I began my training in martial arts in 1979 when I was eight years old. My first discipline was Judo where I trained in old matted out tinned sheds; I can still smell the stench of sweat when you first entered. This was before Hereford’s Leisure Centre was even built. I studied Judo for three years but it wasn’t long after I got hooked on Bruce Lee in the TV programme The Green Hornet that I wanted to try the kicking arts.
After experimenting with lots of different styles I eventually achieved my black belt in Tae Kwon Do in 2000 (well I’m a slow learner). In between 1979 and 2000 I think I must of studied every art that was known at the time, Karate, Aikido, Mai Tai, Jujitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Kungfu, Ninjitsu, and Kungfu again. After gaining my black belt in Tai Kwon Do I felt curious of other styles, at this time I had moved to Bristol and was spoilt for choice, In 2002 I was awarded a WUMA (World Unification of Martial Arts) black belt in freestyle martial arts.
While living in Bristol, I made the most of studying under some great instructors and put myself on as many seminars and courses as I could. Of all the styles that I trained in and I do love all martial arts, it was Kung Fu that fascinated me, where ever I have travelled and whatever martial art I was training in for some reason I kept coming back to Kung Fu, particularly Lau Gar. In 2005 after moving back to Hereford I met up with my former Lau Gar instructor who was also teaching Kickboxing for the PKA (Professional Kickboxing Association). It wasn’t long before I commenced my Lau Gar training again, almost 20 years after my first lesson in Kung Fu. Because of my previous experience and qualifications, about 8 months after I opened up the Ledbury PKA Kickboxing club. In 2011 I was asked if I wanted to take over the running of the Hereford PKA club.
In 2012 after a lot of thought I decided to give up working 9-5 and put all my efforts into my passion, without really thinking things through and without much savings in the bank I started teaching Full-time.
It was in September 2013, after meeting up with Steve Rowe, 9th dan and Chairman and founder of Shikon Martial arts that I left the PKA association and formed my own association Dragon Fitness Academy which was changed to Matt Hudd Martial Arts in 2017. Steve Rowe has been a big influence and has guided me to get the Academy Clubmarked from Sport England and has helped to form my own unique syllabus.
Over the years I have a lot of people to thank for my journey; I have trained with some great instructors which have influenced my teaching style. I love all Martial arts and I believe there is an art for anybody. I am fortunate due to my own training experience to know what works for me and what doesn’t. It was Bruce Lee that said that “you have to make it your own” and “don’t think, feel it”. It is only after 30+ years of training that I am beginning to understand what he meant.
In 2011 I also spent some time in Foshan, China learning Yang style Tai Chi; this was my first real introduction to Tai Chi and since then I have gone to study Chen and Yang style even further and I bring the principles of these arts into all my classes. I have also started teaching classes in Tai Chi for adults with learning disabilities.
I still train regularly and travel up and down the country attending seminars and continue to grow as a martial artist. I don’t believe there is one better martial art; I believe people should seek out a good instructor rather than the style. All the underlying principles should be the same, get the principles right, the technique will work.