What is a better weapon: a stick, or a knife? Many people would answer that a knife is obviously the better choice. After all, they reason, a knife has a cutting edge and a point, is less likely to break than a stick, and of the two, is the one that was fashioned to be a weapon.

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Systema might not be one of the most popularly trained martial arts (at least, not within the United States), but this Russian style certainly packs a wallop! Its name simply means "The System," and that level of confidence from its creators tells you all you need to know about its efficacy. Like krav maga, Systema was developed for military use, and focuses on self-defense and real-life combat situations against armed or unarmed opponents.

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One of the first rules of self-defense is that you must realize when a situation has gone bad and be able to respond quickly. These techniques, demonstrated by Kelly McCann, show a situation that starts out with something most of us do commonly: shake hands.

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Every contact leaves a trace; conflict changes us.

The mind, body and heart (used here to represent our emotions) are intrinsically linked; each feeding back, informing and influencing the other aspects of our selves. Exposure to violence, or even the threat or feeling of it, results in changes to our physiology and psychology.

In the short-term; fight or flight processes widely affect the body. Chemical changes and the associated adrenaline-rush provide immediate feedback and adaptations to our self-state to allow real-time reaction. The immediate aftereffects can cause changes to breathing rate and blood sugar, create feeling of sickness or leave us with shaking hands. Typically, these effects last no more than a few minutes to an hour.

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Many stories and posts have been written about the malaise people are experiencing. Among the reasons given are a faltering economy, world discord and rampant joblessness. It's hard to beat the feeling that no matter what you do, you can't influence your fate — that you can't exert control over your situation.

I learned a long time ago in the military during survival and resistance training that one of the things that upset a person's equilibrium the most is simply "not knowing." In Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School, as well as Survival and Resistance Training, every effort is made to keep trainees in the dark about what's coming next. In the higher levels of SERE, even the trainees' circadian rhythms — a human being's "body clock" — are disrupted to destabilize them, taking away important physiological touchstones.

To combat this, trainees are taught to maintain any rituals and routines they can control, such as shaving and hygiene, physical exercise and visualization drills conducted at particular times during the day.

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Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
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