“My whole philosophy is really this: we need to understand that fitness is not wellness.”

Sifu Matthew, Kung Fu Healer and Chi Master, founder of the Martial Arts of Wellness (MAOW) and known as the “Injury Whisperer,” has been practicing martial arts for over 40 years. He began his training as a hyperactive child, and from there has gone on to become a trainer and healer to professional athletes and celebrities. 

Most recently, Sifu Matthew has partnered with the Carillon Wellness Resort in Miami Beach. We sat down to ask him a few questions about what he does, the people he’s worked with, and what he has coming up for South Florida.

You’ve worked to heal thousands of people’s injuries over the years, including some big name clients as well–Gwyneth Paltrow, Eric Dickerson, Wes Saunders, and Iman Shumpert, to name a few. Which healing journey has stuck with you the most, and are there any that you still think about now?

What sticks with me is the quickness of how a body can heal when the right technique is used. For example, De’Aaron Fox, an NBA star and the starting point guard of the Sacramento Kings, had a toe injury since high school that wouldn’t heal. His trainers had put a metal plate in his shoe so that his toe wouldn’t hurt, but he was constantly in pain and he couldn’t bend it. I remember working with him at his house, and I spent about six minutes on the toe and it healed completely. He was able to move it, and he had no pain. He couldn’t believe it! I worked on two other injuries he had, which also disappeared on the spot.

This is just a reminder of how little we access of the body’s internal intelligence. I’m sure the trainers were doing an amazing job, working with his hips, his glutes, and making sure that his arches were firing properly. But that’s just one aspect. There’s a fundamental missing piece — the electricity — that people aren’t taught how to work with. It always amazes me and my clients that in just a few minutes, certain injuries can heal that have been through unsuccessful surgical interventions.

What is your philosophy on wellness and maintaining health, beyond what you’re doing directly through martial arts?

For me, it’s really about understanding that fitness is not wellness. There is an aspect in all of us that I refer to as “electrical wellness.” We train all the time and most of the time, we are actually damaging ourselves while training. This is because we’re burning out chemicals, but not actually working on how we restore our electric charge.

Most of the time when we’re training in fitness, we build muscles, yet at the same time, we damage our nervous system. We run faster and at the same time exhaust our kidneys. Therefore we’re not looking at the larger picture of how to put together body electrical wellness with mind wellness in a way that’s functional. When you combine the two, you can actually use them to heal yourself. A person can start to understand that after a workout you may decide to go in the sauna, drink some electrolytes, or do acupuncture to try to restore yourself, but it’s not enough. The body has its own language and series of actions designed to repair itself.

There’s a whole science behind what I do and what I teach – you have to be strong in your body, strong in your mind, and strong in your energetics. When all are aligned, this is the picture of global wellness.

Okay, so you’re focused more on a full-picture perspective on health, rather than just maximizing what a body can do. When you’re talking about restoring their body and their electrical charge–how do you go about doing that? Is that based on the healing that you’re doing or are there other specific things within that?

Yes. I teach people how to heal themselves, I don’t just heal them. I have a system called MAOW, which is the Martial Arts of Wellness, and I give specific positions that you hold that change the electricity of your body’s field.

I’m teaching you how to use this electrical force that’s already there to change your cells. All you have to do is go into the position and then let it affect you. What’s interesting is that we don’t understand the full picture of what wellness is yet. For example, you could go to the gym but you might be in a poor state of mind. Then what you’re doing is actually agitating yourself because the body isn’t calm enough to take in any new information. By pushing yourself, you’re actually making your brain hot, and you’re amping up your nervous system. You can also put yourself in poor alignment or just burn yourself out.

What does South Florida have to look forward to from you? What events, services, or workshops do you have coming up in the Miami area?

I’m going to be doing Warrior Force and Healing Intensives on a regular basis. I just finished two of them in September. They are profound immersive experiences where I teach both combat and healing. I teach from a place of first learning to feel your electricity, understanding your internal force, knowing how to heal yourself, and then learning how to interact in a combative situation. I just love the intensives and they’ve been life-changing for people because most people have never made a connection to themselves that way.

We are also going to be doing different types of corporate wellness groups, one-on-one training, athletic training, and we plan to do an event at least every month or couple weeks.

To keep up with Sifu Matthew, check out his: WebsiteFacebook, and Instagram