Systema Instructor in Need! Dec 2012

February 05, 2013 by  

Here is the update on Gene’s health and progress.

Over 3 weeks have passed since the tragic accident when Gene Smithson, a Systema instructor from Austin TX, was shot, air lifted to the hospital and had multiple surgeries. Gene is now discharged at home and healing slowly.

He has lost 30 pounds and is facing many challenges both physically and financially. Nevertheless, Gene perseveres in his efforts. He is now able to take walks and every day gets a little further down the street. For the first time since the accident, he took a short drive in the car.

Due to his general weakness and because one of his wound is through his right hand, Gene is not able to write or type properly. He has asked us to thank Systema friends for the great help and support he has received; for him it was unexpected and much appreciated.

Gene shared a few of his insights and experiences with us. What he had to say is very interesting:

“People ask me if I am practicing Systema breathing now. I am not just practicing it – I am living it. Without the breathing, I would not be able to stand up, walk, sleep, control the pain or the muscle spasms.

Pain, fear and panic come in waves. Burst breathing is the best to gain a hold over that.


For walking, I found that the best breathing pattern is 3 steps to inhale and 3 steps to exhale. If I need to overcome the muscle spasm during walking then I stretch the exhale phase to 4 steps or more, and it works.

I get my sons to apply the combative body massage to my calves and it greatly reduces the tension.


There were times right after the surgery when my abdominal muscles were in such a spasm and there was so much pain that I was just physically unable to take a breath. This is very similar to the exercise we practice in Systema classes, when two or more partners lay on your stomach with their full weight and you need to find a way to breathe. Through very light breaths, I was able to find a spot through which I could take tiny inhales, and that spot would keep moving. It was a puzzle and a constant struggle but gradually I would be able to liberate some air flow inch by inch.


Also, with the abdominal muscles cut up, I realized what an ideal squat should be. The posture has to be perfectly straight, any smallest bending or deviation from perfection caused muscle spasms. The same goes for posture in walking.

I can tell you that I learned more about Systema in the past month than in the past years.”


Gene has two more extensive surgeries ahead of him, and no medical coverage. Please continue your help and support.

You can contact Gene directly at:


Donations to Gene in any amount are very much appreciated and can be sent through any one of the following ways.

1. PayPal:
The account is called Gene's Trust. The email address associated with the account is:

2. Bank Transfer or Wire Transfer:
The Trust account is with Citibank and the website for the bank is

The name of the account is Gene Edward Smithson 2012 Trust.

for Wire Transfer within the U.S.:
The name of the account: Gene Edward Smithson 2012 Trust
The address of the bank: 3508 S. Lamar Blvd. Ste. 100 Austin, Texas 78704

Routing # : 113193532
Account # : 9792935002

for International Wire Transfers:
The name of the account: Gene Edward Smithson 2012 Trust
The address of the bank: 3508 S. Lamar Blvd. Ste. 100 Austin, Texas 78704, USA

Account #: 9792935002
The Bic Code/SWIFT: CITI US 33

Wires are generally sent the same business day if processed before 6 p.m. ET.
Wire transfers can be a one-time event or you can set up recurring wires in advance. You can also save and reuse wire information and see all past and future wires.


3. Check or Money Order

Should be payable to: Gene Edward Smithson 2012 Trust.

and mailed to Gene's physical address at:

Gene Smithson

803 Lambeth Ln.

Austin TX, 78748


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our head office at 905-881-4711 or email: