Sifu Diet Principles, Part 1

January 21st, 2013

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this… What do you eat?

Well, so far so good with not hitting restaurants, except…

My parents took the kids for the last couple nights to give Steph and I some “date night” time. Because I’ve been so good over the last two weeks to sticking to my diet, I decided to splurge and hit up Olive Garden. The next day we got right back on track.

Therefore, before I lay out the diet stuff over the next post or two, give yourself some room. My feeling is that if you box yourself in too much your explode and go nuts – even if you stick to your diet changes for a week, month, season or longer. That is why and how people end up gaining back what they loose.

Next week I’ll be showing you what I eat day by day, everything which passes my lips. For this week, here are some principles to guide you:

1. Eat six times a day, as it will speed up your metabolism.
2. Drink tons of water, give up the juices, sodas and alcohol. Drinking your calories is an easy way to pack on the pounds and drag down your energy.
3. If you are active, eat enough protein, and drink a protein shake at least every other day.
4. Cut out as much white flour based food, desserts, pasta, and bread as you can. These are empty foods which lead to so much bad health.
5. Watch your sugar and/or salt intake. Most of us have a preference, whether we like salty or sugary foods more – and then eat way to much of them. Take most of them out, and give yourself a cheat day to splurge, and enjoy what you like.
6. Plan, plan, plan. Plan every meal you’re going to eat, or those drive thrus which are so easy to use (and overuse) will become a regular staple in your diet. Plan and shop for your food every weekend, and review your meals every morning for everyday, making sure you have what you need – including time to make them. This also includes having enough healthy snacks to cut down hunger cramps in between meals.

Hope that helps… I’ll post my meal by snack, by meal menu next week.

Lee, Love and Life,

Sifu Matt

“It” Happens… Sifu’s Training and Diet Details…

January 14th, 2013

I thought a week in of not being able to eat out and completely changing my diet would either produce a divorce with my wife or broken furniture around the house… And neither happened. I know several of my students want to know exactly what I do training and diet wise, and I promise to put that all out for you guys… promise.

But, I want to cover something much more important right now.

Running the business that I do I see “it” happen all of the time. “It” is something which comes up at the onset of taking on or starting a goal. You try to stop smoking and someone invites you to a fine cigar party outing with the guys. You start a diet on Monday, and on Tuesday your girlfriends invite you out to your favorite fast food place to catch up on old times. You are dedicated to start running one morning, and your dog chews a hole in the sole the night before. You try to mend a relationship, but the other person stonewalls you with excuses and lies.

In my line of work, “it” comes up in some form in the first 90 days – many times in the first 30. A person signs up for self-defense lessons to get fit and learn to protect themselves or a parent enrolls their child to improve confidence and self-control… and “it” shows up. On the first day of lessons your child gets sick, or on the second class day you get a flat tire. A random old credit card bill shows up, and now your budget tightens making “extra” activities more difficult. On the second month you stub your toe, making it hard for any physical activity… Or, 12 weeks in your child is in a bad mood and doesn’t want to go.

For me, my first week with a brand new training schedule and diet overhaul was met with several challenges just like you. Grocery shopping with my wife took twice as long, and caused some riffs which lead to a couple “tiffs” (I also like to call them spirited debates). I took on a project which committed half of my work day, and I got sick by Tuesday. The start on my root canal helped my tooth chip, and put a nice bite in my tongue making it difficult to eat anything – much less new food I wasn’t used to. Because of the new workout, I literally couldn’t kick above my knee, forcing me to cut out my partner martial arts workouts (like I had time any way…).

By week’s end I was ready to ditch the diet, ignore my wife for a week, stop the teaching project, lay in bed and moan through the weekend.

But then I thought about what would that really be teaching me?

If I just gave up I wouldn’t have gotten any stronger than when I started. I would be back at square one, just like before I started… and that is what I try to pass onto my students. If you do nothing, you won’t change a bit, and you’ll be in the exact same painful place you were in a day, week, month or ten years ago.

These little hick cups at the start weed out those who say they want change from those who will pay the price to actually improve their lives. If being fit, having well adjusted children and confidence soaring was so easy, we wouldn’t be the most obese country in history, with overweight kids who score average against other industrialized countries. Ok, I’ll get down off of my soap box, but until we all kill the little convenient excuses which seem rational to make, we will never get better and live happier. Never.

So, I bucked up, stopped whining, and pressed on. I settled the issue with Stephanie (my wife… mostly by saying sorry a dozen times), kept showing up for the teaching project while having an instructor cover the last easier day as I went into the dentist to fix my tooth. The sickness stayed with me until Saturday, so with ibuprofen and a better attitude I took it day by day, checked off my responsibilities and made it to the weekend where I could rest a bit more. For the workouts, I skipped my partner ones, and did what I could on my own instead to save time and customize due to my physical limitations. My cardio and weight workouts were not fun, but starting a new program rarely is.

The fun was at the end of the week, namely last night. I felt 95% better, was able to support my wife who is stressed out as well, spend time with my kids, plan my upcoming week, and woke up to a powerful workout and weighing three pounds less. Here is what I taught myself: If you want a different life or results, stop doing the same thing and opting out from things which will improve your life… even if those things come with a price. The price is well worth it.

I’ll post two weeks of specific diet menus in a couple days. See you back here.

Lee, Love and Life,

Sifu Matt

New Year, New Habits

January 5th, 2013


I hate New Years Resolutions.

I make most of my yearly goals in September to escape the habit most do… Make a New Year’s Resolution, and then check back in with it 365 days later, realizing they haven’t done a thing with it.

With that being said, I’m making most of my goals in 90 day increments now… which after Sept, lands me right around this time. I will tell you about one thing I’m doing a bit different starting tomorrow, and then I’ll get into the details during the next entry in about a week or two.

1. Stephanie (my lovely wife) and I are cutting out all restaurant food for the month of January. If you know anything about Steph, she is a penny pincher. We live in a fairly small home, have boring and non-expensive wardrobes and save religiously for any big ticket items as a credit card balance is a sin in my home. My car is paid off, our sons are mostly clothed by cousin hand me downs… but we eat out well on the weekends.

We do have family dinners every weekday at the dining room table, but we spend money on restaurants from sun up to sun down over the weekends. When we vacation, we plan on restaurant tour like we’re planning to invade an enemy country. Therefore, we just went shopping yesterday for our first week’s attempt of eating every meal in house for the whole month of January. I’ll talk about that next entry too.

This is my first goal of a couple I’ll document here on this blog. I’ll cover my new workout program (martial arts, lifting, cardio) next entry… including the diet plan so you know exactly what I’m eating as Olive Garden, Panera and Pizza Ranch will have to find other sources of revenue this month. ;)

Lee, Love and Life,

Sifu Matt


October 16th, 2012

For more info

Roses are red, past email

August 20th, 2012

If you filled out the last survey, but didn’t receive the free DVD program, email my


In first grade my mother who was also a teacher knew something was wrong. I wasn’t progressing as fast as the other kids. I was taken to a specialist, and at the end of the assessment they concluded I was dyslexic. This is a learning disability where I rearranged the words in sentences, and sometimes even the letters in words, in the wrong way.

Reading never came easy to me. I hated it quite honestly. I would be surprised if I read more than 100 pages from 1st to 8th grade. Some years my grades were ok, and some were pretty bad. My mother gave me workbooks and reading exercises through the summers to try to keep me a float.

My bad grades served as a great excuse to not even try. Then high school hit. Ouch. I went from a private school where there were 17 kids in my whole 8th grade class to a high school of almost 2700. No one from my grade school transferred to the public high school, so I felt quite alone. During that first year or two, something clicked… it was the same little something that clicked in sports which had me fight past some of the obstacles I encountered physically and explained in the last email. I’ll write more about what “clicked” specifically was later…


The result of losing my excuses, and doing the work rang in my ear while I was reading through that one book I talked about last email. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield outlined pretty much what I did with my studies. Although it took me five times longer to get read the same page as other students, it is what I needed to do. If I needed longer for a test, I needed to ask the teacher if that was possible, forgetting the fear of what other students would think.

I went from C/B’s to B’s to A/B’s. I rolled the momentum right into college, where I also got A/B’s, finally finishing my Master’s Degree in about 18 months from my college graduation day where I got only two B’s and the rest A’s. Because I dropped my excuses, I ended up loving reading. One of my most prized possessions is the bookshelf in my office, packed full of every book I’ve read since leaving my Master’s Degree. Check out the video of it by CLICKING HERE.

You might be saying, “Great Matt, I’m happy for you, but what does this have to do with me (or my child)”. It has everything to do with you (or your child). Using simple work to overcome any mental / emotional issues is key to our happiness and health. We actually know each other because of something little which”clicked” and acted as a catalyst in my life. It is the same thing you (or your child) has access to, to overcome any mental / emotional challenges which have been holding you (or your child) back. I’m writing this late at night, so I’m going to send this email of what I have so far and hit the hay. I’ll write you more next week of what this little catalyst was… which you have access to.


*Last week I told you one of my stories, and I added another one this week. What are two stories you have? Think of a story, or experience, where you overcame bad odds, and really pulled through. But ALSO, think of a “story” you’re telling yourself which is holding you back. What is a belief you have which is making you NOT take action? What excuse are you telling yourself to not connect with that person in your life, not eat better, not exercise more? Are you telling yourself how a much a person hurt you, when the truth is you might have also hurt them? Are you putting yourself in a trance by saying you “need” that type of unhealthy food? Are you convincing yourself and everyone around you of how busy you are, when you could drop 30 minutes of tv, or get up an hour earlier to free up time to workout? We all make excuses, and awareness is the first step to feeling better and overcoming it!

Email Post

August 9th, 2012

Sifu Forrest Gump

I’m not sure too many people know that the doctor’s weren’t sure if I was going to walk right when I was just a couple years old. I had to wear special shoes and “Forrest Gump” braces on my legs to correct an issue which could had held me back from ever walking right, much less running, doing any sports or even martial arts.

Although I worked with the special shoes and braces from my early “challenge”, and eventually got along without them, I wouldn’t say that I had any exceptional “natural athletic ability” growing up. I do remember from a very early age practicing any sport I participated in, learning that to get good at anything I needed to work at it. I’m guessing that is how you are with martial arts too.

Having a history of leg braces isn’t exactly great qualifiers for becoming a football place kicker, but that is what I put my sites on in high school. I worked my butt off, and eventually became the starting place kicker for my high school team, and then the college I attended, starting all 40 collegiate games over the next four years. During my freshmen year I even ended up breaking the longest field goal record for the school in the final minutes of a big rivalry game.


I’m sure you have stories like this in your life… something you overcame, improved upon, and made better, against the odds. Many times we have parents, mentors, friends or coaches help us along, supporting us in different ways. You might even have one working through an obstacle with you right now. These people are a source of our motivation. For me, it has been my parents, whether in the early days my mom working with me with the special shoes and braces, or my dad supporting my place kicking training by heading out the football field with me almost everyday before he would go to work.

One of the things I love about martial arts is that instructors, assistants and even students are there to support you. During a recent family trip last month I read “The War of Art”… not Sun Tzu’s Art of War… “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. If you are stuck in anything in life, read this book, especially the first half. It can be that mentor you are looking for, and might need. If by chance you (or your child) are stuck in your martial arts progress (or not seeing any progress at all), this is what I’m here for… just reply to this email and let me know. Here is also one of our staff members, Dr. Glenn (who is an ER doctor too!). Watch him as he gives some tips to our students. CLICK HERE TO WATCH DR. GLENN.

Once again, I’ll talk more about the book later, but I wanted to make sure you knew how much I value your feedback at the school, how you are like a mentor to me and how committed I am to make sure we make the school the best it can be. To start off, please take this 4-7 minute online survey of the school. It will help me specifically see what we can do to fix anything you see that needs fixing.


*Think of something which is holding you back right now for accomplishing something through out classes (i.e. greater focus, increased confidence, lose weight, etc.). Is there a mentor, coach or friend who could help you? Realize that you’ve overcome challenges before, and this is no different. If you’re completely stuck, how can I or one of the other instructors help you? Give me a call or drop me an email so we can make a plan of attack!

Lee, Love and Life,

Sifu Matt


January 17th, 2012

youth buddy day seminar

CLICK HERE for the Buddy Safety Seminar flyer!

Biggest JKD Announcement I’ve Ever Made…

January 3rd, 2012

Open email to my students. I’ll be posting the website for this news very soon… here is some background info if you’re stuck in traffic or a line at the grocery store! :)

I’m ready to explode!

I’ve been holding this information in for a VERY long time! As people have found out, finding a JKD instructor any where is not easy. Finding a qualified one, with years upon years of experience is now becoming even harder. I can show you hundreds of emails I receive from people all over the world who are looking for a qualified JKD instructor in their neck of the woods. It is rare. Before I get into the biggest announcement I’ve made to date, I want to remind you of a couple quick notes:


1. Classes are in full swing. We’re on week #5 of our BJJ classes. Here is a review video: CLICK HERE. We are reviewing all of this info this week and weekend. You can jump in at anytime (but now is a perfect time with the review week).

2. We have a Female Self-Defense seminar on Saturday, 1/21 from 9-11am (Rockford) and Noon-2pm (Bloomingdale) which I will be personally teaching. It is only $19, and perfect for wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers and female friends and co-workers. Sign up at or through our Facebook pages.

3. Our Instructorship Camp is happening on 2/4-5. Let me know if you’re interested in getting certified in Jeet Kune Do, as EDS has certified more JKD Instructors in the Midwest than any other school or organization!

4. The rumors are true… I’ve been contracted by an elite Federal organization to overhaul their whole self-defense program… literally rewrite their whole manual. If you are interested in helping me fine tune the custom program I’ve been developing for them, please contact me asap. The training is intense.


Now for the REALLY good stuff!

As many of you know, for about the last 18 months I’ve dedicated myself into digging deeper into the JKD world, and finding not just one, but dozens of other JKD Instructors who have stacks of credentials… many either direct students of Bruce Lee’s, or of his main assistant and student Dan Inosanto. In my mind, every “qualified” instructor must have their lineage traced back to one of these two.

So over the last 18 months I’ve pumped up my JKD IQ… ok, I’ve put them on steroids, by interviewing, meeting and training with dozen upon dozens of JKD Masters! Always wanting to give the best instruction to my students, I thought, “How can I give this experience to my students”? Well, I can’t trek them around the US with me, as I have over the last year and a half. It is too expensive and time consuming. “But, what if I bring these JKD Masters to them?”, I thought.

I quickly found out (as I guessed), that each of these JKD Masters, who are at the top of their game charge $2000-3000 per seminar visit, plus expenses of flights, lodging and food. About $4000 per instructor. But my goal wasn’t to bring just one Master out… any school can do that. They take a whole weekend out and get one perspective, one set of lessons. My goal is to submerge my students in a sea of knowledge, experiences, techniques, drills, lessons and information… just like I got to do this last year and a half.

So, after many, many long talks with my wife, we decided that this vision fueled by my passion was worth whatever the cost was. However, we wanted to make sure it was affordable to everyone. How could those two goals mix? Upon some serious prayer, and more talks we knew it was more important to have the experience AND make it affordable, regardless of the cost to us. Just as we bet the farm on this business multiple times over the last 17 years, based on our passion and vision, we knew we had to do the same here.

Regardless if you are religious, many of you know my wife and I am. Our faith is a big part of our life… the biggest actually. However, I’ve always respected others by not preaching from the front of the classroom. But, I’ll tell you here that God has opened some pretty incredible doors lately, and I want to share that with you (i.e. the Federal contract training above, bringing these JKD Masters to your doorstep, etc.).

As a result, we will be bringing in not just one, not even just two JKD Masters, but FIVE!!! over the course of one weekend here at the school. We are flying them in from FIVE different cities, to teach you the most incredible JKD seminar which has ever been assembled. No where else in this entire world have you ever had the chance to learn from FIVE JKD Masters in one weekend. The cool news is that we’ve made it just as affordable as almost any school I’ve seen charge for just one instructor’s seminar! But it gets better, as an EDS student you’ll receive an additional discount just for being a student here! You’re a part of the school who will be hosting the biggest JKD seminar EVER!

I know you’re asking who are the FIVE, how much does it exactly cost, what are they teaching, etc.? I’ll be releasing a detailed email very soon which will answer all of these questions. For now, make sure you reserve March 30 – April 1st 2012 in your calendars. This event will go down in the history books, and you have a front row seat.

Students who attend class will get the most up to date info!

I’ll be in touch,

Sifu Matt

ps: Yes, this does tie into the new JKD Master’s class being offered exclusively through EDS staring in a couple weeks. There is no extra cost to current EDS students… and the info taught in this limited availability class will blow your mind. Much more info to come!

11/11: Why Evolutions are important to you

October 22nd, 2011

Whether you got the postcard I sent you, or saw this on Facebook, I’m glad you’re here. Ya know, so many people have so many questions about Evolutions, I thought I’d cover a couple quick questions about them.

If you haven’t read the previous improvement points, I would encourage you to…

-What is an Evolution?
It is an assessment of what a student has been taught over the last 3 months of information. I specially don’t use the word “test” because it does not brings the stress of a test, and it is more fun than any ?regular? class. In short it is like a 2 hour mega class for my adult students and a 45 minute test for my youth students.

-Why do we go through Evolutions?
Bruce Lee was against belt systems… no doubt about it. However, Bruce was fighting against the superficial belt ranking systems of non-functional arts and styles at the time. Whether you get a yellow belt or brown belt in stuff that does not work… it is still “stuff that does not work”. This does not mean Bruce did not believe in a ranking system… quite the opposite. Bruce Lee had ranking systems for his students in Jun Fan, Gung Fu, and others (source: Dan Inosantos video interviews in his series “Definitive Inosanto Collection, 1999″).

Just as Lee and Inosanto, I too wanted to make sure we take the positives of a ranking system, but exclude the negatives. What are some of the positives? Here is a short list:
*Show student progression
*Give measurement of student growth
*Class and student organization system
*Personal growth/goal tool
*Curriculum organization

Some of the negatives (especially in this day and age…), plus EDS’s stance:
*Trap to renewal: Our membership renewals have nothing to do with promotion
*Mega money maker: Our youth fees for evolutions are free because youth classes cost higher per class as compared to adults, and youth evolutions happen within regular class times. Adult fees are a fraction of most school belt tests, and sleeve numbers and next color t-shirts run the student no extra cost. In addition each written test is hand graded, and physical test gives written individual feedback or strengths and weaknesses.
*Everyone must test, or you are out of class: Our evolutions are optional. They are for your growth and progression.
*Incomplete: At EDS each student must pass 4 separate cycles (3 month testing periods) in order to pass onto the next level. It is rare that a student is incomplete when they rise to the next level.

I’ll see if I can answer some more questions about Evolutions in a couple days, so check back. BTW! Our new online calendar is up and running. You can check out all of our Bloomingdale and Rockford self-defense locations martial arts events at

Lee, Love and Life,

Sifu Matt

10/11: Connecting with You

October 11th, 2011

There is no doubt that social media is impacting most of our lives in one way or another. Here at EDS, we’re going to specifically be using our Facebook pages and video to do some pretty cool things.

Make sure you sign up for our Fan Page by clicking here and “Liking” us:

Bloomingdale Location

Rockford Location

Tons more to come!

Lee, Love and Life,

Sifu Matt