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How Matt Fiddes Tai Chi Happened

For some time I’ve been watching Matt Fiddes. I didn’t know him, had never met him, but still felt offended on his behalf when other people who had also not met and didn’t know him were calling him names and joining in with others like bullies on a school playground. I knew he was quite capable of looking after himself, but felt bound to go to his defence as he had done nothing wrong and broken no laws.

I followed him on social media and looked into his business structure. I found it difficult to run a couple of clubs and an association, so was intrigued to find that he successfully ran a 700 club franchise. Feted as ‘trainer and bodyguard to the stars’ I realised that he couldn’t be an idiot and must have both skill and business acumen. He supported many charities and charitable causes and when he appeared on the TV programme ‘Rich House, Poor House’ he broke the rules and bought the other ‘poor family’ a desperately needed mobility scooter and gave the unemployed father a job in his organisation.  He even met the school ‘bully’ whose actions made him start martial arts and gave him a job as well!

On Instagram you could see he was in the gym every day, often twice a day and training hard, he attended every event in his organisation, meeting everyone, shaking hands, supporting the charitable causes and visiting sick and cancer patients in hospital. He certainly didn’t come across as a bad person!

In his own way he is ‘old school’ – a WTF Taekwondo champion as a youngster he started teaching early and quickly built a good club base, by studying world renowned experts in all areas from business to training he came to the attention of the rich and famous and established a solid franchise structure.

To keep standards he doesn’t grade his own black belts, but gets Master Frank Murphy, graded to black belt by the founder of Taekwondo and International Champion to vet their standards.

He is now very much a family man, married to South African pop singer Monique, he spends a lot of his time with her and their children.

We had spoken occasionally through Facebook Messenger but nothing of any real consequence, when I put my Tai Chi Coaching Programme together and recruited my first batch of martial arts instructors I quickly realised that I had something very special and that it could go really well, that I needed someone who was expert in the areas of business structure and promotion who I could form a long term relationship with – at that point the choice was obvious.

 

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Putting Your Head In Your Anus

Photo on 03-03-2018 at 12.03

Putting Your Head In Your Anus

It’s a catchy, humorous title but has a serious side to it.

When you’re doing seated meditation a good point to focus on is ‘sealing your anus’ with the weight of your head. This ensures that your back is straight and your head is aligned.

When you’re standing, you do the same with the arches of your feet and of course all balanced movement in Tai Chi is dependent on your skill in feeling this alignment and the arches of the feet are the first ‘pump of chi’ in the body.

When standing you can move your head in all directions and feel the effect in the arches of the feet so you can adjust to get it absolutely right – and when seated you can feel it in the same way in the ‘seal’ of the anus.

So you can genuinely say that when you’re meditating you really do have your head in your ass!

 

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Martial Arts Bullies

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It’s common knowledge that I don’t like bullies in the martial arts in life or social media. When people go on about ‘standards’ and ‘McDojo’s” in the arts my first thought is ‘people in glass houses’… They are usually the people who should be putting their own house in order!

We may not like what some people teach, but if they’re not breaking any laws we don’t have the right to bully, slander or libel them. What we do need to do is everything in our power to raise the standards of the arts generally in whatever area we train and teach in and continually encourage others to improve and point to what is good. All the time we point at others in a negative way we only demonstrate our own failings.

If we work together instead of against each other and share our knowledge and systems it can only be for good. Martial Arts have a lot to offer the public, but when they see senior people arguing like children in a school playground and those that teach anti bullying, pointing, laughing and ridiculing others it really puts us all in a bad light.

Let’s stop bullying in the Martial Arts as well as outside.

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My Body Is Like My Dog

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My dog is my old friend, when we were young we used to run around and wrestle and for 13 years where ever I’ve been he’s been there with me, at my feet or on my lap. Now his doddery old legs barely carry him and his arthritis and old injuries are a constant nag and need medication but our intertwined lives means that we are still the best of friends and know each others thoughts and emotions.

My body is my oldest friend, for 68 years it’s carried me through 50 years of martial arts and every sensual pleasure and trauma that’s beset me. Now I treat it the same as my old dog, I talk to it every day and the constant pain reminds me of everything we’ve done, the many scars, the arthritic legs and shoulders only cement our long term friendship and remind me of the great life we’ve had together. I couldn’t have done it without him.

Like my dog, I love it and take care of it.

Never punish or hate your oldest friend because it hurts and doesn’t work so well, if you do, you only make yourself suffer….

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What’s In It For Me?

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I hate the ‘what’s in it for me’ people.
I love the people that support their family, club, association, charities and community.
I love the students and instructors that support seminars, tournaments and courses and enjoy both the learning and social aspects of the gatherings.
I love the Instructors that take all the right qualifications and continue their professional development.
Those that register, licence and insure their students and are confident enough and not afraid to let them attend association and other seminars to widen their perspective.
So many are happy enough to take their student’s money but are too tight to invest in both their own and their student’s development.
How short sighted is that?
The best way to get support is it to give it.
The happiest people contribute to a community without always looking for payback.
Don’t be tight – don’t be stingy – don’t restrict your own development – don’t restrict others.
Encourage support – encourage development in the broadest sense, not forgetting your own – invest in people – invest in the community.
You think people don’t notice when you don’t pay your dues, in all senses – believe me, even if they don’t say anything, they do – and if you don’t – that’s why you ain’t got no close friends.
Students – does your Instructor encourage you to develop and progress in this way or is he/she too tight and scared to expose you to the bigger martial arts world?

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Why Are You Ignoring Your Oldest Friend?

Photo on 03-03-2018 at 12.03

Why are you ignoring your oldest friend?

It’s always been there with you, holding you up in the hardest of times, crying and laughing with you, always supporting you from the ground up – and yet you steadfastly ignore it!

It talks to you all the time, tells you when it wants to exercise, rest, eat, drink, and yet you treat it rudely.

Well STOP IT! And start paying attention.

Your dog doesn’t speak your language and yet you understand everything he says, when he wants attention, feeding, drink, walkies, you treat him well and love him.

You body does the same. In it’s own language, it tells you when it needs attention, feeding, drink, exercise and rest – so why don’t you listen?

Your ego, your vanity, your fears and desires constantly over rule your oldest friend. You hate it, you punish it, in the gym, ‘no pain no gain!’ stuffing it with food that the media pushes on your subliminal desires, forcing it into uncomfortable clothes, painting it and still looking in the mirror and hating it.

Why don’t you listen? The reason is that your ego won’t shut up, it’s either distracted to every shiny object the media pushes toward you or it’s lazy, because you ate the wrong foods, drunk the wrong drinks, exercised the wrong way ands are obsessed with the little electric square you carry around all day and react like Pavlov’s dogs to every chirrup it makes.

How do you change this and listen?

Be still and aware, let your thoughts and feelings subside. Learn to be mindful.

Let your sensitivity grow. Take your mind through every part of your body, with kindness.

Talk to your oldest friend. Ask it how it feels, listen to all the minor aches and pains, because if you wait until it has to shout – it will be major illness.

Treat it with appropriate exercise and rest whilst paying attention to exactly what it needs and is asking for. Your Friend loves to exercise, to play, to have fun, to rest, to be fed, watered, there’s no need to punish it…… ever.

Treat it the same way you treat your oldest friend, it’s always been there for you and the more care you give it, the more it can give you.

 

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Meditation, Sleep and Dying

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When you can’t sleep, or you’re sick and terrified of dying it’s because you can’t let go. Going to sleep is like dying, you stop thinking and drift in a state of just being and if you can do this through meditation practice, you sleep deeply and restoratively. Similarly when you are sick and death is inevitable, you drift in to that state of just being and returning to the source of all things dying peacefully.
See how the two are connected?
When you meditate you loose the shackles and burdens of life, resting in that beautiful place of refuge and your broadest perspective on this blink in eternity is restored. Sleep or death, the process is the same.
A student said to me “as my meditation improved, I felt like I was losing myself, I thought I was dying, I got scared and pulled back”, he needed the reassurance that he was in the doorway of experiencing his true, infinite self and wouldn’t physically die until it was time.
This is how to meditate and then falling asleep and dying can be done peacefully and the fear and mental blocks of both are removed, improving both mental and physical health.
Living from the inside out and not letting anything or anyone influence you negatively because you have direct experience of the truth.

 

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