River Wye Canoe and Camp Trip 27-28 July 2019

River Wye Canoeing and Camping Trip 27-28 July 2019 – Booking Open!

Symonds Yat

Canoe down the River Wye, one of this Britain’s more beautiful and spectacular river sceneries.

Camp overnight on Saturday (tent and roaring campfire) and then back home for lunchtime on Saturday.

Yat Camp Fire

Start time – 11.30am Saturday 27th July in Symonds Yat.
Finish time – 10.30am Saturday 28th July at the Campsite.

Symonds Yat Swim

Basic camping kit will be needed (tent, sleeping bags and mats, cooking equipment, food etc. full list will be given on booking).

Wye Sun

This is a fantastic trip down the River Wye. A timeless trip of high adventure and the the kind of trip that childhood memories are made of!
Numbers will be limited. Please let me know ASAP.


£50 per child and £60 per adult.
To pay via paypal click below (£3 added to cover paypal fee):
Please email me matt@matthill.co.uk for BACS details to pay by bank
Child (16 and below)
Children must be accompanied by an adult.

I look forward to welcoming you on the adventure!

Best wishes,


Systema Breathing Seminar

Sharing a gift:

Without doubt one of, if not the greatest gift I have received from Mikhail and Vladimir is the knowledge and ability to change how I perceive the internal and external landscape in a single breath.

No matter what is going on around you, or in your head and body, your breathing is the thing that you have control over.

It would be nice if we could manage the world so that everything landed butter side up, but we know that is not possible.

Dare I say that it is even harder to control the internal landscape. As the saying goes it is more difficult to rule yourself than to rule a city.

Correct and conscious breathing is the one thing that we can have control over. It releases the pressure and gives you clear space to think and make calm decisions.

This is a skill, and skills need practice to become of use.

They then need to be applied in situations in order to understand them and make them yours.

Systema has a good, progressive, reliable method for this.

On Saturday January 19th I will lead you through training that will:

  • Identify problem areas with your breathing.
  • Provide corrective tools to restore optimal breathing function.
  • Gently and progressively stress these tools to give you the confidence to adapt your breathing to be of use to you in everyday life.
  • Build confidence under progressive physical and emotional pressure.

This course is purely an exploration and study of the Systema Breathing skills and so is suitable for everyone regardless of experience or fitness.

It is ideal for those wanting to better understand how to manage their internal state and problem areas such as:

  • Anxiety.
  • Performance under pressure.
  • Endurance and recovery during exercise.
  • Suffering from stress.
  • Struggling to relax.
  • Dealing with chronic or regular pain.
  • Recovering from trauma or injury.


Date: Saturday 19th Jan
Timings: 11am Finish 5pm
Venue: Systema Academy, Avonside Enterprise Park, New Broughton Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 6PX.

Accommodation:There is plenty of good accommodation in the Melksham Area. A quick search on booking.com or airbnb will reveal all!

Personal touch:
The course size is going to be limited in order for me to spend maximum time with individual participants to address individual problem areas.

This course has been advertised already and is filling up.
Reserve your spot below:


The cost of the course is £70.

Here is the link to pay via Paypal (£5 added to cover the paypal surcharge)

or email me for BACS details.

My very best wishes for your training and good health,


The Benefits of Nasal Breathing – Free Video Clip

I have just finished editing and preparing a new on-line video course which I am really pleased to share with you.

It is a Systema Breathing Course designed for:

  • People wanting to deepen their understanding of Systema Health and Breath Work.
  • Instructors looking to add to their repertoire of teaching drills (there are over 2 hours of drills and exercises.)
  • People who spend a lot of time training on their own.

The course has information segments and exercises that you can study and do on your own or with a class or group.

There are over 2 hours of footage split into 36 handy video segments.

The course can be accessed from any laptop, PC or smart phone.

Here is a clip that you may find interesting about the benefits of nasal breathing:

I hope that you enjoy it.

I will be releasing the course soon!

My very best wishes for your training and good health as always.

Post Update: The course in now available here!


Quite possibly the best way to start and end your day – Systema ground movement free video tutorial.

As a lifetime practice, I struggle to think of many things as beneficial to building and keeping a body that will serve you well into old age.

At the start and end of a Systema Class we will nearly always do some, ‘soft ground movement’.

At the start of the session this gently warms up the body, checks the muscles and joints for brittleness and tension, fixes injuries, and resets it from a day of poor posture, stress and tension.

At the end of the class it allows you to gently recover, check yourself for any sore spots, massage out any hits or tensions and psychologically collect and relax yourself.

I covered this on the recent strikes and massage course in Melksham. It seems very simple and structureless on the surface, but as is often the case with Systema, there is a lot going on beneath the surface.

Here is a 4 minute video that explains in a sequential manner the different levels of ground work and some key things to look for:

  • ‘Reaching’ into simple stretches to pull the ‘crinkles’ out of the body.
  • Rolling over the muscles using gravity and bodyweight to gently massage them.
  • Using random angles and directions in the stretches and movements to check the body.
  • Getting the feeling of Systema.
  • Gaining confidence in your movement.
  • Using movement to relax yourself inside and out.
  • Mixing in the pillars to check your strength to bodyweight ratio.
  • Going through the whole range from standing to lying and using the action of going to ground and vice versa to release tension.

Ground movement is a great place to start getting the, ‘feeling’ of Systema.

Finding the feeling of Systema will be the focus in the upcoming Intensive Seminar at the Academy in Melksham on the 21-25 November 2018

The seminar is half full, so to secure your space click here.

My very best wishes for your training and health as always,


New Video Podcast with The Scholar Warrior

Earlier in the year I did a very enjoyable video podcast with Robin Gamble of the Scholar Warrior Podcast. It was our second podcast and we discussed a lot of topics such as:

– Using Systema to augment traditional martial arts.
– Where I think the current fascination with Special Forces Training comes from.
– Layering and build training to get the most out of it.
– Being the influencer rather than the influenced.
– Explanation of the Systema Four Pillars.
– Transferable skills outside class.
– Comparisons of gym work vs Systema.
– Using Systema to deal with Stress in life.
– Links between rounded physical and emotional confidence.
– What’s inspiring me at the moment.

Robin is a real gentleman with some great insights into the world of martial arts and holistic approach to life. Click the image below if you would like to see the podcast.

My very best wishes for your health and training.


Click the links below for Matt’s Systema:
  • Upcoming Courses:
    • 22-23 Sept Systema Seminar, Melksham, England. Waiting List only! to be added click here
    • 21-25 Nov 5-Day Systema Intensive Wiltshire. Melksham, England.
    • 23-24 March 2019 New* Vladimir Vasiliev, ‘Structure of Systema’ Seminar – booking opening soon.

The Master Key

When I find myself feeling under par health wise, struggling emotionally, in an emergency situation, or in a confrontation, my first check is to come back to the basics. In my experience, the right path in all these situations is to be found there. It’s just so easy to overcomplicate things. That said, basic is far from easy.

Health wise these are my first checks:

  • Is my breath nasal, light and easy? Can I take a full breath, into any part of my body, from my head to my heels? Or is my breath stuck somewhere?
  • Am I sleeping well? Getting to bed well before midnight? Waking feeling rested?
  • Am I drinking enough water, especially at this time of year, at least 3l per day.
  • How about my diet? Am I eating mostly real food, not too much, mostly fresh fruit and veg?
  • Have I been too sedentary? Am I moving my body through its full range daily? The pillars will do that for you.
  • Am I getting outside enough? Taking long, easy walks in a natural setting, doing some breath ladders?

During times of high stress, emotion or confrontation similar basic checks can be made, but these are more like scans. They are simple, but require daily practice under artificial stressors as we do in Systema classes. Unless you have practiced them and tested the skill under varied circumstances they will desert you in times of high stress.

  • Firstly you have to manage your breathing, and adapt it to the situation consciously and constantly. Left unconscious it will inhibit you in all but a very few emergency physical situations, and even then you want to be able to adapt your response. This will give you the mental flexibility to manage your way through.
  • Then you have to check your tension. Is the situation tensing you in a way that you are inhibited in your movement and thought. You need to be moving and scanning your body for tension, relaxing and releasing this, correcting the crumpling of posture that anger, fear, anxiety and stress bring, so that you are physically and mentally free to respond with different options.

There is a tendency to overcomplicate things. Looking for quick fixes such as drugs for health and wellbeing, the perfect technique in martial arts, the latest faddish diet, drink, supplement or piece of equipment in exercise. They may mask things for a short time, but rarely, if ever, stand the test of time.

The fundamentals underpin it all: your health, wellbeing, skills and situational management:

  • For health look to your breathing, sleep, hydration, nutrition and where and how you are moving your body, get outside. We need fresh air and open spaces, not poky rooms with artificial heat, light and a/c.
  • For combat skills and situational management, develop the skill to notice and manage your state. This is NOT easy. Especially under stress. You need to go through the cycle to achieve unconscious competence. The ability to notice when things are going awry and to self correct. This blends to a feeling, for me it is the feeling of Systema. Where my breathing, movement, relaxation and posture come together not as separate parts but merge as this feeling. As soon as I feel myself being pulled out of that feeling by a situation, I drop back into it. When I am in that feeling I know that I am in the best state that I can be to meet the challenge.

This is the key in Systema training. There is not a requirement to master every aspect of what is taught. You are there to grasp the master key that all of the aspects are allowing you to look at, and once you have grasped that, you have grasped the basics, and you are on the way to unlocking it all.

I am committed to sharing these concepts with as many people as I can in order to walk healthily and calmly through life together.

My very best wishes for your health and training.


Click the links below for Matt’s Systema:

A slow and surprising realisation…

I recently shared my thoughts about the healing power of Martial Arts on Facebook, and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I know that some of you are not on social media, so I thought that I would share this with you here too:

‘I took up Martial Arts because I wanted to be a great fighter. I soon realised that the world was full of them. Lots better suited than I. Over half a lifetime this has led me to Systema, and a slow and surprising realisation. That the greater power of martial arts is that they can also heal. Physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’d read about this but never really experienced it in the way I have in Systema.

Now my biggest pleasure in Martial Arts, the thing that gives me a great sense of purpose, is the people that come to me saying that Systema has healed them. Its given them confidence where they had none, it’s allowed them to move better than they have in decades, helped them through personal and psychological problems, it’s recovered them from injury and illness, and given them a community to be part of.

I still love the fighting, but the world probably doesn’t need more good fighters. I now get more from understanding how Systema has healed people and the world could surely do with a lot more of this.’

I hope, as always, that this email finds you well and wish you the very best for your training and health.

P.S. I will be opening the booking for the September seminar soon, (22-23 Sept). The topic will be Strikes and Massage. Two sides of the same coin.

My very best wishes for your training and health as always,


Are you really a Martial Artist?

I know some readers will not be Martial Artists. If you are not, please indulge me, and you may still find it an interesting question that can be applied to many fields outside martial arts.

People who study a martial art often overlook the term. It is good to remember that we are not Martial Thugs, or Martial Clones.

Of course in the beginning it is wise to follow a teacher and a trusted path, as any artist would. You need to learn some basics and tried and trusted methods.

But in most cases we looking to go past learning a few quick, effective moves to protect ourselves. We are learning an art.

If you are doing an art, you are hopefully aspiring to be an artist. An artist should strive to begin to make what they are taught his or her own. They have to develop thier own style.

There is deep joy in being expressive and creative in the application of a skill that you have spent countless hours honing. I think that there is something divine in those moments of true creativity. When you do or perform something that seemed to come through rather than from you.

We are all different. We have different skills, strengths, weaknesses, injuries, needs and experiences. Your art should be an expression of these.

This shouldn’t mean that you have to disassociate yourself from your teacher and go your own way. A self-assured, humble teacher should be delighted to see you expressing yourself through your art. This of course goes with the caveat of respect for your teacher and your source.

To be creative, you have to assimilate the skills. This takes time and effort.

You then have to relax. If you are tense you will block the creativity. This is true for anything. It is a whole principle of life.

Relaxation is elusive. We all strive for it, and even the striving can bring tension. However, there are tools that you can use.

Your breathing, movement and posture are the main ones.

Of course we can’t all be Bruce Lee, or Michelangelo, or Mozart, or Springsteen. But we can be ourselves.

Roger Bannister, who sadly passed recently, put in very well, “The aim is to move with the greatest possible freedom toward the realization of the best within us,” he wrote in 1955. “This is the quest of a lifetime, and sport plays only a small part in it.”

So are you an aspiring artist in your field? If not I am sure that just that switch in focus to to strive for the relaxation to allow yourself to come through will lead to good things in whatever endeavour you apply it to.

My very best wishes for your training and health,


Click the links below for Matt’s Systema: