Having a varied career including head chef, journalist, British army and telecom engineer, head instructor Mat Thornhill started martial arts training on moving to Cheltenham in 2008 (although he trained in Judo up to the age of 10, and krav maga
while in the army) training at Karate World (now Cheltenham Martial Arts) in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA/MAARLISK) and Wado Ryu Karate. In 2010 Mat started martial arts instructor training with Master Instructor Stephen Thompson and Master Instructor Everton Smith
(both 7th dan world martial arts champions). In 2011 Mat passed his first Dan black belt and started assistant instructing and occasionally taking martial arts classes. In the same year he also started training at W.J. Freestyle Kickboxing (now Warriors Kickboxing)
in Churchdown near Gloucester. In 2012 Mat passed his second dan black belt and completed an instructor's mastery course. In 2013 Mat started Festival Martial Arts at Cheltenham Racecourse (the club is named after the Cheltenham festival of horse racing) running
classes in mixed martial arts and cardio kickboxing where he was working as Head of Night Security. In 2014 he moved to the Hereford area and currently works for Octaga Security, as well as working on the family livestock farm and running Festival Martial
Arts at Clehonger. In 2018 Mat was awarded his 2nd dan black belt in Freestyle Martial Arts with the World United Martial Arts Federation (W.U.M.A.) and is also a W.U.M.A 2nd dan black belt examiner. In 2019 Mat and one of his students came second in the WUMA
English Open Championships in the team weapons category.
Along the way in addition to his 2nd dan black belts in MMA and Freestyle Martial Arts Mat occasionally trains in kickboxing, Ju Jitsu, Wing Chung Kung Fu, Krav Maga, Escrima, Wado Ryu Karate
and Tai Chi Chen, as well as having trained with various martial artists such as Dave Kovar.