Terrace’s Dalton Stanvick has spent the last few years fighting for Canada. First, competing for Team Canada at kickboxing worlds in 2011, and more recently, as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“It’s kind of ironic I can’t get away from fighting for Canada,” laughs Dalton, who gives a lot of credit to his Terrace sensai Amber Pipe, who helped to clean up his life four years ago with her kickboxing program.
He’s currently living and working in Gagetown, New Brunswick, one of Canada’s largest military bases, after spending three months in basic training – an experience that was physically tough, but mentally even tougher.
“The hardest part about basic training is the mind games they play,” he said. “It’s all a game.”
He said that unlike civilian bootcamps, where someone is motivating you to work harder, army bootcamp is all about breaking you down chip by chip.
During his three months in basic training, he would wake up at 4:30 a.m., make his bed, brush teeth, shave, head outside for a run and personal training at 5 a.m., shower, dress, and try to eat breakfast before an inspection at 7 a.m.
“The most stressful time of the day,” he said. “They would usually find something that wasn’t done properly no matter how hard you tried.”
After inspection, the group would head to classes, or whatever was planned for the day – weapons classes, drill, lectures, field work, personal training, all that kind of stuff.
“The worst part of the three months I was there was definitely being in the field for a week with no sleep, people shooting at you (with blank ammo), getting into firefights all night and all day, sleeping in -15 in a swamp with it raining and snowing and blowing on you,” he said. “There were really hard times but it was an amazing accomplishment when you finished and got to go back to base – trust me you appreciated an uncomfortable bed after the three visits we had to the field.”
The day he got to march in his graduation parade “was the best day of my life because I knew I survived,” he said.
And although he doesn’t kickbox right now, due to lack of time and a serious injury he experienced in 2011 during the worlds competition in Spain, he said he hopes to continue kickboxing training one day when he’s posted in Edmonton, Alberta.
Until then, he’s staying put in Gagetown, working on different jobs while waiting for his course to start in October.
“I will be going on course here at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering. Combat engineers basically work with a lot of demolition and construction they can also fight as infantryman if they have to and they can also specialize in other things as combat diver, EOD all those types of jobs. It’s actually a very interesting job that is why I can’t wait to pursue it.”
And while it’s hard to be away from his family and girlfriend, who he only gets to see about a month a year, the experience has been one he can’t pass up, adding that “living in Gagetown is great because the scenery is a lot like B.C.”