Williams Lake and Shogun Martial Arts Academy now have youth world champions among their ranks.
Regan Miciuk, 9, Isaac Lauren, 11, and Raiden Lainchbury, 9, all represented Williams Lake and Canada at the first-ever TAFISA World Martial Arts Games, held at the Richmond Olympic Oval on Sept. 5, and all marched away with medals after facing off against competition from around the world.
Miciuk started things off for Shogun with a silver medal in kata, a Japanese word for describing detailed choreographed patterns of martial arts movements, before Lauren followed up with a fourth-place finish in kata and a gold medal in his creative weapons category. Raiden, meanwhile, won a gold medal in point fighting, then a bronze-medal in continuous point fighting.
“It was pretty cool,” said Shogun Martial Arts Academy Sensei Lee-Ann Lainchbury. “The kids got to stand on the actual Olympic podium. [One of the artists] who designed the Olympic medals designed these ones, so they were pretty nice.”
Raiden, the son of Shogun Senseis Lee-Ann and Sheldon Lainchbury, qualified for worlds at the Western Canadian Martial Arts Championships held last October in Burnaby, while both Lauren and Miciuk earned their berth at the BC Open last April.
“They were so excited, and we were so excited,” Lee-Ann said.
Since the world championships Lee-Ann added all three have been taking their training more seriously and realize how hard work can pay off.
“They trained during the summer and it paid off,” she said. “Also they know they can accomplish anything if they work hard enough for it. We were proud of the kids being at worlds and they handled it well. They trusted in what they had trained and how hard they worked and did their best.”
Sensei Sheldon echoed Lee-Ann, noting it was an eye-opener for the trio of young martial artists. His advice heading into the tournament was that they were there for the experience at the world level, but if they won medals it would be a bonus.
“If they travelled to more tournaments they’d have a good chance to try world championships in other federations, too,” he said. “I was very proud of them and they trained hard for it.”
Lee-Ann noted the tournament was well run and well organized.
“They did an opening ceremonies on the Friday night where everyone got to walk in with their teams,” she said.
“Basically the kids went for the experience, we tried out a new [martial arts] federation, and they were there to gain valuable experience. And, they all got a bonus at least once.”