One-two punch for Whistler at Seikido contest 

Three competitive divisions, three gold medals for Whistler – with just two athletes.

"I think the story is two guys from Whistler coming to town and cleaning up," says Cole Gregerson, the owner and black belt instructor of the new Whistler Seikido Martial Arts Association in Function Junction.

The new dojo opened in Whistler at the beginning of May and by the end of the month Gregerson already had more than a dozen students and had taught 26 classes.

He brought one of his more experienced students, a white belted beginner with some Taekwando background, with him to the Greater Vancouver Seikido Tournament on June 1, and together they swept the entire event.

Gregerson won the black belt division and David Pook won the coloured belt division, beating beginner whites as well as more experienced greens and browns.

It was a round-robin format, with each sparring match lasting two minutes and judges scoring points based on good hits. The competitor with the most points at the end of the round-robin won a gold medal.

More than 35 competitors were at the tournament from dojos in White Rock, Surrey and Vancouver, which meant that everybody had to spar with at least 10 others in the round-robin.

Pook went on to beat the overall winner of a third brown-belt and black-belt division to earn the right to challenge the black belt division winner for the title of Grand Champion.

Gregerson ended that match quickly, in about 30 seconds.

"I had to," he jokes. "I’m the teacher, he’s the student, and it just wouldn’t look right to give up any points."

Gregerson was given a second gold medal as the Grand Champion, giving the new dojo a good early start for the newly painted trophy wall.

Gregerson, 23, has been in the martial arts since he was five years old, and also has practiced Taekwando in the past. He has been coming to Whistler for years to snowboard, sometimes competitively, and has been looking for an opportunity to open a dojo in town.

Seikido is based on the Chinese Shao Lin martial arts tradition, which was brought to Japan and given more structure, including a belt system that’s similar to karate.

Unlike karate, which means "open hand" Siekido is a combination of hard and soft techniques, says Gregerson. There’s the hard kicking and punching elements, but there’s also the softer grappling and joint articulation. There is an emphasis on self-defense, and students also learn the use of traditional weapons.

Gregerson offers morning and afternoon classes, and opens his dojo up on the weekends he isn’t training with his own sensei in White Rock. For more information, contact Gregerson at 604-932-3478.

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