The Academy team that turned in solid results in Victoria included (left to right): Front row - Russ McCumber

The Academy team that turned in solid results in Victoria included (left to right): Front row - Russ McCumber

The Academy hauls in MMA medals

Comox Valley competitors in top form at Be First Tournament in Victoria

One of the worst storms the Island has seen this year was not enough to stop the dedicated students of The Academy who travelled to Victoria to compete in the Be First Tournament on Oct. 25.

The largest group yet, consisting of eight students and their coach, made the trip and performed well in each of their divisions. All competed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) coming home with nine medals after a tough tournament.

The Be First Tournament draws martial artists from all over Vancouver Island and has begun to host schools from the mainland as well. It was a fast-paced day with the team’s coach and head instructor Bill Fraser sometimes having to split his attention between the two competition surfaces, which is no easy feat.

The men’s divisions included Dave Webb who finished second in No Gi and third in Gi. Mike Pighin earned a second in his Gi division, Scott Boyd who took home second in the heavyweight No Gi. Russ McCumber garnered second in No Gi.

Mark Fabris and Brendan Abreu both fought valiantly in tough but separate divisions, with Brendan going against much higher belts in his open bracket. Both finished just outside of the medals.

All of the men’s brackets were loaded with talented and fierce competitors. All performed well, showcasing their dedication to training.

Two of The Academy’s female grapplers, Ali Cranmer and Alma Ballington, found themselves going head-to-head at one point in small women’s division in both Gi and No Gi, with them taking home first and third respectively in both divisions.

Both Ali and Alma are on a mission to draw more women to the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, both for its self-defence training and also for the love of the sport. Just having the courage to step onto the mats to face an opponent one on one is an accomplishment.

The students of The Academy as always are grateful to their coach and head instructor Bill Fraser for his incredible dedication to their martial arts training and development, and want to thank him for his support, and for sharing his knowledge of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Whether you’re looking to elevate your ground skills for mixed martial arts, compete recreationally in tournaments or simply want the confidence that comes along with the knowledge that you can defend yourself against bigger and stronger individuals, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is perfect for you.

Anyone interested in learning BJJ, Muay Thai or MMA is welcome to come and take part in a class.   Contact us through Bill Fraser Martial Arts Facebook page, look for us online at, or call Bill Fraser directly at 250-465 9073.


– The Academy



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Of Bears at Fridges, drinking Planes and Cinderella’s Shoe” is Jordis Trumby’s first children’s book. Photo supplied.
Courtenay author writes, illustrates first children’s book

When is a collaboration not a collaboration? At first glance, Courtenay author… Continue reading

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Pumpjacks pump crude oil near Halkirk, Alta., June 20, 2007.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Larry MacDougal
Gas prices jump in the Valley – and experts predict prices to rise even more

“We still could be talking about record prices…”

NIC Practical Nursing instructor Barb McPherson (right) is pictured with student Rebecca Wood in 2018 in NIC’s SIM lab. NIC photo
Learn about Practical Nursing opportunities for Island students

Students interested in exploring a future in health care are invited to… Continue reading

The Comox Valley Cycling Coalition is hoping to see more bike lines in the Cumberland area. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cycling coalition wants better bike links for Cumberland

Group says members want more connections with Comox Valley

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

Most Read