Every year the Quebec Open night show is nothing short of spectacular and in 2014, it did not disappoint. Held the weekend of April 26-27, 2014, the Quebec Open brought the excitement of sport martial arts to Quebec City, Canada. Although the tournament was handily run by promoter Clermont Poulin, there were new faces on the administrative end with David Bossinotte and Claire Cocozza organizing and coordinating – a sign of big changes coming to the event. In the finals, promoter Poulin announced that after 34 years, he is handing the reigns over to Bossinotte, Cocozza and Samuel Gagnon, his trusted students and friends. Based on the way Bossinotte and Cocozza directed the event this year, the expectation is for smooth sailing with the transition. And Poulin promised to still be around – just not heading things up.
Friday and Saturday competition pitted top competitors from Canada and the United States against each other at the Quebec Open. It was a good first evening at the 2014 Quebec Open. In men’s forms and weapons, Tyler Weaver won three out of the four divisions and Vinny Scarduzio won one. Jackson Rudolph and Jacob Pinto were part of a stacked 16-17 boys forms and weapons crowd and both won at least one division.
The demo team division was pretty intense with three really great Canadian teams going head-to-head. Team Equipe Vision had one dropped bo that was their downfall in a very creative demo performance. Team Karate Sport Action was able to take the win to go to the Quebec Open stage. On stage Karate Sport Action did not let anyone down as they defended their top position and walked away with the demo team title, defeating Team Studio Unis.
In synchronized teams, Tyler Weaver and Mackensi Emory kept up their tradition of winning and were able to hold on to their top spot on the stage in the finals.
The junior teams came out in full force and put on some great fights. Jalen Carr led his Team ProAm/All Stars to a victory in his age bracket after landing some really cool techniques to do it. The 16-17 boys team sparring was exciting. Sebastian Couture and Justin Liu of Team All Stars looked confident but ended up with a defeat at the hands and feet of Quinn Purdy and Alex Guiliani of All Stars/Team United. But Blitz Brothers’ team Jeremy Francour and Zakary Jouvrot handed Purdy and Guiliani a sound defeat in the final round.
On Saturday, the traditional divisions and point sparring were the highlights. Women’s point sparring had some of the best fights of the day especially the final match between Gina Thornton of the United States and Kelsey Friedlander of Canada. The grand championship match was set for two rounds and the women made both rounds exciting. They were tied 6-6 after round one. In round two, Friedlander scored first but Thornton was persistent and was able to get some great points in the latter half of the round to end 18-14 with the grand championship title.
For the men, the best fight had to be Fortunato Aversa versus Jason Grenier in the semi-finals for the grands. The two came off the line like they wanted to kill each other and the side referees practically had to pull them apart after each clash. Unfortunately the match ended with an injury as Aversa went to the mat with a dislocated elbow. Grenier advanced to face the other bracket winner Samuel Gagnon and both went to the finals. In the finals, the two round match ended early as Grenier surprised Gagnon by reaching the 10 point spread before time ran down in round one and Grenier took the grand championship title.
There were a ton of kids and adult wearing shirts saying “Blitz” all over them at the event and they were representing the Blitz Brothers of Canada. The Blitz Bros kids did great winning in junior teams in some good matches. And the Blitz teams ended up facing off in the finals for a junior team championship. Of course it meant that at least one Blitz Bros team would win the challenge – and this evening it was the Blitz Bros Black team.
The Quebec Open night show has bragging rights as being one of the best open martial arts shows each year and 2014 continued the tradition. Thousands of people poured into the auditorium to watch the festivities. This show even featured special colored floor lighting for some of the demos and choreographed lighting and smoke for others. And, of course, the infamous Toupe dancers opened the show to the delight of the crowd.
The Canadian crowd loves amazing kids and the kids on stage for Quebec Open were fantastic. Gabrielle Cunha opened the night for the 13 & Under weapons competition. However, the Canadians also love the bo – probably the national weapon for the Canadian martial artist – and it was Jake Presley’s bo routine that had the crowd roaring and the scores from the judges. In the 14-17 weapons category, Sammy Smith and Sage Sweeny put on great performances but it was Jackson Rudolph’s green Hulk bo that had the crowd on its feet and the judges handing out the 9.99s.
Men’s forms featured some awesome performances but despite the high flying routine of Tyler Weaver, it was Stephen Grasz’s intense traditional performance that was the favorite of the judges this evening. Traditional remained the favorite in women’s forms as Casey Marks and her traditional routine won the women’s forms grand championships.
The traditional trend continued in the 13 & under forms competition. Little Kieran Tamondong has been tearing it up in forms and weapons this year and he was on stage for the first time at Quebec Open. The huge crowd did not intimidate as Tamondong won the title with his traditional routine. In the 14-17 forms competition, the kid who was everyone’s favorite at the event was Jacob Pinto. Pinto went nuts on the stage and ended with the grand championship title. Pinto returned later to lead his tricking team – Team No Shirts – to the first tricking title ever at the event. Pinto, Reid Presley, Danny Etkin and Justin Chang brought the house down with their flips and tricks.
The Quebec Open always includes some specialty events and this year it was junior continuous and the always popular handicapable competition. In junior continuous, Gabrielle Cunha defeated her Canadian opponent Lauzany Roy for the win. Calvin Foote and Dylan Garron put on a show in a Canada versus Canada bout in boys continuous. Garron did his coach proud with his win.
The happiest person in the finals had to be Phillip Fontaine who, after years of competing in the handicapable category, emerged the winner with his open hand form.
Canadian competitors were able to compete in their own NASKA Canada rated divisions with the final two going to the stage. Charles Olivier-Dube was the champion in the youth battle. In the adult battle, Alexandre Baril and Denis Vlachos had the crowd on its feet with their challenge. In the end it was Baril with the win.
In women’s weapons, Becca Ross strutted her stuff with her musical bo routine and was declared the champion for the night giving her a reward for a lot of extra training lately. Since Canadians love bos, when Reid Presley took the stage with his double bo routine, well, the audience lost its mind. Presley amazed the spectators with his well-choreographed routine and it pushed him right into the winner’s circle for men’s weapons.
With the competition complete, it was time for the Quebec Open’s famous after party. Although the party was tinged with a bit of sadness as it doubled as a going-away party for promoter Clermont Poulin, it was also a grand celebration for an event well-done and in anticipation of the great things to come with the new leadership.