As an actor, Jonathan Woodhall is well aware of Shakespeare’s classic monologue that begins, “All the world’s a stage…”
As a martial artist, he stood on the world stage with two gold medals around his neck at the World Organization of Martial Arts Athletes World Martial Games XVI.
Woodhall’s world debut at the July 22-24 Games in Essenbach, Germany was a solid success, as he won gold in two different divisions: traditional Kenpo karate forms and open creative weapons.
The medals came on the first day of Games, July 22, which was the same day a shooter opened fire at a nearby mall, killing nine people and injuring 36 others.
“I won by two gold medals on the first day, about the same time as a gunman killed nine people,” he recalls. “Me and the rest of Team Canada went out for dinner and while we were having dinner we found out about the news.”
Having qualified for the Worlds at the 2016 Tiger Balm Internationals in March in Vancouver, Woodhall gave one demonstration in each event. He was part of an 11-person Canadian delegation.
The event included competitors from the US, Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, Poland Romania, Germany and France.
“There were rumours there was an Afghanistan team there. I believe one gentleman showed up. Rumour has it he opted not to be part of the opening ceremonies. If it hadn’t been for rumours we wouldn’t have known he was there at all,” Woodhall said.
Woodhall paid his own way to the championships, but was grateful for about $1,000 worth of sponsorship from various local sources, including House of Kenpo Karate where he trains with sensei Don Roe, and Investors Group.
A return trip to the Worlds is up in the air. “We’ll see. If I’m not mistaken karate is going to be in the 2020 Olympics. We’ll see what happens to the World Martial Arts Games, because (they) along with some other world-level tournaments, are like the Olympics right now.”
As for the Olympics, the 27-year-old Woodhall notes he’s got four years to decide. For now he is focussed on his Step #1 personal training business, which he has been operating for just over a year. “I’ve had the honour of training world-class athletes and also people who are just starting – hence the name Step #1.”
Woodhall offers personal training at Fitness Excellence, in a client’s home and even online. And for all ages. “I’ve trained people as young as 13 and as old as in their 70s and 80s.
“You can come to me in any shape or skill level. You want a personal trainer who’s going to give you a proper health screening, take your personal needs and run with them. If you just show up to a personal trainer and he gives you a cookie cutter workout routine it’s no good.
Those interested can check out Step #1 at www.jonwoodhall.com
Woodhall has been honing his skills at House of Kenpo for nine years, starting in 2003 and taking a few years off between then and now.
He recalls his interest in karate began as a result of bullying at school.
“I endured a lot of bullying, until the point where I decided the teachers aren’t helping me and I can’t rely on anyone else to do this, so I’m going to have to defend myself. That was the original motivation.”
His dad got him enrolled at the House of Kenpo and he earned his 1st degree black belt when he was 19. Now a 2nd degree black belt, Woodhall’s hard work and determination since then has elevated him to the highest level of his sport.
The deadly mall shooting aside, Woodhall says Germany was a positive experience, with residents very environmentally friendly.
“Everywhere I went there were solar panels all over these very old historic houses. More than once I saw someone walking down the street, look into a trash can, stop and pull out recycling and put it in the recycling.”
He had time to do some touring, including a Third Reich Munich walking tour that included paying his respects at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site. “It was good to go,” he said.
As for the performing arts, Woodhall said he had a small acting career when he was living in Vancouver and taking acting lessons at Capilano University. Along with appearing in short films, he was in a web series called Choose Your Victims and a film called Project Ego.
One of his favourite acting gigs was right here in the Comox Valley in the play Cats, directed by Lori Mazey. “Acting is a fantastic experience. It can be very challenging.”
Rising to challenges, and inspiring others to do so, is very much what Woodhall is all about. “For any aspiring athletes, just keep in mind you can do it too.
“I’m just an average human being just like anyone else, and if you put your mind to something you can accomplish the exact same thing if you really want to.”