What do you do outside of training? I’m currently one of those weird/creepy mature age students as I’m studying a double degree in psychology and sport science.
What is one key event that changed your life in a positive or negative way? Last year I quit my long-standing public service job and ended up travelling the world for 5 months. I blew most of my money and made a lot of mistakes, but the experience was priceless. Previously, I was obsessed with the idea of running away to live and work overseas but while I was travelling I realised that you can run away from home, but you can’t run away from yourself (deep). I then decided to come back to Canberra and change my life so that I could follow my interests and passions instead of just wasting time working in a soul-destroying office job. I have a lot less money in my bank account these days but I’m much happier.
What is your ultimate achievement? I single-handedly emptied half a bar in Nashville on Karaoke night when I got up on stage to sing Seal’s classic R&B hit ‘Kiss from a Rose’. It was nerve wracking, but I did it to impress a group of women - the country lovin’ folk there were not impressed.
What is one surprising fact about you? I have an extremely addictive personality and I get obsessed with things really easily (did anyone else play Runescape for 6 hours a day in their early-mid teens or was it just me?). I don’t know the meaning of moderation either - one week I could be following some kind of paleo diet and the next week I’m binge eating 2 tubs of ice cream a day.
Why did you start doing muay thai? When I started at Chopper I had no previous combat sports experience, I mainly wanted to lose weight because I’d ballooned up to nearly 100kg after some rugby injuries (had two separate shoulder reconstructions in consecutive years). For a while I only came in once or twice a fortnight and then I got addicted and started coming in most days with the goal of fighting in mind.
What advice can you give to new students joining up who have never trained? Be patient and don’t get frustrated, whether you are an aspiring fighter or just someone looking to have fun and gain fitness in a supportive environment: It takes consistency and discipline to learn the techniques and there will be many times where you think to yourself “I suck!”. Keep pushing through and you will be surprised with how much you have improved in a matter of months.
Describe the people you train with at Chopper They’re all super chilled out, fun, friendly people, except for that rotten egg Simon Gillett who has thankfully now moved to the Northern Territory (jokes).