IASI Interview with Marty Morales

IASI Interview with Marty Morales

Interview by Megan Cox, Tucson Structural Bodywork

Marty Morales is the founder of the Morales Method of Manual Therapy & Body Conditioning. This month Morales took some time to speak with me about traditional Structural Integration, The Morales Method®, and connecting students with resources in the digital age.

A Certified Advanced Rolfer, Morales came to SI by way of massage therapy, earning his MBA prior to that. Deep tissue instructor Art Riggs introduced Morales to the concept of SI. A few years after finally undergoing a Ten Series, he pursued training as a Rolfer and graduated from The Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in 2008. As a practitioner and an educator, Morales shows great respect for the instructors who guided him through training: John Martine, Kevin McCoy, and Jan Sultan (respectively).

Morales and I spent some time musing on the importance of lineage in our training as SI practitioners, on the importance from learning directly from the source (or as close as possible), and he notes a particular turning point in his training with Sultan. Despite being a direct source of the “nuts and bolts” of Rolf’s work, Morales says Sultan helped expand his vision of SI from the traditional mold to something more personal.

"The way that he (Sultan) worked and his input into my work allowed me to imagine the possibility for a different interpretation of SI...I guess that’s what happens when one influence meets with an internal personality; there is a possibility for synthesis, a different version."

But, why a new method?

"Why bother reinterpreting when the foundation is pretty rad already? I’d have to say that, for me, reinterpreting it was necessary for me to fully express myself through the work. Sort of like, it’s not you it’s me."

As custodians and facilitators of the work, we all are familiar to some degree with the Rolf family tree, as well as the many incredible offshoots of traditional SI. It is my understanding as the daughter of an early Rolfer that Dr. Rolf encouraged her first students to go out into the world and evolve their own individual strengths within the work. To even flesh out new, expanded modalities using Structural Integration as an authoritative foundation.

However, the Morales Method® appears not as a response to Rolf’s supposed vision of the ongoing evolution of her work. Morales talks about his work in a way that does not feel adulterated by a personal investment in the proprietary struggles which have plagued our community for decades - and it’s refreshing. Instead, one might say that the Morales Method® developed organically as its own dialect of the root language Structural Integration.

Between 2008 and 2014, that dialect took shape and Morales began teaching workshops and classes in California and Nevada. Now, having expanded to Washington, Japan, and Switzerland, Morales seeks to reach an even wider audience. As of this year, selections of the Morales Method® are available as part of a virtual education program through the school.

In describing his work, Morales explains that The Morales Method® of Manual Therapy & Body Conditioning is distinct from traditional SI more in terms of application than anything.

"The philosophy is still there. The principles are still there, although slightly tweaked. But the protocol is different….We straddle the world of the original protocol and our interpretation of the protocol...To me, when you reinterpret something or give your own perspective on something... you’re slicing one way instead of another. If it works for students or for clients, great. And if not, then there’s the other."

We don’t articulate it as such in the moment, but in reflecting on our conversation, one theme is salient to me: Fluency. Connecting with the work in a way that matches our process and our resources. Speaking the same language at the same time, and the alchemy within that. As practitioners, we know the value of meeting the client where they are. We know that the greatest chance for positive change comes when all involved parties are on the same page.

I cannot claim to have personal experience with Morales’ work or his teaching, but as an interviewer, I do get the sense that for him there is an investment in much more than just the information. He seems to regard the human component involved in learning a craft with great value - at least as much as the nuts and bolts. After all, it is through the exercise of learning to teach that we must learn something all over again in a new way - let it pass through a whole new set of lenses - in order to translate that lesson into a language that is understandable to the greater world.


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