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Whistler dojo on podium at international meet


The Tiger Balm International is one of the biggest martial arts tournaments in Canada, with dojos from across Canada and the U.S. taking part.

Not only are the national Sport Jujitsu Championships part of the tournament, the results in different events count towards national team selections.

The Whistler Martial Arts Centre, which offers training in over a dozen martial arts disciplines, took a team of 16 athletes to the event at the Capilano College Sporplex last weekend, including three junior competitors. Over two days of contests the team walked away with 16 medals in six different fighting categories.

"It was awesome for the students," said Whistler Martial Arts Centre sensei Cole Manson. "Some of them were new to the sport, had never competed before, or competed against athletes that were bigger or had more experience, and they did really well. I couldn’t have asked for a better showing this weekend."

In Sport Jujitsu the competitors are allowed to use kicks, punches, throws, ground fighting moves and submission holds.

Brazilian Jujitsu allows throws, ground fighting moves and submission holds.

The Point Sparring contest gives points to competitors for clean strikes only, after which time the judges stop the fight and the competitors return to their starting positions.

Continuous Sparring allows nonstop striking, and the winner is chosen by the judges who count the number of clean hits.

No-Face Continuous Sparring is the same as above, but competitors are not allowed to strike in the face and head.

The Weapon Sparring contest allows competitors to use different padded weapons, including swords, long sticks, short sticks and nunchakus.

All of the different contests use pads and helmets.

In the youth divisions, Whistler’s Yuki Ishii took the gold medal in his age and belt group in Continuous Sparring. It was Ishii’s first international tournament.

Both Joey and Jony Hutchison were promoted to higher belt and age groups where they competed against bigger and more experienced students.

Joey, a green belt, lost the gold medal match against a black belt that was two years older to finish in second place in Sport Jujitsu. He also fought in his age group in the continuous sparring, finishing first overall.

Jony, Joey’s younger brother, was second in both Continuous and Point Sparring contests, and won the sport jujitsu title.

In the adult competition, the top results went to Idan Enright, who has a wrestling background but has only been training with Manson for two months.

He was third in the Brazilian Jujistu where he won his first match by a submission, and lost his second match by points. He also competed in the Sport Jujitsu category, facing punches and kicks for the first time in a competition. He finished second in that event to come away with two medals.

Tanya DeValentino was second in the Point Sparring and third in the Continuous Sparring to win two medals of her own.

"She’s only been training with us for about three weeks, so that was a real highlight," said Manson.

Ben Richardson won a silver medal in Point Sparring and Haldane Croucher won a gold medal by default. Scott Starke won a bronze in that event.

In Continuous Sparring Alysia Dobie won a bronze.

Mike Rowett isn’t new to the WMAC, but has only been fighting with weapons for a month. He lost in the finals by just one point.

Six other WMAC athletes took part, coming close to the podium in different events.

James Lawson was fifth in the Brazilian Jujitsu after only three weeks of training. In his second match there was some controversy as to whether he tapped out or not when his adversary had him in a submission hold. Lawson didn’t tap out, but the referee thought he had and called the fight.

"It’s too bad because he did really well in his first match, and wasn’t quite done yet in the second," said Manson.

Cole Reade was fifth competing in four events, the Point Sparring, Continuous Sparring, Weapon Sparring and No-Face Continuous Sparing.

Melissa Hoskins was fourth in the Point Sparing and Continuous Sparing, Tristan Dobie was fourth in Point Sparring and Jessica Averiss was fifth in Continuous Sparring.

Manson also took part, finishing fourth in the highest level Brazilian Jujitsu.

The Whistler Martial Arts Centre is planning to enter several more contests this year says Manson, and still has openings for new students.