When you ask athlete, sports coach and podcaster Matt Belair about his future goals and he says he wishes “to raise the consciousness of the planet by popularizing the mental game of sport,” you think you’re talking with someone who has had exposure to the mental sports programming used by today’s elite athletes.
But when he follows that up by saying “You have to let go of everything you think you are in order to BE everything you actually are,” offering to help people transcend limitations to discover their highest potential in sports, you realize that you’re talking with someone who has a much broader, deeper understanding of the ineffable power of the mind.
Connie Wardman: Thanks for talking with Compete Magazine, Matt. Please share your story with our readers.
Matt Belair: Sure. I grew up a martial artist and was always interested in the power of the mind. In my early 20s I moved to Whistler, Canada and was a professional snowboard coach for eight years and travelled the world. I continue to study mind power and wrote a book and created a course designed to help athletes master the mental game of sport. I’ve meditated with monks in Nepal, trekked Everest, trained with pro MMA fighters in Thailand and trained with 34th generation Shaolin Monks in China. And now I teach others what I’ve learned over a lifetime of study.
CW: What is it you love about sports in general that keeps you engaged and what are your own sports of choice?
MB: I love sport because it is the most fun and engaging way to help develop self mastery. I love the camaraderie, community, passion and intensity sports naturally brings forth. For me, it’s snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing and hockey.
CW: You’re only 32-years-old but you’ve already experienced so much in your life. Who first inspired you to live what I’d call a life of discovery? Was it family, friends, mentors or perhaps your own early recognition of your life’s path?
MB: I believe that exploration of myself and the world was something that was in my DNA. However, the first influencer was my father who introduced me to martial arts. The second influence was martial artist Bruce Lee whose philosophy and work I began implementing at the age of six. I’ve been drawn to martial arts ever since I was a kid and the practice has shaped who I am dramatically.
Bruce Lee died 11 years before I was born but his impact on the world as the greatest martial artist of all time already had been solidified. In fact, most people don’t know that he studied philosophy at the University of Washington. In his 32-year life he left an incredible wealth of knowledge that anyone could learn from. I studied his movies, documentaries, read his books and absorbed his philosophies around martial arts and life.
CW: You’ve called Lee your mentor and favorite athlete no longer living. What did you learn from him?
MB: He taught me about self-expression, being dedicated to your practice, pushing past your limitations and achieving your highest potential. This led me to experiment and research meditation, visualization, psychology, neuro-linguistic programming, hypnosis, sports performance and developing your intuition and psychic abilities as well as astral projection, law of attraction and more. I explored all avenues of consciousness, mind power, self-exploration and personal development, no matter how “out of the box” they may have seemed.
CW: Do you have a favorite living athlete?
MB: Yes – Luan Oliveria, one of the best skateboarders on the planet. However, his attitude is what sets him apart. He is always having fun, he skateboards for himself and he gives back to his underprivileged hometown. He’s what I would refer to as a conscious athlete.
CW: Given all your life experiences, Matt, what are you teaching your students?
MB: Zen Athlete is a compilation of the most effective techniques in sports psychology and human performance. I developed the Zen Athlete program and wrote a book, my greatest personal achievement. All of the techniques have been proven to work for me, my clients and hundreds of others over time. Our philosophy is to help you use your sport as a tool to develop your body, mind and spirit. To achieve more than you ever thought capable of and to apply those lessons to your everyday life. It is to use sport as a tool to elevate your consciousness, to smash your limitations in all areas of your life and to give you a direct path to the realization that you are capable of anything, you are infinite, you are more powerful than you could possibly imagine!
The combined tools and strategies help you take your abilities to another level to increase your performance and help you unlock hidden potentials. But that’s just the beginning. Many of the students experience their personal lives dramatically change for the better as their inner work harmonizes their outer world. The final step of the process is out of body, 5th dimensional, transcendent experiences that will leave you forever changed. To go beyond, you must go within. Actually, dramatically improved performance is a pleasant by-product of elevated consciousness and the balance of mind, body and spirit.
CW: Thank you for your time, Matt. And on behalf of all our readers, namaste.
By Connie Wardman
Photo by Nicole Mannell