BACK FROM THE Coastal Martial Arts Open (left to right) are: Back row - Tyler Binney

BACK FROM THE Coastal Martial Arts Open (left to right) are: Back row - Tyler Binney

House of Kenpo hauls in 17 medals

Courtenay Pickford wins Grand Championship for under black belt forms

The House of Kenpo Karate School in Comox returned to Port Alberni for the 10th annual Coastal Martial Arts Open on June 14.

Sensei Don Roe (5th degree black belt) along with Julia Bennett (3rd degree black belt) and Corey Nickerson (3rd degree black belt) brought a team of 13 motivated members which included some experienced competitors, and many new ones. All the black belts served as officials at the event.

The Kenpo team varied in age from eight to 40 and covered a wide range of ranks from yellow up to brown.  The team competed in a range of divisions including traditional hand kata, assorted weapons and open/creative divisions.

Experienced competitors included Robi Gareau (brown belt) who won a pair of gold medals in traditional kata and open/creative divisions after a gruelling tiebreaker.  Dylan Baker (green belt) took gold in the adult under black weapons division with a spear set, and silver in the adult open/creative division.  Gabriel Roe (brown belt) won a bronze medal demonstrating a tonfa set in the adult under black weapons division.  Courtenay Pickford (green belt) won a gold medal with her traditional form, and a bronze medal in the open/creative division – completing the sweep of that category for Team Kenpo.

Other experienced competitors included Venessa Borowicz (blue belt)who  won a silver medal with her hand set in the women’s advanced division, while her sister Nicole Borowcz (blue belt) won the gold medal in the 11-17 weapons division.  Travis Minta (green belt) took silver in the 14-17 green-brown belt division as well as bronze in the under-17 open/creative division.  Brianna Wallis (blue belt) won gold in the 8-10 green to brown with a traditional hand kata, and another gold in the under-10 weapons division.

Making their Team Kenpo tournament debut were Rhys Binney (orange belt) who won a gold medal in the 10-and-under weapons division and silver in the 8-10 yellow-to-orange belt forms division.  Tyler Binney (blue belt) won silver in the 11-13 green to brown belt weapons division.  Lastly, Graham Sponselee (orange belt) won silver in the 10 and under weapons division.

Everyone who wins a gold medal in their division is entitled to compete for the Grand Championship, and this year our own Courtenay Pickford won the Grand Championship for under black adult forms with a very challenging kata called the definitive set.  “Courtenay is no stranger to the competition circuit and has been competing since 2009 winning a total of three gold medals, one silver and one bronze. In addition to her skill in Kenpo, she is also an accomplished grappler,” Roe noted.

All told, Team Kenpo brought home eight gold medals, six silver, three bronze and the grand championship trophy for under-black adult forms. “All of my competitors have been training hard for months to prepare for this tournament,” said Roe. “It was great to see all their hard work pay off with such amazing results.”

For further information regarding personal instruction in Kenpo or Submission Arts Wrestling or kickboxing classes contact Roe at 250-339-5992 or visit

– House of Kenpo Karate School