Matthew’s journey towards the study of European Martial Arts started with Tunnels of Doom- a game on the Texas Instruments TI99/4A, a replica sword and war-gaming miniatures given to him on his 12th birthday. This grew a life-long interest in historical arms and armour, sci-fi, fantasy and historical novels.
Matthew’s interest in sports (particularly Rugby Union) and field athletics led him to study a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education degree at the University of Wollongong (1998). During this course he studied dance and gymnastics- which was of great benefit when he began studying Hapkido in 1997 (2nd Dan) and later, Chonjo, under Korean Master Jinho Guahk. He has been the Tasmanian Head Instructor for Chonjo since 2004.
Matthew worked as a law-enforcement officer with the NSW Sheriff’s Office before moving to Tasmania with his Tasmanian wife in 2004.
Although he was always interested in European arms and armour he thought that the martial systems were lost. The historical re-enactments he saw seemed clumsy and “made-up” or skilful but unrealistic.
In 2006, while web-surfing, he discovered that there were existing manuals left by European masters. And, shortly after, found a copy of Stephen Hand’s English Swordsmanship in the Launceston library. This began a head-long rush into private study of Silver’s and Swetnam’s works (being written in English and therefore the most accessible). And also, Fiore di Liberi’s system of wrestling and dagger- which is almost identical to the Korean joint-locking and unbalancing systems he had studied.
Matthew is particularly interested in raising awareness of historical European martial arts, their efficacy, and studying the Christian cultural context that these systems developed in.
He lives in Longford, Tasmania, with his wife (Amy) and four children, where he is the Chief Instructor for the Launceston and Longford branches.