Hard work, participation and the drive to pay-it-forward are the reasons why Rajan Sangha is April’s athlete of the month.
Sangha was put forward by his sensei Amber Pipe from the Shogun Dojo, where he studies, teaches and volunteers his time with martial arts.
“He’s just got respect all over him. It’s just amazing at his age you don’t see a lot of that,” Pipe said.
Sangha, 18, currently works at Staples and spends around 25 hours a week at the Shogun Dojo, making an appearance almost every day to either train or teach.
He has been studying martial arts since the age of 11. After a two year break when he was 15 to focus on hockey, he returned to the dojo after dry-land training put him back in touch with Pipe.
Since then he has been to the World Karate and Kickboxing championships twice, taking home a bronze in continuous contact and fourth in point fighting in Albufeira Portugal last year.
The years of hard work have paid off for Sangha who, according to Pipe, is in a class of his own when it comes to competition.
“When it comes to point fighting, there is no one in this town or any one of the clubs that could compare to him,” Pipe said.
One of Sangha’s volunteer roles at the Shogun Dojo is helping Pipe with her figure fighters class.
“He is just the type of student that saw everything I do, and he just started coming and helping,” said Pipe, who added Sangha has never accepted payment for his assistance at the dojo.
Sangha said he volunteers because he knows it’s good to stay as active as possible, and because for him it is fun to help out.
He enjoys teaching as a chance to pass on his knowledge and the experience he has gained from competing.
“A lot of people come in off the street and just want to fight and it’s good to pass on the knowledge you know,” he said. “It’s not just beating someone up, you learn a lot more than how to fight, you learn respect.”
In the future, Sangha hopes to go to the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby where he wants to study information technologies.