Students of Arashi Do Sylvan Lake are in the midst of competing in a four-part series for the ultimate prize of a samurai sword.
“We had our Samurai Series, which is a series of four tournaments held in central Alberta,” Sensei Ken Sumner said. “Red Deer,Penhold, Sylvan Lake and Rocky Mountain House each hold a series.”
The event is a cumulative series that awards participants in multiple disciplines. The Sylvan Lake portion of the series was held recently.
“Throughout the event, everyone earns points: four points for first, three points for second, two points for third and one point for participating,” Sumner said. “At the Rocky tournament on June 24, the person with the most points wins a samurai sword.There is kata and sparring. We also do jiu-jitsu and muay Thai as well. Every division has the opportunity to win a sword, no matter what discipline you are doing.”
The event sees competitors of all ages take part.
“We had kids as young as four, all the way up to Sensei John from Rocky, who is in his 50s,” Sumner explained, adding thatSylvan Lake Arashi Do fared very well against the competition.
“We did really good and had a lot of success,” he said. “Our Tiny Tigers, which is our four to seven-year-old muay Thai, had six competitors. Logan Jordan, one of my kids from Sylvan, took first in his division for six and seven-year-olds. We also made a six-seven-eight-year-old division, and he took first in that one as well. He also took first in his jiu-jitsu division as well, so he did awesome.”
Seeing results like Jordan’s is something that Sumner is proud of.
“It is great to see them go out and have success with what they are doing,” he said. “It gives me a lot of pride and the kids jus tlove having that success.”
The Samurai Series is also a showcase of all the up and coming martial arts talent throughout central Alberta.
“There are a lot of good guys coming up and there are tonnes of kids coming out,” he said, adding that there are multiple ways to be successful at these events other then finishing in first place.
“Bella Olson is one of my girls,” he said. “She won the sword last year and she is five now. This year she went out and hadsome tough competition. It was a good lesson for her because it teaches her to keep working harder.”
Being able to compare yourself to others and learn from the experience is ever more important then winning, according to Sumner.
“It helps you grow as a competitor,” he said. “If you don’t want to compete, you don’t have to, but it definitely helps. I didn’tcompete until I was a black belt – so after training for 10 years. You don’t need to do it, but it accelerates your learning. You can get a month’s worth of experience during one tournament. It can give you really good feedback and if you don’t get a good result, you can go back and see what you did wrong.”
He added that “you either win or you learn,” and that “this is a really safe way to learn that you need to get out and work hard in life. That is why I always recommend that people try getting out and competing.”
The final event will start in Rocky Mountain House on June 24, at 12 noon, at the Arashi Do gym. Everyone is welcome to attend and see what it is all about.