Fitness and Self Defence

Matthew Tyler

Branch Instructor

Branch / Region

Oatley West Dojang / St George NSW Region

How long have you been training in Taekwondo? And what got you started?

I started back in 2006. Having given up on soccer, I was trying to find a new sport to do outside of school. I tried Taekwondo and haven’t looked back since.

Highlights of your Taekwondo success?

Two main highlights have been achieving my Black Belt in 2012, and my first student promotion to Black Belt in late 2017.

Describe your first black belt grading, and what it took to get you there?

I distinctly remember having difficulty with the board breaks for the grading. However, after getting to as many training sessions as possible, including some extra ones with the Chief Instructor, I finally got there. Then, at the actual grading, once I got that first break, confidence shot up, and the rest of the grading was relatively easy after that.

How often do you train? In Taekwondo? Gym? etc

I run my hall two times a week, and train at other centres an additional two to three nights a week.

Favourite Taekwondo move or moves?

Turning kick, Crescent kick, Hooking kick. Basically, any large, sweeping kick that gets over the guard at head height.

What are your personal goals in Taekwondo?

My primary goal currently is getting as many of my students through their training and gradings as possible. I am also looking at my own progression, but that is not as high of a priority for me. Now that I am an instructor, I consider helping my students to progress to be more important than focussing on my own progression.

Has Taekwondo benefited home life? If so, in what way?

Not my home life directly, but it has improved my fitness, self-confidence, and mental discipline, which have all, in turn, positively affected all other areas of my life.

Your favourite saying and what this means?

“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”

  • Neil Gaiman, Good Omens

Hard for me to pick a favourite, but I do like this one. It reminds me that people are not inherently good or evil, and we should not judge them as so. People are complex individuals, and dismissing, giving up, or categorising them based on a single metric often leaves most aspects that make them human neglected.

 Best advice you can give someone training and wishing to start training in Taekwondo?

You progress at your own rate. It’s more important that you put in the effort and improve than it is you racing to get new belts, because looking back, you will be more impressed with how far you have come, than with how quickly you got there.

What other activities apart from Taekwondo do you enjoy?

Most of my time is taken up by Taekwondo, uni, and my volunteering with St John Ambulance. Outside of that, I am a fan of tabletop gaming. Any day where I can crack out a board, or cards, or dice, and spend some time having fun with friends is a day well spent.

Favourite movie(s) and why?

My top 3, in order, are Mr Nobody, The Man from Earth, and Primer. But I’m a fan of any movie which makes you think not only during the movie, but even after it has finished.

Favourite food?

I’m not a fussy eater, but I am a fan of any sort of big, meaty dish. Roasts, casseroles, etc.

With regards to Taekwondo where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

I have no idea where I will be in five years for anything, let alone ten. However, I do know I will still be training for much longer than that.

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