Systema Breathing & Health Testimonial – John Hawley


Systema Health and Breathing Testimonial – John Hawley

I remember looking at him and thinking he must be mad – but again I did it and that was a turning point in my life…

After an introduction by a friend I met Matt in early May ’17 at a point when my physical health and confidence was at an all-time low.
In June ’16, well into my 60s, I unexpectedly had to have urgent major surgery resulting in the removal of my left lung followed by over three months of intensive chemo and radio therapy – and for months after that wrestling with cumulative and debilitating side effects.

Medical advice in early ’17 was that it would take at least two years to recover. There was no other support available so I was told enjoy day time TV! I was angry and frustrated, something that I was not prepared to accept.

When I met Matt in Melksham, as I watched him walk up the second flight of stairs my immediate thought was I couldn’t possibly get to the top (I struggled at home to get up our stairs) but I did it. His positivity, calm confidence, and the overwhelming sense of genuine care was immediately evident.

We discussed what I would like to achieve over the next three to six months, goals which I thought then were impossible. At best I felt a shuffling wreck. But Matt said we could achieve them and more, and then had me walking around the dojo, motivating, encouraging and prompting me with an almost spiritual understanding. He then asked me to do a press up, sit up, leg raise and a squat – I remember looking at him and thinking he must be mad – but again I did it and that was a turning point in my life.

Over the following months he has patiently taught me how to walk and breathe again. Week one I could barely walk back to the car, or a hundred meters from the house without collapsing and wondering how I would get home.  I am now daily doing a series of exercises and walking a mile and a half with an achievable goal of four miles in sight. Matt’s confidence, motivation, commitment and patience is extraordinary.

Each week he has added a stretch factor, another challenge, another bench mark; improving significantly my breathing capability, getting me to jog around the room, walk the plank backwards, hanging on the bar by the door downstairs for ten seconds and lifting my feet off the ground (exceeding Matt’s expectations) were memorable moments, seeing Matt genuinely delighted with my success and achievements. I feel a real and holistic re engagement with my body and soul.

After training sessions I have wonderful aches and pains in parts of my body I thought had long ago given up.

I run the risk of a tsunami of adjectives, Matt has hugely and positively changed my life, giving me new hope, new aspirations, an incentive to look for new challenges, helping me rebuild my confidence and self-esteem. Summer camp ‘18 now seems an achievable target.  Matt’s ability to enthuse and motivate personal self-achievement, and his passion for people is a very rare and inspirational quality.

For people who have had similar experiences to mine or worse, I feel like shouting from the roof there is a better way forward, you can get your life back. Talk to Matt.

John Hawley
July 27th 2017

John is a rare man. He wasn’t prepared to accept the debilitating condition that his life saving surgery left him with. He has worked incredibly hard in the sessions, but that isn’t enough. Systema isn’t magic, you have to put in the work. John has put in the work. He has persevered through the daily breathing and movement exercises that we agreed on and the results have spoken for themselves. He has holistically and gradually built himself from the inside out. Systema is a complete system of internal and external work. John has left no stone unturned. It has been an inspiration and a pleasure working with him over the past 3 months. 

Matt Hill.

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