Last weekend saw the first weekend camp organised by the Leicester Systema group. For me it was a nice change - in the past I've organised camps myself whereas this time I was guesting, which meant I was also able to observe the drills and participants a lot of the time. I'll run through the format of the camp first then offer some thoughts and observations
Then fire pits were dug and wood gathered. While everyone enojyed a brew (why does it always taste better from a camp fire?) Rory and Ed took everyone through the plan for the weekend and orientation of the site. The main theme for the training was to be psychological work. Participants were told they would be put through various types of pressure over the camp and the ground rules were laid out to ensure productive and safe training for all
It was just starting top get dark so we began the first session. As the emphasis was on the psyche after a warm-up I took the group through the basics of using the breath to help control fear and tension. I then explained how the brain operates under stress and how we can move between three states - the logical, the emotional and the survival. The role of each in training and in real life was explored through some further drills before taking the group into some deep striking methods in order to prepare them for the work ahead.
Following lunch break the group was divided into four teams for the next exercise. Three of the groups were to work on the "firing range" - with air rifle, bows, etc - while the other group were takne up to the deserted farmhouse for the main exercise. This took the form of an intense psychological test - I won't reveal any more details as some of you may wish to try it in the future and in any event the test is about the experience rather than reading about it. Each of the groups was rotated up to the old farm in turn and also got the chance to experience the exercise from different angles
Sunday morning - time to clear the site and also, as a favour to the farm owners who so kindly allowed us use of their land, to help with some ragweed clearing and general tidying-up. Following this the group was driven to a local sports centre for the last session and a post-camp "de-brief". Each of the participants was also presented with a certificate and so the weekend ended!
It was interesting for me this time to be more "in the shadows" this time rather than teaching and organising all the sessions. First off I was extremely impressed with how the camp was run and structured. Ed and Rory had obviously put a huge amount of work into creating the various drills together and were ably assisted by their team - including Ash, Gaz, the two army lads Chris and Mike, Michelle and Leanne the farm owner. This meant participants were given some unique experiences outside of the normal realm of what we can practice in class.
I hope to get some footage up on Youtube in the next day or so, though as most of the exercises were at night there is not a lot of footage to choose from! Some people also asked for more info on the "brain work" we were discussing, so I will get some relevant links posted up too
Overall - an outstanding camp. As everything went well I'm sure we will have use of the site in future which gives us scope for so many different types of training in the future - so watch this space. Thanks again to Rory and Ed and to everyone who took part, it was a great experience all round!