Whistler's Manson 'motivated' after world championship experience 

Local martial arts instructor eager to keep competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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Having put up a good fight against a world champion, Whistler's Cole Manson is now feeling motivated to keep improving his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills on the competition circuit closer to home.

Manson travelled to last weekend's International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Master and Senior World Championships in Long Beach, Calif. Though he was eliminated in a first-round match on Saturday, Oct. 5, he enjoyed some top-notch experience.

Opponent Steve Hargett went on to win the master men's middleweight purple belt title over a field of 38 competitors, earning his first of five straight wins over Manson.

"He also won the absolute division, where it's the open weight class, so I really got an opportunity to fight the best in the world," Manson said after returning home to Whistler on Monday, Oct. 7.

"I did well. I fought a good game, I fought pretty hard and managed to score some points at the end of the match, but it was too late."

Manson, a local martial arts instructor at the Awesome Arts Academy and a black-belt holder in several different disciplines, only recently began focusing his training on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He said he came away from his match against Hargett without any regrets, having lasted the full five minutes of the bout against the eventual world champ.

"I defended a lot of his attacks and he wasn't able to make me tap out and submit me, and that's an accomplishment in any Jiu Jitsu match," said Manson.

"I came out of that feeling really good. There wasn't an ounce of disappointment from the result ... I left it all on the mat and didn't give up once."

The event was broadcast live on the web, giving many of Manson's supporters back home a chance to watch, and he said the encouragement he got was much appreciated.

"It was cool receiving all of the emails and Facebook posts of support from friends and people telling me they were watching it live, and the support from back home was definitely felt while I was in L.A.," he said.

Manson has been training through a Gracie Barra program in Vancouver and travelled to the event with a group of five others, three of who captured bronze medals. He ended up providing a helping hand in one of those triumphs.

"There was a moment where I was coaching my teammate because our coach was on the other side of the venue coaching our other guy, so I actually helped coach my teammate to his victory, which was pretty sweet," said Manson. "Then our International Gracie Barra Jiu Jitsu Team won the first overall team trophy, so that was cool as well."

Manson said he left the world championships eager to continue competing as he looks towards making another appearance at the world championships in 2014.

"I definitely got my competition spirit back," he said.

The 35-year-old will be back in action for a round-robin style tournament on Oct. 19 taking place at BCIT, and said he plans to enter another in November in Richmond.

"My goal was just to go down (to the world championships) and compete at that level, and I achieved my goal," he said. "It's motivated me to now train and focus more on strategies ... and I'll be back there next year."

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