How to amplify your health and skills

There is a surefire way to amplify your health and your skills.

Go outside.

Whether you are a runner, martial artist (maybe not a sports competitor) yoga practitioner or whatever, your training will be amplified outdoors.

For a start fresh air and sunlight give you an instant hit.

All of your senses will be much more engaged making the whole experience a more holistic and embodied approach than the cleansed, de-risked environment or a studio, dojo or gym.

In most cases it takes more effort to get outside and therefore more willpower. You strengthen this a little each time you use it. Rather like a taking a cold shower.

Your awareness will be heightened.

Your movement has to be more mindful because of natural obstacles. You also begin to see more opportunities in the environment for use as defence, weapons, obstacles, challenges and tools. You become more adaptable to a random number of variables in weather, terrain, surface etc.

A natural environment will make you move more naturally.

Traversing rocks, logs, trees etc. sitting on the floor or on a log makes you step properly, sit properly and move properly. Nature is the perfect teacher for heathy, organic movement: soft, steady, balanced, smooth and powerful.

The detox from the cyber hive of screens resets your eyes and posture.

Going to sleep with firelight and waking with the sun resets your body clock and will give you an immeasurably good nights sleep. Being able to look at the stars in the heavens can reconnect you with the bigger picture. Who we are, where we come from, where we are going. Perspective.

The outdoors for me is the best place to hone your skills and your health.

The more urbanised we become, the more wild we need.

Try to get in touch with your wild side more often. Get outside to a natural area and train, walk, move.

Study after study has shown that just a few hours in nature, even once a month, is enough to lower key biological markers:

  • 12.4% decrease in the stress hormone cortisol,
  • 7% decrease in sympathetic nerve activity,
  • 1.4% decrease in blood pressure and a
  • 5.8% decrease in heart rate.
  • On subjective tests, study participants also report better moods and lower anxiety.

Th upcoming Living Systema Camp in Wiltshire will really hone in on the benefits outlined above and the price goes up in a few weeks time so lock in the early bird price now.

I will also be covering how to get the most out of outdoor training this weekend in Lancashire and in the Highlands of Scotland in June:

  • 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. Price goes up in a few weeks time!

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

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

Matt.

Jungle training makes you a better soldier in any environment.

I wrote this piece for the team coming with me to Borneo for the Systema Jungle Trip. However, I am sending it out as a general email because there are thoughts in it applicable to all forest environments. Not as intense maybe, but present none the less.

Jungle training takes you back to basics. Your core skills have to be at the top of your game. Especially but not limited to:

  • Personal administration of yourself and your equipment.
  • fitness,
  • strength of character,
  • map reading,
  • command and communication,
  • team spirit,
  • observation and awareness,
  • obstacle crossing drills and
  • movement.

The emphasis that the Jungle environment puts on these skills makes you a better soldier in any environment.

I remember hearing and experiencing this during my Jungle Training. I read it again recently as I was prepping for the Systema Trip to Borneo.

Here is how I think that it will apply to Systema and our Jungle trip:

  • Breathing. With 95% humidity, the weight of a pack and very steep hills, there will be ample time to practice breath work. The moment to moment awareness of breath and requisite adjustments will be invaluable:
    • Recovery breath.
    • Endurance breath.
    • Light breathing for soft, smooth movement.
    • Nasal breathing to improve hydration retention.
    • Focusing on your breath to maintain calm during tougher moments.
  • Soft movement. You can’t fight your way through the Jungle. You have to move with it. Softly. Sensitively. If you try to tug, rip and hack your way through the Jungle will claim its first victim within hours.
  • Awareness. There is so much to see and hear. Sights that you wont see anywhere else. Key to this will be the ability to relax your eyes, open up your senses and appreciate everything that the jungle has to offer.
  • Managing fear. Everyone will be a little scared at some point. Whether during a river crossing, when seeing some jungle wildlife, When feeling the oppressive nature of the trees, or the pitch black and unbelievable noise of the nights. A refocus on breath and or burst breathing will bring you through these moments.
  • Selflessness and humility: It will be vital to work as a team. Sometimes you will feel great, other times not. People will wax and wane at different times. The key will be supporting and working for each other.
  • Sensitivity. There will be the chance to feel your way through the environment. To get in tune with nature. We will be as far from civilisation and man made things as many people will go in their lives. There will be a chance to plug in to this environment and try allow yourself become part of the forest. To spread your awareness outside the walls of your skin and see how far out into the forest you can feel.

The Systema Jungle trip will be unique but many of these skills will be apparent during the Living Systema Camp in Wiltshire and in the following upcoming courses:

  • 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.

You can sign up to get more newsletters like this here.

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

Matt.

4 Day Systema Intensive – Wiltshire – 16-19 November


The 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/or 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.

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,


Matt.

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.

Recommended reading for the course:

Systema Health

Click on the image to order

Systema Combat
Click on the image to order

River Wye Canoeing and Camping Trip – 22-23 July 2017

Symonds Yat

River Wye Canoeing and Camping Trip 22-23 July 2017

Canoe down the River Wye, one of this Islands most beautiful and spectacular river sceneries, camp overnight on Saturday (tent and roaring campfire) and then back home for lunch on Sunday.

Yat Camp Fire

This started out as a trip for the Systema Family Class but has since opened out to all. It is mainly a family trip but of course all are welcome.
Start time – 10am Saturday 23rd July in Symonds Yat.
Finish time – 10am Sunday 24th July in Symonds Yat.

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.

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Costs.

£45 per child and £55 per adult.
To pay via paypal click below (£2 added to cover paypal fee):
Please email me matt@matthill.co.uk for BACS details
Adult
Child (16 and below)
Children must be accompanied by an adult.

I look forward to welcoming you on the adventure!

Best wishes,

Matt.

 

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,


Matt.

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

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.


Matt.

SystemaTwins First UK Seminar 1-2 August 2015

SystemaTwinsUK

 

Join us for a unique event. For the first time the SystemTwins are coming to the UK to teach a weekend seminar.

Personally Trained and certified by Vladimir Vasiliev since the age of 14 Adam and Brendan are now widely regarded as two of the most exciting and skilful instructors on the Systema circuit.

Renowned for their awesome demonstrations and huge range of exciting and fun training drills the SystemaTwins seminar should not be missed.

Topic:

Managing Tension in Combat

Day 1 – Identifying and removing tension from yourself.

Day 2 – Managing tension in your opponent.

Empty handed and weapons work will be covered.

There is a capacity on the event so be sure to book to avoid disappointment.

Location: The Assembly Hall, Melksham, Wiltshire.

Saturday 11am-5pm

Sunday 10am-4pm

Payment is through GoCardless, its cheaper than Paypal which allows me to keep the prices low for you! Price on the day will be £140. If you pay before the day it is £129.

Click here to pay via GoCardless (£129)

or via Paypal (£133) below




For more information contact me at wiltshiremartialarts@gmail.com

Register here for key updates

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:

Training:

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.

NEW FOR THIS CAMP:

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.