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Sport & Events

22 June, 2021

Breaking the odds

DESPITE losing his vision in 2006 Matthew Milini never lost his passion for martial arts and has dedicated himself to his training, a commitment which has earned him his black belt.

By Rhys Thomas

Matt Milini has achieved his black belt in Tang Soo Do after seven hard years despite losing his vision.

DESPITE losing his vision in 2006 Matthew Milini never lost his passion for martial arts and has dedicated himself to his training, a commitment which has earned him his black belt. 

The 48-year-old had prior experience with martial arts before his accident and had moved onto qi gong classes. 

It was there that he was introduced to Tang Soo Do by friend and now instructor, Robert McAlpine. Matt said that despite being blind, he enjoys martial arts and the benefits that it brings him.

“It gives me clarity and peace of mind,” he said. 

“When I could see I loved working and I loved photography so losing sight and not being able to do the things I love, your whole life gets thrown into chaos.

“Martial arts help bring balance and clarity to my life.

“It’s overwhelming to achieve this black belt and this is just the beginning, from here we are ready to start learning.” 

Since starting training Matt has been assisted by many of the other club members with bringing him water bottles and guiding him around.

“Every single student here has also earnt this belt with me,” Matt said. 

“It’s good that I have something I can turn to when life hits me.” 

Both Matt and his stepson Shayden Wason started training in Tang Soo Do together and have gone through the blood, sweat and tear-soaked journey.

“It’s a bit of a surreal feeling it only feels like yesterday, which is actually seven years ago, that I first started,” Shayden said.

“When I first started a black belt seemed out of reach and way down the track.

“For me the biggest challenge was up in my head this time around.” 

Robert McAlpine is the senior instructor of Tang Soo Do Moo Rim Kwam and has watched Matt train and develop his skills over seven years, with him and his son being Robert’s first black belts. 

“The biggest thing I’ve noticed from Matt is that his biggest challenge has been his emotional challenge,” he said.

“It’s been an amazing journey for him, discipline is a very rare commodity these days.

“Not only have I helped them but they have helped me to grow amazingly and their dedication in the club has been incredible.”  


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