Jason began training in 1987 with the Australian Freestyle Tae Kwon Do Academy (AFTA) under Master John Calligari. He and his younger brother Brett were only 8 and 6 years old respectively when they began their training. Their early years of training were often interrupted by changes of instructor and class locations. The majority of their early development was by Mr. Peter Walters. Mr. Walters was an instructor who not only developed their skills to black belt, but also their strength of character with his strong training regime. Jason received his Black Belt in 1992 at the age of 12. He and his brother were among the youngest in AFTA’s history to achieve their Black Belt.
“Mr. Walters was a great instructor, he ran his classes with a heavy focus on discipline. My brother and I were young and often rambunctious, but he kept us in line and made sure we worked very hard. I don’t remember being overly natural at Tae Kwon Do, but the training we received made us quite skilled at a very young age.”
When Mr. Walters moved the class to nearby Morayfield, Jason and Brett found it more and more difficult to keep their training commitments. However, not long after, then Regional Chief Instructor Mr. Peter Cameron re-opened a class at Redcliffe and became the brothers new instructor.
"I feel very lucky to have trained with the instructors I’ve had over the years. They have such a strong influence over the kind of martial artist you become. When you’re young, they definitely have an influence on the type of person you become as well. I hold all of my instructors in the highest regard, as they have helped shape me into the martial artist I am today”.
The next 3 years, were filled with many great training experiences. Tournaments and camps were highly motivating and offered lots of opportunity for growth and development. In July 1995 Jason and Brett undertook under took their 2nd Degree Black Belt grading. A second degree Black Belt grading is the most physically demanding grading in the IMT curriculum. The preparation for this grading was intense and made the brothers lift their skills to a new level. Also aiding in their development, was their new roles as Assistant Instructors. This new role at the club was challenging and very rewarding, and it benefited their training immensely.
"My first taste of instructing got me hooked. Not only did my own understanding of Tae Kwon Do improve, but seeing someone develop their own skill from my instruction was so rewarding. I started looking at my martial arts in ways I never thought of before, and all of a sudden, lessons I had learnt many years ago came flooding back to me. It was now my responsibility to pass on the lessons I had been taught to a new generation of eager minds”.
In 1999, Mr. Peter Cameron handed the full time running of the Redcliffe club to Jason. "My goal was to emulate the standard set by Mr. Cameron, I wanted to have the highest standard of student possible. This was a goal I set very early on for myself, and a goal I maintain to this day. It was not easy at first, it took me a while to find my feet as a full time instructor. As with anything, experience breeds confidence, and as time went on, I settled into instructing quite naturally”. Jason has continued his commitment to teaching in Redcliffe ever since and is now one of the longest serving Instructors within IMT.
As well as his commitments to IMT, Jason also competes in all styles tournaments, and has done for many years. Learning about other styles improve your development, and being open with your attitude is a core principle that defines IMT. Over the years, Jason has competed in many tournaments and has achieved consistent results at state and national levels.
Jason worked on setting new goals for himself, including preparations to grade for his 3rd Degree Black Belt. In 2001, he achieved this goal after training and teaching for 6 years since his previous grading. “The journey we take in Martial Arts is a personal one. For me, achieving a new rank is about dedication and hard work. Experience counts for everything, and the longer you train, the higher the standard you will set. This is something I also instil in my students”. It would be another 9 years of training before his next grading which he accomplished in 2010. Jason was the first Black Belt to be promoted to 4th Degree Black Belt under the IMT system, an achievement which his brother Brett also obtained in 2013.