Learning a new skill is as easy as A,B,C

Learning a new skill (like Systema) is as easy as A,B,C.

  • Aim
  • Begin
  • Continue

A is for Aim

definition: a result that your plans or actions are intended to achieve.

synonyms: work towards, set one’s sights on, try for, strive for, pursue, seek, aspire to, endeavour to achieve, have in view, have designs on, wish for, want.

It’s important to have an aim simply to help you plan & focus your practice. If you know where you’re heading you’ll have a better chance of figuring out what you need to do to get there.

Break you ultimate goal down into manageable chunks, which are easier to achieve. Get some quick wins under your belt & develop the good habit of achieving your goals.

It will also help to set time frames for what your trying to achieve. An open ended aim won’t help you to stay on target…someday never comes.

Equally you should ensure your goals are achievable & realistic. If you’d like to lose a couple of stone, it is unrealistic to aim to do this in a few weeks!

Aim Quotes

In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high.

Henry David Thoreau

The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.


All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible.

Orison Swett Marden

B is for Begin

definition: perform or undergo the first part of (an action or activity).

synonyms: start, set about, go about, embark on, get down to, take up, turn one’s hand to, undertake, tackle.

As important as it is to have an aim, it counts for nothing if you don’t take that first step!

Starting something new can seem daunting. You may feel uncomfortable but that’s to be expected, you’re stepping outside your comfort zone. You’re aiming to stretch yourself in an effort to change & grow.

The road ahead may seem long but don’t let that put you off. Just take that first step & see where it leads you.

Begin Quotes

To begin, begin.

William Wordsworth

He has the deed half done who has made a beginning.


Everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.

Pope Paul VI

C is for Continue

definition: persist in an activity or process.

synonyms: carry on with, go on with, keep on with, proceed with, persevere, pursue.

Continuity is where the real difference is made. Regular practice sustained over time is the path to competence in any new skill.

Once you’ve taken that first step, you’ve got to keep going.

A journey of a thousand miles might start with a single step but you still have to take the next 1,999,999 to get there!

It’s much easier to put in the practice when everything is new & exciting. The thing that separates those that acquire the skills they desire & those that don’t, is perseverance.

Continue Quotes

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

Albert Einstein

Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.

Robert Collier

Champions keep playing until they get it right.

Billie Jean King



Time to update your operating system?

Apple released the first iPhone in 2007. Since then they have released seven major iOS upgrades that have helped to make the iPhone the stunning success that it is.

iPhone 6

Regular updates to iOS help to make the iPhone such a stunning success

It isn’t just the iPhone – we’re all far too familiar with updating the operating systems of our various phones, tablets & computers.

…but when was the last time you considered your own operating system? The software that you use to operate that computer you carry around in your skull?

The attitudes, habits & responses that you have developed over the years that make you behave & function the way you do. Your myOS, if you will.

When was the last time you updated that? Have you been as conscientious with your self, as you have with your phone?

Systema offers you the tools to perform just such an update.

The complete system of health & combat training will take you to deeper levels of self knowledge, helping you to understand how to get the very best out of yourself.

Regular training will ensure that your mind, body & soul are working together to keep you operating at your optimum level.

  • Discover the power of breath
  • Develop relaxation
  • Release years of accumulated tension & stress
  • Re-learn natural & free movement
  • Become physically & mentally stronger
  • Overcome your fears
  • Build true self-confidence: an ironclad belief in yourself & your ability to cope with any situation

Systema gives you the key to updating your myOS, the operating system for the way you function as a person. The update you deserve. The update that’s long overdue.

Find out more about training at Systema Reading


Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

Systema’s like a box of chocolates

Systema's like a box of chocolates

Systema’s like a box of chocolates

Imagine you’re given a box of chocolates as a gift.

The box looks very inviting. It’s luxurious & beautifully designed.

Imagine the sounds as you unwrap it, open the lid & remove the protective top layer.

Imagine the smell of chocolate as your eyes devour the content, your finger taping the box as you decide where to start.

How does that first chocolate feel in your fingers. Smooth as silk? Embossed with an elegant swirl? Covered in nuts?

You take a bite. Maybe there’s the sound of chocolate cracking.

The chocolate begins to melt, as your mouth warms it. The taste fills your senses. Pure chocolate…maybe the flavour of caramel or nuts.

You feel special enjoying the gift you were given. You feel a warm glow inside.

Did you enjoy that?

Was it the same as actually eating the chocolate or did it fall short?

Reading about eating chocolate will have evoked memories of eating chocolate, but that’s a very different thing to actually having some!

…and, of course, you only had those memories because you’ve eaten chocolate before. What if you hadn’t? My description would be even less satisfying.

I’m sure you’ll agree that reading about something is nothing compared to experiencing it for real.

This is the problem we face when trying to describe an experience with words. Words will never be the same as the actual experience – especially when that experience is much richer, more complex & more involving than simply enjoying chocolate.

The only way to know the experience, is to have the experience.

It doesn’t matter how many videos you watch or how many articles, forums, blogs or books you read they will always be a pale imitation of the real thing.

If you’d like to experience Systema for yourself, then come along & give it a go.

Classes are on Monday nights from 8pm to 9:30pm.

Now, where’s that bar of Galaxy…


Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

What is Systema?

Naturally, people are always asking me this & it’s hard to answer in a few short sentences. You could say Systema is a way of being – a state.

At its core, Systema is about understanding how you manage yourself & your interactions with others. A system that can be applied to anything challenging or stressful that you face in your life:

  • Public speaking, job interviews or dates
  • Sports & competitions
  • Parenting & relationships
  • Defending yourself & your loved ones

In Systema, we start by cultivating good health. We use breathing, movement, exercise & even massage to build a body that’s relaxed, versatile & strong and a mind that’s calm, clear & present.

We then look to test & fortify this mind/body state by progressively working in more & more challenging scenarios. Combat situations dealing with strikes, kicks, groundwork, weapons or multiple opponents.

On the surface Systema is a martial art, but through training these four principles – breath, relaxation, movement, structure – we develop a more refined operating system. Who wouldn’t want that?

The best way to learn about Systema is to try it – watching a travel show isn’t the same as going on holiday!

I teach on Mondays & Wednesday and I’m offering a free trial lesson to anyone coming along & mentioning this blog post.

Hope to see you soon


Forming the fist for Systema strikes

This short video explains how to form the fist for your Systema strikes.

In it I look at forming the fist rather than clenching it, to maintain the correct alignment & reduce the risk of causing damage during striking.

I also look at how we can reduce tension in the forearm which develops strikes that are relaxed, fast & heavy.

If you’re interested in learning more about Systema strikes then you’re very welcome to come along to one of our Systema Classes.

You can also purchase Strikes: Soul Meets Body by Vladimir Vasiliev by using this affiliate link.

Systema saved my life

Slipping by Maurizio Carpani from the Noun Project

It’s no exaggeration to say that Systema saved my life last night.

We were crossing a road on our way back from watching the football (England knocking Columbia out of the World Cup – on penalties).

We were climbing over a low wall with raised bedding that acts as the central reservation (yes I know, not a safe place to cross but we’d had one or two ales – did I mentioned England won on penalties!)

As I stepped down off the wall, I turned my ankle & started to fall. As I fell I saw a car coming towards me &, while going to the ground, was able to align myself into the kerb – narrowly missing a facefull of car.

Had I simply sprawled into the road, I would have been hit. Had I rolled, I again would have ended up in the road & been hit.

Instinctively applying the Systema principles allowed me fall in a calm & relaxed way, into the safest place that kept me from being seriously injured or worse.

Funnily enough we’d been studying falling at the club the night before & we’d been saying what an important life skill falling is. I’m now utterly convinced of that – thank you Systema.

Free to be your natural best

Systema – The System

Systema is Russian for the system. Yes, it refers to the set of principles that we use in our practice. The methodology we follow when training, but it also relates to you as a system – a complex set of parts working together as an interconnected whole.

Systema frees you

The system that is Systema, liberates the system that is you.

The aim in Systema is to return you to your natural state. One that is calm, relaxed & free.

Rediscovering the freedom of movement you felt as a child: uninhibited, spontaneous, energetic, healthy & fun.

You aren’t asked to replicate the movements of anyone else (no katas or techniques to mimic here). Instead a rediscovery of your own unique way of moving.

Along the way you’ll discover a versatility that helps you become powerful, capable & in control.

Come along & experience it for yourself. New Health classes start Wednesday 3rd January.

Self-massage with balls (video)

A short video showing the use of balls for self-massage, an effective way to release tension from the body.

In the video, I introduce the simple principles involved & demonstrate some of the ways you can use the balls to massage the upper body while working against a wall.


You can purchase the types of ball I use in the video using these affiliate links. Below are links to the 3 sizes I use: size 1, 3 & 5. A size 1 ball is about 13cm in diameter, a size 3 is around 18cm & a size 5 is about 22cm. As I mention in the video the smaller the ball the more focused the massage.


An Introduction to Systema Breathing (video)

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust are running an initiative aimed at improving staff wellbeing. I produced this video, which introduces some Systema breathing as part of this initiative.

It introduces some of the key principles of Systema & Systema breathing, guiding you through a series of breathing patterns that you can practice to help you relax & reduce tension in your body & mind.


Video of outdoor class

It was far too nice to be inside last Monday so we took advantage of the good weather & went outside to train.

This short video clip shows the class working on some progressions that involved striking with different body parts.

Systema demo video

Here’s a brief video compilation of clips from the Systema demos we did at this year’s “It’s Your Life” event.

The event was held at Rivemead Leisure complex in Reading back in November.

We had a stand at the event & did a couple of short demos too. I was helped in the demos by one of my club members, Jason Schofield.

Systema Twins Seminar Videos

Just a quick post to share a couple of videos from the Systema Twins seminar that was held in Wiltshire last month.

I was fortunate enough to used in a few demos & the videos below show Brendon Zettler demonstrating some work on me.

Systema work against strikes

Systema work against grabs