Martial artists in the medals at championship 

The Whistler Martial Arts Centre was one of the dozens of clubs that took part in the Western Canadian Martial Arts Championships at the B.C. Institute of Technology this past weekend, bringing 14 athletes to compete in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, point sparring and continuous sparring.

The Whistler fighters did well, with many of them competing for the first time in an organized tournament.

In the 9-10 age category, Cole Demers placed first in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu, a grappling discipline, beating teammate Cooper Bathgate in the finals. Jackson Bathgate and Carson Leigh tied for fifth place.

All four all participated in points sparring. None of them won any medals, but according to instructor Cole Manson it was a large category.

Also in point sparring, Johnny Hutchinson was third overall. He also competed in continuous sparring, placing second overall.

In the youngest category, 7-8, Rushil Suri and Ken Champion were fourth and fifth respectively in point sparring.

Suri was also declared the winner of the 6 and Under division after no other fighters showed up, and was bumped up an age group. He also placed second in the continuous sparring against a youth almost three years older.

“It was pretty one-sided,” said Manson, “but he kept it together, and was pretty tough about it.”

Kanta Onishi and Noam Steele were second and third in point-sparring for the 7-8 age group.

In the teen categories, Larissa Long placed second in point sparring in the brown belt division of the 16 and Up group. Amanda Connors was third in the yellow belt category.

In the 13 to 15 category, Rachel Brett was third as a brown belt.

Shane Fairweather and Connor McGillion fought each other in the small final, with Connor taking the match.

“I just want to congratulate all my students who took part,” said Manson. “A few of them were competing in their first tournament — Connor, Larissa, Amanda and Rushil — and I have to give extra congratulations to them. They weren’t intimidated at all, they were really excited to be there.

“I also got a lot of comments from other coaches and the judges about the kids and their behaviour, they were really impressed by their etiquette and respect, so that was nice to hear.”

Tournout was high at the tournament, which features a new mixed martial arts division similar to Ultimate Fighting.

“It’s getting more popular every year because of these shows,” said Manson, who now has close to 60 kids and adults in his program.

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