Throwing the whole kit and kobudo at them; Therien says martial arts offer something for everyone
Posted By Todd Hambleton

Kyoshi John Therien, who piles up the points as a frequent flier, sure did enjoy the short car ride down from Ottawa on Saturday, for the Seaway Karate Club's World Kobudo Kid's Martial Arts Camp.

"It's a perfect road trip for our kids, it being in (late February) just before the March break,'' said Therien, president of the World Kobudo Federation. "It's perfect.''

Therien was bullish on the future of the camp at General Vanier Intermediate School, organized by Sensei Jim Riddell's Long Sault-based Seaway club. Over 100 youths from clubs in eastern Ontario and western Quebec participated, and "I can tell you next year (the number of participants) will double'' said Therien with full confidence.

Therien's visit was a big boost for the camp. It's Kyoshi John Therien, of course, with Kyoshi meaning instructor to the masters. An eighth-degree blackbelt, Therien formerly was a kickboxing promoter and the manager of 23-time world full-contact champion Jean-Yves Theriault.

Therien, who operates a chain of Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing schools in the Ottawa area, just got back from a World Kobudo Federation - it's a martial arts organization for all disciplines and styles, for large and small dojos - event in France. Next week, he'll preside over a 300-participant event in Quebec City.

In early April, the spring showdown event in Smiths Falls could attract 500 participants. Indeed, the martial arts studies are alive and well.

"It's a phenomenal family (activity),'' Therien said. "Adults and kids can participate . . . let's say you have three kids. One can compete, two can train if that's what interests them. It's got everything.''

Therien has been in martial arts for 45 years, and while he says he delegates more these days, he'll be remaining front-and-centre in the sport.

"It's been 45 years and I plan to be involved more and more,'' Therien said. "But the success of days like this is because of people like Jim Riddell. Jim Riddell did a great job here.''

Riddell and organizers sure were busy. Really, there were three separate events: early-afternoon seminars, late-afternoon sparring and grappling tournaments, and the night-time martial arts sparring gala between Team Ontario and Team Quebec.

"I thought it was a very good event, and we got a lot of positive feedback,'' Riddell said on the weekend. "We got a lot of support from the business community, too. That's what really makes it possible.''

Will there be more sparring and seminars next winter? "Absolutely,'' Riddell said. "It'll evolve, especially the day-time event.

"(Iceman Productions promoter Jean-Yves Theriault) was happy with the (night-time) turnout. He thinks it's something that can be built on.''

Team Ontario won the sparring gala in points, 257 to 219.

Team Ontario's Derek Marcotte opened with a 50-33 points win over Quebec's Danny Laurencelle.

Quebec came back for three straight wins, including an Alex Dodier 44-37 win over Cornwall's Neal Toltesi, of the Steve Daye Karate Club. Stephanie Beaudry also posted a Quebec win over Cathy Deevy (58-47), and Christian Fortier was a 62-54 victor against Scott Fitzpatrick.

The fifth match resulted in a technical knockout win for Ontario's Normand Courchesne, when Quebec's Alexandre Bergeron was forced to retire early in the first round due to a cut near his eye.

Ontario's Robert Ladouceur closed out the sparring with a decisive TKO, knocking down Quebec's Jason Leeming twice on his way to the win.