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Systema and the actuality of Systema to actors

 
Systema is a russian martial art that can be traced back a 1000 years. What separates Systema from other, more welknown schools of combat is the indubitable adaptibility it instills in the practitioner.


When I studied acting, a considerable amount of time was devouted to physical exercizes which aimed to develop breathing, relaxation, sence of rythm and coordination.



Many are unaware of the fact that acting is a strenuous, physically demanding profession.
It is due to the body being — as Stanislavsky put it — the instrument of the actor.


No, it´s not only true in the action genre where the heroes go flying kicking and do headbreaking stunts in the style of Van Damme or Jackie Chan.


One has only to recall a a sincere, soul wrenching quarrel one has had to understand that it is a genuinely exhausting event.


Now imagine that you are arguing with the same intensity 5 times a day.



That's how an actor exhausts himself at work every day. It's part of the job — credible performances require sincere emotions.
 

This is precisely why many of the exercises in an actor's repertoire aims to increase physical attributes such as proprioception, endurance, sensetivity, relaxation and coordination.


Even the strength of one´s voice is directly linked to the actor's physical form.


It is only after I started acting on stage that I recognized how relevant this type of training was for me as a performer.


I am sincerely happy that I chanced upon this Russian style that goes under the generic term "Systema". A truly unique method of self discovery that should definetly not be confused with the Stanislavki system, but could and should be regarded as a complimentary art to an actors development and moreover a unique and pragmatic approach to self defence in it´s own right.

 



Since childhood I have been inspired by Bruce Lee, stealthy ninjas, the karate kid and everything that even remotely touched the topic of martial arts.


The desire to ascend the heights of martial knowledge manifested itself at the age of 12, when our clique visited a karate club for the first time.


Later I switched to kickboxing, and after several years, through a serendipitous twist of fate, I was fortunate enought to contribute in the modest of ways to the founding of the first Systema club in the capital of Norway —  Systema in Oslo.

 



Unlike all other fighting styles Systema is not a compilation of techniques that go from teacher to student.


It is a dynamic process tailored for coherent development of the psyche and body of the practitioner in a self-defence setting. A Bible for the body, as my friend likes to put it.

In my opinion the exercises that we underwent in the acting school are inferior to the natural — physiology wise — simple exercises we in Systema practice.

These exercises develop bodily control, improves breathing, coordinasjon and broadens the spectre of motion.

In addition to the exercises there is a distinctive philosophy that helps to enrich one´s spiritual life which is an inseparable part of this unique and super healthy method.


The acquisition of battle skills seems almost an unintentional effect due to a continuous development of one's physical properties.

 
Of course Systema is no substitute for hours of acting lessons in relation to emotion management, scene awareness, interaction with co-actors on set, but according to my experience it is an approach that is far superior to the physical development taught in acting institutions.

Even such specific exercises as T.R.E. (Trauma Release Exercise) which allows one to digest their heaviest and deepest trauma has its parallels in Systema.

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