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.


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

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