However, when I recommend it to others — and I will — I will probably suggest they begin in chapter 3, where the breath teaching starts. The Russian Orthodox flavor was great. Many martial arts texts particularly the older ones, but also a number of the new are tinged with religion.
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You can tell that the creators of this method were special forces and that a lot of the early training was military. You can tell that the author practices about a dozen martial arts very intensely. The really rather sweet, innocent assumption that everyone who reads this book is an athletic male in his prime.
I have had to completely adjust every single exercise shown in this book to something I could do.
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First they have you doing lots and lots of push-ups while doing interesting breath patterns Just as I was trying to figure out if I with my pathetic upper body strength could possibly work up to doing a push-up that slowly if I did it from my knees, the author has a helpful suggestion. Guess what? If doing endless slow push-ups is so easy that not only do you not have any muscular tension but you're actually bored, you can hook one ankle behind the other to make it more interesting!
I had to put the book down to laugh. I remember my first day of kindergarten. I was four years old. I remember my mounting panic as I struggled to sit up as the teacher instructed, with my legs out straight ahead of me on the floor and my torso perpendicular to the floor. I couldn't do it. My legs simply aren't flexible like that. So I particularly enjoyed it as the writer explained that the double leg lift was easy for breath work because hey!
Who can't just slowly lift both legs to a 90 degree angle without any tension? The trick, he says, is knowing when to stop so you don't overfill those lungs. Oh, and stop a lot along the way, not letting your back arch. My Army friends would probably have a blast with this. But I am modifying every exercise for myself, based on the thought that breathing in these patterns under physical stress will probably bring me most of the same benefits: it just takes a lot less to stress my body that it does for, say, a Navy Seal.
Yes, as other reviewers have said, the actual content is more of a fat pamphlet than a book.
Let Every Breath Secrets of the Russian Breath Masters by Vladimir Vasiliev
But it is a very valuable fat pamphlet. I had mixed feelings about this book. That is laudable. Are these particular principles and drills the end-all-be-all that will take one to heights that no other approach to breathing could as the book suggests? But is it a solid approach to breath that will yield benefits by making you more aware of breath while helping you to use it more effectively?
Is that a damning indictment? The problem is that we are told how unique and completely peerless this system is so often that it becomes a bad info-mercial. I get it.
Systema is a product that has to compete in an intense market place with the likes of Krav Maga, MMA, Total Combat Systems, Defendu, and a ton of other self-protection oriented martial arts. The problem is that when it dismisses systems like yogic pranayama and Taoist chi gong, it does so in a way that shows virtually no understanding of those systems.
When the author is telling us how the Systema approach to breath is superior to pranayama, he describes an asana posture-oriented class.
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The second half of this rant is that there is a lot of hagiography to delve through before one gets to the meat of the subject. Now, in general, authors of martial arts books tend to pay homage to their teachers and lineage. This book gets disconcertingly close to the line.
Let Every Breath: Secrets of the Russian Breath Masters (English Edition) por Vladimir Vasiliev
The arrogance issue is made worse by confusion about authorship. This creates an odd situation because the book tells us how Vasiliev is both an exceptional human being, and humble as well. You can see my problem. Without evidence to the contrary, I can easily accept that Vasiliev is exceptional. I can also believe that he is humble. If you are looking to expand your understanding and awareness of breath, you may want to give this book a try. Like Like.