Things got chaotic at the Tiger Balm Internationals over the weekend.
For one Whitehorse team, that’s a good thing.
Whitehorse’s Chaos Combat Club had a productive weekend at the huge, international martial arts event in North Vancouver.
Eight members of the mixed martial arts (MMA) gym in Porter Creek went for the experience. They returned with 14 medals, including six gold.
Days later, the club’s owner and coach was still a little stunned by the success, he said.
“I was telling the guys, ‘Don’t go down there expecting a medal, just go down to do your best and treat it like a huge learning experience,’” said Sheldon Casselman. “‘If you medal, it’s a bonus.’ Of course bringing back a medal to the Yukon after competing in an international competition is huge.
“I was thrilled. All these guys impressed the hell out of me. They listened and stayed composed and represented Team Chaos and Team Yukon very well.”
Every Chaos fighter brought back a medal, but one brought back three gold. It was a little unexpected, too.
Dekker Fordham, who was competing in the 12-year-old boys division, captured gold in grappling and gold in kickboxing for 12-year-olds. He then fought up an age division and won gold in kickboxing for the 13-14 year olds division.
Making the feat extra special is the fact Fordham has only been training at Chaos for three months.
“Actually, I was very surprised,” said Fordham. “I thought I would get my butt kicked, get taught a few lessons, but it wasn’t actually like that. It was a lot easier than I thought.”
The experience was “breathtaking,” said Fordham. “It was really fun.”
His successes got him noticed. Following the competition, Fordham was invited to represent Canada at the World Martial Arts Championships this August in Dublin, Ireland.
“You watch him fight, he’s an animal,” said Casselman. “He basically toys with all the kids in my kids class so I was forced to bring him up to the adult class.
“He’s been doing that since he got here. He comes to the kids class, then he comes to night classes and then he also comes to the Saturday class.”
“It was very hard, very painful,” said Fordham. But was it worth it? “Totally,” he said.
Chaos teammate Dwight Snowshoe also fought his way to medals. Snowshoe took gold in full-contact MMA (a.k.a. pankration) in the 152-pound weight class and silver in grappling in the 149-pound class.
“In the matches I tried my best to finish each opponent and I kind of burnt my arms out because it was submission after submission,” said Snowshoe. “I did good, but I got tired from trying to finish my opponents. I never tried to go off points, I tried to get a good submission and end the competition. But there were some tough guys and I had a hard time doing that.”
Snowshoe, who won silver in grappling at last year’s Tiger Balm, spent three minutes fighting off a triangle hold in the grappling final.
“I was just hoping his legs would burn out and we’d stand back up, but he just held me there,” said Snowshoe. “I was kind of upset with myself due to that. I should have tried to work (myself) out, but I was pretty exhausted from the two previous matches.
“But it’s good, I’m satisfied. It’s all about learning and getting experience.”
First-time competitor Kieran Hogan spends his one free week each month training and is away working the other three.
That was enough for silver in no-face MMA (no striking the face) and fourth in grappling in the 205-pound and over division. He also placed fifth in full-contact MMA the second day.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Hogan. “It was an eye opener. I was really surprised by the level of competition. It took me back on the first day, I guess I settled in a little the second day.”
After the fights, “There were handshakes, big hugs – there was a lot of camaraderie between the different fighters from the different schools,” said Hogen.
“You do what you do in the ring and when it’s over, you’re buddies.”
Chaos’ Cody Ball made his second Tiger Balm a memorable one. Ball won gold in grappling in the 162-pound class – a division that had over a dozen fighters in it – and bronze in full-on MMA in the 155-pound class.
Ball won his bronze in dramatic fashion, winning the fight as a judge was preparing to throw in the towel and end the fight.
“He had been taken off his feet a couple times and he was definitely losing the stand-up part of it and with 30 seconds left he pulled of a triangle (choke) to win the bronze medal match,” said Casselman. “That was a pretty cool finish. He went for broke: he saw it and he took it.”
Chaos’ Charlie Profeit snagged gold in no-face MMA and bronze in grappling in the over 205-pound division.
Profeit won his gold by beating teammate Hogan in the final.
“We all train with him here and he takes it easy on us, so this was his opportunity let go and do his thing,” said Hogan.
Chaos’ successes weren’t limited to MMA and grappling.
Jesse Loyer fought to bronze in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the 174-pound class blue belt division and silver in advanced grappling in the 149-pound-and-over class.
It was a case of like father, like son, for two Chaos members.
Ken Hubbard and son Kenneth Hubbard took in matching results, but in different divisions.
The Hubbards both won silver in grappling and were fourth in MMA, with Ken in the 177-pound class and Kenneth in the 10-year-old division.
Contact Tom Patrick at