I’m Mathieu Audet and I am a senior software developer for Neosapiens. We specialize in membership and daily activities management software. Most of our clients are unions and federations. I’ve been doing this for 12 years now, 6 years for Neosapiens. What is great about my job is that it has the right amount of balance between working with people and working with machines (lol). I live in Quebec City, which is in the French part of Canada.
I am currently a black belt 2nd dan in Taekwon-do ITF and a black belt 1st dan in Kenpo Karate. I first got into Taekwon-do ITF when I was 12. I practiced for a year, but I then lost interest (you know, teenagers!). I got back to it during the summer of 2014, at 30 years old. I wanted to do something that would keep me in better shape, but also an activity where I could learn new things. I then got into Karate in October 2016, right after I got back from the Taekwon-do World Cup. I have a preference for Taekwon-do ITF over Karate, because it is much more technical in the patterns (katas) and more leg-oriented. Plus, the sparring is continuous in Taekwon-do, compared to point sparring in Karate where they stop every time one of the opponent scores a point. One thing I like from both of them is that they keep me in good physical condition and I have the chance to learn new things while I’m doing it!
Right now, I would say my main role models in martial arts are Mark Trotter from New Zealand and fellow Canadian Ryan O’Neil. Both are the current world champions in their respective category. I also had the chance to train with my friend and retired world champion Maxime Bujold. They all are models of perseverance and hard work. I know that I will never be at their level (I’m getting old lol), but every time I see them in action, it makes me want to train harder.
I trained with a few different clubs at the same time in the past, because I think diversity is important, and knowing more people is always fun! My home club is La Citadelle – this is where I trained and learned most of the things I know. This may be a little cliché, but “hard work always beats talent” is something that is very true in martial arts. This is especially true for a beginner, where hard work and discipline is very important to build foundations for the rest of the journey. Taekwon-do can be very hard on the body, so you have to be well prepared if you want to do it for a long time.
My favourite part in Taekwon-do is the patterns. This is where I’m at my best. I like them because this is something you do by yourself that is very technical. While doing a pattern, you have to use all the things that you learn in Taekwon-do. In Karate, I am very fond of the self-defense techniques. They are the perfect blend of good real-life applications and pure martial arts techniques. Teaching and coaching others is also a great learning experience. It gives you another perspective on things you’ve done countless times. I am also a referee in tournaments; this is also a great way to see things from a different angle.
I did my share of tournaments in the past. My most memorable tournament is without a doubt the 2016 World Cup in Budapest. Having the chance to compete on the international level and representing my country was an honour for me. The whole training leading to this tournament was also a good test for my body and my mind. I had to deal with an injury while preparing, and I had a lot of new patterns to learn in a short period of time. Right now, I am the father of a little girl, so I have to choose my battles (no pun intended). My years of tournaments are definitely behind me.
I do see similarities between martial arts and my time as a software developer – I think in both disciplines, even though they are very technical, there is always room to be creative and to have your own style. There’s also a certain level of abstraction that you have to be able to deal with. The greatest benefit is without a doubt a better physical condition. It makes my everyday life so much better!
I think as well that there is always more than tech – too many people still think that IT people are nerds and only do computer stuff when they get home from work (lol). I have worked with people with very diverse hobbies (photography, rock climbing, music, beer crafting, even someone who was a clown in her spare time) and I am glad to read in your magazine that this is the case for most of us. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is computer and technology related stuff, because I just did it during the day and there’s so much more interesting stuff to do!
My advice to martial arts beginners is to not give up after a few courses/weeks. Martial arts can be very strange to a beginner. This is not a cooking class, where you can get results almost immediately. Results in martial arts take more time to get, but they last longer. Hard work always beats talent, as they say. I think this is very true in martial arts. Practice makes perfect. You also have to be able to work by yourself a lot and be coachable. Some say martial arts is a way of life. I think I agree with them.