matt branstetter taiji tai chi
Matt Branstetter

Massage Therapist
taiji (Tai Chi) instructor


To schedule your session with Matt, please call him directly at 859-559-8891 or email


Massage: Thai, Shiatsu, Lomi Lomi, Therapeutic, Deep Tissue, post-partum
Meditation: private sessions
Tai Chi: private sessions, weekly class
Qi Gong: private sessions

Also sees clients with PTSD.



Private Qi Gong/Tai Chi:
60 minutes for $60

Massage Therapy:
60 minutes for $75
90 minutes for $105




My name is Matt Branstetter.  I am a licensed massage therapist and (Tai Chi) taiji instructor here at Centered.  The focus of my life has been meditation, the healing and martial arts and the philosophies that underlie these practices.  I have a passion for teaching and divide my time between teaching a taiji fundamentals class, private taiji lessons, massage fundamentals at Lexington Healing Arts and being a professor of Philosophy and Religion at Midway University. 

In my understanding, the traditional healing and holistic arts have always combined various techniques and methods with a deep understanding of core philosophical and spiritual principles.  In these traditions, the human body is understood to reflect the underlying harmonies of nature.  As the body starts to align with these underlying harmonies it moves towards greater health but also more profound levels of perception and understanding.  

I began my journey into these arts in 1992 by studying Asian Philosophy at University of Kentucky.  My professor would become my first meditation teacher and my first taiji instructor.  I studied with Dr. Don Giles intensively for 6 years becoming a black belt and instructor of his system of meditation and martial arts.  When Don moved from Lexington, I began to study massage and the healing arts at Lexington Healing Arts Academy graduating in 1999. 

Not long after graduating I moved to Furnace Mountain Zen Center.  Here I studied Zen meditation intensively for three years.  After my stint at Furnace Mountain.  I moved back to Lexington and enrolled in graduate school at Lexington Theological Seminary graduating with a MA in Theology in 2008.  I began teaching full time at St Catharine College in 2009 where I would design and teach courses in Asian Philosophy, Ecospirituality, The Philosophy of Embodiment, Yoga and Tai Chi. 

I have completed two 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings.  One in 2004 through the Lexington Wellness Center and another in 2008 with Amanda McMaine through the Lexington Healing Arts Academy.  I completed a qigong teacher training in 2012 through Rising Lotus Qigong.  In 2012, I met my current taiji teacher Ding Ming Ye. 

It is difficult to convey the level of skill of Master Ding.  He spent his entire life studying the martial arts and taiji both in Chen village and in and around Beijing.  He was himself a gold medalist in 3 all China taiji competitions and has since taught many gold medalists.  For over a decade I have had the rare opportunity, really unheard of in the United States, to study consistently with a teacher at this level. 

In 2020 I enrolled in a 4 year graduate program in classical Chinese Medicine at Jung Dao School of Classical Chinese Medicine in Boone, North Carolina.  I am in Boone for 1 week a month learning Chinese medical theory, taiji, qigong, acupuncture and philosophy.  Jung Tao teaches taiji all 4 years as its main form of self-cultivation. 

I am also in the process of finishing up a small retreat and training center in the woods at my home in Willisburg, KY.

Want to know more? Check out Matt B’s articles below!

Practical and Philosophical Essays: 

Follow the link to read essays and reflections on meditation, taiji, philosophy etc…  My writings attempt to combine poetry, autobiography and didactic prose to convey some of the deeper insights of lifelong training in the holistic arts.  Writing these kinds of essays are an essential part of who I am in this mad world…

Practice-Based Videos

Here are videos of basic taiji and qigong training techniques.  Some involve explanation where others do not.

Taiji Joint Locks

Here, Matt Branstetter is studying joint locks (qui na) with Master Ding Ming-Ye.  Joint locks are a traditional part of taiji training and are represented in nearly every move of traditional taiji forms. Watching someone merely go through the form is a little like watching someone play music without being able to hear what they are playing or watching someone paint without seeing what is happening on the canvas; the body mechanics and movements of taiji only happen partially in the body of the practitioner.  They are designed to effect the body mechanics of the opponent/training partner and only there can they really be tested.

Inquiry and Dialogue Videos:

Like certain kinds of music, Philosophy is best done LIVE.  In these kinds of dialogues we are not really talking ABOUT these deeper truths.  We are marinating in them, communing in them together.  I have had the great gift of meeting friends who have given their life to this kind of inquiry.  Dialoging with these people has been one of the great Graces of my life…

Simple, Spontaneous Awareness

Matt Branstetter and George Aboud philosophize on a deck.





Doors will be locked except for scheduled classes or one on one therapies.

(859) 721-1841

309 North Ashland Ave Suite 180,
Lexington, KY 40502

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We welcome all members of our community at Centered. If finances are a limiting factor for you, please ask about scholarships and sliding scale opportunities, as we are often able to work with clients and students to find a way to make our classes financially accessible. Scholarship spaces are limited; please ask about availability if you are in need.