fixed guards and stereotyped responses to pre-determined attacks. Continuous, calm movement reflects a stable pysche.
The training consists of a succession of breathing, relaxation, and mobility exercises developing both the body and the spirit.
Some exercises are accomplished alone, others with one or more partners, some are accomplished standing, some on the ground, sometimes with weapons. The possibilities are almost endless and no class is like any other.
Through these exercises, it is not a question of preparing for this or that particular situation. On the contrary, it is a matter of developing the faculties that will enable you to get out of any situation, no matter how dangerous.
We have Four Core Exercises within the Systema Training, all movements are in some way connected to these Essential elements, which are as follows;
- Press Up
- Leg Raises
- Sit Ups
The practice of Systema does not require any particular outfit. However, out of respect for the partners, the training takes place barefoot or with indoor shoes reserved for practice.
We do not use belts and there is no hierarchy.
Having trained in the Martial Arts since childhood, and teaching for the last 20 years, Paul was fortunate enough to meet Vladimir Vasiliev in 2014. Realizing Vladimir’s unique mastery, Paul has since traveled to Toronto as often as possible to train with him. In an attempt to continue with what he has learned from Vladimir, Paul created Warrior Spirit to train and practice with others.
Honza has studied and trained Taiji since 2013 with Lynn Gordon and presently with Lenka Ryskova. Since 2016 he has implemented martial conditioning into his practice, Honza’s calm dedication and his humble attitude to the practice has seen him develop into a valuable asset to Warrior Spirit.
Lucie has experienced similar training to Honza in her Taiji, currently studying with Lenka Ryskova. She has also implemented more partner work and martial conditioning into her practice, Being quick to grasp new movements and ideas, and having a clarity in explaining, Lucie has naturally grown into a role as a teacher at Warrior Spirit.
Veronika joined the Parents/Kids classes with her son in 2016 and from the very beginning liked the combination of playfulness, stretching and strengthening exercises and Systema elements. She then joined the Adults Martial Conditioning classes in spring 2017 to develop her skills.
Pavlína started to learn Taiji in 2014, she then attended a Breathing class taught by Paul Renall and has continued in the Systema based Martial Conditioning classes. She has enjoyed the variety of exercises that Systema provides to develop versatile movement and a more confident body-mind connection.