30 Mar, 2021Matt Fiddes – What lessons can we take from the inner circle of a billionaire megastar?
Matt Fiddes, is one of the most respected Fitness and Martial Arts Experts globally. He was also Michael Jackson’s good friend and bodyguard.
This fitness and martial arts expert shared his journey with me on my podcast about how he met Michael, which is impressive but what Matt accomplished before working with the King of Pop is remarkable.
Matt built a global Fitness Empire Matt Fiddes Martial Arts with over 700 schools in the UK and worldwide, and his brand continues to evolve.
Matt Fiddes is one of the most respected experts in the international world of martial arts and fitness. His achievements have seen him honoured at the highest level, after being inducted into the UK Martial Arts Hall of Fame and presented with the prestigious “Martial Arts Superstar Award.”
Today Matt offers unique training programmes designed for both children and adults that have proved to be a massive success with over 600 training schools across the UK and Europe, including Ireland, Germany, Holland, Australia, and South Africa.
The Start of Matt’s Martial Arts Journey
Matt Fiddes was bullied in school, didn’t do well academically, and dropped out of school at sixteen. Meanwhile, his family comes from a very academic background.
On his mum’s side, she is one of 14 children who pretty much ALL have university degrees. Meanwhile, they were all about getting a trade on his father’s side and becoming an electrician, plumber, or an engineer.
Being bullied, skinny, and short knocked the confidence out of Matt. In school, he sat beside a boy who trained in martial arts, and felt this boy could beat him out one day and of course, Matt thought about HOW he could defend himself.
The next decision was to attend martial arts classes, and the first-class he tried was Jiu-Jitsu, but as he described, he wasn’t taken by it, being thrown over and landing on your back and stuff like that.
The room next door to his Jiu-Jitsu class was offering a Taekwondo class.
Now for the people who know Matt Fiddes know that kicking for him is pretty natural; his 6’4″ height and long legs worked in his favour. He could also do splits very easily, and he just loved the Taekwondo class.
Could Matt’s grandfather, who was a seven times Irish Weightlifting Champion and chosen to compete in the 1960 Rome Olympics, also have something to do with Matt attending a martial arts class? Maybe. His grandfather wished one of his children or grandchildren took his path.
But I was curious what attracted Matt to martial arts? Did he take to the Martial Arts straight away? Because here’s the thing to get really good at martial arts, you have to practice for years to master it.
So did Matt Fiddes know right away that he wanted to master martial arts and get as good as he could get at it?
Thinking back, Matt explains how he was bad at everything else in his life at that time. He couldn’t work things out at school, and finally, he found something in which he was good, martial arts.
Matt Fiddes could do the kicks, loved the adrenaline pump that he felt after a hard workout helping him feel great, and experienced a natural drive.
As a kid, Matt finally found what he was good at and could use his long legs for something. Even his instructor recognised the potential and gave him extra tuition, and Matt, well, got a kick out of “kicking people in the head,” not in a wrong way, but via martial art.
Matt Fiddes started martial arts when he was six years old and got his black belt at 12!!
He explains how things have changed now. You can get a black belt sooner because it’s not about the time element rather what you do within that time.
Here’s a comparison; a martial art person who has trained for 30 years, by training once a week or inconsistently compared to someone who has trained for six months, and doing so four or five days a week.
Who’s going to be better?
The one training more intensely, the one training six months – four to five days a week.
Or let’s take Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt continues to explain, Arnold needed to do 4-hour intense workouts to build muscle and be in shape. Today, we know that one can get the same results with a half-hour hit workout with hormone stimulation to achieve the muscles.
Dorian Yates, Mr. Olympia, a professional bodybuilder, educated the world on this concept.
Taekwondo led Matt to compete
The style of martial arts that Matt Fiddes does is the Olympic style. As Matt explains, there are two types of taekwondo:
- ITF (International Taiwan Federation) Taekwondo – semi contact
- WTF World Taekwondo Federation
These two types of taekwondo used to be one, and then they separated due to the politics in Korea since taekwondo is a Korean martial law.
Matt Fiddes competed in the full-body taekwondo, where he had the full-body shields just like you see in the Olympics, and it was mainly kicking and very little punching.
Matt became a six-time British Champion of the WTF World Taekwondo Federation.
Now I was intrigued, so I asked him the following question: “what did he think made him a champion and so just kept winning?”
He answered very quickly by saying that being bullied at school was the best thing that happened to him.
- it gave him the hunger and the drive to be successful in martial arts, compete in health, business, marriage, the whole thing.
But he also wanted to prove people wrong. His family, as his mum and dad, didn’t support what he was doing.
In conclusion, Matt Fiddes believed that the painful experience led him to become a taekwondo champion and experience various new successes.
Still, I dare to add that Matt finally found something that he was GOOD at and could get better.
My curiosity continued when I asked Matt what it was like to compete with others better than him, which probably didn’t happen very often. Matt Fiddes came back with the perfect come-back reply:
“The only way you’re going to get better is to fight people better than you.” This being the reason why they drove to Bristol to fight against a better pool of students.
Who and what contributed to Matt’s success?
Matt Fiddes thought his instructor was awesome, someone who recognised the drive in Matt to accomplish his goals. But I wondered, so I asked if his instructor was also his mentor.
Matt’s instructor knew that Matt’s parents did not support him in training taekwondo, and his instructor did not charge Matt for the lessons as he realised he had a student he could be proud of.
But the story doesn’t end there. Matt’s first instructor let him train with his instructor in Bristol, who put Matt through his paces.
Putting aside the drive, the reasons behind his drive, Matt believes that natural genetics are a significant element to achieving results. For example, when he does a spinning kick, people are wowed because of his long legs, height, which all contribute to making the kick even more impressive.
But there is another essential element to his success – his mindset.
I will even say that he MASTERED taekwondo by being obsessive, persistent in getting better. But Matt continues to express that: “Repetition is the mother of skill.”
Today, it’s more exciting to repeat a punch or kick repeatedly, but back in the day, in the old school days, Matt Fiddes continues to say that he understood that repetition was his rescue and that he had to practice, practice, practice. Today he still believes in the same process – repetition in practice.
Every morning Matt wakes up with the same drive, to want to better himself. He did say that his values moved a bit.
In his 20’s he wanted the Ferraris’, the bling. He “did all that, been all that.”
Today Matt teaches his clients and franchisees to invest their money to generate passive income rather than waste it.
Today Matt Fiddes is motivated by his six children, who he loves to bits. Matt lost his parents when he was young, and he believes children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren will have a challenging future. Therefore, he wants to produce generational wealth which will take care of them.
Building His Franchise
Matt Fiddes became a successful martial artist, and today he is very well known for his franchise and is the first in the UK to build a martial arts franchise.
How did he do it?
Matt Fiddes built five martial arts schools by:
- studying the American model, as they were twenty years ahead of us in the UK,
- working as a lifeguard for 2.75 pounds an hour
- saved up enough money,
- heard from a friend in San Francisco in the US where there are multiple millionaires, went there BUT
Matt did not want to compromise standard for money as he was all about the old school thinking:
- how good can one kick,
- how high can one kick,
- how flexible one is.
The Americans soon showed that they had standards, had thousands of students, were making a considerable amount of money.
On the other hand, Matt Fiddes had;
- no qualifications,
- at 16, was earning 3 pounds an hour as a gym instructor,
- at 18, was making 2.75 pounds an hour as a lifeguard,
- his parents kept saying “told you so” to get him to study.
What does Matt do? He saves enough money and flies to San Francisco and modeled somebody who took Matt under their wing who turned to Matt and said: “Look, you’re 17 years old, I admire you for even getting out here, follow me around, take note style, study what I do.”
Matt thought this guy who he modeled was crazy as:
- he would get up every morning at 4 am,
- his day was planned out in detail and
- he gave this message that if it works out great if not, Matt didn’t lose anything.
Matt Fiddes, in the end, systemised everything he learned, from phone scripts, manuals. He was the first guy to turn on music during a lesson: a big “NO, NO” in martial arts. He changed the curriculum to adapt to today’s lifestyle.
Martial arts have not changed in 2000 years, but there is a presence of guns, knives in our society, and we’re all exposed to better education on how the body works.
He was also the first guy to put clients on direct debit, previously known as “standing orders,” for which he got a lot of stink. But in return, Matt’s way of working attracted a lot of attention.
Within six months, and at 18 years old, Matt Fiddes had 700 members, earned 80,000 pounds a month, and five schools in North Devon.
Matt’s mindset was that he couldn’t get instructors that far away (50 miles) from North Devon to carry out classes.
Then Michael Jackson appeared in his life and really affected his life.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the blog, Matt’s life is pretty impressive even before meeting Michael Jackson.
What I loved about talking with Matt Fiddes on Clubhouse was the narrative he gave because the reality is we get the narrative from the media about people, so I felt really privileged to hear Matt’s relationship with the King of Pop, who affected so many lives all over the world.
Matt’s connection with Michael Jackson
One might think it’s a bit of a fairy tale to connect with someone like Michael Jackson, but here’s how Matt came across “The King of Pop.”
In Matt’s martial art schools in North Devon, Matt had two students whose one parent was a journalist. This journalist wanted to interview the young Matt Fiddes as he was intrigued by Matt.
Matt Fiddes was 18 years old, had two floors with martial arts teachings, the ceiling was falling, building run down, yet the journalist saw these famous martial arts people visiting Matt to settle their curiosity about what this 18-year-old wonder kid was up to.
The journalist wanted to interview Matt for an agency called the South West News. Matt Fiddes accepted the interview as his goal was to be featured in the local newspapers and most outstanding martial arts magazine, “Martial Arts Illustrated.”
The interview began when Matt was bullied and ended where he was at the time of the interview. However, the story turned out to be more extraordinary than it really was, making Matt embarrassed, and Matt tried to play the story down.
Matt asked the journalist Nick Constable if he thought Matt made the local paper. Well, two days after the interview, Matt hit the front page of the Sun, Star, Daily Mail every newspaper imaginable with a headline: “Bullied boy becomes a millionaire,” followed by a picture of Matt and his sports car.
Matt Fiddes continued to be on TV shows, and then Uri Geller’s security guard called up Matt. Well, it turned out Uri Geller wanted to create a video where Uri would focus on developing mind power for kids not to be bullied in school, and Matt was to focus on self-defense moves.
The video they were to create was to be accessible through the government.
Uri Geller and Matt Fiddes became close friends, and Uri became Matt’s eldest daughter’s Godfather. Uri was a close friend of Michael’s.
Matt felt Uri wanted to “plant” a person in Michael Jackson’s life because the reality is you don’t have many people you can trust when you’re at a high level of fame. Also, Michael Jackson just lost his long-time security.
Micheal Jackson was a massive martial arts fan and had a black belt when Matt met him.
Michael’s dad Joe Jackson made sure all the brothers trained Kung Fu.
Matt trained Mark and Michael to 2nd dan rank in a hotel suite.
Pretty unbelievable, so I asked Matt did he ever stop and ask himself, “what am I doing here?”
Matt explained that back then, at 18 and early 20s, he thought of Uri, Brittney Spears, and other megastars as simply his friends. Today Uri is like a father figure to Matt, and they speak every day.
However, he does remember before he got married, the first time Matt put together a guest list for his stag, he looked at his list and said this isn’t going to happen as ALL the people on the list are megastars, and ALL of them will need security.
What Made Matt So Successful
I was curious and asked Matt Fiddes if he thought luck struck him to create and live the life he had and has.
I think Matt worked very hard, and the universe rewarded and continues to reward him for stepping outside the box.
Matt Fiddes believes in the law of attraction as there are so many things that happened and are difficult to explain. He continued to say that “as long as I put my mind to it and focus on it, I make things happen. You’re only three handshakes from anyone in the world.”
The network of billionaires Uri, Michael, and others profoundly impacted 18year old Matt as needed to build many trusts, many secrets to keep. Also, Matt wasn’t hanging around 18-year-olds who were trying to figure things out.
Matt Fiddes thinks it was hard for people to relate to him and Matt to connect to the kids his age who were clubbing, visiting pubs at that time.
What Was It Like Being Around Michael Jackson
Matt Fiddes shared how Michael Jackson taught him to think bigger as his ambition was unbelievable, and he was very inquisitive.
He remembers being in Michael Jackson’s hotel suite, and Michael would be sick of people asking questions about him as it happened ALL the time. So Michael would turn to Matt and ask him how his business was going, how many schools he had.
Matt Fiddes would answer, “Great. I have five schools.” Michael would reply to Matt’s answer, “only 5? why can’t you do more?” Matt would respond, how it’s challenging to get another instructor to go to a town that’s 50 miles away. Michael would answer, “challenging, if I can sell records all around the world, fill stadiums… you can get an instructor to a school 50 miles away, and it’s called franchising.” Matt continues to object to how franchising was never done in the martial arts world, and Michael would answer, “that’s right, that’s why you have to go out and do it.”
Michael Jackson wrote down how the whole process works, the business in a box on a napkin. You see, Michael had been franchising his business all around the world. So Michael’s franchise lawyer and Michael himself would keep Matt very accountable. Matt would be nervous when Michael would ring him because Matt knew Michael would ask how many new schools he opened, how many new students he enrolled.
So it saddens Matt that the world doesn’t see that side of Michael, and there’s no way you become the most famous person in the world, a well respected, talented man in dancing and singing but also a fantastic investor unless you know what you’re doing.
Michael believed you make your own talent as he would be dancing and singing all the time.
Michael’s brothers toldl Matt that Michael lived and breathed show business and never stopped being Michael Jackson.
Michael loved the thrill of the audience. He lived for his fans, but Joe Jackson was in him, the ruthless businessman. Matt Fiddes shared how he would be in a business meeting with Michael, and Michael would just be leading the room and knew exactly what he was doing. Meanwhile, 2 hours later, Michael could be watching Bart Simpsons with Matt in his pj’s. While in the evening, Michael could be in front of 80,000 people performing.
I asked Matt where he was when Michael passed away.
Matt Fiddes responded that he spoke to Michael two days before his passing, and they were all concerned about Michael’s health.
Matt was with Michael when Michael announced the “This Is It” Tour of 50 concerts in March of 2009, and Mark Lester called up Matt one night to come to the hotel room as Michael’s flying back and was going to busy until July with the “This Is It” tour and they won’t see him for a while.
So they all enjoyed Michael’s favourite dish – fish and chips while sitting on the hotel floor – it was how Michael worked, and Michael seemed concerned about the shows, and he turned to Mark and said, “if anything happens to me if I get shot on stage, will you promise to look after my kids?” Mark is the Godfather to all 3 of Michael’s children.
Matt Fiddes turned to Michael and said: “Michael come on, Michael, the public loves you. You just sold out your first ten shows in 3 minutes.” But Michael was concerned, and when Matt left that day, he hugged Michael, and Michael was just bones, not much to Michael.
Matt Fiddes did hear from their inner circle that things weren’t going well in the States, Michael wasn’t showing up for rehearsals, there were lots of doctors hanging around trying to get what they wanted. It was hard to get to Michael, to get a hold of him, as there was no access to Michael to get to a phone in the house he was staying in. That was part of the problem when the doctors were trying to call the ambulance, there was no landline, and no one knew where they were.
Matt continued to share that he didn’t think Michael would die rather that he wouldn’t be able to do the shows. Matt thought Michael would do one show and cancel the rest. The fact was Michael was 50 years old and WAS NOT your average performer. He put his all in for Billie Jean and lost a lot of weight.
Matt Fiddes communicated his knowing that the King of Pop was asset rich but cash poor and that there was a lot of pressure on Michael as the people around him viewed him as a product, while for Matt and Mark, Michael was their friend.
Michael called Matt one evening asking for Mark Lester’s phone number, which was not unusual for Michael to lose numbers as he was disorganised. Michael then asked Matt if he knew where Joe Jackson (Michael never called his dad “dad” rather Joe Jackson) was as he wanted Joe to come to California to sort the situation out.
Well, Matt Fiddes knew Joe Jackson was in Vegas. Matt shared Joe’s number with Michael, and Michael left Joe a voice message. Michael then called Mark and begged him to come to California. Both Matt and Mark were busy with families, but Matt continued to share that he and Mark never thought Michael would die or else they would have flown to California IMMEDIATELY. Meanwhile, Michael’s family was having a hard time passing through the gates as the security wasn’t Michael’s rather the tour concert’s security.
Today Matt Fiddes wishes he went. Not a day goes by that he isn’t asked about Michael.
After Michael’s death, Matt, Michael’s brothers, and some of his friends had counseling. Everywhere you went, you heard Michael’s music playing; people asked what in the hell happened.
When Michael passed, Matt Fiddes was known as the martial arts guy, as a former bodyguard to Michael Jackson. It drove Matt nuts initially, but afterward, Matt became proud of it as Michael was his friend, a legend, and if it weren’t for Michael, Matt probably wouldn’t have franchised his business. Michael taught him every element of franchising, marketing, pr. Matt Fiddes received an excellent education from Michael Jackson.
Michael had an inner circle of the most influential people on earth, and you had access to anyone you wanted. Anyone could ring Matt because he was mates with Michael.
When Michael died, Matt lost a lot of friends. Life changed.
Being by Michael’s side Matt experienced people closing down shops for Michael’s security reasons while shopping. Today Matt stands in cue for shops just like everyone else.
Michael was a great guy, misunderstood, ruthless businessman.
Where is Matt Fiddes Today
Today Matt Fiddes is expanding his franchise; he presently has seven franchise networks. The martial arts franchise is the biggest of its kind in the world but Matt franchises other businesses. Matt teaches others how to franchise their business.
Matt also did a show, “Rich House Poor House,” which is a bit like the “Undercover Millionaire”. After the show, Matt was flooded with 200,000 messages asking if he would mentor people.
Matt knew he loved changing people’s mindsets, stopping people from being bullied, helping people become financially secure. Matt is motivated by changing people’s lives.
Today Matt Fiddes still runs his organisations and is expanding globally more than ever now. He teaches people how to become financially free, scale their businesses and grow their businesses through franchising, and it’s been a big success.
Even off of Clubhouse, Matt is getting contacted by people to be mentored by Matt. Matt loves it as he adores helping people and continues to say that there is nothing like changing someone’s life for the better, making them financially secure, or changing their belief structure.
Matt believes that we are all programmed to conditions in a certain way and to be able to change that mentality and seeing someone be a success is the greatest gift in the world.
Matt’s mission is to franchise as many businesses as possible and help people grow, be successful, and financially independent. So when another pandemic comes out again, and I believe it will or a world crisis, I want people to have things in place – mutual funds, stocks or shares, investment properties, investment, companies, businesses.
If you’d like to learn more about what Matt Fidess does, please visit MFInnerCircle and you’ll be able to contact Matt through a form on his website. Or DM Matt @officialmattfiddes on Instagram.
Matt, to me, represents the notion that it doesn’t matter what happened rather what you do with what happened. Matt used his past to use it as fuel to move forward, get better, and ultimately realise that life is about giving back and helping others.
Matt shares his greatest takeaway from our podcast episode, which is also Matt’s philosophies which he teaches: “Don’t worry about what you can’t control.” Matt explains how you can only control what you are thinking, not the government, not the pandemic… So look what you can do within those restrictions. How can you help and share value with people?
I encourage you to connect with Matt. Share the blog or listen to the podcast episode, share your feedback, and I’ll pass it on to Matt.
In our podcast episode, we mentioned the movie “Chasing the Truth,” of which Matt was a part, so if you haven’t seen it, I recommend you do.
Want to listen to the entire podcast? You can hear the entire conversation here
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Pete Cohen 0:02
Happy beautiful day, it is the Mi365 podcast with me, Pete Cohen. The Mi365 podcast is dedicated to help you go from living life by chance to an extraordinary life by design. And today we have an incredible guest. It is Matt Fiddes. Who is Matt? You're going to find out. Well, he was very good friends of the King of Pop, and his body guard. Check this out, this is an inspirational podcast with Matt Fiddes.
Pete Cohen 0:59
So we are live we are this is the podcast, Matt Fiddes. How are you my friend?
Matt Fiddes 1:04
I'm great, how are you?
Pete Cohen 1:06
I'm good yeah I'm very very excited, because you know there's one person that I always would have wanted to have met, it would have been, Michael Jackson right which is one thing we'll talk about but, you know. I don't want this to be about your relationship with Michael Jackson. I want is to also just be about you. Because I think even if you've never met Michael Jackson and spend time with him, I think, your story is unique on his own and what you've done and what you're doing and what you're gonna do, but for those of us that don't know who you are. Just tell us what who Matt is and what Matt is all about.
Matt Fiddes 1:40
Yeah, I'll just a bullied boys school, did my best, and was a very good academically up, to be honest, did I do, I can only do so much. My family comes from a very academic background so my mum is one of 14 children and pretty much all the university degrees. And on my father's side is all about get a trade, electrician and plumber or an engineer and so on. So it was me, when you're in school it knocks the confidence out of you. And the boy who sat next to me in class was trained in martial arts, and I just felt like this this boy was gonna beat me out one day, and he's allowed to defend myself have a bad day and I was really skinny little short. You know, I didn't shoot up until teenage age. So I went on to this martial arts class. And the first one I tried was Jiu Jitsu. I didn't really Tainter that would be thrown over and landed on your back and stuff like that in the room next door, there was one called taekwondo. And for people to know I'm pretty toxic for a lot of legs so kick into me was like natural. I could already do the splits for some reason, and I just loved the idea because like my grandfather said he was seven times. I was trained in champion, and it was paying for the Olympics in 1960. So he wanted at least one of his children to or grandchildren to take his path. So I just knew I wanted to do as a career, he really, I mean, what did you take to it straight away in terms of martial was it like because I think I was one of them I would love to talk a little bit about mastery and because to get really good at martial arts, you, you have to practice for years right but did you know straight away like hang on. I really like this, and I want to get as good as I could get, what was it that attracted you to it. I was just general what I was paying I think it was, I was so bad at everything else that my life going on. And at the time. I couldn't work things out of school, and I found something I was actually good at. I can do the kicks, and there's a certain amount element of that adrenaline pump after workout sure you want to you train very hard, and then you feel great, and it's like a drive, I guess it's like a natural endorphins and I just loved it and the fact that I didn't. I had something I last as a kid that I knew, I was really good and I could apply to use these long legs for something, you know, and my instructor recognized that too and gave me extra tuition, but no, absolutely. I think for me, is initially, you just get a friend of kicking people in the air. It was just not set in a nasty way. Yeah, yeah, protective gear on and stuff.
Pete Cohen 4:28
Then did you start competing as well because I know with taekwondo. You event you go, you go belts right and so you go to black and then, how long did it take you to become a black belt.
Matt Fiddes 4:40
It's changed now about that so I started martial arts when I was about six or 12. Things have changed now you can do a lot quicker because it's not so much about a time element is about what you do within that time so you can have a martial arts person who has been trained in 30 years, but their training once a week, or inconsistent. And as somebody who's training, six months is training four or five days a week. Now which one is going to be better, better is going to be the person who's training for six months. So, yeah, things have got better now. Now we understand, like, years ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger for, for our workouts were the way to get our muscles in shape. Now we know, you get the same results within half an hour the hit workout to reduce testosterone, growth hormone stimulation all those hormones, you need to stimulate your muscle during Yes, is to limpia several times over. Whoa, that one out first, and educate the world on that. So I think he's progressing a lot right now.
Pete Cohen 5:35
Because you obviously worked over a whole load of things out, like how to make the franchise, you know martial arts but let's just go back, did you, because I don't know this part of it. Did you compete, did you actually fight him, because I don't know anything about your competitive part of your martial arts,
Matt Fiddes 5:52
Sort of style of martial arts I do is the Olympic style. So there's two times to take one there you got ITF Taekwondo International Taiwan Federation, which is more semi contact, and then you got WTF Worlds Taekwondo Federation to you they used to be one, but they separated you to politics in Korea as a Korean martial law. So I did the full contact was we had all the shields, and it was mainly like you see on Olympics IBC there'll be many kickin very low punching, so six times British Championship champion. We have WTF taekwondo. What was it like every year competing in the championships. Yeah, they got sick of being the end voice. Why because you kept winning because they've heard someone else should I have a go yeah that my height was a bit of an advantage and that's true to say the reason. There's no doubt about that.
Pete Cohen 6:47
I'm sorry to interrupt you, but I'm just wondering, kind of, because I don't know this part of you know I feel like I know you we've had a quite a few conversations but what do you think was it about you that made you a champion that you just kept winning.
Matt Fiddes 7:02
Based off the old people paper being bullied at school, was the best thing that happened to me, they gave me hunger and drive to be successful in my martial arts competed how business and everything my marriage, the whole thing. I wanted to prove people wrong. I wanted to prove my family wrong we said that while I was doing was legalized violence he didn't support mom or dad didn't support what I was doing. There was another student in the class who was an adult, and he would drive me to lessons we lived in Swindon, and the lessons moved to Bristol who picked me up twice a week, and he was really late 20s and drove me to, to Bristol and and train with the best there is, basically, one funny story I see is we used to joke, me and him, because it's done on competed as dollar height, a lot of time, or weight, but sometimes there's exceptions, there's all people, a lot of people in the category. So we went to the British championships, and he drove me to Bristol University when Riley, and as we went through the categories I was winning, he was winning, and I we joked, he said, a war with each other. Yeah, And I was like, I was like 17,16. 16 years old. He was 28-29, get to the final bang is mean him and I accidentally broke his rib. With a backache, and he had to drive me home to my parents and I had the trophy on my hand.
Pete Cohen 8:24
Matt Fiddes 8:24
I still remember the story to this day. I think it's just a drive me up. I'm just driven and is that because of me being in school, I believe so. I think most successful people have a painful experience,
Pete Cohen 8:36
I think it's that, and also the fact that you, you found something that you were good at and you could get better at it. What was it like when you used to compete against people that were better than you. I mean, it probably didn't happen very often but it must have happened right where people you knew you were going to take a kicker, but he's also I'm going to fight, because I knew I mean it's gone.
Matt Fiddes 8:53
Yeah, anyway, can they get better as the fight goes be better than you. If you fight against people, and you develop bad habits and stuff so they used to try and pair us up. That's why we went to Bristol because we had more of a pool of students, or as far as far against but my instructor, you know, and that was a great experience.
Pete Cohen 9:11
Was your instructor like your mentor as well did you have black people that. How important was that to have mentors that that type of age.
Matt Fiddes 9:19
He was he was awesome. He just saw in me that that I had this drive to make this happen. And he knew my parents didn't support me doing Taekwondo. And my parents weren't gonna use it, it was like two pound 50 And so back then but he was quite happy not to charge me because he realized that there is someone here that he can be proud of. And then he ended up there let me train with his instructor Go master the bathroom the van and ask the guy used to go to the train movie in in Brussels for these very, very nice. And he used to really put me through my paces. So, yeah, it was, there was, there is a certain element to natural genetics P, I have to admit, and I think to say there's not people will be like, I could not be Arnold Schwarzenegger is because when people form like an ISA to say like Austria, Germany, Netherlands, they tend to pour muscle easier than that. Yeah, you both have this flexibility, long legs at the height. So when I do a spinning kick, people are like, Wow, that's incredible. I talk a lot about that it's a short guy dropped on his butt, he's got very, very long legs, which makes it look good. Now my friend my training partner, same grade as me, same qualification is made when he did his printing cake. He says my small eggs and people weren't impressed. So there's, there's an awful lot about genetic and also not everyone can do to split your hips on in the right place isn't going to happen.
Pete Cohen 10:46
But you've still got to have a strong mind and the thing, the thing I'm very interested in is the whole thing about mastery because yeah mastery is almost frowned upon in society today people think you're weird. If you're like almost obsessive about something and getting better at something, obsessive isn't like the normal obsession with drugs or alcohol or watching Netflix is the obsession of just getting better at something, you still have that to this day right what's what's driving you now. Are they the nail on the head?
Matt Fiddes 11:18
Repetition is the mother of skill, as sometimes when you're doing a punch over and over and again for half an hour, or kick over and over again, we make it more exciting these days, but back then it was old school, and I was able to stick her back so I understood repetition is my rescue practice practice practice, or here's me going now is the same thing I just wake up with this drive to want to better myself. In my values is moved a little bit I'll send you early 20s You want the Ferrari's and everything else I've been through all that done all that you can teach all this stuff I try and teach it to my clients my franchises that don't waste your money, invest, passive income and stuff, they got to learn the hard knocks way more keys we go in going now is that I got six children along the bits. I lost my parents and I want to be able to make sure I just believe it's gonna be a hard world one day for our children and grandchildren, great grandchildren so I want to build generational wealth that's going to take care of them produce them income, no matter what's going to go on. We just had a real pandemic right now, what's gonna happen with global warming and stuff in the future we don't know. So that's what keeps me going now. That's my motivation all the Fariz and all that type of stuff.
Pete Cohen 12:34
So you build a successful career as a martial artist, and then you built a very successful franchise, I mean you're very well known for the franchise, you did what no one really had done before in this country, right. So tell us about that before.
Matt Fiddes 12:51
Yeah. So I built up five martial arts schools. I studied a American model. So, Americans are normally on the cutting edge so they were 20 years ahead of us. So I worked as a lifeguard for two pounds 75 an hour, save them enough money, I heard from a friend in America, particularly San Francisco. Multi multimillionaires and I didn't want to compromise standard for money, because I was all about standard That's old school thinking we watched the last how Gouki UK cow hiking UK how flexible you are. But they soon showed me now these guys have got a standard they are 1000s of students, they're ahead of our game, and then making the making a huge amount of money. I have no qualifications paying so what am I supposed to do now. I was working as a gym instructor 16 for like three pounds an hour, then 2% Or five and I was a lifeguard, and I do more parents say I told you so. We have a trainee studying. So I say there's enough money flow to San Francisco, basically modeled somebody, they took me under their wing, they said, 17 years old, I remind you again out here, follow Me route team no style study why do and I thought this guy was crazy. It was kind of a 40 hour every morning, his day was planned out, or write all those back. He says hey get back to England and so if it works great for though you haven't lost anything. I took the systems, basically system systemized everything. So we have photos of scripts everything manuals, is a plan in detail as the first guy to our music order lessons, that's a big no no in the martial arts at the right time. I changed curriculum to make it more. I mean things after that. And as martial arts has not really changed in 2000 years. You know we love guns now and nice and all that type of stuff so, and we got Berridge keys out of body works, so he changed, even the vowel colors as a pioneer and outside of things but first clients put people on to what we now call direct debits back then it was standing orders. I lost steak for hours the same eat dog takes all the forms, but it attracted massive attention. And yeah, kind of long story short, I went to 700 members members in six months, and 80,000 pounds a month at 18 years old. I have five schools in North Devon nearest town after our 50 miles away. My mindset was, I can't get as tries to try and go that will backfire away. And then of course you know what happened next I had so an individual in my life who said,
Pete Cohen 15:19
Yeah, like I said you know your story would be just interesting enough, even if Michael Jackson had an absolute. But not for me interviewing you, it's just that he did come into your life, and he really affected your life. And what I really enjoyed when we talked a few weeks ago and clubhouse is the narrative that we get is the narrative of the media with most people, and I just felt really privileged to, to hear about your relationship with someone who's affected everyone all over the world, but just tell us how did you come across Michael Jackson, but you know, that's not something which most people ever had the opportunity to do.
Matt Fiddes 16:01
Your fairytale right.
Pete Cohen 16:03
Matt Fiddes 16:03
Yeah. So those five scores I had in North Devon, obviously I was making a lot of money, and I tried to hide it back then pizza father mentality, and they're funny how you get you get pushed to school to work hard, get good school grades, get a good job earn money, when you're doing well somebody between the highs. And because you're embarrassed, but I have a journalist, who is a parent of two students in my school who was very intrigued, he saw two floors going on there was a building was gonna fall down was insane. And he saw all the martial arts people I used to read about the martial arts magazines were visiting me to see what this 18 year old wonder kid was up to. And he just basically said, Can I do an interview few of you for an agency because outrageous news is not around. When he put things on the wire. I was really naive, I didn't really know what the heck he was, and I said sure, so he ends up right back from the brilliant boy way to where I was, he did some calculations on my members worth while I was doing very well financially. He put a finger to me, actually that was a lot greater. Because they always do people always think is great. Yeah, I tried to play it the house was embarrassed I thought this guy to go tell the world that I'm making, loads of money. And here's some pictures. I forest for the local newspaper. That was my goal, my two goals that was to try and get the local newspaper, and I wanted to be in his martial arts magazine called martial arts illustrated, which only happened over and over and over again throughout my career. So you'd have to you'd have to build it and then I said to it's called Nick constable. I said Nick because I think I made the local paper, and he said, Sure you will. Anyway, two days later it was the front pages of the Sun the star. The Daily Mail every Eagle imagine booty boy becomes a millionaire picture of me in my sports car. And then I got on the back of that media works kind of my story that on Trisha, Patricia.
Pete Cohen 18:03
Yes of course.
Matt Fiddes 18:04
As the rounds, or your, your network Killroy. Yeah, of course, the show used to be called MTV
Pete Cohen 18:14
Matt Fiddes 18:15
Yeah, I did all of them. And then, what is up guys security guards, called and he wants to meet me. And he was reading because he wanted to impress by my story. So I know here in England he's known for a spear man, right that's the thing around the world, he's a mind power kinda like Tony Robbins he goes. So, I mean, I know about him and stuff, some of the stuff he does which nobody knows about well apart from you and alike. I mean the guy's a genius people just think he just bins spoons but guy is a genius. Famous He's famous. He's published 48 books, I mean the guy Yeah. Even now, if you're looking at that, what's yours He says, 7374. It looks amazing. I mean it's just yeah, everything's right you're racist, and he's not just positive he's just always like that. That's just the way he is. Yeah,
Pete Cohen 19:04
So he was obviously friendly with. He was friendly when Michael Jackson right?
Matt Fiddes 19:08
They were best friends. Unbeknown to me. I had no idea that they were best buddies and I think, so he wants to do this video, where we give away to kids, he was going to focus on mind power for the kids not be really the school and I was gonna do some self defense moves or we're going to give away free to all the kids through the government in the UK that was the first goal, we became very close friends he went on to be Godfather while his daughter Madison, Roland lockmaster People like that.
Pete Cohen 19:35
The Osteopath from Cheltenham he was Oliver in the color film of Oliver, it's just so strange, who was Michael Jackson's friend as well right
Matt Fiddes 19:46
Same age groups together, Charles, it wasn't just Oliver, he was big time with black beauty around Yes. Yeah. It was a huge success as well. When he saw yes fan mail every day now, you still get some quite small graphs. Please sir, Can you give me more because not here to tell you but I asked you that we stays out here in the mornings. Yeah, so resort life. I thought he wanted to already financially secure URIs a very intelligent man, as you pointed out, and I found that he wanted to play solo Michael's life, because we have a level of thing I've got many people you can trust, and Michael lost his longtime security that they retired, and I have access to the bandana and access to 50 to 100 instructors, you can help out. And not just that, Michael Jackson was a massive martial arts fan, he was already a Joe Jackson his father made sure the robot is trained in Kung Fu, so he uses martial arts and his dad if he wants to progress through second down which I did, I trained human marketers in the hotel suites, well over the years, if you ever stop and look at both of them. Now, I do now I get it now, but back then, I just used to feel like the world was treating me badly like, especially the local town I lived there were 30,000 people who pass them. When you're seeing us holding. Michael Jackson and Uri Geller, Britney Spears, you know, in all these big, big famous days now, Hannah. And I wondered why people thought I was a bit weird, driving around in a Ferrari. Top off me baby. Well I'll be abs. You know, I get it now. But now, when you're 18, early 20s He mentioned my friend. That was it. And I URI is my best friend. He's like a father figure to me and I talked to him daily voice notes and things, and I just didn't know it became really apparent I thought about this was, I was getting married on my first marriage, my marriage, and I say that we got a really well. And we, I have organized my stag to share the Hindu, and it's time for I started. And we wrote down the list of my friends, then we looked at the list, look at each other for this ain't gonna happen. I haven't gone on Friday, there's normal stars is a one person who didn't need security and a planet, Iraqi they before. I just went to the Super Bowl with him in the app. I thought I really clicked on. But no, I think it's difficult for other people to relate to me, and I can relate to them because people my age are going to my club, and perhaps.
Pete Cohen 22:42
Why do you think it happened, did you do you think it was just, just a logical. I think for you that you just work very very hard and I think somehow the universe rewards you outside the block.
Matt Fiddes 22:54
Pete Cohen 22:55
Matt Fiddes 22:56
I really believe in the law of attraction. Yeah, I do. And I, there's too many things I can't explain happen as long as I put my mind to it and I focus on it, I made things up. And I Yeah, the law of attraction if you, you, you're only talking about honor schools that used to say, you only three handshakes with anyone in the world. Yeah, and the whole Michael thing URI and all that network, clearly had a profound impact on 18 year old man. Because you mix him a billion as well famous people, and as a lot of traps a lot of secrets you have to keep, and there's no one or not hanging out with people who are trying to work things out 18 years old go yeah they've worked out.
Pete Cohen 23:42
Yeah, tell me little bit me and it will be in terms of Michael Jackson in terms of what he, because I know one of the things he really taught you to think bigger. Did that mean?
Matt Fiddes 23:54
On my case, pain in the butt. Sometimes just his ambition was unbelievable. He was in his hotel suite and a very, he's sick of people asking questions about it, that's all what happens all the time. So, how's your business doing map, Greg are five schools, only five. Why can you do more. So while the next house 50 miles away, Mike, I can't get his truck to that, because I'm sure you can. If I can have some records all around the world, Gary, Indiana, fed out of stadiums and one of all those children, too bad house, tiny his house over his dad has a steel, steel mill with no shoes on and stuff like that, then you can get some of the trauma 50 miles. And so my cat he said you can't it's called franchising, that I firm. Objection. I said, Yeah, but that's never been done in the martial arts world before ever, because that's fine, that's exactly why you've got to do it. And he just wrote down on his napkin, about how it, how it works was, they take a percentage you mentor them, you give them a business in a box, because it was franchises brand all around the world or the biggest deal ever and you probably remember. And he introduced me to his franchise lawyer at the time, and he will keep me very accountable. So, I was nervous when Michael used to ring me because I hear, you'd be saying, how many schools have you opened up how many students sometimes I feel like a radio peak because I'd say, I forgot 40 students I've opened out one school, and I have to throw the question back in. So I say Michael how how'd you get along, and he was great. I've just started, I mean talks assign an $18 million deal for tour in Korea. And I fell off the phone, I think there is I always had this vision of him with his gold plated phone and never I like this, you know, me on my own cost 20 pound phone plastic with a dodgy signal uncomfortable and I think it's so sad that the world don't get to see this side of it. You don't get to be the most famous man in the world. There's no doubt about famous people. I've met some mega stars if you want to call it that, Other than Michael. I've never seen anything like the reactions of Michael Jackson. You don't get to be the most faithful and famous the most respected talented band singing, and investing, he was very clever with things, unless you know what you do it. He wasn't your average artist, you just saying that. So he had this talent side, they didn't believe in talent actually because he, he believed you make your own talent I used to annoy him. Sometimes he would be dancing for four hours a day, singing all the time or his brothers used to tell me that Michael Jackson, never stopped being Michael Jackson the superstar he lives some briefs showbusiness. Nevertheless, they got where they did, they would go off and after families and families and he just loved children as Michael did. He loved that phrase in the audience, and he lived for his fans. But the Joe Jackson aside was in the roofers business man. Yeah, the man who would be leading our business meeting with him, and he would put his glasses on, in a certain tie, and he would just be laid in that room. He knew exactly what he's doing. And then two hours later he could be the pajamas watching Bart Simpson remain. And then in the evening you heavy in front of 80,000 people. And I wonder who the heck is on your mind.
Pete Cohen 27:25
Yeah, I saw him at Wembley in 93 I think, or 94, I think it was probably 93-94. the Wembley, yeah, yeah, yeah, dangerous.
Matt Fiddes 27:41
Pete Cohen 27:42
It was just the most incredible thing I saw the running stones at Wembley I'd seen other bands, but there was something about Michael Jackson, that I was completely mesmerized by the by the whole thing I can remember it like it was yesterday, you know, it was just like, there was something really special, but again, again you know a unique element of view is the, the challenging childhood which he obviously had and wanting to prove, but also wanting to get better, he obviously was wanting to always be better at what he did. What was that like to when you know when he passed away? I mean was that a surprise to you, or where were you when you found out.
Matt Fiddes 28:24
I spoke to him two days before on the phone, I mean of course we are live. He is quite well there now we were all concerned for Michael's health, one of his work was with him when he announced the concerts and tours right. In March, in 2009 and then I went back on the first day. Mark Lester and him went to watch all of that. On the West End Show, and it was chaos, they couldn't really enjoy it because you got more or less there was all of that, and you got my retractors are next to him. And then when they got back, I'm so glad I went Mark called me up and said, Come on, come on to the hotel, Mike was flying back, and then he's going to be busy, when we won't see him again until July, sort of, visit or all the shows are sold out by that point. So I drove up to the hotel, and we have Michael's favorite meal fish and chips which is seated on the floor, so I had the way Michael works. And he seemed awfully concerned to me about the shows, and he turned to Mark And He said to mark. If anything happens to me, I get shot on stage. We promise you look after my kids are marks godfathers all three of his children. And I said to Michael Michael Come on, you're going to be fine the public love you you just sold out, you firstly hate it three minutes and then we'll extend it, but he was concerned. When I went to leave that day. I hugged him, and he was his boats. It was not most to Michael, you know, and then I would obviously I would hear all the time from the inner circle that we had that things won't go well in the States, he was a turning out to rehearsals. If there was a lot of doctors hanging around. As always, trying to get what they want, and we had communication problems of Michael real hard to get hold of him. There was no access to him to get to a phone in the house he was staying with that was part of the problem with adults was trying to call the ambulance there was no landline, and no one really knew where they were, you know, and that was the issue there. So, I didn't think he was going to die. No Pete But I thought he would, he would not do the shows. I thought maybe he'd do one show, and call it sickie on it, basically, you know, being able to not be able to do it he when he was 50 years old. He's not your average performer, if it's just standard out singing is different, but he like loses a lot of weight every night because he just puts his all into big before our workout. So I think he's gonna die. I thought he was going to cancel the shows, but then I knew his financial situation his asset rich cash poor. And I knew there was a lot of pressure on him and the people around him at the time didn't really, there's a lot of money involved. He was a commodities at the word rather than either like a product to us and to me, Mr. He was our friend. So he called us on a Tuesday night, he called me first, he actually wants in mind so his phone number is a one usually for Michael to lose numbers and stuff. There was a way that organized people managers were changing my time with different managers, and he said I want to speak to mark. And then he asked me, he said, Can you do you know where Joe Jackson is if you give us a call on that. And I thought, That's strange. Why would Michael be asking for Joe I'd never heard of that before. I knew a Joe is Joe is in Vegas, all the time. So I've managed to source our Joe's, the number from Michael and I gave him. Michael that along the voice message on Joe Jackson saying, I asked Michael and Michael was, was that he said I need Joe Jackson to come here to California. He's the only one who saw this scenario, he saw this situation out. He left a little messy that suddenly Joe didn't pick that message over until after Michael passed away. And after that he called Mark Bankmark to come over to California, said he needed as much as we all will kids color lives. Die, we've always going to die, we'd be on the next plane, and we were worried that we didn't get out that we were going to get to him who heard all these stories, the family trying to get through it and he couldn't get past the gates, because there's the security we're not his people. It was the Rachael cope. The constant people's to put everything in place. So we wish we wish we went, we wish we went, because we there were some. Yeah, you get to live with it based on like a normal friend who dies and you go through a bereavement process. I mean, God yesterday, I get friends they send me stuff, send me there for printing for the post. You know I get stuff all the time to send for me. There is a day goes Passover guy asked about Michael. After he died, with me his brothers and some of his friends we had, we had counseling because you have when you when you lose he was being played, and want to ask you about what the hell happened, and they would love to. And as things started to happen, they're like he wanted a West End Show. You tried to get the show permission, about his music. And no one wanted to know when he died, he is the first thing that was there for the live Wednesday show. So yeah, it's difficult at first I was known as the martial arts guy when he dies or was forever printed about as for my bodyguards and Michael Jackson, joining us. I say to my PR people can we change this, or the way I'm creating my business is around sorry you're going to be the show for the rest of your life is Ralph is. He's got the same problem. He's learned to live with it. I'm proud of it, the guy the guy who's a good friend to me, is a legend, and if it wasn't for him, would I franchise, probably not. He taught me every element of franchise, marketing, PR, I got such an education from Michael. Also, don't ever walk from school. Well just from him actually. He had this inner circle of the most powerful people, whether Michael Jackson you you attract anyone you got access to anyone you want. I had a busy gal on the phone within five days, they're calling back and same of me, rubbed off on me actually. Amy read me back just because my name was Michael, and when he died I lost all friends, and it has been realized. Previously I go into Europe, his name is Beverly springs I think Europe for the first time I say used to go in there with Michael doing things that were shut down shops and go the underground tunnels a Euro Disney poco device as well as do the old fashioned way, it's always a bit different, isn't it. Yeah, great guy, misunderstood, Rufus businessman, but his inner circle and Mohammed Al Fayyad, people like that, you know how it's, you know, if you make some of them a young age, your life is going to be impacted on that for sure.
Pete Cohen 35:02
So definitely encourage people to watch the film that you are a part of called Chasing the truth. We just encourage people to watch and there's lots of information there about your story. Just tell us what you're up to now, in terms of I know you do a lot of coaching. Tell us what you're working on right now.
Matt Fiddes 35:20
So expanding my franchise so we have seven franchises that works the same as that obviously is the martial arts which is the biggest of its kind in the world. I franchised businesses to now I teach people how to franchise their business. So it happened naturally. Just before the pandemic. I did a show called rich house poor house, which is a bit like the current millionaire. And you saw powers, swap houses and it was a huge hit. And after that show we did two episodes of that show. I was provided with visitors saying, Can you mentor me can you teach me how to do this. And it was huge, like 20,000 messages. The next day we couldn't even cope with it. So I forced myself you know well. When you get to four years old, I want to. I love helping people. I love that thrill of changing someone's mindset or stopping kid being bullied, and it makes them successful. When they get their black belt, the parents acquire the ground passport, it's all emotional and making people financially secure, that's what motivates me change our lives. So, now I teach people I still run the organization we support expand globally, and all of them, push it out for more than ever now I teach people how to become financially free scale and grow their businesses through franchising, and it's been a big success I mean I've just not changes on private club house. I've been getting people contact and contact to me wanting me to mentor them and go forward with that so I enjoy it. It's not about the money, I just love helping people, you're pretty much the same as BP is, is nothing like changing someone's making them financially secure, is that all that belief structure. We're all programmed to conditions in a certain way, and to change that mentality and seeing someone be success is greater all over the world. So that's that's my mission I was trying franchise many businesses out there and how people grow and be successful and be financially independent, so another pandemic comes out again and I believe it will. We know love zoom or will crisis or whatever. I want people to have things in place like mutual funds, step stocks or shares investment property. Businesses company, or customer five groups through scan and franchising their businesses. The first step to get six seven figure income. So that's what I'm passionate about now.
Pete Cohen 37:37
Tell me how do people contact you, they want to find out more about what you're doing?
Matt Fiddes 37:41
They go to www.mfinnercircle.com and they'll be able to contact me through there just shot the form on up there and if I just want to say hello and contact me they my social media official Matt for that on Instagram DM me I always say times a DM everyone.
Pete Cohen 37:59
So I think for me, just in kind of summary, what you represent to me is just doesn't matter what's happened is what you do with what happened and you obviously use that as fuel to move forwards, and to get better and ultimately having to go through that to then realize that life is about giving back, helping others, right.
Matt Fiddes 38:18
And I think the biggest thing people should take away from this too is what I teach, don't worry about things you can control those, those damn all night worried about something that we can't, we can't control what the government's doing right now. We can't control the pandemic, we can only control we're thinking on Samson our mind, and even with the restrictions upon our lives at the minute. Don't moan about it, we kind of think about it, we'll look for what can you do within those restrictions unities, how can you help people, how do you give value to get value back. I think people will just freak out too much. There's no point in worrying about things you can't control, somebody up in my opinion.
Pete Cohen 38:57
So listen, I mean we could literally talk all day, all day our company we've been talking for like nearly 15 minutes, you know, it's just time flies. I think when you're, when you're having fun. I'd really encourage everyone to connect with Mark if you've enjoyed this feel free to share it, give me some feedback, I'll pass it on to Mark.
Matt Fiddes 39:15
Connect or Mark as more or less?
Pete Cohen 39:18
Whose Mark? Is this Mark who were talking about. If you want to connect with Matt. I've been, I've been on I was on clubhouse this morning, I have to tell you at 3:30 this morning, and then my room at five which went on for three I told you it's three and a half hours. So, yeah, I've been awake for a long time. Man,
Matt Fiddes 39:47
You're smashing on that. You really are.
Pete Cohen 39:49
Yeah, well listen, Simon, I mean this so much I've really really enjoyed, you know, just hanging out with you and I can't wait to get this out into the world and for people to kind of see the world through your eyes and what you've done so. Thank you so much, Adam. Thanks so much. Thanks a lot. Cheers.
Matt Fiddes 40:00