New squamish gym fuses youth and martial arts

Top fighters, families training at the Sound in downtown Squamish

For his career, Mike Nasu is a financial advisor, but he’s also a martial arts competitor, having taken part in the IBJJF World Master Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships.

Now, he’s making an investment in his own sport, along with four others, by opening a new martial arts gym in Squamish named the Sound. His partners are Johnny Thomaidis, Wayne Lefebvre, Kasey Smith and Vance Shaw.

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“We’re just a bunch of martial arts enthusiasts,” Nasu said.

The facility will offer Brazilian jiu jitsu, fitness kickboxing, muay thai and mixed martial arts.

It will also be the space out of which competitive local fighters like muay thai and Battle Field League champ Cole Smith and North American Grappling Association champ Indroop Virk train. 

In February, Smith, who has been competing in Thailand, won a fight on a technical knockout in 35 seconds at the Thailand Ring Wars.

Virk won his NAGA belt in Portland, Ore., in March, taking the first two rounds of a best of three.

The Sound also has some up-and-coming performers. “We have some students entering the Can-Am,” Kasey Smith said.

The 37th Can-Am International Martial Arts Championships will take place on May 13 at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

The Sound has had its soft opening, and it had already signed up 40 students well before an official opening on the weekend.

The Second Avenue facility will be online with a website slated for the middle of May.

At a session last week, youngsters were on the mats going through a series of exercises to prepare for class.

“It’s always consistent,” Nasu said. “We do the same warm-up every time.”

There may also be jiu jitsu games or sparring through the session.

“Our goal is to be the premiere martial arts academy in the Sea to Sky Corridor,” Nasu said.

The Sound operators emphasize that while some top-level fighters are training out of the facility, their main goals are to provide a place that promotes fitness and brings together family and friends, as their spouses and children also take part.

“All our kids train and all our partners.”

Nasu’s children Evan and Mariza, for example, are training in the kids’ division classes and have at a young age already established themselves as medal winners in competitions. The Sound has also added some amenities to the facility such as video games and a foosball table for the kids for when they need a break.

The children’s division is for students from age five to 15, with adults programs for people 16 and older.

The martial arts classes also offer a way to learn self-defence, as well as a way to get into good physical shape, the partners say. 

Nasu noted that the students cover a broad age range from young children age five to the oldest student at 68. “We’re quite diverse in our students.”

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