Manitoulin School of Martial Arts marks year-end with jiu jitsu

From left to right is Sensei Brian Boyle, Puong Guru Craig Mason, Sensei Kelvin Cheong, Shihan, Dan Fletcher,  Hanshi Yogi Isreal, Shihan Neil Dalgarno, Renshi Scott Taylor and Hanshi Darrell Lafrance.

LITTLE CURRENT – On June 15, the Manitoulin School of Martial Arts hosted its annual year end party. Typically, students take a boat ride the North Channel Cruise Line’s Le Grand Heron, however, this year due to the two locations in Little Current and Gore Bay, and the sheer number of karate students, a different activity was planned. To mark the occasion, a karate seminar was held at the 4 Directions Complex in Aundeck Omni Kaning and  guest instructors invited to visit the Island and teach their craft of Japanese jiu jitsu. 

Hanshi Darrell Lafrance, founder and chief instructor of Kumo Jiu Jitsu based in Oshawa, has been training for 50 years and has his ninth degree black belt. He is recognized internationally as the leading authority on grappling and was voted Instructor of the Year by the Canadian Jiu Jitsu Association in 1995. He brought with him his associate and right hand man, Renshi Scott Taylor, a third-degree black belt and former UFC fighter and trainer.

Shihan Neil Dalgarno, founder of Greater Toronto Jiu Jitsu, is a coach and author and has a sixth-degree black belt. He hails from Toronto and brought along one of his instructors, Sensei Kelvin Cheong, a first-degree black belt and founder of RIZE MMA Inc. which is a merchandise company that uses its profits to spread the educational and inspirational benefits of martial arts training.

All four instructors taught the students of Manitoulin School of Martial Arts their techniques of Japanese Jiu Jitsu such as ground fighting, throws and stand-up fighting movements. With the students’ ages ranging from age three to age 70, teaching and demonstrating their techniques was not a small task to accomplish, but these seasoned instructors took it in stride.

Students from the Gore Bay and Little Current schools pose for a group photo at their year-end party.

Before starting the day of training, Renshi Dan Fletcher and his Senseis presented Morgan Green, TJ Green, Mackenzie Green and Andrew Rose with their Brown belts, and Jessica Boyle with her junior black belt. The Manitoulin School of Martial Arts has a rule that students under the age of 16 cannot be awarded a full black belt and when a student has earned their black belt, they are also given a white beginners belt to remind them of where they started. Sempai Jessica is only 14 years old but she has been training in Go Ju Ryu karate for 10 years, and helping teach for the past two years. 

Hanshi Yogi Israel and Kyoshi Alice Segarra, who are Renshi Dan Fletcher’s original martial arts teachers, surprised him by presenting him with his sixth degree black belt and the new title of Shihan, which means “master instructor.” Shihan Dan has been training for 37 years and this new rank and title represent his hard work, dedication to the art of karate, and his determination to spread the positive benefits of training in the martial arts. 

The Manitoulin School of Martial Arts has karate classes in both Little Current and Gore Bay, operating from September to June and is open to all ages. For more information, you can email renshidanf@gmail.com or call 705-348-0455 or check us out on Facebook. 

Congratulations to Shihan Dan, Sempai Jessica, Morgan, TJ, Mackenzie and Andrew!