How to relax more (includes tutorial video)

Everyone wants to know how to be more relaxed. More at ease. Unfortunately like most things this takes some effort. It is a bit of a paradox.

It is useful to educate and train yourself in the art of relaxation.

A good method is to stress yourself under controlled conditions. One way to do this is with a simple breath hold. There are many varieties of these in Systema.

A useful variation is to do a breath hold whilst doing exercise.

What comes next is the crucial part:

You go straight into learning how to properly relax and restore yourself after the breath hold exercise.

This gives your psyche and your body the knowledge, skill and therefore the confidence that you can feel very stressed, and then within seconds bring yourself back to full recovery.

You begin to understand this deeply and intuitively though a gradual progression of the exercise. Done properly it can take over 30 mins, as I explain in the video below. It is a tough exercise, but It will reveal deep lessons and great benefits to you.

Several variations on this theme can be used in Systema:

  • Breath holds.
  • Physical endurance.
  • Pain.
  • Fear.
  • Physical contact and pressure.
  • Exposure to things that scare us.

The result is a deep and rounded understand of your stressors, a sensitivity to the effect that they have on you and the knowledge of how to restore yourself to a relaxed state.

The key is that it is all is done with full consciousness of your psyche and physical state through the connecting thread of your breathing.

In summary the key benefits are that :

  • The level of your relaxed state deepens.
  • Your length of time in which you can maintain the level of relaxation in everyday life expands and;
  • The speed with which you can consciously relax yourself increases.

There is real magic and power in the simplicity and ‘anytime anywhere’ accessibility of these tools.

Below is the video. It is one of 36 sections of the Systema Breathing Course.

Breath Hold Pillars

It is 6 mins long. The first four minutes detail the exercise, and the second part answers a question on overcoming doubts.

I am teaching three upcoming courses over the next few weeks and months. I hope to see you around!

  • May 19th – Marple Systema Course. Contact Chris Wallace for details.
  • June 8-9 Aboyne (Scottish Highlands) Systema Course. Contact Steve Murphy for details.
  • July 3-7 Wiltshire 5 Day Intensive Camp. Click here for details.

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


Testimonial from a former Royal Marine Commando

…”Instead of scanning my environment for threats, I now scan my mind and body for tension…”





The following testimonial is from Billy, an ex Royal Marine 45 Commando Sniper.

Hi Matt

It has been a couple of weeks now since your 2 day systema breathing weekend and the principles have remained solid and constant.
Since 2007 I have been having intermittent flash backs to Afghanistan where I served as a sniper with 45 Commando. The memories would be triggered by a certain smell or landscape. My imagination would wander and feelings and strong emotions would get stirred up. Before I knew it 20 minutes would elapse in complete unawareness of the present moment and my surroundings. This is not ideal at 03:00 when you are flying down the M5 at 80mph thinking the rear car lights are RPG’s) these uncontrolled thoughts and vivid memories had the tendency to ruin the rest of my day and leave me with an underlying bubbling anger.
During the outdoor exercise that you did whilst walking across the field I had a mini flashback to a raid I was involved in. However the difference this time was that instead of getting carried away I remained anchored in my breath which prevented any emotional attachment. It seemed to establish a present awareness that caught the thought before it took hold. Although the memory was still there it seemed more like a dream that faded the more I concentrated on the breath.
I have continued to apply the whole body breathing exercises during the waking day and it is becoming almost automatic. I have realised that for me this is not a one off thing to be done a couple of hours a week but a way of life where I remain ‘on watch’ over myself. Instead of scanning my surroundings for threats, I now scan my mind and body for tension.
An unexpected bonus of this is that the chronic aches and pains I have are also starting to subside and life is becoming brighter. Thank God.
Best regards,

It is not just our Military that suffer from and live with these episodes. They are on a spectrum that we can all suffer from at some point in our lives.

Systema’s approach may work with everyone, but we all have more power to heal and clean ourselves out than we believe.

What Billy was referring to are not just breathing techniques. They are a deep understanding of how your breathing is linked to and affected by emotions, thoughts, movement, strain, tension and posture. There are tools to learn how to be sensitive to this and then how to manage it. Once we have the tools, they are then ours.

My sincere thanks to Billy for sharing such a powerful experience.

I have listed a couple of upcoming opportunities to explore this deeper. One on-line and one at an upcoming 5-day camp exploring the fundamentals of Systema’s approach.

Matt Hill

The 28 Day Challenge below gives you a day by day guide to Systema’s approach and is great for exploring breathing and movement for performance and healing.

The booking is also open for this years UK Camp on 04-08 July – the camp is now half full.

Click the links below for Matt’s Systema:

Breathing Masterclass, Melksham 21-22 Jan. Matt Hill.


Date: 21-22 Jan
Time 11.00-16.00 Sat 10.00-15.00 Sun
Location: Unit S3, Avonside Enterprise Park, New Broughton Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 8BT.
Cost: £100 advance payment. £120 on the day.
Click here to pay via Paypal

This is a 2 day seminar that will give you the breathing tools to improve many areas of your life. It will give you a no-nonsense functional understanding of breathing applicable for use in everyday life situations. For yoga, mindfulness and meditation practitioners is will give innovative practical exercises to challenge and apply to everyday life activities.

The World Health Authority (WHO) states that by 2020 states that depression and anxiety will be the worlds number 1 disability. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) already puts sleep deprivation at an epidemic level. Six out of every 10 women are on medication for mental illness, men are not far behind. Why is this relevant as an introduction to a breathing masterclass? Because poor breathing is the cause and improved breathing is the cure.

In the US the Dept of Defence now teach breathing to PTSD sufferers because after studies with counselling, medication, and numerous other activities is the the thing that has had the biggest and longest lasting effect.

Yes you can use drugs, but who wants the side effects? Nosebleeds, impotence, reliance.

The seminar will help you if you struggle with or want to improve in any of these areas:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Performance anxiety
  • Athletic performance
  • Stiffness and immobility
  • Phobias
  • Inability to relax and switch off
  • Struggling to sleep at night
  • Chronic pain or fatigue
  • Struggling with endurance or fitness

Breath is the link that connects your mind, body and emotions.

Improved breathing can help you focus yourself on the situation at hand, calm your mind and clear it of noise and fear, your body of pain and tension and your emotions of anxiety and stress, leaving you free to thrive in daily life.

The 2 day session will cover the following aspects:

  • Confirmation of static breathing techniques to:
    • calm and focus the mind
    • connect the mind and body
    • clear out your emotions
    • manage pain, fear and anxiety
    • achieve deep levels of relaxation in the body
    • open up and release tight, stiff muscles
    • develop a stronger connection with your environment

Taking it out of a training environment.
It is important that you have confident that the techniques you learn will work in real life situations. For that we have to test them to give you confidence. You will go onto learn:

  • Dynamic Functional breathing techniques to:
    • make it applicable to everyday situations and life
    • Improve fullness and speed of recovery from physical and emotional stress
    • Manage pain
    • Manage fear
    • Manage stiffness and tension
    • Manage anxiety and imagined fears
    • Innovative exercises to get more out of walking and exercise
    • Improve running technique

When I teach breathing I don’t have to wait for results. I have found that I don’t have to say do this and you will feel better in a few weeks or months. I can say do this and you will feel better in a few minutes. So few people do even the simplest breathing well. We breathe well enough to survive moment to moment. But it can be so much more than that.

Mikhail Ryabko, the founder of Systema sums it up best:

‘Breathing is the essence of life. The greater the appreciation and the more control you have of it, the better and longer will be the life you have no matter what situation you encounter.’

The seminar is inclusive and well paced. There will be active participation, but it is at your own pace. You can of course chose to watch activities if you wish.

Places will be limited.
Click here to pay via Paypal or email me at for bank details.

If you have any questions you are of course free to contact me at or directly on 07584025206.

My very best wishes for a great 2017.






Systema 4 Day Intensive – Wiltshire 16-19 Nov

Nov Intensive 2017The 4 day Intensive is running on the 16-19 Nov in Melksham.
The aim is to cover the range of systema work, including some outdoor and environmental training (weather dependant).
We will also cover elements from the Systema Twins recent Sweden Immersion Camp and Vladimir Vasiliev’s upcoming UK Camp.
Systema Progression:
The course will progress over the four days covering, ground, standing, stick, knife, multiple attacker, environmental, and testing phases leading to an optional video recording of the final testing phase for you to keep and if desired send to Vladimir Vasiliev for feedback and instructor validation/renewal.
Health and Conditioning:
We will also cover the Systema approach to mobility, stretching, massage, deep and functional relaxation and conditioning work.
It will be intense but a lot of fun, with time for relaxation and use of the studio for your own free training. There is already a lot of interest and limited spaces.
Please let me know by return ASAP as to your interest.
The cost is £199.

It will be a small group with lots of opportunity for questions, discussion and peer learning. The aim is to make big leaps in your understanding, teaching and execution of Systema.

To pay by paypal click here: (Cost is £207 to account for paypal fee)
To pay by BACS please email me for details.


Best wishes for your training and health,


P.S To help keep costs down there is also the opportunity to sleep on the mat at my gym for a nominal nightly fee. First come first served.

Systema books available on Amazon:
Systema Health

Click on the image above to order your copy of Systema Health from Amazon

Systema CombatClick on the image above to order your copy of Systema Combat from Amazon