By Vladimir Vasiliev & Scott Meredith
With a light and simple movement of his fist alone, Vladimir Vasiliev is able to apply stealthy and shocking power of greater depth and freedom than professional heavyweight boxers can achieve with their entire focused mass, strength, torque, and momentum.
Vladimir’s spontaneous and intelligent strikes work against any target, from any position, for immediate resolution of armed or unarmed confrontations, for energizing a partner, and even for healing. These strikes are the culmination of precise movement, impeccable timing, exact contact calibration and extraordinary emotional clarity. This is the meaning of “Hit Different”.
In STRIKES: Soul Meets Body, chief Systema instructor Vladimir Vasiliev reveals the physical and psychological training regimen that underlies this unprecedented martial arts capability, rooted in centuries of Russian combative and spiritual tradition.
experience the truth and the power.
Table of Contents
- CHAPTER 1:
- INTRODUCTION 11
- WHAT 12
- WHO 14
- WHY 17
- HOW 20
- CHAPTER 2
- UNIVERSAL BREATHWORK 25
- Gradient Breathing: Level I 29
- CHAPTER 3
- ESSENTIALS 37
- 1. NON-INTERFERENCE: Free and Independent 39
- 2. CONTINUITY: Drive-By 48
- 3. SPONTANEITY: Improv 53
- 4. CLARITY: Professionalism 56
- 5. ACCEPTANCE: Let’s Roll 59
- CHAPTER 4
- MECHANICS 65
- SHAPE 66
- ANGLE 67
- BREATH MODULATION 68
- SPACING and (IN)VISIBILITY 69
- SHORT WORK 78
- CHAPTER 5
- FIST: Solo Conditioning Program84
- 3 SELF CHECKS120
- PALM: A Practical Option128
- ELBOWS: By the Way135
- SHOULDERS, BACK, CHEST: Mobility Training139
- KNEES: Disappearance140
- LEGS and FEET144
- FOOT-COVERING DRILL150
- CHAPTER 6
- TARGETS 155
- SKIN 156
- MUSCLES 157
- ORGANS 160
- HEAD 165
- BREAKING STRUCTURE 168
- CHAPTER 7
- STRIKE TRAINING 173
- Striker, Receiver & SET 174
- Receiver: General Principles 183
- Receiver: Removal of Strikes 184
- Striker: General Principles 193
- Free Movement: Solo Stick Drill 197
- Pushing: General Principles 205
- The SET: Three Trajectories 210
- CHAPTER 8
- RABOTA (Work Sets) 217
- RABOTA 1: Breathe To Fight 218
- RABOTA 2: Feet-to-Fist Relaxation 223
- RABOTA 3: Relaxation Transference 227
- RABOTA 4: Strike Force Calibration 235
- RABOTA 5: Invisible Striking 247
- RABOTA 6: Mutual Observation 254
- RABOTA 7: Momentum Counter-Strike 257
- RABOTA 8: Reactive Ball Step 264
- RABOTA 9: Strike Zone Approach 267
- CHAPTER 9
- TRANSCENDENCE 273
- CHAPTER 10
- BREATHE TO LIVE 283
- The LYEGKOYE Breath 284
- CHAPTER 9
- LIFE SKETCHES 291
- A HARD RAIN COMING DOWN 294
- A LIFE OF ITS OWN 302
- Striker Responsibility 309
- Receiver Responsibility 309
At no additional charge, you may also have a personalized message from Vladimir. Please indicate the wording you prefer to have in the Comments field upon submitting the order.
To receive the STRIKES: Soul Meets Body book at a lower price, order it as part of any Combo Package Deal
Achille Currado –
An opportunity to meet a true master once in your lifetime is a gift, but to have the opportunity to be taught by one is a blessing from above.
Vladimir’s mastery is so profound, it would take a lifetime to unravel.
“Hit Different” is a book that is a reflection of the acuity of Vladimir’s knowledge and expertise. It is a must read and a must have on your shelf. I say this because it is a book that you will study and then come back to again and again. Each time, you will begin to understand Systema strikes from a different perspective and sense the absolute nature of this marital art and continue on your journey to know thyself.
Aaron Dill –
This is a book to read and reread.
Vladimir’s wisdom and expertise is shown simply and concisely.
Full of instruction on preparing to receive strikes, and the particulars of delivering the devastating relaxed strike that has become a trademark of Systema, this book picks up right where “Let Every Breath…” left off, I recommend reading both.
Also includes advice and stories from Vladimir, and quite a few pictures illustrating the work.
I got my copy last night, and it’s hard to put down!
Ryo Onishi –
If you felt/seen Mikhail or Vladimir’s strikes before, you know they have this special fist which has the devastating effect. Now Vladimir is revealing how to obtain “the fist” in detail for the first time! If we want to strike like Mikhail or Vladimir one day, not only we need to read this book but also we need to treat this book like the source.
Glenn Murphy –
Staggeringly rich, yet humble and approachable, this book is a vast treasure-trove of martial knowledge. It reaches far beyond the subject of strikes to encompass all aspects of Systema training.
In time, Vladimir Vasiliev will be undoubtedly be recognized as one of the greatest teachers and practitioners in the history of the martial arts, alongside long-departed luminaries like Gichin Funakoshi, Jigoro Kano, and Morihei Ueshiba. As such, no serious martial artist – regardless of style – should be without this book.
The insights offered here are profound beyond measure. This is the book long-time Systema practitioners have been waiting for. An error-free window into the training principles and methodologies of the master himself. Along with the seminal Let Every Breath, this book provides the ideal roadmap for both trainees and instructors.
Once again, Scott Meredith has done a great job of framing and contextualizing Vlad’s deep martial wisdom. The pure, natural simplicity of his verbal lessons can make the subtle seem obvious, and without proper consideration and practice, it’s easy to overlook just how powerful these ideas can be. Scott helps the reader to avoid this mistake, by unpacking Vlad’s quotes and lessons for our benefit, making it all (to quote Albert Einstein) “as simple as possible, but no simpler”.
This is critical, essential reading for all students and instructors of Systema. Buy it today, or kick yourself tomorrow.
Borngod Allah –
Three chapters in. and I already have to recommend this book.
It is definitely worth it.
Alberto Nacif –
This is a book that is like taking extended periods of time talking philosophically and practically with Mikhail Ryabko’s #1 student, Vladimir Vasiliev. Vasiliev is arguably the man who has not only high level knowledge, experience and skill, but also the insightful ability to teach the essence of the vast body of knowledge called Systema.
The book is well paced, and an easy read initially. The encyclopedic information on strikes in these pages, is powerfully linked to breathing, body position, movement and psychological states. Then as you start to slowly digest the information, you’ll return to different chapters, and even re-read the whole book for more profound insight.
It is a book that should stay on the top shelf of your library, and will, like Vladimir, continue to teach and amaze you.
Let us not forget the masterful writing and the format of this book, formulated by Scott Meredith.The verbatim quotations of Vlad’s descriptions are priceless! There are sections where I can actually hear Vladimir giving the explanation to a group of us, attentive at this feet.
This is the third of the books in the “must have” Systema library, including Let Every Breath, also by Vladimir Vasiliev and Scott Meredith, and Systema Manual (by Major Konstantin Komarov). Thank you for publishing this information, it is a genuine master work.
Renan de Moraes –
Fantastic book! Really recomended not only for Systema pratictioners, but for all kinds of martial artists.
Alex Basile –
Very interesting book. I thought there would be more specific how-to stuff in it, but there is some. I suppose the rest would come from classes & there IS the point that a lot of things that are hard to explain are easy to demonstrate. I very much liked how it gets into how the conditions of the situation play a factor (like how much gloves come into play with what you do in boxing, but when they’re off – things are different).
I can’t help but feel that someone might understand some of these things better if they spoke Russian so it could be communicated IN Russian, but then, the fighting itself is not spoken. I liked the anecdotes from various events. The one with the guy in the liquor store was very good.
I’m not well-versed in System, but I had a lot of street fights growing up & something I noticed about Systema (and this is touched-on in the book) is that it’s very reality-based in the PHILOSOPHICAL sense of the word (or maybe “ontological” is more accurate).
Jack Gustafson –
This book “packs a wallop” on every page!
Vladimir Vasiliev and Scott Meredith may have just written the seminal book on striking. I can’t think of a martial artist that couldn’t benefit from it, no matter what the style. Over the decades, my wife and I have trained in a variety of martial arts with some very fine instructors, and while they could all strike with incredible power, their power was mainly physical and tension-based, unlike Systema. On top of that, very few could really teach us how to achieve that kind of power. Vladimir can, and does, know how to teach it. And he does so in this wonderful book.
“STRIKES” is not a book to be merely read and put on your shelf. This is a guidebook, one to be read and re-read, to be studied, underlined, and dog-eared. Once I told the guys in our local Systema training group about the scope and breadth of this book–that it’s not just about the physical aspects of striking, but it also covers the psychological and spiritual aspects – every one of them bought a copy! We are literally “all on the same page” now, thanks to this book.
If you’ve been “sitting on the fence,” wondering if you should buy this book – get off the fence and buy it! You’ll be SO glad you did, that I truly believe that I’ll soon be reading a glowing review from YOU!
This book definitely deserves 5 out of 5 Stars!
by Jack C. Gustafson
St. Cloud Systema Training Group, MN
Tony Rose-Hattrick –
It’s brilliant… Got mine yesterday and I can’t put it down… Thank you, Vladimir.
Arend Dubbelboer –
We received the books in the Netherlands yesterday. What a good book! I read it in one go, and start reading it again.
It has to sink in deeper, but Wauwwwww!
This is absolute the best martial arts book I have ever read…
Bertrand GODDE –
Really, this book is great ! It’s very clear and inspirational. It contains stories, explanations, exercises, testimonials… A very very good book.
Sharath Somasundaram –
Precision strikes, minimal effort and maximum impact, that seems to be the theme for this book. I just finished reading this and I could almost hear Vladimir’s voice as I read the book. This is a documentation of a lot of things he teaches during his seminars. A great combination with “Let Every Breath”
Rev. Father Leontiy –
Many of us who study martial arts need not only to practice, see and feel, but also to read about it.
This gives the teaching real depth and makes is complete.
This book is the additional and essential element to physical training.
Whether you are training or not, it is the material that will always be with you.
It is easy to read and perfectly presented.
What Vladimir and Scott have done is a truly useful and blessed work.
Joe Mayberry –
The latest publication from Systema HQ, STRIKES: SOUL MEETS BODY, is much more than a technical manual on how to deliver and receive Systema strikes. Although there is plenty of knowledge imparted on the concepts and aspects of Systema striking, this book really delves into the heart and philosophy of Vladimir Vasiliev himself.
We learn not just the “how” but more importantly, the “why” of Systema from Vladimir’s point of view. He draws on numerous personal anecdotes to explain the evolution of his personal interpretation of the Russian Martial Art and the use of strikes therein. These are the gems within this great book.
The explanations and drills are all worth the price alone. Think of it as years of personal notes from private lessons with Vladimir. The details are in depth and multi-faceted. You finish each chapter learning just as much about yourself as you learn about striking. Quite simply, this is an owner’s manual for your fists.
Time will tell, but this book could be the work that defines Vladimir and his system.
Patrick Bielen –
This book was the best book I have ever read. There is a natural tension free annotation on it that just screams truth! In short, it has changed my life. Thank you for its publication.
Paolo Verrone –
I think this is a priceless text.
It is, to me, another great step in summarizing Systema knowledge by written words, and another way to a deeper knowledge and the “correct” attitude to learn Systema.
Thank you from Italy.
Roy Hatcher –
My thoughts on “STRIKES Soul Meets Body”.
The book is well written and full of insightful, thought-provoking material. It is for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of self…
It’s surprisingly not just about striking, as most would gather from the title, that’s just the angle it’s largely conveyed from. The book guides the reader how to deal with daily challenges in a whole-body self-connected way.
A truly amazing wealth of knowledge on well-being as well as how to actually strike more powerfully and efficiently.
STRIKES has already changed my life in a positive way simply by me incorporating the information into my daily life practices. I’m stronger and more connected, and I’m becoming more and more slow to anger, and feel less debilitated by fear or tension.
I can’t express how grateful I am that Vladimir and Scott took the time to write this book.
STRIKES is a blessing for the soul.
Julian Trimble –
If you take your Systema training seriously, Strikes: Soul Meets body is a must have. The beauty of Systema is that you can always go deeper and there is such a vast amount of knowledge in this book that is made easy to comprehend because of excellent organization, writing and Vladimir’s anecdotal life experience. All elements of Systema are contained within it’s individual components so this book will strengthen your overall understanding of Systema through the topic of strikes. I would tell anyone who has made the commitment to Systema, being that it is a way of life for them, that Strikes: Soul Meets Body, The Systema Manual and Let Every Breath are mandatory material. It is truly a blessing for those looking to become a better person and live a higher quality of life. Vladimir and Scott thank you for this gift.
Paul R. –
The book is so good, I read a page or two at a time. I’m savouring it, I don’t want it to end!
David Yemm –
I have been a fan of Vladimir Vasiliev for years and to me he is one of the greatest martial artists I have ever seen.
Absolutely incredible reading material. Thank you for the signed book.
Norbert Tannert, Germany, 36 years active police work, –
I just finished reading the book. I usually don’t comment on anything, but this time, I would like to make a few points and share how I feel.
I completely agree that the book isn’t only about strikes, but the topic „strikes“ is used for the description of the fundamental principles of Systema. So far so good.
On the other hand, I personally find it very important to emphasize that Systema is a martial art that is most reliable and workable in cases of real confrontations.
In a real confrontation, it is very unlikely that you would think about philosophical questions of the martial art you are practising.
You are either happy to see that what you‘ve learned is working for you or you will be, in the best case scenario, a very unhappy person treated by the ambulance…
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong about a deeper attitude towards the art we are practising. Yet I want to say that with the book „Strikes“ and the principles and methods described there (and of course with training), the reader will be able to succeed in a real confrontation in the real world, without being a bully or an aggressor or being intimidated by threats.
This book is one of the greatest gifts you can get in a more and more violent world we are sadly living in!
In the end, I am very happy that I met Vladimir and Mikhail all those years ago and that I had and still have the possibility to learn from them.
I wish that a lot of people get inspired by this book philosophically or will benefit by avoiding the ambulance…
Yvan Cam –
Strikes is the perfect learning material to understand what Ryabko/Vasiliev Systema is all about. This is exactly what is so striking about this book. Yes, the subject is how to strike properly and yes, it gives lots of exercises more or less known to improve striking abilities (the one with the glove is really funny by the way) but above all; it explains the importance of working on strikes.
Read full review on the Training Tips page in English or in French.
david yemm –
A life saving book reading material of russian martial art saved my life
Andrew Cefai –
Did you ever wish you could spend hours conversing directly with Vladimir about the fundamentals of Systema, about the many aspects of giving and receiving strikes, including the psychological, spiritual, healing and confidence-building aspects?
Did you ever wish you had the chance to hear Vladimir talk to you about such details as how to form a fist, or hold the arms, or find fullness in your striking, where he would also back it up with clear drills to grow your ability?
Thanks to the way Scott Meredith and Vladimir Vasiliev have collaborated on this book, it actually feels like a great conversation with a true Master of Systema.
This is a conversation that you can enter and leave and repeat again and again at different levels. It feels like a conversation where you managed to ask great questions yourself for a change!
This book is a treasure that will age with you and will talk to you in new ways. It will provide insights and learning for years and years. As your understanding of Systema grows, so will your understanding of Vladimir’s messages.
I had flashbacks continually as I read, taking me back to different classes and seminars over the past 15 years, shedding new light on the past lessons and I know it will keep happening.
Think about it, how often do we have the chance to meet Vladimir in person, or Mikhail Ryabko, who Vladimir references throughout the book? We have been given a framework for much deeper and more meaningful questions.
If the questions reflect the level of understanding of a student, then this book contains a huge potential to propel us all forward.
‘Strikes: Soul Meets Body’ has also become the gift I pass on to many friends training in other martial arts. Simply because aside from this book giving the clearest sense of how Systema operates at differing levels, there are many profound and valuable lessons instantly applicable for all martial artists.
It is no coincidence that since this book was recently released in Japan, it has been the #1 Best Seller of all self defense books on Amazon.jp. For a country with such a deep appreciation of martial arts, it really indicates the top quality of this book.
Thank you to Vladimir for the life spent learning and sharing with us and to Scott for capturing so thoroughly and presenting it so well for us to absorb.
I hope all the readers get as much out of this great book as I have.
Best wishes in your training.
Valerie Walden –
I keep reading the same first few sections over and over. I am not making progress to the end of the book because there is so much here and yes plainly written, straight forward and compelling.
I find I am digesting this on so many layers, it is truly that good. If you do Systema read this. If you are even curious this is a great way to understand better.
I am wicked glad I bought this book. At some point here I will have to make myself move on and quit rereading the same content lol – It really is that good !
Student of Systema Osaka –
This book offers extremely practical training insights to any martial artist seeking to polish his skills. However, the most valuable thing of all is to learn about Vladimir’s personal development of his powers, how he has had such deep experience and broad exposure in all aspects of martial arts.
His depth as a martial artist is what makes his seminars so extremely useful and interesting, and this book brings his experiences to life for the reader.
Blake LeBlanc –
I received my copy and it is an EXCELLENT resource! Scott and Vladimir did a wonderful job with the text, their attention to detail and the breadth of the content really shines through!
I find the writing style to be very accessible. This is an invaluable resource, offering great depth and perspective into both the art and it’s foremost instructor, Vladimir Vasiliev.
Bill Sarpas –
Your newest book “Strikes” is wonderful. I cannot recommend it more highly. Deep, clear, powerful and honest.
Tony Rose-Hattrick –
I bought a copy of this excellent book from Matt Hill and find it a fantastic source of information to share with my students. I have had it for several months and find it an invaluable learning tool written in a very concise way… Full of practical exercises and drills to expand both student and instructors alike. I personally am elated by the book and feel it has expanded my understanding of Systema….
I highly recommend this book!
Jerry C. –
I have been reading Vlad’s new book, “Strikes – Soul Meets Body”. WOW! I can’t get through a page without stopping a few times, putting the book down, and allowing some time and thought in order to appreciate and consider the depth of the wisdom and the beauty of what I am reading. During 50 years of martial arts training I have read enough books on the subject to fill a few libraries – but this book is unlike any book that I have read before.
For this Wednesday’s training, we will incorporate some of the breathing and striking methods presented in the first few chapters of the book. There are training methodologies in this book which are completely new to me, even after having trained for some time in Systema. I can’t wait to get started.
C.J. Rafferty –
Excellent book with plenty of useful drills and clear explanations.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in martial arts. Whether you have no experience or have been practicing for years, this book will be a valuable tool for you. If you want to understand the basics of Systema, get this book as well as Let Every Breath… Secrets of the Russian Breath Masters.
Michael S. Cooper –
Important MA Book.
I read Strikes last week, I thought it was the most important martial arts book since I read the Tao of JKD as a teenager.
Mark Jakabcsin –
Great Systema Resource.
Whether you are new to Systema or been around for awhile, you will find valuable information in this book. I know I will be using this book for years to come as a reference tool. Much of the information challenges the reader to think and find their own understanding. A must read for all Systema students but it will also be useful to anyone in the martial arts.
Taylor C. –
Great Drills and Explanations.
I have been training in Systema for 3 years and have had the pleasure of learning from Vladimir on multiple occasions and I can honestly say that his skill is unrivaled. During my 3 year journey with Systema I have become fascinated/obsessed with learning to hit as experienced Systema Practitioners can and this book has been a great supplement to my learning. My current job does not allow me to attend class as often as I’d like so this book has been a breath of fresh air. It gives countless drills and explanations of deep level striking which have given me a great way to work on my striking despite my hectic traveling schedule. As someone who has been hit by Vladimir, I know the power these types of strikes can deliver and this book is a great way to supplement any deep level striking you hope to attain.
Petros Petrakis –
MMA Champion Shares.
I really enjoyed this book!
I’ve been training at Vladimir Vasiliev’s school in Toronto since 1995 and want to share what it’s like.
Systema dates back over 10 centuries, yet it is still cutting edge today.
It had a calling on me. I was not impressed by any other instructors as much as I was by Vladimir Vasiliev.
I have years of martial arts experience including MMA.
Between the years of 2006 and 2010, I had been an undisputed MMA heavyweight champion in “Fighting Spirit”, “King of the Cage”, and “ECR – Extreme Cage Rage”, Chicago.
The interesting thing is that I did these fights in my forties being at least 15-17 years older than most of my opponents.
Also, all these years I have been working full time in construction; very hard labour. I only had about 2 hours a day of training, while all the other fighters had 4-6 hours of training daily. But because of Systema, I was actually able to beat these guys. This is because Systema clearly has better body mechanics and better strengthening of the psyche.
Systema is number one as a self defense style, moreover, it would be the most useful tool for MMA fighters. In fact, it would be a real wake up call for any fighter. Unique delivery of training in Systema gives you a healthy body and a calm spirit. No art is this good at making you resilient.
Most fighting arts are a slow process of degrading physically and psychologically. Systema is the opposite, it rebuilds. Hits in Systema do not have to be damaging, they can be therapeutic.
Today’s MMA athlete is exposed to diverse fighting methods. The mechanics and principles of Systema will never go out of style.
If you have never done martial arts or if you are fed up with the traditional and sport-like martial arts, Systema is all you need!
Pete Rogers –
A wealth of knowledge!
Truly a soon to be classic…
This book captures so much of the essence of Systema and goes much further than just strikes. It’s is a great resource for current Systema students as well as a great view into the system for those new to or unfamiliar with true Systema.
Yoni O. –
A philosophical and complete approach. The title itself is certainly an understatement, in this book Vladimir Vasiliev and Scott Meredith really shows how deep something as seemingly simple a strike can be. I greatly enjoy the philosophical approach, it really gives a deep understanding of oneself and others, and its complete and unique physical conditioning of the hands and wrists in a fight as well understanding psychological reaction of oneself and others with a strike has incredible implications on how, where, when and why to strike. If you practice Systema or not this book is invaluable to any martial artist or anyone who would like to use their fists at one point to protect themselves.
Karl K. –
Just amazing…and refreshingly different. Quite an amazing manual! Gives a completely different perspective on striking than any other book or video I have seen, and I’ve been in various martial arts for almost 30 years. There is a depth of understanding here that is so rich with detail and for lack of a better word, “spirit,” that you will most likely think about the material many hours over the time you spent reading. I am very impressed with the completeness of what was written, and I am still absorbing it. The author has somehow captured the essence of how to develop profound striking power without even the need for a DVD or video links. Just amazing… and refreshingly different. I will be applying this to my training and will try to meet up with the author at one of his seminars or at his school.
MaxFox – Police Training Instructor –
The latest book about Systema “Strikes” is a very interesting and unusual document. Scott Meredith gave an excellent review on specialized combat training through his documented encounters with famous combat arts specialist, Vladimir Vasiliev. The methods described in this book are very unconventional and go beyond mechanics and techniques. The author makes it obvious that all described by him training methods and outcomes can be easily incorporated with any sports and /or fighting arts. The book details the many unconventional remedies for physical and spiritual conditioning which go hand in hand.
I am left with the feeling that this work teaches the reader not how to destroy but how to control and persevere during potentially deadly encounters. I felt humility in the teachings of Vladimir.
I appreciate that this book is far from being an obstruct fantasy but a series of effective training methods for very serious work. I also found it entertaining and easy to read. Thumbs up.
Juan Ascencio –
Personally I learn more from watching and doing more than reading. However as I’ve gotten older and wiser (I hope), I have come to value the written word and the priceless information contained in great books by great authors.
With STRIKES, it felt like I had the opportunity to train with this great teacher on a one to one basis. It felt as if Vladimir was talking to me directly helping me to understand the elusive power behind Systema and its strikes. This is going to be one of those reference books I’ll go back to for the rest of my life.
Thank you for your time and work, Vladimir Vasiliev and Scott Meredith.
Stacy Lewis –
After I finished reading this book, I said to myself “that was so good I am going to read it again.”
The material in this book is instructive for both experienced practitioners as well as those just starting the Systema journey. This book spoke to me on an personal level. It showed me areas that I need to work on for training and for life in general, which are both really the same. I will read this book many times. Reading this book is like Systema, there is always more.
Thank you, Vladimir Vasiliev and Scott Meredith, for sharing.
Dr. P.D. Holtmann –
Truly, a bible of striking… The book “Soul Meets Body” can help you to better understand your own angers and fears – how to not run away, but not attack, how to not win, but not loose, how to simply be ready for what comes – may it be a fight or one of the many stressful day-to-day conflicts? The interview passages feel like one-to-one instructions by Vladimir Vasiliev himself. Scott Meredith has done a great job compiling, editing and arranging the in-depth interviews with Vasiliev.
The book contains dozens of inspiring exercise-variations, solo as well as partner work, which can be easily integrated into an enjoyable and healthy daily life. Although I have been doing similar exercises for years, the new descriptions reveal important new details, which come to the fore during the most mundane actions, ranging from dish-washing with light breathing to letting go of tension in the knees while walking.
The book benefits beginners, advanced students and masters of the art of Systema at the same time, while it also serves everyone interested in the health, stress-management, and fighting aspects of Systema. If one wants to develop a more resilient, intelligent, intuitive and healthy self, then the new DVD by Vasiliev “Breathing and Fear” wonderfully complements the book with concise descriptions of Systema breathing methods.
Pascal Verhille –
I will never forget the first “light” strike I got from Vladimir and often asked myself how it could produce such an unexpected and amazing effect inside both the body and mind.
Many parts in the book helped me to better understand the process, I was very happy to know more about it. There are so many other deep things to discover and learn in the book, which is perfectly structured.
I was also curious to see what was behind the mysterious subtitle “Soul meets body”; the answer was clear after reading.
The philosophy of Systema is well presented.
Although the approach is of course quite different, it sometimes reminded me of some spiritual and martial concepts of Morihei Ueshiba, in which breathing is also a central part and links both areas.
My congratulations to Vladimir and Scott for writing such a masterpiece, and my thanks to them for all the positivity it provides in daily life. I’m sure this book is already largely successful, and will continue to grow year by year.
Matthew Denton –
Fun to read
Has lots of information
Adds an interesting perspective to how to have power in your strikes
Timothy D. Raskon –
This book is one of those rare treasures that I feel like I will never be done with.
I think that even if I only had the drills and information in this one book to practice, I could keep on practicing it for the rest of my life and not run out of deeper layers to discover.
I’ve never actually had the privilege of learning directly from a Systema instructor, and there aren’t any schools where I live, but it’s okay because the information in this book is truly principle-based rather than spoon feeding a particular fighting style.
You can take the information that’s presented here, and if you really understand how to work with it, you can incorporate those principles into any style.
I do a basic version of Northern Long Fist Kung Fu. Since I’ve started applying these principles to my training, my forms are smoother and more fluid, and I don’t run out of breath so easily though I am moving faster. In sparring,
I am calmer, I can more easily discern what my partner is about to do, and react to it more naturally than before. If you are a martial artist you need this book.
Anne Beardsley –
This book was incredible. I would recommend it to any serious martial artist, simply for the passages on combat mindset alone.
I felt like this book kept my eyebrows raised the entire time I read. Sometimes my thought was, “What a brilliant way to put this complex concept I’ve struggled with!” Many times it was, “Wow. I….have to make a note of this, right now.” And occasionally it was, “Goodness gracious, those Systema people are hardcore.”
This 300 page book took me six weeks to read, and I was reading diligently. This is because I have page after page of notes, and frequently stopped to reread a passage, or stare off into space and consider, or go back to my own practice and see how I had been doing things and where the gaps lay.
As the title says, it’s about striking. How to hit. But to get there, Mr. Vasiliev and Mr. Meredith discuss:
— How to maintain awareness in combat
— How to free your body, so that it can make multiple strikes and adjust to openings and adverse situations (such as being grabbed, surrounded, or injured)
–How to learn to keep a cool heart in the heat of the moment
— How to give all the damage to your opponent when you strike, instead of splitting it 70% – 30% with them
— How to learn to stop being afraid of getting hit, losing, etc.
–How to breathe calmly and well while going through crazy situations
–How to have a relaxed, powerful, responsive body
–How to take a hit
They give drills to get you there (crazy, hardcore Systema drills).
This is one of those books that I will certainly reread. And be working on these things for years.
Edsj Edsj –
An unbelievable book. Would recommend to anyone. This takes your training to a whole new level with concepts that refocus your mind, body and spirit.
Jason Weil –
The principles taught in Systema have made me a better person.
I no longer see opponents as someone to fight with, but rather as friends to help.
online review –
Purchased this book for my 27 year old son. He has had a hard time putting this book down and always reads me excerpts from it while doing so that have me quite intrigued. There is a lot of spiritual guidance and deep meanings behind the Strikes which makes it way more intense than the title suggests. Even though my son is the one reading this book, the time we share together discussing the meanings and concepts, making us strike up wonderful discussions makes it that much more interesting.
I will indeed read this, if I can get it away from my son and if not, he can reread it and we will continue having discussions and just sharing this special time together. I know I probably shouldn’t have given it 5 stars w/o my reading it cover to cover 1st, but anytime a book can bring two people closer together, it deserves it, in my books.
Milos Malic –
Yes, do read this. No matter which martial art is your choice.
If you are thinking about joining martial art training, read this book. If you are facing a battle in your life, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with fighting people, or if you are fighting stress or illness where your soul will meet your body, by all means read this book.
This is the master peace I never expected. Both masters Ryabko and Vasiliev were always eager to demonstrate, show, explain or fix certain aspects of our strikes. And then, in 2015, BOOM! This book was out.
In there you can find how to hit so you don’t hurt yourself, as well as how to use strikes as a diagnostic tool to signal your training partner what he needs to fix. You will learn how to hit stealthily. So many things that you can only dream about in 99.9% of martial art schools around the world.
I am so proud of my signed copy I got from Vladimir, I think that is one of most valuable possessions I ever had.
Matt Conner –
The comic book stories at the end of the book are exciting and full of action. Behind them is a deeper and more fascinating narrative of how someone (Vladimir) could grow up in such harsh circumstances and a different culture, make his way through great adversity and violence, and become such a success, sharing his knowledge in a new land.
I will continue to look forward to the deep narrative of survival and triumph in future publications and in every other part of Systema.