Review of ‘Moving and Striking by N. Morrison
Review by Nathanael Morrison
As of late there are a number of DVD’s being released on the subject of the Russian martial art called Systema (Сыстема). In Russian this simply means “The System”. Systema is without a doubt the last remaining true combat fighting system in the world. All others are an attempt to either adapt old systems or to cobble together a new system by combining sport forms. Systema stands as the last unbroken link to the past yet it has always remained modern and relevant to the present. It is in use in combat today with modern weapons.
I have found that most people have no true reference point or concept of these statements. Few understand that the Asian martial arts were changed radically after peace came to the region. For example, Japanese warriors were trained in a very short period of time and then thrust into battle. But after the unification of Japan occurred, these warriors were left without a trade. They adapted to the situation and began teaching. During times of war they would have trained a warrior over a period of a few months to a year. But now they found ways to stretch this learning over many years. Today it will take you over 20 years to learn what was once a crash course in combat. Today, the modern masters of these arts are not warriors, but common men who have devoted their lives to studying the old ways. But there is a two-fold problem with this. First, the masters do not know how to teach what they know in a short period of time. And second, what they know has little relevance to the modern battlefield.
Systema is quite different… It never stopped being used and has actually and truly evolved with the times. This makes it very interesting and unique in the world because it is actually in use today by special operations and intelligence personnel. Practitioners with years of other Asian martial arts experience will be surprised to see year 20 lessons taught in daily classes.
Modern day relevance is where ‘Moving and Striking‘ comes into play. In “traditional” martial arts and sport fighting, you will notice that striking is done from a fixed position. But this is not reality in modern war. In keeping with the finest ancient teachings we know that in individual combat and combat between armies is the same. A fixed position is easily assaulted by troops and combined arms. Mobility is the key to winning at all levels. Moving and Striking is the first DVD to specifically address this issue.
Martin Wheeler does a superb job if addressing all of the factors surrounding one’s ability to move, strike, evade and prevail in a fight. He illustrates the psychology behind drawing opponents in and giving them a feeling of superiority while in fact setting them up for failure. In the Asian martial arts this concept is referenced but never shown or illustrated. Martin shows you the entire concept in five minutes. You can apply it with 10 minutes of practice. The difference is clear.
The concept of moving and striking is one that will take a bit of getting used to for people with a history in sport or “traditional” martial arts. The concepts of generating power, striking with a good base or stance are difficult to overcome for a while. It is a bit frustrating when someone simply walks past you and drops you with a punch you never saw coming while robbing you of your ability to breathe. This defies what so many of us were taught about striking. Stable base, strike, block, counter strike… How one can be effective without these things seems impossible. But Martin does a wonderful job of showing the viewer that movement keeps you from sustaining damage; form and posture keeps you integrated, and kinetic energy is always present in movement. So when those strikes land, they have as much or more power than those generated from a static position and you have escaped personal injury. Most useful to the viewer though, is the building block approach taken in this DVD. Each chapter builds on the one previous to it and takes you from that static boxer to moving and striking against single and then multiple opponents. This is the only DVD I know of that does this in a manner that can be used by an individual or study group right out of the box.
For the scholars, look at the individual and group movements and compare them to classic battles in Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European history. You will see all of the same elements present in those battles demonstrated in individual combat.
Moving and Striking With Martin Wheeler represents a new level of martial arts education for the common man, fighter and soldier alike. Without a doubt, this DVD sets a new standard of excellence. I give it my highest recommendation.
About the Author
Nathanael Morrison was a USAF Special Tactics and Pararescue team leader for 15 years before transferring to the US Army. He is a military skills instructor specializing in special operations. He has written the most complete book on military specific training ever published, Military Fitness: A Manual of Special Physical Training. Visit his web site at www.alpin-gruppe.com.