For the first time as an independent club, Terrace’s Shogun Dojo took to the ring at Vancouver’s Tiger Balm competition – and they did not disappoint.
The 12 fighters – some as young as seven – found they were competitive against Lower Mainland clubs and brought home scores of medals to prove it.
“This is the first time as an independent club that we brought small kids to a large competition – and we did amazing,” said sensei Amber Pipe. “The most impressive to me was their kata, and that’s thanks to sensei Karin Lots. She focusses on kata and she’s spent a lot of time working with the kids and it really paid off.”
Indeed, almost all of the younger athletes said that kata was their favourite part of the tournament, with nine-year-old Mary Bell saying karate helps her remember to “try your best.”
And four athletes qualified for Team Canada – Robbie Cline, Nick Yasinchuk, Shawn Devcic, and Farren Devcic – and there were a number of unexpected wins for first time tournament attendees.
“I knew it was possible, I didn’t actually expect it to happen,” said Yasinchuk, of qualifying for Team Canada.
“That was a cool feeling,” said his teammate, Cline. Tiger Balm was his second tournament, and while he said he was less nervous this time he’s “got a lot to prove still.”
For Yasinchuk, it’s not just about winning. He said he and the other members of the dojo make a point to thank the referees after a match and to be respectful of their opponents.
“In those tournaments it’s really easy to get so wound up in the fighting, that you actually harbour resentment afterwards,” said Yasinchuk. “It’s important to remember that you were there to have fun and at the end of the fight, it was just for fun.”
Sensei Rajan Sangha was impressed that the athletes were able to adapt to the different styles at the tournament.
“Nick got in there and won gold in two division and silver in his other division, that’s pretty good considering he’s never fought San shou or kickboxing with leg kicks,” he said.
And Adrian Babcock, new to the dojo and in his first year of kickboxing, also exceeded expectations.
“He had a very big continuous category and won every fight except the last one for gold,” said Sangha.
“He was 6’5”,” interjects Babcock, who before trained with Shane Palahickey – Sensei Pipe credits his former coach for his respectful demeanor and skill level.
“It was intimidating,” said Babcock. But he stuck to his training. “I train with Robbie, he’s a big guy… bob and weave, bob and weave.”
Pipe said the tournament proved the club is on the right track.
“I think the dojo is doing the best it’s ever done in 15 years. We’ve got some very dedicated students and I think we have a lot of room to grow together as a team and a family. I couldn’t be prouder,” she said, noting the support of community businesses like Trigo’s and Terrace Totem Ford for helping the club grow.
Here are the full results: Robbie Cline: Gold in kata, gold in point fighting, second in grade nationals; Kaden Roy: Gold in continuous, silver in point; Adrian Babcock: Silver in submission grappling, silver in Brazilian ju jitsu, silver in continuous, gold in point fighting; Nick Yasinchuk: Gold in continuous, gold in point, silver in San shou; Justin Hill: Gold in kata, silver in point; David Low-Brady: Gold in modified pankration; Rain Wesley: Gold in point; Shawn Devcic: Silver in kata; Farren Devcic: Silver in kata; MJ Wraight: Gold in point; Mary Bell and Ashley Bell: Placed in point and kata for a fourth place medal; Amber Pipe: Gold in point.