Q&A format along with interview questions given by Derrick Cox

The following interview has been compiled from magazine interviews, seminar questions, and responses to e-mail.

It was organized and put into a Q&A format along with interview questions given by Derrick Cox on 5/15/01 specifically for this website.

Derrick: Matt, what have you been up to since your last interview about a year ago?

Matt: Well, same as usual. A lot of training, working on my ground game, teaching, and traveling a lot more. I guess you could say I have, primarily, been concentrating on building the ‘organization’ of the gym.

D: Building the organization. . .what are your long term goals with that?

Honestly, I am ardently anti-goal setting. That may sound weird if you don’t know me well, but I believe that, for me, I cannot be too strict in my vision of what I want to see happen. I have broad ideas for the future, but nothing too strict. That way I can still go with the flow of what happens, stay in synchronicity, so to speak, without being so narrow-minded that I try and force a conclusion that was not meant to be.  My prime rule for my life is that I must always stay true to myself. Since I evolve and change, my goals must evolve and change, also.

So, to state it bluntly, my long-term goal for the gym is just to create a “community of friends”; people who enjoy training as I do, that I can visit around the world. Taking the principle of “Aliveness”, and connecting with others who grasp that. In the long term, that’s how I see the “Organization” being built. Simply a network of friends.

Nothing more spectacular or detailed than that. That’s as deep as it gets.

D: How have your travels been received since the release of your tapes? Have you met many of your critics?

I have never met a critic in person. Sometimes I can notice people within the audience of my seminar that are a little stand offish…wondering what I am about. They arrive with a pre-conceived, negative attitude but it’s always gone by the end of the day. By the end of the day everyone has seen the elephant, and they realize that I, me, Matt, am not an integral part of the process.

D: Seen the elephant, what does that mean?

There is a popular children’s fable about a blind man and an elephant that is told by some of the original JKD instructors. The idea is that three blind men, or blindfolded men, are taken into a dark room and each one touches a different part of the elephant. When one comes out he is ardent that the elephant is actually a snake (as he touched the trunk), another thinks it’s a large rock, etc.

The analogy is said to help explain how all of Bruce Lee’s students saw a different piece of the elephant, and that’s why they may say that JKD is this or that. My joke is that at the SBG I take the student into the room where the elephant is and turn the light on! By the end of the seminar, or a few classes at the gym, everyone knows what the elephant looks like. We know the nature of the beast, good or bad. They cannot be fooled, again, once they get it; once they grasp Aliveness. It only takes one day to show them and it changes the rest of their life.

D: In your travels around the world, now, you have seen the JKD community at large. What would you say the biggest problems still are within the JKD community?

Short answer. . .Aliveness, period. Every JKD concepts person thinks or says they understand it, but then you watch them perform their drills and it’s just more DEAD patterns. Paul Sharp posted a funny story online about how a JKD instructor visited his gym in Illinois and said he had been working “pummeling” and the clinch with a prominent JKD concepts instructor. Paul asked to see, and the guy started demonstrating various switches to go in and out of Hubud, Chi Sau, and The Swim. As Paul said, “Some people can f*%k up a wet dream!”