The new Can Am Classics logo was designed to give the flags of Canada and the United States a cleaner look, and we created it to allow us to make our award more beautiful. I have gone through great lengths to make our medal unique, and this is an award our competitors can truly be proud of. The medal is a full three inches in diameter, and it is extra thick to give it more weight. The flags are in full colour, and the medal itself is Die Cast to give it a true two dimensional look of quality.
The Can Am Classics Championships evolved out of the early Bon Soo Championships I used to host during our Winter Carnival. I changed the date of the tournament after one of the teams coming to compete lost control over their vehicle and crashed into the snow banks lining the highway they were traveling on. Not wanting to be responsible for anyone getting injured or worse, I felt that hosting a Winter tournament in our area was just not a responsible thing to do.
The early tournaments evolved into the Can Am Classics, and it ran continuously for more than twenty years. Over the years, we attracted some of the BIGGEST names competition had during the Golden years, and Sault Ste Marie has been fortunate enough to see awesome competitors like: Jeff Smith, Wally Slocki, Flem Evans, Everett “Monster Man” Eddy, Glenn Premru, Don James, Cezar Borkowski, Peter Gilpin, Richard Plowden, and many more.
In addition to these great competitors, we had some awesome local talent such as: Jon Simonds, Andy Johnson, Andy Karnowski, Don Benoit, “Buzz” Smith, John Anderson, Mark Hubert, Ronda MacLeod, “Frenchy” Lamoureaux, Walter Penny, and many more. Some of the best martial art shows were held during evening “shows”, and our tournament was the first to feature martial art Greats such as: Robert Dalgleish, Don Warrener, Park Jong Soo, Chong Lee, and World Kuk Sool Masters Suh In Hyuk, Suh Sung Jin, Alex Suh, Marlin Sims, Byung In Lee, and the legendary Jung Oh Lee.
It was competing against the best that allowed our own students to become World Champions in their own right, and several were World Champs for a number of years: Frenchy Lamoureaux became Canadian Full Contact Champ, and he ranked as high as 3rd in the world Standings before a work injury cut his career short. Another student, Korrie Young, won Gold at the World Continuous Sparring in Portugal. World Champs in point tournaments were: Rhonda MacLeod, Sonny Spina, Rod Wilson, who all reigned for four or more years.
Unfortunately, a break up with the WKSA organization caused a rift that created an unhealthy atmosphere at our tournaments, and I did not want our students exposed to that dark side of martial arts; so, I stopped hosting tournaments for quite a few years. Today, much of those hard feelings are gone, and it is time for us to revive the old Can-Am tournament at the 2017 Can Am Classics to be held at the Big Bear arena.
This year’s Can Am Classics will be hosted by GM Rudy Timmerman, and the tournament Co-Ordinators are Master Ronda Bourdage (registration) of the KJMS club, and Master Tina Fuller (Rings) of the Black Dragon school in Sault Michigan. It is our sincere hope to have all local area schools join us in an effort to bring another great competition to our area. I fully understand that this event will not likely attract the 400-500 competitors we used to have at our earlier event, but I am more interested in quality than quantity at this point. I am sure that, if we focus on quality, the number of competitors will grow.
I look forward to seeing many of my old friends and students at the “Classics”.
Please contact me at kwanjang@sympatico, for more information or help with online registration.