The Toronto Tournament of Martial Arts Champions is one of the top up and coming events in Canada. The event was held November 23-24, 2014 in the Hersey Sports Centre in Ontario, Canada.
On Friday night, tournament promoter Michael Paletti, brought in some of the world’s best sport karate competitors to teach free seminars to all pre-registered competitors. World Champions Becca Ross, Ross Levine, Andrew Cabalan, and Danny Etkin all gave competitors tips and drills. The seminars were packed with many martial artists ready to improve their skills.
Another highlight of Friday night was Team Emig’s Danny Etkin in the musical division. He amazed his fans with some great acrobatics mixed with martial arts strikes and kicks. With only a few divisions on Friday night, everyone was able to get some rest to prepare for the intense Saturday competition.
Saturday the event was held at the large Hershey Center which is a multi-sport venue. This assured ample space for spectators to watch the action. The event started with great under belt action, the arena was full of kids who were ready to show what it takes to be a champion. The competitors made it clear that future black belt divisions will be filled with up-and-coming talent.
Elyse Gorrell came out on top winning the women’s sparring grand championship after a tough semi-finals match against fellow Canadian Tressa Young. Ross Levine did not just do seminars, he was there to compete. He had an impressive five fights to take the overall title.
Levine’s toughest match-up was against Nathan Skoufis. Skoufis had some great timed kicks but couldn’t match up with the experience and fighting knowledge of Levine. Skoufis definitely has the potential to be in the upper eshelon of fighters if he would get out to some more events. Levine moved past Skofis to face Quinn Purdy of Team United. Purdy showed he had plenty of toughness as Levine drilled him with a hard sidekick that would have brought most men to their knees – but Quinn handled the kick like a champ and kept on fighting. Finally, Levine faced the experienced Mike Levy – the winner of the 30 division. It was all Levine as he took the win and took home the cash.
Danny Etkin ended up running a marathon of events over the weekend. Not only did Etkin take a clean sweep in his divisions he was able to win the junior boys’ grand championship for combined forms and weapons. Canadians Bradley Chaput and Raven Wheesk had great performances but were unable to defeat Etkin in the grand championship.
If winning the grands wasn’t enough Etkin entered the Elite Forms Challenge. In this event, competitors were bracketed just like a sparring match and had to compete head-to-head round after round until only one person remained. After several rounds, Etkin was crowned the winner and took home the $200 cash prize.
The adult forms and weapons divisions were filled with some really great performances. Attiphah Moulton showed she had plenty of skills to hang in there with the adults as she moved up. Michael Toms had another solid showing with great weapons performances. Tressa Young added some flash to her multiple routines. Young competed in weapons and all forms divisions.
Becca Ross had a rough start to the event the a drop of her weapon but battled back to take several wins in forms and traditional weapons. Her traditional bo form full of great solid stikes and stances was enough to wow the judges to won the adult overall forms and weapons grand championship title. Ross’ teammate, Andew Cabilan’s strong traditional form was able to earn him the 30 and over forms and weapons grand championship title.
The junior girls forms and weapons grand championship had some great performances with Rose Rhéaume’s creative bo form and Marissa Meandro strong traditional form. Both looked on point but it was the super strong strikes of Melissa Baillargeon that were able to take the girls’ grand championship home.
Overall, the Toronto Tournament of Martial Arts Championships was a great mix of Canadian hospitality and fierce competition. This tournament continues to grow and offer new and unique experiences and divisions for participants!