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I just graduated to Blue Belt in Kalaripayattu! Today, I want to share my martial arts journey. I hold a black belt in Shotokan karate, which I started at around 13 and continued through my early 20s. It gave me a great foundation, a strong work ethic, and a way to channel my anger constructively.

Karate kept me focused and probably saved me from the paths some friends took, like falling into drug addiction. After a break from martial arts and dealing with a severe eating disorder, I found yoga, which I’ve been practicing and teaching for over 15 years.

Yoga helped me heal, but I still felt a disconnect from martial arts due to unresolved anger and shame. I did some self-defense seminars with my partner, Matt “Judo” Murphy, a double black belt in Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Though resistant at first, I eventually discovered Kalaripayattu, the oldest martial art from Kerala, India, which combines Ayurveda, massage, weapons training, and yoga.

Kalaripayattu has transformed me, helping me integrate my shadow and reclaim my power. It’s helped me work through anxiety, have deeper friendships, and grow spiritually. Training in Mysore with my guru, who traveled 14 hours to teach me, has been incredible. I’ve also been learning Malayalam to communicate better with him.

Next year, I hope my guru can join us for yoga teacher training and a yoga vacation. Martial arts focus your mind, help you work through blocks, and are a sacred art. I highly recommend trying it.

Now, onto my group coaching call! We’re opening enrollment for July, and it’s only $150 a month. If you’re interested, reach out to me at We have a few spots left.

Thank you for listening! If you want to support the podcast, please leave a review on iTunes or Google Play. This helps others find us and supports the podcast. You can also donate via Venmo (ThriveYogaFit) or PayPal (

Lastly, we have a coaching certification coming up: seven days of intensive work followed by a three-month mentorship. Check it out at

Thank you so much. Namaste.

Post Author: Matt Murphy

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