Systema Breath Work Course now available!

Recently I told you about a new online video course that I have put together with an attached a clip.

I am very happy to now make the whole course available.

You can read more about it here.

Or go straight ahead and purchase it here for £9.99.

As a reminder:

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.

I hope that you enjoy it.

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

Matt.

Vladimir Vasiliev UK Seminar: How to get the best out of it – a key question answered.

Will the seminar be of value to you?

I have had several people email me to ask whether they will still get value out of the course if they come but can’t partake in all of the Vladimir Vasiliev seminar.

For some this has been because they are injured, for others it is because they are new and wonder if it will be too intense and for others it is because they are more interested in the health and wellbeing aspects of Systema.

I have thought carefully about my answer to each of them, because I don’t want them to come and then be disappointed. However, in each case my answer has been, ‘Yes, you should definitely come.’

There will be much of the seminar that almost anyone can do, regardless of confidence, skill or physical fitness level.

Additionally there is no problem at ANY time to stand aside and watch some or more of the drills.

IN FACT stepping out and watching from time to time can be seen as advisory.

This has been the thing that occurred to me as I thought about the answers. It is the key reason that I have advised all of the people who asked to come along.

When you watch the teacher (Vladimir) demonstrate and explain a skill, most people will then go and practice their own take on it. Some people will just go off and do something COMPLETELY different to what he has demonstrated. Anyone who has taught a group will have had the experience of witnessing this phenomena.

This is not always deliberate. We all have ‘built in’ filters and approximators that ‘delete’ and ‘distort’ much of the information that we are presented with to enable us to process it.

We then all jump straight in and start practicing, and often can’t see objectively whether or not we are really practicing what has been shown.

This is especially true during a long tiring day of practicing new skills and processing new or unfamiliar information.

With a small group, it is not so much of a problem, as the teacher can usually get around everyone during each drill and correct them. However, even this is not foolproof.

When you have a large seminar with a popular teacher, it is impossible for the teacher to see you during every drill.

Stepping out of the practice and watching from time to time allows you to have this objective viewpoint and calibrate yourself.

If anyone has any doubts as to whether they should do the seminar, for any of these reasons, please don’t hesitate to reply to this email and I will be happy to chat with you.

Bookings are now coming in so to make sure that you don’t miss out, you can book below.

Vladimir Vasiliev UK Seminar

I would love to welcome you to the seminar.

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

Matt.

The (not so) surprising impact of fixing the things that you do everyday.

I received this email from a friend that I have known for a long time. He emails from time to time about the emails that I put out, and although he has never done Systema, he has done the 28 Day Challenge. Below he writes about the two key things that have stuck with him. They are not big things, but they are the things that you do everyday, and the things that you do most regularly are the things that define you, your health and your skills.

Matt,

I wanted to write to let you know how I have benefited from the Systema way of life.
The two key methods are walking and breathing.
Walking: I began to use the suggested method, of being straight and keeping good posture. Whilst initially, it seems unnatural, the benefits are really quite outstanding. No more the curved shoulders and slouch forward, but rather the straight spine, which has helped my lower back, a problem has been with me since I was 14 and cycling. The pain was nothing too great, but would be there if I walked like a ‘bag of potatoes’.
Secondly the Breathing method: I have found it excellent in high adrenaline rushes, a good example would be a near hit whilst driving. Following the correct breathing method brings you quickly back to a relaxed state. It also aids in physical exercise (don’t really need to tell you that), but, again, it is truly amazing the way in which you can return to a ‘normal’ level.
I don’t suffer from the health problems that many of your correspondents have had, but it just goes to show how effective the practices are even in small adjustments.
Regards,
John.

These things may seem trivial, mundane, but they aren’t. Just add up the amount of time that you spend on them. These things that you are doing all day every day. I would say these are the important things. Small adjustments here can have a huge magnification in your life, health and skills.

My book, ‘Living Systema‘ helps you to work on this element of your skill set.

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

Matt.

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,

Matt.

Systema Academy 5-Day Intensive: 21-25 Nov – Melksham.


The 5 day Intensive is running on the 21-25 Nov at the Systema Academy in Melksham.

The theme of this years intensive is: The Feeling of Systema.

For me, Systema is a feeling. I am either in a feeling of Systema, or I am not. This feeling is relaxed, balanced, smooth, calm. Wherever I am or whatever I am doing. As soon as I notice something pulling me out of that feeling into tension, I check whether it is appropriate or not, and if not, I release it and drop back into the feeling of Systema.

My aim on this intensive is to get you searching for that feeling. To know:

  • What to look for.
  • Where to look for it.
  • How to notice it.
  • How to practice it on and off the mat.
  • How to cultivate and maintain it.

The aim is find this feeling and maintain it through out the range of systema work, including some outdoor and environmental training (weather dependant).

Progression:
The course will progress over the five 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 Academy for your own free training.

There is already a lot of interest and limited spaces.

The cost is £299.

It will be a small group with lots of opportunity for questions, discussion and peer learning. The aim is find and maintain The Feeling of Systema.

To pay by paypal click here. (Cost is £310 to account for paypal fee)

To pay by GoCardless click here. (£299)

To pay by BACS please email me for details.

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


Matt.

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

Recommended reading for the course:

Systema Health

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Systema Combat
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Systema Strikes and Massage Seminar – 22-23 Sept

 

A 2 Day In-Depth Look at Systema Strikes and Massage – 2 sides of the same coin.

Systema strikes are characterised by their depth, power, effortlessness, unpredictability and healing power. Yes you heard that right.

This seminar will look at all aspects of Systema strikes:

  • Preparation. How to prepare yours and your partners body and psyche for strike work.
  • Structure. How to deliver the strike with minimal loss of power.
  • Short work. How to hit from close range for infighting and unpredictability.
  • Multiple strikes. How to hit multiple times in one strike and against multiple opponents.
  • Control. Learn how to control your depth in order to allow you to work without protective gear with all skill and age levels.
  • Feeling. Correct striking is a feeling. Learn when a strike feels correct in order to replicate it at will.
  • Strikes to heal and relax. How to heal and relax people with strikes. ‘What is in your heart comes out through your fist’

We will also end each day with massage. It is important to understand how to restore an recover from strike work. 1/3 of each day will involve deep recovery and restoration from the work. We will focus on how to take the same skills of releasing power and energy into strikes into releasing healing energy into massage. The focus on both is relaxation.

Over 2 days on Sept 22nd and 23rd I will lead you through training to understand:

  • Healing hands.
  • Percussive massage.
  • Bodyweight Massage.
  • Optional use of massage tools such as sticks and cossack whips.

Details:

Date: 22-23 Sept.
Timings: Sat: 11am Finish 5pm | Sun: 10am Start Finish 4pm.
Venue: Systema Academy, Avonside Enterprise Park, New Broughton Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 8BT.

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.

Payment Options:

Paypal: £124

GoCardless £120

 

 

or email me for BACS details.

My very best wishes for your training and good health,

Matt.

Reflections on the annual Systema Camp 2018

We have just finished the Annual Systema Fundamentals Camp. Five days living in the woods, sleeping under the stars, training as a group.

There were nearly 50 of us this time. A big group, lots of scope for things to go wrong.

For 5 days people didn’t go into a building, drive a car, sit on a chair, look at their own reflection or turn on a light switch. Did they survive? No.

They thrived.

That is not to say that all of it was easy. In the training, in mixing with others, and in adapting to the loss of routine and creature comforts people struggled. Demons came up and some internal battles were fought.

I remember being told when I was small that if you want to get to know someone, go camping with them for a couple of nights. Then you will see the real them.

I would take this further, if you want to know yourself, go sleep in the woods for a couple of days. It strips away the veneer.

One of the great things about the camp is that it puts Martial Arts in their proper place. Nothing special, no more important than cooking, eating and communing. Equally it is not something to be hidden or shied away from either. Wholesome physical contact and a playful approach, without ego, is so important for a healthy person.

People are coming for these skills of course, and a lot of time is spent on them. But they see them as part of a whole lifestyle approach, and this is a healthy perspective.

At the end of the camp we sit and just reflect on the experience. There were some emotions, it can’t help but touch you deeply. Everyone felt more relaxed and at ease.

In this way I asked the participants to try to use the camp as a touchstone. They have a new benchmark for the feeling of being relaxed and at ease. The challenge now is to notice when they are pulled out of this feeling and then try to inhale, exhale and drop back into it.

It was hard at times, but though that shared adversity they have a new treasure in your their box of contingencies.
An old Sgt Major of mine at Sandhurst, used to ask us if we knew why training is so hard. He said that it is so that when we come up against hard times in the future, we can look inside to our box of contingencies and know that we have been through tougher stuff, and take confidence from that, from our ability to dig deep.

How do you think that you would do? I always say that everyone should spend at least one night alone in a wood once in thier life. To be alone as a wood gets dark. Everyone is a little afraid of this. Then get a fire going. As the flames grow your fears recede. You will only know then, what comfort a camp fire can give you. What fire really means to a human being.

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

Matt.

The Systema Matrix

At the end of each Systema class we sit in a circle and each person takes a turn in reflecting briefly on the session. They can outline thier key difficulties, learnings, questions or insights.

It is powerful. Because when one shares, the group learns. Like the Matrix.

After my first military operation, my then OC, (Officer Commanding) said to us all, “there is no point in doing something, either training or operations, if we don’t take the time to learn from it. What went well, what went badly, what you would do differently next time.”

The Army is very good at this. In many ways the Army is a training organisation. That’s what it spends most of its time doing. That stuck with me.

When I encountered this in a Systema class, I immediately felt at home, even though I had never encountered it before in a traditional martial arts class. It just made sense. Everyone has equal chance for input, from a first night beginner to the instructor. No-one is elevated above anyone else. Think of any high performance team. They will do the same thing. They will do a review of the match, race, performance etc. and learn from it as a team.

Even long before any formal military was around, Scouts would have done the same thing when they did a sortie, recce, ambush or whatever.

It is not done to embarrass or glorify any particular person.

It is designed to make everyone better.

I know it is tough for some though. In the beginning they feel slightly self conscious. This is normal as nearly everyone is fearful of speaking to a group. However, people soon get used to it and benefit from it.

At home we do it as a family too. Not in a structured way of course, but after sports matches, tests or other events, questions can be casually asked to encourage a little critical thinking: So how did it go… what do you think you did well? What didn’t go so well this time? What would you do differently next time?

Three simple questions, that if they become a habit, have real power for improvement.

 

These after action reviews form a key element of the Systema Fundamentals Camp. I have a deep commitment to people leaving with real improvements in their understanding and application of Systema for their skills, health and wellbeing.

My very best wishes for your training and health.

Matt.

P.S. there are still a few spaces left on the Systema Fundamentals Camp click the link to find out more.

Click the links below for Matt’s Systema: