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Doerkson Speaks Highly of WAMMA

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It’s normal for small town sports to struggle with many athletes eventually moving hours, provinces and even countries away from their homes to train at more prestigious clubs.
There will always be bigger training facilities and a more competitive environment alongside equally skilled athletes and results proven-coaches that are not always found in rural populations. Athletes see opportunities in a city that they don’t think their small town can match. But, that’s not always the case.
Since its beginning in May 2017, WAMMA Swan River has been breaking the rules in tournaments across North America and has been seeing results that it’s not supposed to have been able to achieve. Because of this they were recently recognized by one of Canada’s top athletes.
Jessica Lynn Wiebe published an article titled Jiu Jitsu in Manitoba with Bob McRoberts, Joe Doerkson, and Larry Mackinnon for ikirobrand.com on Oct. 8 that reflected on the sport of Jiu Jitsu in Manitoba. The article talked to the key athletes that brought the sport to our province and how it has grown since then.
When addressing the city versus rural lifestyle amongst trainers, WAMMA Brandon’s Joe Doerkson - Canada’s most experiences pro – now retired – mixed martial arts fighter with a record of 51 wins ( 35 submissions and eight knockouts ) and 16 losses – nine of which came from the UFC – was questioned.
“I think if someone’s from a smaller town their best bet is to travel to Brandon or Winnipeg,” he said. “That’s going to be their best bet, But there are also WAMMA affiliates all over Manitoba. There’s guys in Dauphin, The Pas, Thompson and Swan River’s got a good spot. There are just a lot of places now where people with experiences are going in and starting up in a different town and doing their own thing.
“And WAMMA Swan River is a very unique story. The guy running that place didn’t have anyone to train with and he didn’t have any experience but he wanted to set something up. So he got a hold of Curtis Brigham and they made arrangements for someone to come up and teach for the first few months to get everybody started. So a guy with no experience starts a gym and even myself, I was a little skeptical of how that was going to work out. But after going to visit you could just see everybody really really excited about training and they’re all working hard and having good attitudes and the kids are really really excited about it out there. They’ve done really really impressive things up in that small town.”
To date, WAMMA Swan River has claimed 67 gold medals, 49 silver medals and 34 bronze medals in competition. They have two children on the national rankings list with one being named a two division national champion after a competition in the USA. They have two members – WAMMA Swan River owner Travis Lumax and member Lane Klekta – that have achieved their blue belts from WAMMA founder Curtis Brigham and their coach David Swanson and have appointed themselves as one of Manitoba’s most dominant clubs at competition because of all of their hard work.
They are achievements that Lumax holds with great pride as he knows what his team has gone through to achieve. But, being recognized by someone he’s held as a personal idol may be the cherry on top of the sundae for him.
“Joe is a legend when it comes to martial arts in Canada,” he said. “To be mentioned by him and put alongside so many iconic names is very special to us. These guys started this sport in our province and are talking about how great we are doing in Swan. It’s a huge sign of respect from people I would consider legends of the sport.”
WAMMA Swan River will look to make impressions on even more icons of the sport and break those small town can’t compete with cities in sports rules on Nov. 9 and 10 when they travel to Winnipeg to compete in their fifth Manitoba Open Tournament.

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Jakki Lumax
REPORTER
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