General Testimonials:

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Matt on an incredible seminar.
This was more than “techniques & new ways to batter an opponent” !!
Here in Melksham, over the last 4 days, we have been introduced to breath and move in the natural way that was our birthright. Progressively learning to utilise our breathing and movement simultaneously.
Something that as we get older, most of us ( myself more than most!) lose and unconsciously develop stress in many parts of our bodies.
I met and trained with great people who had many ranges of ability and attitude and watched them over 4 days progress, evolve and develop literally beyond belief
Matt is a leader of the quiet, encouraging and durable kind, he gives instruction and advice in a way that encourages you to get it right. I am fortunate enough to have trained with some top martial artists and can recognise someone who is exceptional at what they do. Matt certainly is that with the added criteria that he teaches about ‘ life & living’ – surely the most important principle to take from any seminar
I have spent a lot of time in my life looking for and trying to learn “breathing skills”……. well look no further, I will advise you to avoid the latest fad – health & breathing are here with Matt Hill !

Be warned …. you are going on a journey that will last for the rest of your life, you will enjoyably learn to breathe naturally, move easier , develop the skill to allow stress to fall from your body and even enjoy going for a walk!! You will be different……!



Hi Matt,

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the amazing 4-day experience I’ve had at your seminar.
The course was so well organised, exercises clearly explained, and lots of personal feedback received. As a former university lecturer and psychologist, I cannot help but evaluate every instructor I train with on their teaching ability, and I must say I was thoroughly impressed by how you managed to keep the course engaging and appropriately paced for participants with widely varied physical ability, age and martial arts experience.
I feel like my Systema training have received a massive boost, and I am inspired to implement Systema more and more into my everyday life. In the first day since coming back home, I have rolled on the grass in local park, did some breath holds while shopping and defended a queue of people from a drunken bully in Tesco in the kind of situation that I might have chickened out before.
I am looking forward to future courses with you, there is so much to learn and it is so much fun!
Dr Sasha Mitrofanov, PhD
Director, Inner Wisdom Ltd.

Just over two months ago I visited Matt’s website – not bad for a beginner I thought and then I started reading. There were big words like holisitic, defence and stressful and little words like stay calm, act swiftly and videos too – all started to catch my attention.

Many of us sit at a desk all day dealing with many issues and don’t realise how stressed we become until someone like Matt starts to train you to relax. You probably would not expect that going to a Martial Arts class would involve relaxation, like me you would be expecting a lot of physical effort, punches, kicks and of course, physical contact.

At my age I was not looking for a contact sport I wanted something to help further my quest for an improved lifestyle and to continue to become fitter as I get older. Matt’s classes have opened my eyes to what I am capable of; I can now crawl around the floor, roll over, avoid the occasional falling broom handle and get out from beneath someone laying on top of me all with the minimum of effort, except I have never felt so relaxed and exhausted all at the same time!

I’m only just starting my journey with Matt’s help but I would highly recommend anyone young or old to try this – it really is life changing.Thank you! Keith Harris


Rachel [my wife] enjoys bike riding but there is a route which takes her over Caerphilly mountain which has proved too much for her to complete.

I offered to try and help so joined her on the climb. As the gradient increased so I could see her tense and start to suffer.

I advised trying to relax the areas she was feeling tense in and move the tension around her body.

With her breathing we concentrated on short sharp breaths and using the chest like a bellows to fill the lungs and breathe out with no effort.

The first time we tried this Rachel made it to the top of the mountain in one push and is so delighted with her new found “secrets” she is telling all her friends.

Another everyday example of how your teachings have a place in all manner of unexpected places not just martial arts (although it is mighty effective there!) Phil Murrow – Caerphilly


Just getting in touch to let you know that after just 8 weeks I’m feeling the benefits of Systema training in everyday life!
I’ve noticed that during times of pressure at work I am better able to identify the early signs of stress and prevent it from affecting my mood and productivity. Overall as a result of Systema training I am much more mindful of the state of my body and psyche (and often the state of others around me) and so feel equipped to deal with adversity in a relaxed manner and thus feel much more relaxed on a day to day basis. From a physical standpoint my body also feels refreshed. My joint mobility and strength is continuously improving and my ability to endure strenuous exercise improves without fail each time I apply Systema breathing techniques.
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and time so generously. – David Greenwood


After 8 years in Martial arts I can now roll straight up onto my feet, rather than putting my knee down. Also found out that I can now jump from seiza to standing. I contribute this new found ability to my daily practise of the four pillars of systema, especially squats. They have opened my hip joints while removing tension from my legs. I have managed to achieve this new skill in a little under 4 weeks. With this in mind I am inspired on discovering new freedoms that the four pillars can provide. – Karl Durrant


Sensei Matt – Thank you for a very inspiring course at Stonehenge yesterday, I can’t really explain what I felt afterwards only that I felt very relaxed, all the tension had disappeared from my shoulders and neck but also I had a feeling of rejuvenation and, although tired from the early start and lack of sleep from the night before, re-energised and clearer thinking. Hope this makes sense because as I say it is difficult to explain.

I would also like to thank you for your friendly welcome, it was great to meet you for the first time and I hope it will not be the last. – David Spuffard


“A weekend session with Matt Hill is a definite must for anyone who wants to call themselves a martial artist and who wants to explore the infinite ways of TakemusuMats Stromgren


Lots of energy in a very relaxed manner – Daniel Heed

Matt is a brilliant Instructor and very inspiring to train with! – Patric Noordstrom

Good, physical training and lots of fun – Karin Keereweer

Dont be afraid! – Malou Klock Stromgren

Matt will leave you thinking about your Aikido for the rest of the year – Robin Karlson

Finding a connection between what you want and what you need – Alula Kassa

Its like taking your understanding of Aikido and adding a jetpack to it – Mikael Zall

Self defence for Aikidoka’s – Henrik Nilsson

Relax, it wont hurt! – Kaj Hanzic

The power of relaxation – Henrik Andersen

A seminar worth attending – David Gottlieb

From Kihon to Takemusu – how to practice it – Andreas Welin

“Thank you Aikido, for welcoming me back on the mat after a year, for allowing me – for the small price of wearing the most unfetching outfit, trimming my nails down to nothing and bruising my arms to bits – to feel once again the magical flowing great buzz of beautiful aiki harmony, to throw great blackbelt men across the room again, and to experience that utterly exhausted sense of blissful peace at the end of the class.”
Miriam Zaccarelli

“Just wanted to thank you for a fantastic day on Saturday, really enjoyed it and took away some pretty profound realisations about my Aikido, my training and my general wellbeing. Truly inspired. Hope to see you again soon.”
Brian Murray.

“Some of the most challenging and exciting moments of my life are connected to Seend Aikido club. I am thinking not only of Sensei Matt’s weekly classes but also his Woodland courses, Uchi Deshis, his amazing Aikido session amongst the megaliths of Stonehenge and last but not least my nail-biting shodan test. Until it actually happened, being awarded my black belt seemed very much like an impossible dream. When I look back on those unforgettable and truly life-changing moments, it is obvious that none of it would have happened without Sensei Matt’s inspiring teaching and vision. “Possibly the best Aikido dojo in the world” might sound like I am gushing but it is my sincere opinion.”
Isabelle Vinet


“The dojo is where we stand.” This commonly used quote in aikido truly represents Matt Hill’s ability to lead structured, safe and inspiring woodland courses. Matts skills lie in empowering the individual to look within and find that centre, the point of truth which connects us all to the universe”
Karl Durrant Templegate Aikido


“I first met Matt several years ago at an Aikido Seminar he organised, since then I have attended many Seminars, training sessions and Uchi Deshi experiences organised and run by Matt. I have found the experiences to be rewarding on many levels. Matt is an inspirational person, his welcoming friendly exterior belies an individual of immense character, determination and knowledge. On a practical level his seminars, events and training are all planned with military thoroughness, no detail is too small to ensure the smooth running of any endeavour. On a personal level no matter how big or complex the situation, Matt endeavours to ensure that each and every person is given the opportunity to grow and learn from the experience. I would heartily recommend anyone to grasp with both hands any opportunity to learn from such a gifted Teacher and communicator as Matt whether it be Aikido related or wild adventure themed. I for one have benefited greatly from Matt’s company and knowledge and fully intend to continue attending further courses and events as part of my own personal development journey.”
Phil Murrow


“My name is Paul Sparks and I attended Matt’s woodland Aikido course three years ago. I found it life changing for me as I confronted some personal fears, overcame them and went on to change my direction in life. I now have a successful organisation, www.lancashirebushcraft.co.uk , teach outdoor courses and activities regularly and become a permanent Aikido student of Matt. Matt is an inspirational teacher with lots to give to anyone who wishes to learn”
Paul Sparks


“Dear Matt – I just wish to thank you once again for a wonderful course yesterday. With your inspirational teaching you are keeping my enthusiasm for my Aikido development and I know for so many others too. It is great to know you and I am looking forward to seeing you in Salisbury soon.”
S, Reading


“Thanks for organising the seminar – I thought that it was the most informative Aikido seminar that I have ever attended – I now almost understand what “extension” means – I only need to figure out how to do it more consistently”
SM – Glasgow


“Thank you for such an inspiring weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it seems to be the general consensus throughout my 2 clubs. However, I always seem to go into a bit of a depression after a seminar, like coming down off some sort of high.”
WS – Edinburgh

Woodlands Course Testimonials

“Don’t think. Don’t think even for a second about how much money this trip may cost, how to clear up time from work and other activities or if this is really for you and what not. Just don’t.
You need this course. You need it because it will force you to reevaluate your priorities in life, it will leave you with such incredibly powerful raw emotions that will make you realize what’s important, in so many ways!
It’s not just about martial arts and neither is it about going camping and living in the wilds with cameraderie that leaves you counting down the days for the next go, no, that’s simply the medium through which your own personal realizations can take form… And what these realizations may be, well, that’s for you to find out.  Simply… Jetpacks…”
From the martial arts point of view the course offered so much that really… As a whole there’s just not enough words for me to describe what I feel in my core that I’ve learned… What i personally found was the most exciting though was when you made us place our bodies in disadvantageous situations and that’s something I really wish we would have more time to experience more of in the future” – Mikael Zall


I don’t know which part of the woodland camp that did it but since being back home I have been able to sleep without a pillow and find that more comfortable than with. This hasn’t been possible for more than 15 years.. Amazing effect, liberating. Love it. Thank you, once again!  I guess this is just one instant and visible effect of it and others might show later and some not at all. The camp is still turning in my mind and feelings are lingering underneath the surface. Hope you are well and take care! – Katja Handzic


“Hi Mat, since returning from Devon I think that I have maybe watched 12hrs of Television, if that.  I have been using the breathing technique in most things I do; my back feels great after you broke down the knots and I have been keeping on top of that. My mind seems more switched on and I just feel very healthy at the moment. I just wish I was in a better position to do more aikido in a dojo and systema.” Will Jones


“Anyone who studies aikido should do this course.  It goes the essence of what aikido, or indeed any martial art, is about.  The course left me that so many things to think about that can be applied to everyday life.  The breathing exercises to reduce stress and assist rational decision-making, the exercises to aid flexibility and movement and the Systema principles to avoid panic when faced with a unforeseen situations.”
Rob Jones


“It was great to be re-acquainted with the out of doors. The waterfalls and panoramic views were spectacular and the calm of the woods provided a well needed dose of tranquility.  Matt achieved the perfect balance of attention to detail without undue intrusion to make this a memorable trip. The following week I had noticeably more energy at work and in my joggers”
Dr. Charles Stewart.


“Every aspect of the course was hugely interesting and stimulating, going back to basics was fun and it was a privilege to be living (albeit for a very short time) in such a beautiful and peaceful environment, surrounded by wonderful people, with no other agenda than to live nature on the road to self fulfilment and improvement, truly a beautiful experience. In terms of activities, the outdoor Aikido was superb, Meditation with like-minded souls, as the Sun rose was a moment that I will carry with me forever. Bathing in a freshwater stream was invigorating. Sitting around a Campfire under the Stars and listening to the honesty with which the guys relayed there own personal stories was both fascinating and humbling and again an experience that will live with me. Map reading was a real challenge but very interesting. In fact I can not say I got more from any one activity than the other, each activity was interesting in its own right, stimulating and enjoyable, giving so much, on so many levels.”
Danny Hamilton Mills


“Hi Matt, Just to say thank you so much for the terrific course-for me that was the best course I have ever done! I have had a great time being with such nice people, working and having fun, challenging ourselves! I never thought that one day I would jump in that way for the first time. I thought it would be impossible, so most of all thank you for giving me opportunity to do the impossible for me! “
Gergana Mihalkova


“A hugely rewarding way to spend a weekend completely immersed in the outdoors. I came away with many reminders of who I am and what it is all about. Challenging, engaging, practical and fun, and all in great company. “
Mark Wood

Childrens Bushcraft Day Testimonials

Matt Hill’s bushcraft day with our Year 6 children was fantastic. the staff and children all came back full of excitement from thier day. Staff came to tell me that it was the best day trip they’d been on and how the children were completely absorbed in the day. we cant wait to do it again. Miss Lorraine Colquhoun, Headteacher, Rowde Primary Academy.

“It was super fun, I learnt how to make a fire!” Frankie Carey (10)

“I learnt how to use a knife safely” Dorothy Rose Mulcahy (10)

“I did the best whittling I have ever done” Harry Haisma (9)

“I now know how to build a quick shelter” – Grace Wood (9)

“I learnt how to eat Marshmallows over a fire!” Charlie Carey (8)

“It was really good fun and I learnt three different ways to cut with a knife!” Ollie Wood (11)

“It was great fun eating Marshmallows!” North Goodwin (11)

“I had the best time ever and teacher was very enthusiastic!” William Hogger (11)

“It was excellent!” Eli Goodwin (9)

“I loved roasting marshmallows!” Alice Fletcher (8)

Outdoor Camp Testimonials
“Matt Hill’s focused instruction in aikido and outdoor activities empowers people to stretch their comfort zones in a safe and controlled environment. If you live aikido outdoor course with Matt are highly recommended. “
Karl Durrant

“For three days I enjoyed so simple, but vital things that make me happy in life-water, fire, fresh, fragrant air, natural beauty and magic woods combined with the challenge to dare myself in hard situations by precious lessons and friendly and supporting company! “
Gergana Milkhanova

Residential Courses
“A tremendous course with intensity, commitment and camaraderie not found by training a couple of hours a week. “
Elliot Birch

“Really good fun and great to meet more new people. Training was excellent and addressed areas that are otherwise not seen in weekly practice e.g. kaeshi waza, ken-tai-jo, shuriken, tan-ren-uchi, etc. I particularly miss the latter and remember how much importance daily tan-ren training was emphasised in developing grounding/hip power etc. in Iwama. In the words of Ben Stiller’s character in, to my mind, his 5th best movie, Starsky and Hutch: DO IT… DOOO IT! “
David Stacey

“Brilliant, thank you. As always I love being a part of the unique and wonderful world of Aiki brethren and sistren from around the country. “
Miriam Zaccarelli

“Everyone is focussed. Everyone trains hard. Everyone pitches in. And everyone learns from each other, both on the mat and off. “
Matt Radford

“The course went too fast. I’d love to do a whole week. This was my first uchi deshi experience and I have loved every minute of it (except for the hang over on Sunday morning!) I am looking forward to your next course. “
Isabelle Vinet

“A great insight into Uchi Deshi life. Perfect timing for me personally, I now feel much better prepared for my Iwama trip. “
Thank you Sensei – Danny Bailey

“A fantastic experience – to immerse oneself in Aikido with like minded enthusiasts was unique – I have been so grateful for the teachings of Sensei and the patience/humour/companionship of my fellow uchi deshi “
Phil Murrow

“A course that went beyond aikido technique and exceeded all my expectations. Thank you Sensei and the amazing people at Cleeve House and Seend Aikido Club “
Steve Nester

“Day two on Toban was on of the best days in living memory. I can not ever remember having so much fun! Sensei Hill’s Courses are always exceptional and foster spirit, camaraderie and learning and this was no different. A fantastic introduction to uchi deshi life and preparation for Iwama. Unmissable. “
David Stacey

“The venue is beautiful, the people fantastic, supportive and encouraging each other making it possible to continue even when feeling exhausted. Brilliant. “
Noela Bingham

“A great experience for any Aikidoka regardless of style or grade. “
Paul Sparks

“A taste of Iwama in Wiltshire – wonderful concept executed to perfection thanks to Sensei and Cleeve House. Unforgettable. “
Elisa Barcellos

“The course started with a group of people but ended with a group of friends. “
Peter Warnock

“Inspiring and Enlightening”
Andre De Mendoca

“An authentic experience of Iwama Uchi Deshi which will leave you educated, energised and aching yet wanting more”
Neil McMillan

“When I read about the course giving an opportunity to immerse yourself in Aikido I did not really appreciate who true that would be. I do think it has strengthened my commitment to the way of Aiki and whetted my appetite for Iwama.”
Brian Murray

“Not coming from an Iwama background I was worried I would really struggle but everyone made me feel welcome and helped me out which made my stay very enjoyable. I want to take the Kiai back to my club!”
Samuel Coe

Self Defence Courses

‘Matt’s self-defence course exceeded my expectations.  Judging by the laughter and questions all of the children were completely engaged from start to finish.  I sat in on the whole course and it is so beneficial in teaching people to stay safe and avoid the danger of being attacked that I think that it should be mandatory for everyone!’

‘It has really helped me’ – Sophie Bailey

‘It is a great course to learn the best ways to disrupt, disable and escape from an attacker’ – Holly Leake

‘This is great for your own safety and it follows the law’ – Gabriel

‘It is so easy to learn and you have a lot of fun’ – Lily De Malpas-Player

‘It was great fun very useful and an interesting course’ – Tom Yateman

‘Its really easy and fun’ – Tommy De Malpas-Player

‘It was good and I will use what I have learnt’ – Simon Hornby

‘Fun, exciting and you get to protect yourself from anything!’ – Tabitha Williams

‘Very useful to have in your mind’ – Maisie Leake

‘The course was very interesting, it was useful and I have learn’t a lot’ – Jessica Rendell

‘This course really helps you to defend yourself it is a great way to learn.  Amazing course!’ – Abby Pearce

‘A fun non-violent way to become threat-free in the open free world’ – Harry Heptinstall

Knife Defence Courses

‘Not what I expected.  It was better’ – Rob Newton.

‘This is an excellent course taught with a fresh outlook on dealing with any attack: Excellent for any martial artist’ – Grant Mason

‘Sensei Matt teaches with a calm fluidity which keeps the learning at an easy pace and means you take away far more than expected’ – Daniel O’Rourke

‘Take time to go to this knife seminar because you never know!’ – Keiran Best.

‘This is the reality of knife attacks; non-technique based defence’ – Mykola Kuntyn

‘I enjoyed the course and think that it could improve my chances in a knife attack’ – Steve Gardner

‘This was a great introduction to knife defence suitable for martial artists of all styles’ – Nigel Hymas

‘Well taught, very effective applications for inside and outside the dojo’ – Jon Flannery

‘A well structured course highlighting the underlying principles of coping with a knife attack’ – Tony Waknell

‘I would recommend this seminar to anyone involved in martial arts’ – Nicky Charles

‘This course has made me feel a lot more confident about my ability to defend myself in a real life attack situation’ – Isabelle Vinet

‘I enjoyed this course very much’ – Tony Clement

‘A well instructed and enjoyable course’ – Chris Ireland

‘Let this course help in your learning and understanding of your own martial discipline’ – Phil Figg

‘Great course that stretches your understanding’ – Andre de Mendonca

‘It’s a very worthwhile course for all martial artists to attend’ – Dale Harris

‘This is a fantastic day which taught me lots of new techniques – I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to learn knife defence skills’ – Kelly Palmer

‘A fun way to learn about a very serious topic.  Hopefully I wont need to put into practice what I have learn’t’ – Glen O’Leary.

‘This is my first seminar with Matt Hill.  I have learn’t so much that I will keep with me.’ – Dave Hartley

‘A great opportunity to learn with people who study many different martial arts’ – Danny Bailey.

‘Self defence for all’ – Mark Borley

‘Have  a fun day and stay alive!’ – Jeremy Taylor

‘A well instructed and enjoyable course’ – Chris Ireland.

‘The whole course complimented itself’ – Lewis John Foote

‘The course was fun with lots of useful points’ – Andy Channer

What the students say about us

Here is a short testimonial reel given by some of the students in the club about the benefits that they get from training: