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Local gym medals at provincial competiton

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Students of the Winnipeg Academy of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) Swan River chapter, added their gym’s name on the list of exceptional Manitoba martial arts schools when they challenged other highly accredited schools from across the country on Saturday (Nov. 18) at the Manitoba Open Jiu Jitsu Tournament in Winnipeg.
Locals Caleb Kent, Abbie Stenberg, Malek Thrones Watson, Braden Kletka, Alyssa May and Christopher Elliot, along with the gym’s owner Travis Lumax, who took to the mats to put their skills to the test.
The day started with Kent, the youngest in WAMMA Canadian history to compete, winning his first match 13-0.
“He beat an opponent from an established school with a high ranking instructor,” said youth Jiu Jitsu coach Patrick May. “He did great in all of his matches, losing only to a competitor that had a lot of weight and experience over him. He defeated a lot of students by putting his skills to good use and pushing the pace hard.”
Kent walked away from the tournament with two silver medals. Stenberg captured a silver as well, while Thrones Watson took the Bronze in the same division.
“Abbie is one of our most technically proficient students,” said May. “She was put in a tough division, with Malek, in that they were against some competitors with three to five years of training. She was able to remain competitive.”
Kletka surprised the room and demanded respect when he solidified two gold medals with his performances.
“He was able to go out there and do amazing against students who had literally trained for four to six times the amount of time he has had,” said May. “He won gold in both of his divisions and really did us all proud out there.”
Alyssa May also faced a tough division, filled only with males, but allowed heart and determination to shine through in her performances.
“In one of her matches, she faced someone who has taken Jiu Jitsu for half a decade and wrestles also,” said May. “She went out there and gave it her all.”
Elliot was also able to obtain some hardware from the day, capturing a silver for himself.
“Chris had only trained for a month and a half but was very game to compete,” said May. “He held his own.”
The adolescents of the local gym will be taking home a new level of experience, along with their shiny rewards.
“Our children did fantastic,” said head coachDavid Swanson. “Several competed against higher ranked students and rose to the occasion and emerged victorious.”
“The major schools have instructors with higher ranks and kid’s programs that have ran for years,” added May. “I was a little worried about how our students were going to perform against these schools, but it turned out I had nothing to worry about. I have always focused on the benefits of discipline, respect, and focus in the students and they trained hard to do well competing. It paid off with the results they achieved.”
When the youth divisions cleared the mats, it was time for the adults to showcase their expertise. WAMMA Swan River’s lone adult competator, Lumax, was put through seven greuling matches and was able to come out victorious with a bronze of his own.
“He got his first taste of victory and defeat,“ said Swanson. “Both are crucial for the development of skill and the ability to dig deep and fight when there's nothing left in the gas tank.”
“David and I worked so hard with Travis,“ added May. “We trained hard five or six days a week for months to get him ready for this. He did excellent.”
The club’s success was displayed in their total of two gold, four silver, and two bronze medals.
“Seeing the students on the podium and knowing our club has only been around for six months was very reassuring: we are clearly doing something right,” said Swanson.
“It was also the first time Coach Pat and myself worked alongside each other and helped our students before, throughout, and after the matches. All in all our team functioned and performed as a solid cohesive unit. I very much look forward to future tournaments and having more of our students compete.”
“Overall it was a fantastic day for our very young school,” added May. “I can't wait to see what we accomplish when they do the next Manitoba Open.”
While the gym awaits the next opportunity to challenge at the spring Manitoba Open, they will continue to train daily, while holding quarterly inner gym tournaments to push each other to the next level.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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