In today’s martial arts, whatever happens outside of a training hall or dojo is considered “special conditions”. What we refer to as “special conditions” are just those factors limiting our normal movement and perception. Let’s focus on two of these: darkness and water.
Darkness has a tremendous impact on how we perceive our surroundings, while water changes our ability to move. We should get great mileage out of this in our training to help eliminate our stereotypical, “cookie-cutter” thinking.
Here are two useful yet simple exercises for working in “special conditions”.
Getting ready for work in the dark
Try the following sequence while it’s still light outside:
Stand in a clearing in a park or woods. Mark your spot with an object such as a rock, stick, or a hat. Pick a tree about 10-15 paces away from you. Close your eyes and try to find the tree and get back to the starting spot.
If successful, pick another tree about 10-15 paces away from the first one. Then close your eyes and from the spot, go to the first, then the second tree and without opening your eyes get back exactly to the starting spot.
If you complete the exercise comfortably after 2 or 3 trials, your special orientation is great. This means that the night will always be your ally.
Water and strikes
This exercise is best done with a partner. Pick 10-15 pebbles. Walk into the water until it’s up to your neck. Ask your partner to throw the pebbles into the water, one at a time, landing about 50-80 cm (1.5 – 2.5 ft) away from you. Your job is to catch the pebbles by hand in one move. Your arms and hands stay in the water. Try that and you will quickly get the meaning of shortest trajectory, relaxed body, muscle coordination, and quick reaction – everything required for the development of solid striking skills.
If you were able to catch at least 7 out of 10 pebbles, your strike is going to be unstoppable.
About the Author:
Konstantin Komarov is a Major in the Special Service Police Force having worked in Russian Military Reconnaissance and holds a PhD in combat Psychology. He has been a Professional Bodyguard for Moscow's Elite, and is one of the master instructors at the Systema Camp held regularly in Canada.
Systema Sydney Russian Martial Art