Martial arts club outstanding at worlds

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Not only is the Prince Ogitchita Martial Arts Studio back in business, but they were a big hit at a recent world tournament.


Out of 22 fighters from the local martial arts club that attended the 4th World Sikaran Tournament and Open Martial Arts Tournament in Winnipeg on May 10, 20 came home with at least a medal.


The club opened back up to the public in March after a two-year absence and Stephen Prince, chief master instructor of the Prince Ogitchita club, said doing so well at a world tournament in just the club’s second competition since re-opening was a big positive.


“To distinguish themselves this good, I was very happy,” said Prince. “I’m very proud of my students. They did exceptionally well.”


There were two tournaments, the world competition and the open category, and Prince Ogitchita fighters won a combined 41 medals.


Adrienne Thomas-Critch and Ebony Prince were “the stars of the show” according to the chief master instructor as they won gold medals in their respective divisions in both the world and open categories.


Other gold winners included Dustin Shingoose, who also won gold in both, Andrew Worth and Master John Yatsko. Yatsko also won an additional bronze and Worth won two other silvers and a bronze.


Many silver and bronzes were brought back home by fighters Kamile Prince, Darien Prince, and Eleanor Prince (two silvers each), Seth Prince (two bronze), Chris Knight (two bronze, one silver), Maya Critch (one bronze, one silver) and Bradley Gabriel (two silvers), who was the youngest Prince Ogitchita fighter at age five.


Darius Smoke, Hayden Smoke and Zachary Critch all won bronze medals and Anthony Smoke won a participation medal.



Hall of fame


Chief Master Prince, along with his late father, Grand Master Steve Prince, and mother, Master Donna Prince, were honoured with Sikaran World Brotherhood Canada Hall of Fame Distinguished Sikaran Instructor awards, while Donna Prince also earned a contributor Hall of Fame award along with her instructor honour.


He says him and his family have always promoted martial arts locally which made them good choices for the awards.


“Twenty years ago, Sigaran was becoming extinct and through a lot of instructors that were around, we really pushed the art and now it’s making a very big comeback,” Prince said.


Prince says he represented Canada at the second world tournament that was held in Manila back in 1994, and his father finished second in the world, while he finished fourth, despite being a youth in an adult division.


The Prince Ogitchita studios used to be located in the Portage la Prairie mall, but due to several reasons, including budget and time, the club shut its doors two years ago. Prince kept teaching a select few dedicated fighters from his home and helped them try to pursue a black belt.


Back in February, Prince was approached to be on the team to represent Canada world tournaments and said his son, Seth, as well as other cousins were also asked to tryout and eventually made the team that would compete at the World tournament.


“I had regrets on not placing in top three in 1994,” he said. “I always said if I had the opportunity to get back on the team, I would jump on it and I did.”


Realizing that his home was not big enough to start training for the world tournament, Prince said he approached Long Plain First Nation Portage reserve hoping to get a larger space.


“We asked them for a building to use for training purposes, ” said Prince. “They graciously provided us with a space and sponsored us. And then I figured I could reopen the club.”


The club trains right beside the Keeshkeemaquah Conference & Gaming Centre in Portage la Prairie.


The first tournament attended by the club was a regional Sikaran tournament in April where they did very well and they carried that into the world competition.


The club will close for the summer in June, but Prince says there are plans to start a day camp for youth. He also anticipates them to attend more tournaments next season and hopes to host one in either October or February.



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