Years before the popularity of mixed martial arts competitions, Whistler’s Cole Manson took steps six years ago to create his own mixed martial arts program, called Kishindo, that combines everything from Karate to Jiu-Jitsu to Brazilian Capoiera.
This past Monday, June 16, Manson honoured some of his most dedicated students with a black belt ceremony, while promoting other students to a higher rank and celebrating his sixth anniversary with demonstrations, forms, sparring and other events.
“What I’d like to say to the black belt winners is that I’m very proud of them — they’ve definitely earned these black belts because they don’t come easy and they’re not something I would give out easily,” said Manson. “They did the work, and I trust them to carry them well.”
To earn a black belt, his students had to complete a minimum amount of hours training in three to five years, compete in an open tournament, assisted instructing classes, and display all technical skills — kicking, boxing, grappling, board breaking, and displaying high level forms. The club also tested each black belt student in sparring, with a 10 against one contest against other members of the dojo to demonstrate fighting skills.
The black belt winners were Cole Demers, Larissa Long, Jonathan Hutchison and Connor McGillion.
Earning his second degree brown belts were Karson Leigh, while Cooper Bathgate-Lee, Jackson Bathgate-Lee and Rachel Brett earned third degree brown belts. First degree brown belts went to Liam Long, Ken Champion, Kanta Onishi and Noam Steele.
Red belts were earned by Sam Johnston, Tasman Forster and Rushil Suri.
Blue belts went to Andy Johnston, Amanda Connor and Ian Milley.
Green belts were presented to Saxon Forster, Nikki Palm, Ben Taylor, Jack Lamming, Nilo Pena, Anthony Bergoyne, Cheyenne Gage, Mitchell Hughes, Riley Kearns and Matthew Ogilvie-Turner.
The yellow belts, presented to kids aged 6-10, went to Ian Herr, Thomas Herr, Gregory Peepeetch, Josh Peepeetch, Daniel Villarruel, and Tyler Ng.
The Lil’Bonsai class (ages 4-5) also earned club crests — Logan Anderson, Stephen Lindsay-Ross, James Taylor, Nathan Lee, Branden Skoupas and Eric Milley.