Interview with Author of Mat Time

Ginny Tyler, author of Mat Time, trains under GM Keith Yates. When I recently found out about her new book from AKATO's FB group, I reached out and offered to help her promote this publication. 

A New Christian Devotional Guide

While JDK and the Traditional Taekwondo Techniques blog focuses on applications and training methodology, this is not out-of-character for JDK. We believe martial arts training brings a wide range of benefit to practitioners. There are just so many ways to benefit from the entire martial arts community, and this is only one of the examples helping you survive and flourish in the 21st century. 

For those who are interested in securing a copy of Mat Time, follow this link to it on Amazon: 

1. What’s your book about?

3rd Dan Break May '18

Mat Time is a Christian devotional guide designed to help martial arts instructors plant seeds of truth in their classrooms.  With key Bible verses and a martial-related topic for each reading, this book enables instructors to take the lessons they are already teaching their students and interweave Biblical truth for their students to be engaged and challenged in a way they may not have been otherwise.  I truly feel that as instructors, we are called to teach our students how to fight spiritual, as well as physical battles, and Mat Time is a wonderful tool for enabling us to do just that.

2. Where did your inspiration come from to write it?

For years, I have been piecemealing devotional materials for my own students, utilizing personal experience and convictions with age-appropriate lessons and ministry tools I have found.  If I was lucky, I would find something that would be easily translated to lessons I teach in my martial arts classes, but more often than not, I had to rewrite or tweak each lesson to make it work with our physical training in mind.  Fortunately, I was very comfortable doing this, until I got a very clear message from the Holy Spirit in February of this year:  

Gospel Martial Arts Union Conference Nov '18

“But what about the martial arts instructors who do not know how to put materials together the way you do?  What about the instructors who want to bring Jesus into their classes but don’t know how to go about doing that?”  

It simply had not occurred to me that other instructors may be struggling to do this, and it was as if lightning flashed in my head.  The world needed something that anyone could utilize – something handy and complete that needed only to be read to an eager audience.  Having written the children’s “Kingdom Kicks” series already, it was a very easy transition for me to shift my vantage point to putting something together for instructors that included key Bible verses and a martial-related devotion that pointed the reader back to God.  

Honestly, once I realized that God wanted me to put this book together, I was shocked I hadn’t thought of it myself sooner.  I have had students over the years move away and tell me after the fact that they could not find another karate school that “was doing what we are doing,” and I just had not considered that perhaps this is because instructors didn’t feel equipped to.  

I am so thankful for the prodding insight of the Holy Spirit, because otherwise, Mat Time would not have come to fruition.

3. How does your book benefit martial arts practitioners?

This book takes all of the guesswork and sweat out of having readily available opportunities to spend a few minutes of class time to work out those spiritual muscles.  In addition to having the lesson and key Bible verses all ready to go, the book also includes journal pages so that instructors can add their own experiences and convictions to each lesson to make it more personal to their classes.  Taking a one-devotion per week approach, this book provides a year’s worth of quality, relatable material for instructors to integrate into their classes.  This opens the door to discussion and helps students to have a broader perspective when it comes to those “unseen battles” that will inevitably come up throughout their lives.  It is my prayer that this book will help instructors to see how easy it is to integrate Biblical training into their curriculum and inspire them to continue doing so long after they have finished the book.

4. How does your book find its place in an increasingly secular world?

That’s a really good question, and I hope I don’t come across as lofty in my answer.  I do feel strongly that I was called to write the book and do all that I can to share it with the world.  But I also know that ultimately, God’s Will will be done, regardless.  If this book was written to save a single soul, or plant a single seed, and it does that, then I would consider that a “win.”  

The author with her Little Warriors April '22

I am also very well aware that God tends to take our 'little' and turn it into much.  The book may find a small niche in the world, but I have tremendous faith that the good it was written for will ripple throughout the world and reach every corner that it is meant to.  I liken this to the boy who shared his 5 small loaves of bread and 2 fish with Jesus to feed the multitudes.  If his 'little' could be turned into much, then I know that my small act of obedience will not necessarily find its place – it will make a place for itself.  As it says in 1 Corinthians 3:7, only God makes things grow.  So I do feel very strongly that Mat Time will create a space big enough to do what God intends it to do.

5. Would you share a quote from your book and any background story or thoughts that might be interesting?

As mentioned above, I feel very strongly that being aware and prepared for our spiritual battles is just as important as training for our physical ones.  Here is a snippet from the Day 18 devotion:

“In our key verse today, we learned that our fight is not with the obvious, but rather, the unseen and inconspicuous.  The problem is that our martial arts skills cannot touch this enemy – so how are we to fight properly?  

Let’s take a new view on “empty hand” training, for our weapon, the sword of the spirit, cannot be held physically.”

Ginny Tyler with her students at
DMD Tae Kwon Do Sept '21

Having fought many spiritual battles myself, I feel that there is urgency in preparing the youth of today for the warfare they will encounter as they become more aware of our broken world.  Training your body is very important, but how are we readying them for loss, anger, sickness, temptations, and all of the things that we instinctively want to shield children from?  

I can say with all honesty that I did not grow up with that firm foundation, and it took me a very long time to realize that growing up in an unhealthy home and not having a Biblical awareness impaired me for years.  It took many spiritual battles before I recognized the true enemy, and this fueled my desire to help others understand how to engage the enemy in a firm, confident way.  Now, more than ever, we need to raise up warriors in every sense of the word.  It is my prayer that Mat Time helps to accomplish that.

6. What’s the most difficult thing about writing?

Waiting.  Waiting for technology to process all those words and feelings you’ve wholeheartedly poured into your book while you impatiently wait for the world to receive your work.

I know many people who say that writing is the hardest part – coming up with content and the right words to say.  And I do feel incredibly grateful that each time I have written a book, the inspiration came from God in a very clear way.  My job is to listen and be obedient – I really feel that I am just typing out what God tells me to say, and in essence, He is doing all the writing for me.  All praise to Him.  

In hindsight, the whole process just makes me realize that I need to rely on His timing more and learn to be more patient.  It helps me to see that I still have a long way to go in being refined.

7. As a writer, which actor would you choose to play yourself and why.  

I hate to give such an unimaginative, straight-to the point answer, but I wouldn’t choose anyone else to play me.  I’m very much of the mindset that when it comes to me, “what you see is what you get.”  I would hate for anyone to glamorize or represent me in a way that was exaggerated, honored, or glorified in any way.  I am only who God made me to be, and I am still a work in progress.  I am incredibly complicated, but I cherish the simple things in life.  At the end of the day, this would make for a very dull movie.

(But…if someone HAD to do it, I’d put a call in to Jennifer Lawrence.)  

8.  And lastly, speak to the person who desperately needs to read this book.

Ginny Tyler

A call to action for all martial arts instructors:  You are given a unique opportunity each week to do something so much greater than you could imagine.  The martial arts offer us all endless avenues to come to the same place in Christ, and in being “the ones who have gone before,” it is our responsibility to be the guideposts for those who are farther back. 

We have the ability to share something so much greater than physical training to those God has entrusted us with, and it is our responsibility to make the most of each moment, for we never know how much time we have with those in our direct circle of influence.

Whether you choose to read from this book, if you are inspired to put your own materials together, or even if you print out Bible verses to hand out to your students each week, you are sharpening the next generation of martial artists and helping them to be the best they can be – in body, spirit, and mind.  My encouragement to you is that you do everything possible to plant those seeds.  You never know how big of a harvest you will reap if you don’t put in the work, and we may never know on this side of Heaven how many lives could have been changed for the better in doing so.

Perhaps you are drawn to this book in an answer to a still, small voice urging you to take your first step in utilizing your martial arts classes as a ministry opportunity.  Maybe you were curious and wanted additional materials to supplement what you are already doing.  Whatever the reason, it is my prayer that this book is utilized in the way that God is calling you to use it with your experiences and specific talents, for His glory.  It is my hope that having these materials will give you the confidence to invest in your students in a whole, new way and that it will set a pattern that will continue longer than you could imagine.  

Feel free to send questions to the author using the comment facility below.


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