The Quebec Open is set in the historic city of Quebec the weekend of April 24-25, 2013. Today we evolve the martial arts in different ways yet still hold tight to the traditional meanings, values, and beauty. The Quebec Open really demonstrated this theme of complimenting the traditional with the changing of styles. There were very traditional forms and weapons along with the Extreme and Creative forms. Mix in the different styles of fighting and it made for a great experience.
There was a great turnout for under-belt competitors of all ages on Saturday. For fighting, Robbie Lavoie and Chelsey Nash represented their country well, they both walked away with the Overall Fighting Grand Championships. Lavoie had a five-point deficit against Fortunato Aversa, not only was he able to tie up the match, Averso pushed him harder by up getting a sixth point in that Lavoie answered right before time was called to put them in to sudden victory. Lavoie was the first to score to win 7-6.
Chelsey Nash basically fought through her division and all the run offs, one after another, with only a minute break. Her final fight happened in parallel with Lavoie’s and had some similarities, they both ended up being close matches at the end with some back and forth with points but Nash kept a comfortable lead to win. It was amazing to see her complete five fights in a row without seeming disheveled, she is an amazing fighter to watch and keeps her composure through it all.
The women’s traditional Japanese division had the most impressive turnout for the black belts. Three of the four sides of the ring were lined up with great competitors. Stephannie Figueroa managed to prevail as the winner in the fierce competition.
The night show was kicked off by a spectacular demo by Team Emig. Mackensi Emory, Tyler Weaver, Danny Etkin, and Aidan Considine each started in a corner of the ring while the lights were off. Each corner had a floor light that shown up through them, creating a very unique way of mixing a light show with karate. The crowd loved it as they demonstrated tricks, weapons, and extreme moves. They definitely carry on Emig’s dynamic legacy. The always fun Toupi dancers kept the energy going to set the tone for an exciting night.
After the warm Quebec welcome, Dallas Liu dazzled the crowd and the judges with his musical bo performance, winning the 13 and Under Weapons Overall. He beat out a great performance by Jake Presley’s well received traditional bo, Isabella Caracta’s colorful nunchucks, and Emma Teo’s traditional bo.
Reid Presley opened the 14-17 Weapons Overall with a solid Traditional bo form that received mixed reviews by the judges, yet was a crowd pleaser. You could hear his strikes from the first row. GiGi Valdivia followed with a traditional bo, her intense yells were not enough to beat out Sammy Smith, who stuck her landings in her high flying nunchuks form. Tyler Weaver’s dropping of his kama solidified Sammy’s win. Weaver was able to redeem himself in the 14-17 Junior Forms Overall, by winning over Sammy Smith, Cole Presley, and GiGi Valdivia. Both Sammy Smith and Mackensi Emory swept their divisions on Friday night, but Emory only made it on stage for the Team Sync Forms.
There was some fierce competition in the 18 and Over Men’s Forms Overall. Steven So tricked it off with a musical form that set the tone for the men. In a rare turn of events, Micah Karns scored only one 9.99, and the rest were 9.97s with his musical form. Drew Derrick-Bisbee introduced the crowd to a traditional Okinawan form, complete with facial expressions and unique yells. He had the crowd chuckling from his introduction, stating he will not be doing tricks, or music, only “karate-do.” Austin Jorgensen mixed things up for everyone with his Chinese Drunken style form where he fluidly moved about the stage, balancing while he bends back almost parallel to the floor, then effortlessly kipping up from laying flat on his back. Vincent Scarduzio wrapped up the division with an intense extreme form. However, Jarrett Leiker was a crowd and judge pleaser with his traditional form, winning the overall title.
With multiple day time divisional wins by Caitlin Dechelle, Stephannie Figuroa, and Tressa Young, only four women performed on stage for both the 18 and Over Women’s Form Overall and Weapons Overall. Caitlin Dechelle was in great form winning both events. Her open hand form was solid, landing all her tricks while still executing clean techniques. Tressa Young showed her versatility by starting the night off with a Chinese open hand form and wrapping up the evening with a traditional bo form. Stephannie Figuroa started out strong demonstrating control and balance until midway through her traditional form when she stumbled on a kick, though subtle, it may have been the tipping point for the judges to choose Caitlin. Marie Anne Ouellet represented for Canada. She beat out some of the NASKA top competitors to make it to stage with her intense bo form. The crowd loved her but it wasn’t enough to beat Caitlin.
Junior Team Fighting consisted of two Canadian teams: Studio Elite and KJS. Claire Cocozza and David Bossinotte’s team had a secret weapon, their second fighter, who was female and smaller than her opponent, was the first to 7 points over the taller KJS fighter, ending the match before time was up.
In the13 and Under Forms Overall, Christine Bannon-Rodrigues was very proud of her student Kathryn Tian for making it on stage, and her overall success this weekend. She won the CMX grand, 3 firsts, and 4 second places. She faced heavy competition on stage, including the overall winner, Aidan Considine, whose tricks look like a young Matt Emig trickster. Sage Sweeny from Bring it! and Derek Meegan of AKA both had strong traditional forms.
One division that many appreciate at the Quebec Open is the “Defi Challenge”. There were 7 brave competitors that performed their katas on stage. They were all ages, abilities, and styles. The winner, Abigale performed an amazing bo form. Her strong stances and fluid movement concealed the fact that she had an artificial lower leg. We hope to see her compete more in the years to come.
Grand Master Clermont Poulin was inducted into two Halls of Fame Saturday night. Hanshi Andy Horne gave a wonderful speech that recognized Poulin’s over 42 years of commitment to martial arts as a practitioner, instructor, good will servitude, and promoter of the industry. He has touched many lives throughout his martial arts career. Hanshi Horne presented him with the certificate of Karate Masters Hall of Fame from the World Martial Arts and Kobudo Association. Also, Poulin was inducted by the Budo International Magazine’s Hall of Fame as a Legend Grandmaster & Goodwill Ambassador to the Martial Arts. Both inductions were received with a standing ovation from the crowd, judges, Grand Masters, martial artist from all over and his students. The cheers and ovation went on for a while as Poulin recognized each section of the audience with a charming and gracious smile.
In the Junior Continuous Fighting USA (Str8t Up) vs. Canada match up, both fighters were attacking hard, but Str8t Up had a height advantage and was able to land more kicks. Canada took the hits well and did not back down. USA won the decision.
Reid Presley’s Double Bo Demonstration was a phenomenal sight. Leveraging the bos atop of one another and they flashed through the air so fast you could hardly keep up, it was truly a good evening to have the Presley name, we saw three on stage: Cole, Jake and Reid!
The team Synchronized Forms had the very experienced and high-flying Team Emig against the more traditional younger Team BringIt. Both forms brought unique qualities to the show. Team Emig was fast paced, using up the entire stage for their high energy moves and loud music, while Team BringIt stayed in the middle, blind folded, moving at a controlled pace and with no music. Both teams flashed an appreciation to the crowd at the end, Team Emig donned ‘Quebec’ shirts, while BringIt pulled out Quebec flags. Team Emig flipped away with the win.
Steven So, Alexander Baril who won NASKA Canada’s over all, Vincent Scarduzio who’s bo slipped, Austin Jorgensen and Drew Derrick-Bisbee all were on stage for a second time this evening for the grand finale of men’s weapons. Even with a second showing along with Geo Leon, they could not out shadow Shahin Jahan-Vash’s tremendous double sword form. He executed his weapon flawlessly and kept strong stances throughout his form. You could see how proud his father was watching him from the sidelines. He won by receiving all 9.99, even though Alexander Baril received two 10s.