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,


5 Day Water Fast – My Experiences…

I recently did a 5 day water fast for lent. It is the third year in a row that I have done it, and each year the results have been similar.

Firstly I should say that I did a lot of research before doing it and made sure that I was well informed. You should too. It is not for everyone. Certainly those with diabetes, low blood sugar levels, pregnant, children and the elderly. In fact if you are at all unsure you should seek the advice of a Dietician or Doctor before trying it.

That said, it is of course a very natural practice. Probably the oldest form of diet, (although that isn’t the reason for fasting) practiced across nearly every religion and culture. Regular fasts would of course have been a necessity in the days before cupboards, fridges and shops.

So my experiences:

  • Day 1 – fine.
  • Days 2 and 3 were tough. I felt sorry for myself. Continually questioned my reasons for doing it. Doubted myself and was humbled. I sent lots of little ‘arrow prayers’ and asked for strength. They worked. It came, I got through.
  • Days 4 and 5 I felt fine. In fact better than fine. I felt light, humble, clear and clean in thought and body.
  • It was one of the most creative weeks I can remember. Hugely focused. I literally cleared a, ‘to-do list’ that had been hanging around for months.
  • I continued my teaching, training and home schedule with no change. There were times when I felt tired, but not when I needed to be active. My gut feel is that the body conserves energy better when nothing is on making you want to rest, but provides energy when you demand it.
  • I didn’t feel hungry once. Not in the slightest. I thought about and desired food of course, but that is different to huger.
  • I had some headaches and heartburn. My feeling was that it was the body needing more help to flush itself out, so I drank more water than normal and they went away. the heartburn immediately and the headaches shortly after.
  • Weight loss. I didn’t do it for this reason, but I lost 14lb (6.5kg) I put a few pounds on the week after naturally.

The build up is important:

I couldn’t have done a 5 day water only fast without lots of smaller ones in the bank. I had been doing short weekly 12-36 hour fasts for a few years before.

They always made me feel light, clean and energised.

If anyone is thinking of doing a fast, gradually is the key, and as I said above I would advise doing your research and taking personal responsibility.

For me it works. Short sprints of willpower give me strength. Each successful fast lessens the power that food has over me. It strengthens the spirit and cleans the body.

Personally I find that short fasts coupled with a sensible approach to eating are much easier to manage that a lifetime of willpower requirement in sticking to any kind of fad diets.


I gently introduce fasting, along with the breathing, movement, relaxation and posture elements of Systema, as part of a holistic package, on the 28 Day Systema Challenge programme. You can read more here:

It starts gently once a week for four weeks building confidence and knowledge to a 36 hour fast at the end.

There are five key elements – the keys to healthy living:

  1. Systema breathing practices.
  2. Tips and exercises to Improve sleeping habits and practices.
  3. Information around proper hydration.
  4. Nutrition plan and the gentle intro to fasting.
  5. Daily Systema exercise video illustrating a different Systema exercise each day to improve, strength, fitness, breathing, mobility, health and skill.

The benefits are profound and go way beyond weight loss.

Give it a try. It may just be the thing that works for you in controlling appetite, weight loss and an unhealthy relationship with food.

My sincere wishes for your health and training.


***New***: 28 Day ChallengeA course designed to gently lead you through the the fundamentals principles of Systema to make you calmer, fitter, stronger, healthier and lighter.
Click the links below for Matt’s Systema:


For dramatic and lasting improvements to your physical, mental and emotional well-being

Sunday November 23rd
Cost: £40

How to turn back the clock on how your body feels, moves and looks.

A slow metabolism; out of kilter endocrine (hormonal) system that saps you of energy, brittleness in the bones and weakness in natural movement ranges all age you prematurely. They make you fat, lethargic and move like an old person. You can change this, at any age.

Switching exercise sessions for full body movement sessions is a great start. Strengthen and free up the body with much shorter (10 mins on average) sessions that can be done anywhere are always different, fun and hugely beneficial to mind and body.

Natural movement – especially cross pattern movements on the ground also work you mentally making you work the left and right sides of your brain and body and improve coordination. You are thinking and moving and this is essential to keep you sharp and alive in your movements and life.

Relaxation. Only when you are relaxed do your body’s systems work optimally. Your metabolic (fat burning), endocrine (hormonal), immune (healing) and lymphatic (cleaning) systems all fire up the more you relax. You rid your body of cortisol and adrenaline (stress hormones) and flood your body with dopamine and serotonin (happy hormones). Relaxation is a skill that must be learnt if you want to optimise your health.

Stretching AND strengthening. A good balance between stretching the muscles and connections between muscles (releasing is more apt description) and strengthening the muscles is paramount. Systema always strives to keep the body in balance. Freedom in movement and strength and movement.

Self and Partner Massage. Not commonly practiced by the general masses in the UK massage is a hugely underrated method of preventative and proactive health promotion. Systema percussive, pressure and compression massages leave you with an enormous sense of well-being and relax and restore you. Equally they strengthen the tissues, joints and even the bones not just slowing but turning back the ageing process.

Come and explore each of these areas in a comprehensive 1 day course. The day is progressive and will change the way that you operate, breathe, move and think.

It will improve your physical performance whatever your level and whatever your activity be it yoga, meditation, running, martial arts, football or anything else.

Click below to book and secure your space.Class size is limited to 30.

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