A group of six Kishindo students from the Whistler Martial Arts Centre headed to Burnaby this past weekend for the Western Canadian Martial Arts Championship, an annual trip for the club, but a first-time experience for four of the five fighters.
In point sparring, which is limited to kicks and punches and scored over two minutes, Archie Mahoney finished first in his age category. A newcomer to tournaments, Mahoney edged out teammate Kanta Onishi in the gold medal round, with Onishi taking the silver medal.
Another Whistler fighter, Kadin Sanger, placed fourth in the category after losing both fights, but he was also a first-time competitor learning the ropes.
Matthew Ogilvie-Turner also placed first in his debut, winning two point sparring contests to take the gold medal in his age group.
River Sanger also competed for the first time but lost two matches.
Connor McGillion, one of instructor Cole Manson's advanced students, also advanced into the 18 and over black belt category, but lost in the first round to a third degree black belt twice his age.
Kishindo is a mix of several types of martial arts including Karate, Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo, which is why Manson always brings students to the Western Canadians - the competitive categories are open to all disciplines with different formats like point sparring, continuous sparring and grappling.
Kanta Onishi also competed in the forms competition, demonstrating skills and movement to judges. It was his first competition and he placed second overall by one point.
The club has more than 100 students currently, and athletes train twice a week. More students will take part in tournaments in the spring, including the annual Tiger Balm Invitational.