Master Matthew Marshall

Martial Arts Background


After trying Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing and Karate, Master Marshall began training in TaeKwonDo in 1999 under the International TaeKwonDo Alliance (US based style now known as Ho-Am TaeKwonDo). He was awarded a 1st Degree Black Belt in 2001, 2nd Degree in 2003 and 3rd Degree in 2006 whilst with the ITA. In 2008 Master Marshall joined the Cobra Martial Arts Association (CMAA) and the 4th Degree he earned in the ITA prior to leaving was ratified in 2010.

Since joining the CMAA, Master Marshall studied and trained within several similar styles of TaeKwonDo including ITF, TAGB and several independent groups that followed the Chang Hun system of TaeKwonDo, along with attending seminars with Master and Grandmaster Instructors including First Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha of the UKTA. In 2014, one of Master Marshall’s previous instructors (Lynne Lewendon then 6th Degree Master of Reading Taekwondo Academy) also joined the CMAA giving Master Marshall the opportunity be able to Grade under a Senior Instructor that was more relevant to his training and lineage. After completed the requirements needed to promote, he was awarded a 5th Degree Master Black Belt in 2015. Despite the restrictions in 2020, Master Marshall was able to do a 3 hour physical test under the supervision of now 7th Degree Senior Master Black Belt, Lynne Lewendon. Once completed, SM Lewendon presented him with his 6th Degree Master Black Belt.

Over the course of his TaeKwonDo career, Master Marshall has entered several tournaments, under the ITA and several open TKD events. He has regularly medalled for Forms and Sparring and during 2012 and 2014, he was undefeated within the local circuit.


After discovering Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2006, Mr Marshall took part in several workshops and seminars. Unfortunately, due to the very limited number of Instructors in his area, he struggled to continue training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu frequently, so he began to travel to Poole BJJ Academy a couple of times a month to train under one of his former TKD Instructors. Unfortunately, it became clear that without a minimum of a weekly class, the progression in skills and understanding would be little to none. After persevering for just over a year, Mr Marshall decided he needed to find someone more local. A former ITA school owner (Kevin Hall) started teaching BJJ in Basingstoke in 2011, so Mr Marshall began training there instead. However, trying to fit his own training around his teaching commitments each evening was still difficult, so it was some time until he was able to fully commit to regular classes. However in 2013, Kevin Hall began running classes during the day and with classes available at least twice a week, Mr Marshall was able to start to progress at a steady pass and was awarded a Blue Belt in 2017 and Purple Belt in 2022. During his time at both White & Blue Belt, Mr Marshall competed in BJJ tournaments , frequently winning silver.


Master Marshall also trained in HanMuDo whilst with the ITA and Graded to Red Belt 4th KUEB. Although his training briefly continued until 2013, Master Marshall did not promote further in rank.


In 2015, after having many requests for a modern approach to training in martial arts and self defence, Mr Marshall created his own martial arts programme. Combining the training from Freestyle TaeKwonDo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the other martial arts he had studied and trained in, he developed the Self Defence Systems (SDS) programme. Based on the ranks achieve in associated Martial Arts styles, Mr Marshall was accredited the rank of 2nd Dan Black Belt within the SDS programme by the Cobra Martial Association. In 2018, he had spent the required time in rank to be able to promote in rank. After completing a Grading in May 2018, the CMAA ratified his promotion and Mr Marshall was presented with his 3rd Dan Black Belt.


Over the course of this training career, Master Marshall has explored of styles of martial arts. More recently his training in Kickboxing has been a focus and he has been able to use the Virtual Gradings offered under the CMAA allowing him to earn rank. Master Marshall has successfully Graded through the Colour Belt Grades and now holds the rank of Brown Belt 1st Kyu.
His other striking style training is not limited to Kickboxing, it also includes elements from Muay Thai/Thai Boxing, using a similar arrangement to the Freestyle TaeKwonDo he developed, allowing several striking background to be trained together. This training is included in the SDS curriculum.

Teaching at Martial Arts Schools & Instructor Training

In 2001, Mr Marshall began assisting part-time in junior classes at the Cowplain TaeKwonDo Academy (now closed). In 2002 he became a Trainee Instructor and with a growing interest to work in martial arts schools, he began teaching full-time as an apprentice. During this apprenticeship, Mr Marshall attended Instructor Workshops that covered subjects such as class & centre management, customer service, health & safety as well as curriculum reviews. Also, in this time he helped organise after school clubs, teach self defence classes, run summer holiday programmes and set up Black Belt Training classes. In 2005 after passing a written and physical test, Mr Marshall became a Certified Instructor under the ITA and was given the position of Assistant Centre Manager.

In 2006 he was invited to start up a TaeKwonDo School in Sardinia, Italy, which he did so successfully and graded over 40 students. Unfortunately, it was discovered that the community depended on seasonal tourism and so as the summer months came around, the club had many members suspend their training. This led to the club being closed as Mr Marshall could not sustain it over the summer season.
Upon his return to the UK he began teaching in Southampton as a Centre Manager for a full-time martial arts club in the former Eastpoint Centre in Thornhill. After a year at what was then the Southampton TKD Academy, Mr Marshall decided it was time to run his own classes, and opened his own club in 2007. As the club grew and developed, Mr Marshall want to expand beyond what was currently available through the ITA and so joined the CMAA in 2008. His Certified Instructor training with the ITA was credited towards the Martial Arts Instructor UK Qualification and after attend an MAIUK Course and passing the written exam, he was granted Level 1 Instructor Status.

As Mr Marshall began to expand his training into other styles of martial arts, he decided the best route was to become completely independent from a TKD only based club and so founded the Phoenix School of Martial Arts in 2012. As his Instructors Training continued, his students also became part of the Instructors Team. To enable him to a better training programme, Mr Marshall passed the Martial Arts Instructor UK trainers’ course and achieved a MAIUK Course Trainer certification in 2015. This allows him to run MAIUK Course of his own, allowing instructors within the area to progress in their training without having to travel away. Mr Marshall has seen over a dozen of his students achieve Instructor Certification within the last decade and several now help run classes within Phoenix SMA.

Setting up Phoenix School of Martial Arts (SMA)

After gaining the knowledge and experience in how to run a TaeKwonDo School, Mr Marshall set out to open his own martial arts schools in 2007. Starting with just 1 day a week in Bursledon and Hamble near Southampton, the classes soon became so popular that more were added, and the club was moved to bigger training spaces in Hamble and soon expanded into another local area, Botley.

In 2010, Mr Marshall was asked to be the TKD Instructor for Sainsbury’s Active Kids within Hampshire. After attending a local Infant School (Bishop’s Waltham), Mr Marshall was invited to set up an After School Club (ASC). The ASC Programme quickly grew and expanded into Junior School and then further into other local schools, having a total of 7 schools have the ASC Programme by 2020.

For those that moved on to Secondary School, they could no longer attend the ASC classes and so simply transferred to the evening and weekend classes. However, some schools were not as close to these locations, and so more evening classes were made available in Bishop’s Waltham in 2017 in a local church hall. Once again, classes outgrew the venue and was moved to a larger venue in 2018. This venue also consolidated the existing Bishop’s Waltham classes and those running in Botley into a single, larger club.

After expanding his knowledge of martial arts and seeking different styles of training, Mr Marshall founded Phoenix SMA in 2012 which now has over 300 members. The martial arts schools offer three different styles of classes, Freestyle TaeKwonDo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Self Defence Systems.