Setting kids up for life

Published 5:00am 1 April 2024

Setting kids up for life
Words by Jodie Powell

With a focus on self-belief and helping young people become the best version of themselves, the husband and wife team behind martial arts classes across the City of Moreton Bay are changing the lives of hundreds of people.

Julie and John Marshall from Matt Fiddes Martial Arts say their philosophy is not teaching people to fight, but rather about building resilience.

“Martial arts is about developing kids and when you see kids come in and they’re shy, and you see them grow and develop and they try other sports, you give them the best opportunity in life,” John says.

“It makes you a physically and mentally stronger person.

“All our teaching is about believing in yourself. It’s about trying to unleash that belief and showing them what they’re capable of achieving."

Building confidence

Setting kids up for life

Julie and John discovered Matt Fiddes Martial Arts when their son Charlie, who’s now 16, was five and in Prep and being bullied.

“We wanted something to build his confidence,” John says.

“It’s not about learning to fight, it’s about building self-confidence – and that’s what most parents are looking for.

“We looked around at a lot of martial arts places and a lot taught young kids the same as they taught adults.

“We found Matt Fiddes and loved it and then I got asked to be an instructor and Charlie’s now an assistant instructor.”

Lifelong skills

Setting kids up for life

John says their curriculum, which is based on Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu, is built around a Black Belt mindset and the discipline – mentally and physically – required to achieve the martial arts milestone.

“The pinnacle of the journey is to get your Black Belt,” he explains.

“Most kids understand what that is and want to achieve that.

“We also focus on the principles of courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, humility and indomitable spirit and that flows into their lives outside of our classes.

“Even if they’re doing other sports, they take that Black Belt mindset and keep trying to improve.

“It’s about home life, school life and martial arts life.”

Classes for all ages

Setting kids up for life

Matt Fiddes Martial Arts caters for children from the age of three, starting with Mighty Matts classes.

“It’s activity based, so they learn martial arts and focus and do it while they’re having fun,” Julie says.

“They’re learning through play – for example they will do an obstacle course and then the instructor will be at the end for drills.”

John says Mighty Matts focuses on teaching children aged three to seven to make good choices and learn life skills.

“We talk about manners and having a good attitude.

“We’ll do an activity and then sit in the number 10 position with their legs crossed and their finger on their mouth, so they learn to self-regulate.”

Juniors aged seven to 12 follow a set curriculum which is more structured, and less activity based.

“It’s about encouraging their respect and confidence and self-belief,” Julie explains.

Opportunity for growth

Setting kids up for life

John says the Matt Fiddes Martial Arts leadership program delivers more advanced training, with additional classes for weapons training using plastic and foam weapons.

“They get to start teaching classes and learn how to coach and lead other students,” he says.

“From leadership training they can go into our junior instructors’ program to further develop their teaching and coaching skills – that’s obviously over years and years.”

Julie says Matt Fiddes Martial Arts creates an extended family network, based on the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child.

“A lot of parents join our classes – they want to make friends and be with their kids and the kids love it.

“We’ve got some mums and dads who, when we first met them, we would never have got them onto the floor and now they’re instructors.”

“The family that kicks together stays together,” John adds.

Free trial

Matt Fiddes Martial Arts offers free trial classes and operates six days a week, with training in Mango Hill, North Lakes, Burpengary, Bracken Ridge, Narangba, Strathpine West, Murrumba Downs, Aspley and Albany Creek.

To find our more phone 0433 781 924 or click here.


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