Martial Arts Canada students competed in the club’s annual Shiai, an inner-club tournament, on Saturday, May 10 in St. Thomas.
The Shiai is a tournament focused on the students of the club encouraging them to try new skills and show off their basics to the club’s Black Belt Senseis. Every spring, students start getting energized for the Shiai training in kata, sparring, weapons and creating self-defense routines. Some advanced students even try adding music and gymnastics to their katas for some extra flare! Students from all of the Martial Arts Canada locations - Tillsonburg, Aylmer, Straffordville, Langton, St. Thomas and Port Stanley participated in the friendly competition.
Tillsonburg sent 22 students to the Shiai this year with many of them competing for the first time! Sensei Sara Ens judged the 5-year-old division and enjoyed seeing the excitement and spirit of karate in such young martial artists.
“It’s always amazing to see the focus of a young student competing," said Sensei Ens. "They are having so much fun but you can tell they are concentrating to get the moves correct. When they kiai at the end with a big smile it makes it all worth it to see your students show you what they have been working and having the time of their life competing.”
The Shiai is a long-standing tradition in Martial Arts Canada. It supports the family values the club has prided itself in having. Not only does it bring the expanding family of club locations together but it is a chance for parents and relatives to cheer on the students. Since the Shiai was on Mother’s Day Weekend this year, flowers were given to all of the moms that encourage their children in this sport.
Sensei Sara Ens has been training with Martial Arts Canada since she was 7 years old and believes it is the family nature of the club that holds it together.
“We always support and encourage each other. It doesn’t matter how big our club gets, we have relationships with one another because we have kicked, punched, and sweated together. It’s the sport that connects us at first but then it’s more than that. It’s family.”
The Shiai sometimes brings out the unexpected, too. A suspenseful battle between a masked Ninja and Ninja Turtle took place during a Black Belt demonstration. Students roared as they cheered for the good Turtle to defeat the Ninja.
Another highlight was a Black Belt demonstration. Black Belts from the different locations presented weapons and traditional katas.
Tillsonburg Martial Arts Canada continues year-round and invites any new students to come try a Free Class! Classes are Thursdays with Tiny Tigers (ages 6-7) 6:30-7:00pm, Youth (ages 8-12) 7:00-8:00pm and Adults 8:00-9:00pm. Come Join The Family! Classes are also available in Aylmer, Straffordville, Langton, St. Thomas and Port Stanley. Contact Sensei Linda at 519-410-4738 or Sensei Sara at 519-550-7055 for more information.