Three steps ahead of your fear
by Vladimir Vasiliev
In the new SYSTEMA HAND to HAND film, there is a drill where the two opponents are approaching each other and evading contact.  It is a very
useful exercise to learn free and smooth movements and to identify the moment when you feel discomfort or fear. To expand on this practice, here
is another good drill from Vladimir’s class.  It will help you to further overcome your own psychological obstacles, your pride and your fear.
    Starting Position:

Stand facing your partner, about 5 meters
(15 feet) apart.
Your partner steps forward again with a completely
different strike.  You again move away from the line
of the strike with another step forward.
Your partner takes one step towards you, with
any strike (arm or leg) directed right at you.
You make a step forward and at the same time
move away from the line of his strike.
Your partner steps forward again with another type
of strike.  You make the last step forward, evading
the strike, and take your partner down.
There should be no pre-arranging of strikes or takedowns.  Be ready for any movement of the arm or leg and make sure that you both move forward
towards each other every step.
You can progress this drill by gradually increasing the size of your steps, the speed of your movements, by shortening the starting distance and
taking down your partner on the second step, and then on the first step.
This simple and fun drill helps you feel comfortable while closing distance.  It expands your zone of comfort.  Because you gradually progress from
the “safe” to the “dangerous” zone, from the easy to the difficult position, you can gradually overcome your fear of contact.
As we grow up, we have less and less physical interactions and physical contacts.  We develop a fear of contact.  The body becomes tense in
anticipation of contact – even with people we know.  
In this drill, we are overcoming this fear by deliberately stepping forward towards a potential threat.  In a common sparring position within striking
distance, both partners are usually afraid – one to miss a strike, and one to hit his partner.  Whereas, in this drill, you start at a further distance (15
feet apart) and there is no stress or fear of contact because you know you have time to react.  You are giving your psyche a chance to adapt and
gradually training it to be more stable.
You are learning to move your feet continuously and not freeze.  You are combining footwork with bodywork in a real, dynamic situation.  You will
notice that if you freeze or hesitate, you will not get away from Strike 2.
**Combine this drill with those in SYSTEMA HAND to HAND (DVD or video), and learn to stay three steps ahead of your fear.
Training Tips