“Having the right attitude really helped me, I do that about most things in life, having the right attitude towards certain things helps.”
Tulsen Tollett is a former professional rugby league player, First Dan Black Belt in Karate, and now a TV presenter with the BBC and a teacher.
Born in Hastings in the UK, Tulsen started playing rugby at a very young age alongside his peers.
After a few games, he understood he really liked the sport and started to improve, while perfecting his plays during matches. At the early age of 15, he understood that he had a chance of going further and playing professionally.
During his career, he played in the position of scrum-half, stand-off, centre, wing, and fullback, while playing for clubs like Emu Plains (in Junior Rugby League), Penrith Panthers, Parramatta Eels and London Broncos. While in Rugby Union, he played for Harlequins and London Welsh.
Tulsen also toured with the Great Britain national rugby league team to Papua New Guinea, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. During this tour, he said: “I learnt new things from this experience. I got to meet different players from all around and understood how different things were in other clubs”.
However, due to a shoulder injury, he had to retire from rugby early in his career. Retiring from a sport you love so passionately naturally takes a part of your life with it. So, when Tulsen had to leave rugby, he felt a big part of his life was missing, too.
To keep himself busy, he started karate, as the Japanese culture really intrigued him. He later became a First Dan Black Belt in it.
Tulsen explained that when he was still playing for the clubs, they had to do television interviews, and he enjoyed those a lot which made him realise that he quite enjoyed the television side.
While working in ABC studios, he would sit in the studio and began to learn how everything was done. Tulsen said: “I would always ask a lot of questions to the presenter or the reporter just to understand how things were getting done.
“With this, I learned how things work behind the camera or microphone, as well as in front of it.”
After this, he was given an opportunity with the BBC to report and commentate on some rugby games. From there, he went to different sports, worked for different organisations, and did many different things.
Rugby, as with many other sports, has evolved over time, and Tulsen feels that there are several key changes, saying: “The physical aspect had changed a lot over the last 15 years, the players have got a lot bigger.
“Now, they are generally 6 foot 2 inches tall and interchangeable in position due to their physique, which was not possible back in the day.”
Tulsen has no regrets after his shoulder injury, saying: “You see your teammates or your opponents more than you see your family, so they become your family.
“Leaving everything behind was hard, but I started karate and found a new family in them. Since injuries are part and parcel of the sports world, I’m just glad I got to do what I wanted to for a long time.”
As a final word of advice, he says hard work is always the key: “Work extremely hard in anything you choose, it can be a sport or your daily life.
“Be prepared to have setbacks in whatever you do. Not everything goes in a forward direction, sometimes it does not work out easily.
“A setback is good because it focuses your mind on what you want to do in life. Be stubborn about what you want to do, but make sure you enjoy it always.”