“You hang out, you fight each other as hard as you can and then you are friends at the end,” Sensei Ken Sumner of Arashi-Do Sylvan Lake said after the completion of the Sylvan Lake Open Martial Arts Challenge.
The tournament, which was held on Saturday, January 28, saw competitors from all over Alberta gather to compete in Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. Over 142 competitors from 23 different schools competed throughout the course of the day, which also coincided with the 25th anniversary of Arashi-Do Sylvan Lake.
Sumner was pleased with the day, considering the organization for this year’s event was different than previous years.
“We had some hiccups being that it was the first time I ran it that way but it went better then previous years,” he said. “It definitely helped.”
The day featured multiple podium finishes for competitors from throughout Central Alberta and was a clear indicator that martial arts competition is thriving in the region.
“Martial arts has grown a lot in the last five years – especially the growth of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,” Sumner said. “It has grown phenomenally. I started teaching it in 2010 with a class of eight people in it. Now we have multiple classes.
“We have three classes for kids aged 4-7; I have a class of 7-12 year old’s; I have a 13-16; and I have three different adult classes. It’s such a good work out and a good community.”
The tournament is also an excellent networking experience for competitors throughout the province.
“The people that are involved are good, helpful and friendly,” Sumner explained. “People flock towards that – which is exactly what I’m trying to build here. This is a great opportunity for a lot of schools to get together and have a great time.”
Not only do they have a great time, but they also help each other develop their forms and techniques.
“You sit around and you talk about things like ‘Hey, what was that submission attempt close called?’” he said. “You really have a nice bond that way.”
Next year’s events is still currently in development, however Arashi-Do Sylvan Lake runs multiple events throughout the year with an Arashi-Do only tournament coming in April. Competitors also travel to large events in Edmonton and Red Deer throughout the year.
If you would like more information about Arashi-Do Sylvan Lake, you can visit their website at www.arashido.com/location/sylvan-lake.