getting to know … Matthew Bailey |

getting to know … Matthew Bailey

Tara Dalbow
photo by Dominique TaylorJujitsu instructor Mathew Bailey prepares two students for a sword fight during one of his classes at the Vail Recreation District Red Sandstone Gymnastics Center.

As Matthew Bailey drove through the Vail Valley for the first time in 1973, it was love at first sight. He knew that there was no going back to the smoggy air of Newport Beach, Calif. He found his happiness in the beauty of the mountains and the endless blue sky.

“If I’m not looking at blue sky, then I’m not living there,” he says.

He came here and fully emerged himself in the Vail lifestyle ” the biking, the snowboarding, the kayaking and the sense of community he found ” and the hopes for keeping it and protecting it faithfully.

Matthew Bailey defines himself as a self-protection instructor. He says it’s the “creation of a thriving lifestyle for individuals, family and community.” He teaches people to not only defend themselves against danger, but also to “take proactive steps toward avoiding danger.”

“I am just a small piece of the puzzle, I know there are many other people in the valley doing the same thing,” he says.

I started pursuing the martial arts as recreation. I took four years of it and became a master of the martial arts. I then found that I had the natural ability for teaching, like you just know when you have that sense for connecting and teaching people. I also saw women, children and seniors who wanted to feel better about themselves, and know how to protect themselves in a way that they wouldn’t get hurt.

I teach martial arts, tai-chi, basic self-protection and firearms safety. I have applied my teachings to varied organizations such as Apple computers, School for the Deaf and Blind, Colorado College, Girl Scouts of America and the Air-force Academy.

Self-protection gives people the tools for creating a healthy lifestyle. Teaching self-protection is a manageable way to improve the community at large by creating healthy family relationships, and by raising children in an enlightened manner. I also believe that self-protection makes an empowered social base for people, and that empowered people make good decisions.

As the community goes through dynamic change and growth, which is natural for most outdoor resort communities, we must never lose our sense of community. If we lose this sense, our children will be the ones greatly affected. I also hope that along with economic growth, we preserve the natural beauty of this place.

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