Sunday, October 21, 2007

My thoughts about Matt Furey

This guy has got to be the most controversial figure in the realm of bodyweight culture. The way he says what he says, the stuff he sells, and how much he charges just sets the web on fire half the time. I was brought to exercising and to BW at the same time by his ads in Grappling Magazine almost four years ago. I feel like my training has evolved past what he teaches in many ways and I started to view him in a negative light, possibly due to what I hear about him.

Reflecting on it, much of Furey's teachings are very ingrained into what I think that fitness should be. I definitely believe that exercising every day is the best way to train. I feel that it really stamps on the mind that exercise is a habit much like brushing your teeth and taking a shower is in daily life and that they shouldn't be skipped. I also believe that you can get a good workout in a short period of time, like Furey teaches. I feel that 15 minutes a good minimum and that anything (even 15 minutes) is better than nothing at all. I think that maintaining a healthy weight is best done by cutting starch-heavy foods out of your diet. Most importantly, Furey taught me that you can work out anytime, anywhere with no equipment at all. Even still, his books are some of the few true BW-only books out there. Many claim to be but aren't. They'll throw in some kind of weight or an over sized rubber band somewhere along the line.

There are things about Furey that grate on me. I agree that he charges too much for much of his material. I also think that his material lacks a certain polish that books ought to have. I like Combat Conditioning and Combat Abs but I also agree that they are a bit thin on information. I don't think he's trying to rip anyone off. If you listen to him talk, he talks slowly and with few words. His books are a reflection of that. Some of his teachings sometimes come off as a bit wacky for me (like his Chinese love making system). If anything, I like vintage Furey better than I like the present version. He is coming off more and more like an internet telemarketer.

Then there's the biggest question of all: Is Matt Furey in good shape or is he fat? I don't know him personally but to look at him, he physically reminds me of my dad. My dad is bullishly strong but he gains weight very, very easily. He gains fast and he loses fast. I think that Matt Furey falls into this category. I've seen him with fat under his chin and around his neck and then I've seen it gone a month later. Even if he was completely leaned out, I don't think he'd demonstrate the typical cut that we often associate with people in shape. He's got a weird-built body. I have no doubt that he's strong as hell but in this business, your body sells your material. Granted he may have a hard time controlling his weight than others do but that is a harsh reality of the fitness world.

Overall, I think that Matt Furey could be compared to Harry Houdini. Houdini broke a lot ground with his magic and escapes. He was instrumental in magic's popularity, even to this day even though many have surpassed his feats. He was the first guy to make some noise, get noticed, and put his art on the map. I think the same could be said for Matt Furey. His single greatest contribution to BW culture is his ability to get BW noticed as a legitimate form of exercise. For me, that outweighs his shortcomings.


Anonymous said...

Good post, and fair, balanced criticisms and praises.


Anonymous said...

Steriod/Coleman despiser here.

Good balanced point of view you presented there. I too feel that Furey has lost the plot in recent years. I also know for a fact he was better "looking" while pumping weights then he is now. That ripped and shredded pic on the cover of combat conditioning was taken while he was still doing weight lifting. He IS bullishly strong too, he doesn't just look it.

I'm with you on the idea that his single biggest contribution to bodyweight training was getting it noticed as a serious way to train for any athlete, not just for the elderly, infirmed or rehab clinics.

Glen MacCharles said...

His material is solid for what it is. He started to become popular right around the time that ken Shamrock's first biography Into the Lions Den came out. After I read the Ken Shamrock book I started doing bodyweight squats 500 at a time on a regular basis. I think it took me an hour the first time and I had to sit on the floor and uncurl my toes by hand right after. i eventually got 500 squats down to just under half an hour. Never did hit the 15 minute mark. Anyway, I liked reading Matt Furey's articles back then and would buy any magazine that an article of his was in and when Combat Conditioning was released it seemed right up my alley so I bought it. I eventually bought Combat Abs too. I still like them and still use them to this day. Those exercises have a certain ability to make your body more comfortable to live in, if that makes any sense. I've also searched plenty of his more expensive material on filestube and ebay and like I said before, it's solid stuff.
The really weird thing I find about Matt Furey is that while his products are ridiculously expensive, if you pay attention he actually gives the jist of most of it away for free.
When he stopped aiming at the martial arts crowd and started going after corporate couch potatoes instead (that's where the money is after all) I lost interest in him. Much like you, I'm a fan of "vintage Furey." His early material on exercise and submission holds was great at the time. I used to put geeks in catch wrestling holds at the mall all the time. Good times.

Herman Nafziger said...

Sounds like you guys should go meet him in person before accusing somebody of losing touch.You guys talk but no proofof doing your research.As we get older we all change,he has some insights that you will find as you get older.