NANAIMO — A martial arts tournament featuring kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is on tap for this weekend.
It's being dubbed the first event of it's kind in Nanaimo with about 60 athletes from ages four and up competing in the Cilaire Elementary gymnasium.
Most of the entrants are from Vancouver Island with a few coming over from the lower mainland.
CJ Martial Arts and Fitness is hosting the event and organizer Jordy Denney felt the growth of the local martial arts community made this the right time to put on the first West Coast Combat Championships.
"We just thought it was time to take another step forward and try to put on a tournament. We've always had to travel to the mainland and take the 6:30 a.m. ferry to get over to tournaments, so we thought - let's do one here and get everyone on the island competing."
Denney has ten of his own students enrolled and says he decided on a round robin format to give everyone more of a chance to develop their skills.
"Our goal with this is to get people as much experience they can," said Denney. "Rather than traveling to a tournament and losing your first match and being out and going home, you still get a chance to face everyone else in your division."
There are a few local Nanaimo athletes that Denney expects to do well.
At the head of that list is 15-year-old Maggy Meier.
"She's been very dominant in her competing so far. She's been competing on the island for the last couple of years," said Denney. "Nic Arenburg has also been doing very well in competition lately."
CJ Martial Arts has been around for ten years in Nanaimo and Denney and his wife Cara have owned it for the past five.
Denney says they've seen interest increasing steadily since they've taken over the school.
To be competitive in kickboxing or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Denney says it takes the commitment of training five times a week.
However training two or three times a week, an athlete will be able to see growth and improvement.
The event on Sunday gets going at around 9 a.m. at Cilaire Elementary and the tickets are five dollars.
Denney says there's plenty of seating for spectators.
The schedule will be begin with the youngest competitors and work up to the adult divisions later in the day.
For more information there is an event page on facebook.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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