Eight fighters win nine medals in Western championships
A group of Whistler martial arts students and one instructor put their skills to the test at the Western Canadian Karate Championships in Burnaby last weekend, facing dojos from across B.C., Alberta, Washington State and Oregon.
Aside from Cole Manson, the sensai of Whistler Martial Art Centre, it was the first time any of the athletes had participated in a tournament against other athletes. Still, the group of eight managed to come home with nine medals in different categories.
Only Manson and Alysia Dobie competed in the first Brazilian Jui Jitsu events of the competition, in which competitors have five minutes to grapple and earn points.
According to Manson, Dobie set the pace for the rest of the competition by dominating most of the match. She lost the battle for points, however, when her opponent turned a hold around to get back on top and earned four points.
"She was great in there, and really fired the rest of us up," said Manson. "Shes only been doing it for a couple of months and she went up against a couple of girls that have two to five years each and did really well."
She finished fourth in her division women.
Dobie returned to the ring in the afternoon, this time competing in the point karate competition.
In point karate, the fighters spar until one lands a clean hit. The successful fighter is scored a point, and both fighters return to their positions. The first to five points wins.
Dobie finished third in the white belt division.
Manson himself finished second in the mens intermediate Jui Jitsu in only his second time competing in the discipline. He lost to a former student of his from Vancouver who has been focussing on Jui Jitsu for three years. He also finished third overall, out of 15 entries, in the mens black belt karate competition.
The other six Whistler competitors fought in point karate and timed karate competitions, where fighters try to make as many points as they can in two minutes.
Chris Devereux finished second in the mens white and yellow belt division, event though he has only been in martial arts for two months.
Hal Croucher finished second in point karate and fourth in the timed contest. In the point karate competition he fought a black belt in the final who was the biggest guy in the building at approximately six-foot-seven inches.
"Hal was just awesome against this guy," said Manson. "Hal is a big guy, like 230 pounds, and this guy just dwarfed him. And Hal has only been doing this for two months and the big guy was a black belt. Still he hung in there until the end, and did really well."
The final score in that match was 5-4.
Tristan Dobie, Alysias brother, finished fourth in the white and yellow belt division, after losing out to one of the stronger fighters.
Cole Reade, 15, fought in the teen division, where he won the white and yellow belt category uncontested. He then entered the coloured belt division, which had a lot more fighters, and squared off against a purple belt and a black belt to wind up in third place with a bronze medal.
The group also brought two kids, Jonny and Joey Hutchison. Jonny is six-years-old, and won his division uncontested. He then entered the next division against eight-year-olds and lost to his brother to finish fourth. Joey earned the bronze.
Manson was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the tournament.
"We went down there as a learning experience mostly, to see what the competitions were all about and to fight some new people. If we win medals, great, but the goal was just to show up there and put what we practised into use," said Manson. "We probably spent the last month practising and getting ready for this tournament, and we were ready for it."
The Whistler Martial Arts Centre practises a discipline created by Manson called Kishindo, which combines several types martial arts disciplines, including Judo, Kendo, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Qigong Muay Thai Boxing, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, and Kickboxing. Kishindo has its own belt system, which awards levels and stripes based on their performance in class and in competitions.
With the tournament, 21 athletes in the dojo were promoted recently. In the kids program Cole Demers, Kai Kikuchi, and Cole MacDonald each earned a yellow stripe; Melanie Auger, Alex Auger, Joey Hutchison and Jonny Hutchison, earned yellow belts; Cooper and Jackson Bathgate earned blue stripes; Noah Smith, Isiah Smith and Mathew Den Duyf earned blue belts; Nolan Den Duyf earned a red belt; and Yuki Ishii earned his first brown stripe.
In the adults program, Reagan Peachman and Jessica Averiss earned yellow stripes; Chris Devereux earned a yellow belt; Alysia Dobie earned a green stripe; Gabe Pryce-Jones earned a green belt; and Hal Croucher earned a Blue Stripe.
Whistler Martial Arts has another tournament coming up in November in Washington.