A Soldier’s Story – Systema 4 Day Intensive in review

Clark had never done Systema before enrolling on the 4 Day Intensive, and he won’t mind me saying that he nearly walked out after the first morning of breathing and ground exercises. But all credit to him he stayed and this story is the result:


Dear Matt,

I waited until this morning before writing because I wanted some time to digest all that had taken place over the weekend.

I went to the gym this morning and, as I came out of the shower, one of the guys said “what the (insert expletive) happened to your back?”. To be honest I’d forgotten all about it but I just laughed and said “you really don’t want to know”. That’s what sort of a weekend it was – every bruise is attached to a memory that brings a smile straight to my face.

I don’t know if they were still running, ‘Exercise Snow Queen’ when you served, but if they did you will probably know what I mean when I say that this weekend reminded me very much of those exercises: day after day of hard work (and great fun) skiing with your mates, followed by evenings sitting and drinking, swapping stories and laughing with Officers, NCO’s and O/R’s alike. This weekend brought those days back to me – hard work, lots of fun and some amazing memories.

So, I’m extremely grateful to you, Matt, not just for the obvious effort you put into making these weekends possible. Not even for the memories you’ve given me, or the patience and understanding you showed when things became too much and I revealed aspects of my character that I would rather keep hidden. But for the way you’ve created an atmosphere at your school that can make such a diverse group of people work together, support each other and even trust each other like very few people in civvy street will ever come to know. Whilst working with you during the last few days, you reminded me of all the best officers I ever served with. And I thank you for that.

As I get back into the rhythm of things here at work, walking around the factory, I carry with me the knowledge that the trust and camaraderie that I thought I’d never see again is alive and kicking (literally) down in Wiltshire, and probably in all the other Systema clubs dotted around the world. I also know that my journey in Systema is only just beginning.

I’m sure we will be seeing much more of each other over the coming years. Thanks again Matt,


November 17.

P.S. Living Systema my latest book, has gone to print, it will out before Christmas. More information to follow soon!