Coaches Corner: Week 3

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Matt Roberts: Coaches corner

Matt joined EPiC martial arts in August 2015 and has worked hard in building his clubs in Yate, Bristol and Chepstow (with Andy Cleeves). He sheds light on his personal likes and about his story so far.

Matt with fellow coach Ben Gill
Matt with fellow coach Ben Gill

Q: What’s your favourite food?
Matt: (laughs) well this will be banter for me, I like food in general. Although like most kids I’m siding with pizza on this one, in particular American Hot. I love jalapeños!

Q: What’s your favourite TV programme/series?
Matt: If I’m honest I don’t get much time for watching TV as there is also so much going on with EPIC and Total Combat, but the only series I’ve ever completed and absolutely love to this day is Prison Break.

Matt won the CIMAC Superleague in 2016
Matt won the CIMAC Superleague in 2016

Q: How old were you when you first started martial arts?
Matt: I was 5 years old, I have been training on and off now for over 21 years and that makes me feel old!

Q: What styles do you train and teach?
Matt: I’ve dabbled in a lot of styles, Tang Soo Do, Judo, Brazilian Jiu jitsu, Tae Kwon Do but my main styles are Kickboxing, Krav Maga and Eskrima. I also trained ‘self defence’ with independent teachers and ex-military guys who have shown me some very useful tips and tricks.

Q: What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Matt: Trophies. I am aiming towards getting higher grades in all my styles and to build Yate, Central and Chepstow to be recognised classes across the counties as THE place to train. We are moving in the right direction but I want to step up momentum. I want my daughter to start training too!

Q: What’s your best achievement to date within martial arts?
Matt: Well surviving my week of training in Israel back in 2013 was an achievement! That was brutal but I’m most proud of my Bronze medal at the Irish open in 2016. Hopefully I can better that next year!

Q: What’s training with EPiC like compared to training in Krav Maga?
Matt: completely different, fitness levels are much higher in kickboxing compared to what is needed in Krav Maga. They have to be.. Competition fighting requires you to give your energy over 2 or 2x 2 minute rounds whereas Krav Maga is designed to, if needed, use all your energy over 4 seconds or so. Your adrenaline takes care of the rest as you run for your life. I love both types of training, I won’t lie though there is a feeling you get from points fighting that self defence training can’t give you. EPiC is full of great positively minded people and the training gives you a good insight into how to be better people rather than just a skilled martial arts practitioner.

Matt with EPIC head coach Andy Cleeves
Matt with EPIC head coach Andy Cleeves

Q: If you could go into the Imacelebrity jungle with 5 others from EPIC who would it be?
Matt: What a terrible show. If I had to? Hmm well i guess it would have to Andy C, Andy G, Kam, Gio and Crusey.. I would win on pure entertainment alone. The public would love a show with us characters on it!

Q: Who would win in a fight between a high level kickboxer and a high level Krav Maga practitioner?
Matt: (laughs) the million pound question! If I had a pound for everytime I’ve been asked this then I could retire, there is no right or wrong answer. There are different types of training and a ‘high level’ in one club might only be at the same level as an ‘intermediate level’ at another better club. Ultimately this is only an opinion based question so my answer will be, whoever gets the first decent shot in!

Q: Who are your martial arts idols?
Matt: Bruce Lee is undoubtedly one of the best all time. There are legends like Tony Ja, Chuck Norris, Scott Adkins, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jackie Chan etc. If I’m honest those I look up to those who train me personally as I get more inspiration from them than anyone. The likes of Andy Cleeves (EPiC martial arts) Darren Langston (Langston Martial Arts Academy), Gio Marchese (EPiC), Kameron Doyle (EPiC) Clint Badlam (West Country Krav Maga), Ken Garriques (Krav Maga Worldwide, Bristol) and Jeff Mount (KMW Maryland)

Q: If you could fight one person in the world who would it be and why?
Matt: That’s a tough one because I would want to fight so many people. All the loudmouth arm-chair know-it-alls who claim that this martial art is this and that martial art is that who have never practiced one kick. But of course if I could fight one person then Conor McGregor.. I would take a decent 7 figure sum to get beaten up ?? although I have 50lbs on Conor!!

Matt with 6 year old student Harvey
Matt with 6 year old student Harvey

Q: What other jobs have you done except for teaching for EPiC?
Matt: I was a building labourer, apprentice stone mason and qualified as a plasterer over a 5-year span from 2009-2014 before going on to run Total Combat- my self defence academy- for 8 months before joining EPIC in August 2016. Before being a builder I worked for Marks&Spencer in 2009 and before that believe it or not I had a broken ankle which was really bad when I was at college. So to fill the time around studying I was sponsored to play on my Xbox360 by a German ‘clan’. The original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was the game I played back then. I got rid of my Xbox in 2010 and haven’t had one since.

Q: What music are you into?
Matt: I like a lot of different types of music but I can’t stand opera. I’m also not a massive fan of dubstep- it sounds like someone has broken the track and makes silly sounds over the top of it.. I used to go and watch live music a lot but nowadays I don’t have time for it.

Q: What are your roles in EPiC?
Matt: I am in control of making sure the website content is updated, I am our official ‘reporter’ as writing runs in my blood. My dads an author, a blooming good one too. Obviously I am a coach and I compete too on my quest to get a GB squad place and compete at the euros or worlds in years to come. I also liaise a lot with the other senior coaches to make improvements to what we do, we believe that we should evolve always.

Q: Final question, what is your favourite part of your job?
Matt: looking back and seeing how far everyone has come in that time. There is no job satisfaction like it.

Matt has set pretty bold goals over the next few years, fingers crossed he gets there and keeps himself injury free.

Join us next week for the next round of Coaches Corner

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