What are fundamentals ?

Systema is simple. Very simple.

Breathing, Moving, Relaxing, keeping your posture and growing sensitivity… it’s simple right? To the untrained eye, practitioners make it look easy.

The fact is, these notions are so simple to grasp that their initial application can be a challenge.


The first step

Even though Systema has no grades of belts, there needs to be a beginning. You have to learn to start somewhere. It is in this spirit that the fundamentals class was created.

Fundamentals begin with an introduction to the five fundamental pillars:

Breathing – Relaxation – Movement – Posture – Intuition


Breathing is life. Tension and stress come when we hold our breath, when we aren’t breathing properly. It’s a vicious cycle: not breathing creates tension which causes stress which clouds the mind.

Fundamentals start to reverse this cycle: this is essential before doing anything else, you need to relieve tension and stress before advancing to the next pillar: movement.

With proper breathing, your movement will become fluid, relaxed, you will be able to add heavier burdens, tougher situations and even withstand pain. No one likes pain but being ready for it is an advantage. Through breathing, we will help you face your fears.


Breathing and movement feed on each other. It is your first line of defense: boxers, wrestlers or martial artists never stay in place.

By learning to manage movement, you learn to manage change which is inevitable whether it comes from you or from other factors around you.



When we face stress, tension or pain, problems come when this pressure is not managed properly. Difficult situations cause tension, tension impacts breathing and impacted breathing causes more tension. They feed and compound each other and you then face 2 obstacles: the situation you have to deal with and your own tension, stress and negative energy.

Fundamentals will help you identify and deal with tension (both physical and emotional) and you will then learn to manage it, control it and defuse it both with yourself and your surroundings.


Posture affects all aspects of your life:

Bad posture causes neck and back pains, gives less room for your lungs to breathe and puts enormous stress on your neck. In body language, it is insecurity, lack of strength: you make yourself smaller, others have authority over you, they are more than you. You appear, and are, less powerful!

Fundamentals make you intuitively aware of, and correct of your posture. breathing is much easier when standing tall. Fundamentals adjust your body language so it says: “I’m in control over my body and mind”. Others will notice your new-found confidence.


Intuition, feeling, is the highest form of mastery, it goes above ability and skill

Feeling (or instinct) is the pillar that integrates all others and brings them together. Without it, we stay stuck in the copy/paste mentality, repeating mantras and technique without achieving full potential.

Remember the uncertainty and hesitation when you first learned to drive? As you progressed, you became more comfortable. Today, you have no problem eating or talking to passengers while driving… It’s now become second nature and something you could do in your sleep (but please don’t).

In this final part of the fundamentals, you set your intuition and feeling free, you add to that the application of the previous classes, your personal experiences and culture. fosters and helps pursue growth. Because technique without feeling or intuition is only technique


Next Fundamentals class series starts: