Since I began studying Systema in earnest I’ve heard a phrase quite a bit and want to explore it. It’s how I learn, to write about what I’ve learned.
“Don’t feel sorry for yourself.”
The phrase may have come from the fact that this is a fighting/survival system used by some of the Russian Special Forces, and whining doesn’t cut it in training, or the warrior culture that preceded it. Self-Pity, we’ve all have experienced it. I threw a pity party for myself for two years until I realized it accomplishes nothing whatsoever. It causes you to be self-centered instead of looking at the entirety of the situation and the solution.
You have a bad day in a broad view of it and you’re frustrated and stressed out. And negative emotions are the counter-point to the positive ones, just don’t let them control your life. These two emotional states are unhealthy, and when you focus on it, the way out is hard to find.
“My life sucks!”
Why? What is the common denominator? Does complaining about it help? Not really, best to focus on the problem at hand. And deal with it.
In the context of Systema, I’ve found, that the self-pity makes you tense and stressed and that interferes with the calm, relaxed and free movement. Some one attacks you, don’t question why, just step back(in your head and maybe physically, depending on the situation) and deal with the work at hand. You don’t have time to question, just deal with it.
For example, they swing a roundhouse at your head. Do you go, “Holy crap, I’m being attacked! Why?!” And then you get hit. Or…
They swing, your elbow comes up to redirect the blow over your head as you crouch, and since the attackers momentum is shifting his balance away, you stand back up, with one hand pushing the shoulder that’s moving away, the other hand grabbing and pulling the other shoulder down toward you and the ground, also stepping close to break the balance at their ankle and take them down. Sounds complicated but it’s just movement and you don’t even have to do EXACTLY that.
Pity parties lead to stress which leads to grey hair and to much cortisol, so instead, except that shit happens, take it in stride, deal with it and keep moving. Calm and relaxed, breathing and enjoying the little things in life, THAT’S what makes it worth living.
I’ve included a couple of YouTube clips of archival and little more up to date Systema practioners sparring and demonstrating. Some are soldiers, Vladimir Vasiliev and Kadochnikov.
*Disclaimer* I am NOT a Systema instructor, just a student sharing my thoughts on what I learned. I urge you if you’re interested to check it out yourself. In my Sites I Frequent section you’ll find a Systema link.