Would I Survive?

I received this testimonial from Susan, an attendee at last years Systema Camp in Wiltshire. It is a good indication of the benefits at any age and level of fitness or experience.


I have written this to to demonstrate how systema is becoming part of my daily life. It is getting me through times that would have challenged and stressed me before.

I had the honour to meet up with some systema practitioners last summer at the Systema Fundamentals camp in Wiltshire under your guidance Matt. I had no idea what to expect and was nervous as to what would face me. Would I survive?!

I loved the experience.

It was probably the first time that my mind and body was able to look past the daily worries and challenges of work and aging parents.

It was also the first time in a long time that I was pushed out of my comfort zone over my 56 years.

Since then I have enjoyed (and struggled with) your 28 day challenge and the online breathing video course.

Unexpectly I have found the new approach to movements, breathing and even something as simple as standing a huge benefit to my overall health.

I have been amazed at how elements of the camp your programmes have naturally become part of my daily routine. This has meant that even during the most demanding times, I am able to find calm, focus on my immediate surroundings and relax the mind.

You mentioned recently in an email Vladimir’s quote “stop feeling sorry for yourself” while performing strenuous exercise.

I realised that this ethos can be applied when I feel life in general is getting too demanding. Just that viewpoint grounds me. Without realising it I had adopted this quote.

I look forward with respect and anxiousness to returning to the camp this year!

Thank you for introducing me to a way of living that I am beginning to include in my daily life.


This years camp runs from 3-7 July 2019. The theme is Living Systema.

Among many other things we will be covering how to translate the exercises and drills into a way of living your life with more ease, calm and relaxation. We will then bring this state of body, mind and spirit to the application of Systema in self-defence.

It is a deep 5 day immersion into all aspects of Systema and ultimately a better understanding of yourself and how to live, move, breathe and respond in better ways.

The price goes up in less than two weeks. Here is the link to the page with more information.

If you enjoyed this blog there are more in my weekly newsletters here.

My best wishes for your training and health,


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

New Systema Health and Systema Combat Books Available through Amazon

A5 LeafletThe new Systema Health and Combat books are now available for purchase through Amazon in Paperback and ebook. They offer 25 health practices and 25 combat drills to enhance your health and combative skill respectively. These books were written to support beginners just stepping out on their Systema journey, and for beginners like myself, who have been studying much longer. For teachers they offer 50 easy to follow practices and drills leading to unlimited variations that can be used in classes or your own home.

Thank you and my very best wishes for your training and health.

Click here to see the books on Amazon

The Daily Constitutional

It’s about so much more than A-B or even calorie burn

Family Walking at Sunset
When I first talk about relearning your walk at systema classes I can see people looking at me dubiously. After all, they have been walking ok for thier whole lives. The difference is that I want them to walk in a way that promotes health, not just in terms of calorie burn, but in terms of resetting the system and removing stress.

Walking is the defining movement of a human being and the great thing about walking is that you can’t be sitting at the same time.

Few people in the western world walk enough these days and the benefits are well documented:

  • Calorie burn
  • Endorphin release (mood enhancers)
  • Tones the muscles
  • Strengthens the heart
  • Reduces risk of diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

However, you can get more.

Walking is our natural reset button. We know this intuitively. When someone is stressed or angry we say to them, “come on lets go for a walk.”

Adding just a few elements to improve your walking can enhance the effects stated above. Daily life puts stress in our bodies. Physical stress from sitting too much, bad posture, high stress lifestyles etc. This is compounded by emotional stress which starts as a thought or worry and quickly becomes physical tension in the body.

Walking is our natural antidote to this. When walking correctly you literally breathe and walk the stress out of your body.

Here are a few steps to help this.

  1. Focus on your breathing. Try to link it to your steps. Breathe in through your nose for say 4 steps and then out through your mouth for 4 steps. As you relax and improve you can stretch this to 6, 8, 10 or more. You then also get all the benefits of nasal breathing that I have outlined before.
  2. Relax on the exhale. As you exhale, try to relax your muscles from the head down to the feet. Your body should feel light, In fact, your body should ‘disappear’. If you are relaxed and in good posture you should not feel your body. All you should feel is the contact of your feet on the floor.
  3. Walk from the knees. This will relax your leg muscles, make you more energy efficient, lighten your step reducing impact and make you more balanced over uneven terrain. To do this, begin the step by relaxing and moving the knee forwards.
  4. Maintain a good posture. Chin should be in and pulled back, chest should be out and not sunken, arms loose and relaxed at your sides. Key is not to pull your shoulders back, but to lift your chest gently out in a way that does not add tension to your muscles. This will ensure that you are not building tension and pain through bad posture.

It obviously helps to walk outside in fresh air, preferably in proximity to trees. When you walk with these four points in mind you will amplify the benefit of getting outside and dosing up on vitamin D.

Just like a computer that has to process too much and needs to be reset. Our natural reset is walking. In a very short space of time we can switch off and then on again using walking and keeping these points in mind.

Best wishes,


The 10 Natural Sitting Positions Challenge

How many can you still do?

10 Nat sit positions

Here’s a great challenge for you that you can do almost anywhere, anytime.

The following 10 positions were our way of sitting or resting before the advent of chairs. Many of you know my thoughts and those of many others on the damage that prolonged chair sitting does to our health and mobility. With the average worker spending 8-12 hours a day sat on their backside, here is one way to reverse it and keep youthful movement in your body.

The attached clip shows the 10 natural positions that are our birthright. Doing these regularly will help to reverse the degenerative process in your body.

In all probability the last time that you will have attempted some of these positions was when you were a child. They are a great way to check:

  • Leg, hip and lower back strength.
  • Suppleness.
  • Stability.
  • Balance.
  • Longevity.

The Challenge:

  1. Try each of the 10 positions.
  2. Where appropriate try them on your left side and right side.
  3. Check how comfortable they are. You should be able to sit for at least 10 mins in each of them.
  4. Make getting down and back up smoothly and effortlessly a requirement. Try not to use your hands or elbows to assist. For bonus points, try not to use your knees either. This is deceptively tricky.

The video at the end will show all 10 positions. Barring injury they should be attainable for us all.
There will come a time when, if we are not doing this regularly, you will not be able to get to the floor and back up. We all want this ability in our bodies right to the end.

So to keep youthful movement in your body, try to start spending more time sat on the floor, playing with children, with pets, watching TV whatever. Then when you stand, move smoothly, exhale as you move, and try not to use your hands.

You will reap the rewards of this very quickly.

Good luck and let me know how you do!

Click here for the video challenge!

Best wishes,


Are human beings compatible with 21st century living?

Climb and Play

In short, no. From a physical standpoint and to thrive as human beings, we are designed to move much, much more. In our current lifestyle we spend most of our waking hours sitting. Think breakfast, then commutes, then office work, then commuting back, then dinner, then TV, then bed. nearly all of that is done in a seat.

We are not designed to sit that long, and when we do, we get problems. We seize up, physically and psychologically (stress).

Rewind back to tribal living, where most of our time as human beings has been spent, and none of that would have been done in a seat.

We are designed for a day filled with walking, running, jumping, swimming, diving, hanging, swinging, rolling, squatting, twisting, pushing, pulling, lifting, throwing, getting down and up from the floor.

Playing in the woods or even a children’s play area will have all or most of this. When was the last time you climbed a tree? Could you still do it? Here’s a question: did most people stop doing these things because they couldn’t do them anymore, or can they not do these things anymore because they stopped doing them?  Getting older comes to us all, but in many ways getting older in terms of our ability to move well is a choice.

Some of the best fun my three children had over Christmas was challenges I set them on dog walks for tree climbing.

Don’t mistake this for high intensity exercise at the gym though. All this was done countless times during the day in the course of everyday life. An attitude of play and fun in daily movement is vastly underrated. ‘Exercise’ is just a modern phenomena of the past 40 years or so.

In order to thrive as healthy normal human beings we need to be moving our body through as big a range of movement as possible, every day. We should be able to do the four pillars through the full range of motion as a minimum. I would also add a fifth pillar, a pull up but brachial i.e. overarm not underarm chin up. The vertical hang is also fantastic for fixing shoulder problems (see Shoulder pain, the solution and prevention by Professor John Kirsch MD.)

When we can move well we are and able to enjoy life much more fully. It also cleans us out psychologically. We literally, move and breathe stress and anxiety out of our bodies. It gets locked and hidden in our bodies when we spend too much time thinking and worrying while sitting still, in stasis, and we need to move through our whole body to find stiffness, tension (stress) and ease it out.

For the best results try not to limit yourself to just one type of activity such as running, cycling or swimming. Humans are all rounders. There are better runners, jumpers, climbers, swimmers etc in the animal kingdom, but we are the best all rounders. So try to find something with lots of varied movement. If your are too specific in your type of movement, you will pay a price (balance in your body, injury and boredom).

Its quite easy to incorporate these movements into everyday life and feel the benefits very quickly. Pop along  to a local Systema class where you will find out more.

A great opportunity to understand more about this topic is coming up on the 4 Day Systema Intensive Camp in June/July this year.

To continued success in your training.


Stress, Leadership & Management Course

Debbie Pepler and Matt Hill collaborate to deliver a Leadership and Management course – Wednesday 15th July 2015
I am excited to be collaborating with Debbie Pepler from Peptalk to provide a seminar for business owners and managers giving practical ideas and skills to ease some of the challenges of being a business owner or a manager in this fast moving world.
We will address managing stress and its effect on you and your business and management and leadership skills. Topics to be covered are:
  • Recognising stress and understanding how stress effects our performance and health;
  • Internal skills to learn how to minimise stress;
  • Simple tools that can be implemented straight away to optimise your health and performance under stress;
  • Exploring the essentials to being a good leader;
  • Learn to confidently manage, delegate, motivate and get the best out of your team;
  • Make better decisions and increase effectiveness and results within the business
The seminar will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday 15th July.
Location will be the Assembly Hall in Melksham.
The course will run from 13.30 to 17.30
Tickets will cost £49.00 per person.  If your business is interested in attending this course, then please click here.  Places will be limited so that attendees can get the most from this opportunity.
Debbie is a friend and local business coach and consultant who delivers great results. For more information about Debbie, take a look at her website: PepTalk

4 Day Systema Camp 29 June – 02 July 2017

Hit your reset button. This course is deeply rejuvenating, a 4 day Systema immersion for the mind, body and spirit.

Campfire cooking, training by day and night in field, forest and water, self reliance and outdoor skills.

Set in a stunning area of natural woodland this course is much more than just a Systema course or camp experience.  The course is deeply relaxing, invigorating, rejuvenating and wholesome for the mind, body and spirit.  For four days you will live a very simple existence.  Training, eating, sleeping, relaxing and learning all in the company of like minded people.

INSTRUCTOR: Matt Hill – Systema HQ Certified Instructor, 5th Dan Aikido, Ex-Parachute Regiment Captain.

Devon B&W

A bit about the course:


Each day begins with 1 hour of breathing, stretching and mobility training to prepare you for the day.

A campfire breakfast is then followed by morning training, lunch and then afternoon training. A communal campfire dinner follows. For some this is the best time of the day. To just sit under the stars in the open is primal. It is a powerful time to discuss the day or just relax and watch the flames, embers and stars.

This is then followed by a night training session to improve your awareness and senses.

You will immerse yourself in training for 7 hours per day.  However, you will be surprised to find that rather than wearing you out this will restore you to an even greater level of physical and mental health and well-being.

You will be studying the unique combat and health methodologies of Systema with its ancient practices of physical and mental training and wellbeing.


I will also cover vital bushcraft skills including:

  • Priorities of survival: What would you need to do first? Having a systematic approach keeps the panic at bay. Take a deep breath and lets begin….
  • Shelter building: you will be shown how to set up a tarp (basha) and sleeping system and also how to make a shelter out of woodland material that will keep you dry and warm down to at least -10.
  • Fire lighting: without matches using only a flint and steel.
  • Navigation: you will do some basic navigation training including orientation and use of a compass and pacing.
  • Knife work: – simple skills to make useful items for traps, shelters and importantly to ensure that you stay safe while doing so.
  • Snare trap setting: you won’t have to catch your own food, but I will show you some basic snare traps.
  • Camp Cooking: you will have a go at preparing and cooking meals over a campfire.
  • Simple knots: you will learn a small number of useful knots and put them to use.

The course is:

  • ALL INCLUSIVE food and all essential equipment is supplied. You can bring your own if desired.  *there is limited indoor accommodation for those who require/desire it.
  • COMPLETE RANGE of training including weapons, empty handed, multiple attack, awareness, striking, stretching, meditation and health promotion
  • ALL TERRAIN training in the forest, fields and water and practice by day and night,
  • SUITABLE FOR ALL LEVELS Ideal for beginners and advanced students due to the progressive nature of the training course building from basic concepts to advanced levels.  *It is also suitable for all fitness levels as there is transportation to the campsite and all training areas are a short walk from the main camp. 

Here is a video clip of highlights from last years course:

Comments from previous courses:

“An immensely enjoyable experience, that will not only put you back into the heart of nature but may also help to put you back in touch with who you really are”
– Danny Hamilton Mills

“Thank you Matt for a very enjoyable weekend and a life changing experience”
– Gergana Milkhanova

“The woodlands course gives those that wish to see a glimpse into what is important”
–  Mark Wood.

‘This is my first seminar with Matt Hill.  I have learn’t so much that I will keep with me.’
– Dave Hartley

Read more testimonials here: http://www.matthill.co.uk/testimonials/

There are only 40 spaces on the course. Book now below to secure your place.

Cost is just £199 inclusive of food and accommodation for the 4 day course.
Price rises to £225 in June.

Devon Guarantee

Payment options available:Go Cardless: £225

Monthly payment plan option available (£29 per month) please email for details: matt@matthill.co.uk only available in Feb.

Pay via Paypal £234 click here (to cover the Paypal fee)

Or via bank (Email me for details)

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” –    Henry David Thoreau


I sincerely look forward to welcoming you to the course.

Matt Signature

Matt Hill.