Squamish’s The Sound came home from its first major martial arts tournament with a little added weight.
The gym sent a relatively large group to the Canadian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation’s Vancouver International Open on Saturday.
The event was held at UBC’s War Memorial Gym and attracted an estimated 600 participants who competed in various categories.
“There are competitors from across Canada, and the U.S. are here too,” said Mike Nasu, one of the operators of The Sound.
The Sound sent a team of almost 20 competitors, with a dozen taking home medals.
Nasu said some like Lorraine Yeung and his wife, Natasha, were taking part in their first big competitions and had some jitters before their first fights.
“I’m doing my best at 42,” Natasha said between fights.
Though The Sound has sent athletes to events for younger competitors, the Vancouver International Open marked the first competition for the gym as a whole.
“We had a pretty big contingent,” Nasu said. “This is our first adult tournament.”
For some from The Sound like the Nasus, the tournament was a family affair. Daughter Mariza, 8, a highly decorated grappler in jiu jitsu, took home a silver from the event, while Natasha Nasu took home a bronze in a gi event; gi refers to the kimono-type garment used in some grappling sports.
The Thomadias family also sent a contingent of children Cailyn, 8, Layla, 7, and Ashton, 11, as well as dad Johnny. Cailyn and Ashton each won a gold, while dad Johnny won a gold (gi) and a bronze (open class gi).
“It’s been an amazing event and it’s been amazing spending time with my family.”
He had studied other martial arts when he was younger, but only got involved with jiu jitsu a couple of years ago, saying he did so to get son Ashton involved. He pointed out his son not only won gold, but fought two belts higher against bigger opponents and dominated.
The gym is also home to martial arts athletes already making in-roads on the competitive circuit, such as Cole Smith, Indroop Virk and Jamey-Lyn Horth.
“Our small school in Squamish is making a huge impact on the jiu jitsu scene,” Thomadias said.
Other medal winners among the kids were Mavic Shaw, who won silver, and Ben Macgillavray, who won bronze. Among teens, Jai Auluk won gold (no gi).
Other adult members of The Sound who won medals were Yeung with a gold (no gi) and bronze (gi); Smith, with a gold (no gi); Virk, with a silver (no gi); and Horth, who was the big winner with three gold medals for the tournament (gi, no gi and absolute open class). Horth will be fighting in MMA in the next edition of the Battlefield Fight League in 2017. The Canadian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation hosts BJJ tournaments and related events across Canada, including Vancouver, the Okanagan, Burnaby, Calgary and Edmonton.