Martial artists make the grade

Local athletes earn spots on the Canadian team at nationals in Ottawa.

Martial artists in Cranbrook attended a national tournament sanctioned by the World Karate and Kickboxing Council

Martial artists in Cranbrook attended a national tournament sanctioned by the World Karate and Kickboxing Council

Cranbrook martial artists fought their way to spots on the Canadian team at a national tournament in Ottawa over the weekend.

The Rocky Mountain Academy of Martial Arts sent five students to the nation’s capital, while the Dragon School of Korean Martial Arts was represented by Curtis Pocha.

Logan Robertson, Tage Leiman, Cole McNolty Tyson Hirscher and Dave Buckley all represented RMAMA at the event and all made the national squad in their respective age and weight categories in continuous sparring.

Roberston earned a silver medal, while Leiman, McNaulty and Tyson Hirscher captured bronze honours, while Buckley battled his way to a fourth place finish, and a spot as an alternate on the national team.

Joel Huncar, owner of RMAMA who led his five athletes to nationals, said Hirscher’s showing over his two rounds was particularly exciting.

“Tyson, he came out a little soft, he was holding back and so he lost in the first round,” Huncar said. “…because Tyson held back in the first round, he came in last, because he got taken out right away. So the second heat, he said, ‘Well, I’m not holding back now,’ and I gave him a pep talk.

“He went back in and beat everybody.”

Leiman also had an exciting finish, requiring extra rounds after a three-way tie for first place with two other opponents, added Huncar.

Huncar said the tournament, which featured 100 clubs from across the country, was a great experience not just for his students, but for himself as well.

“You know what I love about this, is it gives kids a goal to reach for and to train for—not just kids, because we have adults compete as well—but it gives people something to train for and set goals for,” Huncar said.

“You learn a lot as you go. The whole place was so respectful, everyone was shaking hands with opposing coaches and fighters who just finished beating the crap out of each other compared notes and talked afterwards.”

Huncar personally thanks the following businesses for supporting RMAMA’s trip to Ottawa: Mission Hills Golf Course, Al Hubli Construction, Chris Nault, Stahl Electric, Pro Western Mechanical, Spring Honda, Sandor Rentals, Cottage Restaurant, Pepsi, Dakota Freight, The Vanity Room, Leiman Homes, Hardy Construction, Mike Honeyman and Arctic Arrow.