Yukon martial artists will soon have the chance to learn from the best.
Two kickboxing champions will be sharing their wealth of martial arts knowledge in both Whitehorse and Watson Lake in the coming weeks.
Brothers Gabriel and Aaron Varga will be conducting camps for beginners to experts, youth to adults, in Watson Lake March 5-9 and in Whitehorse the following week.
“You could be doing martial arts for six or seven years, it’ll still be a good camp,” said Keith Varga, the father of the two champs who organized the camps. “They divide them in the camps, between people who have no experience to people who do.”
Gabriel, 26, currently holds both the WKN and WKF professional world titles. He was about to go for the WBC title a few weeks ago in New Jersey but the fight was called off when his opponent wasn’t cleared by doctors.He will be going for the ISKA world title in Cairo this summer.
Aaron, 24, holds the ISKA Canadian and North American amateur titles.
“He was sanctioned to fight for the world title but he was just graduating – Aaron’s one of those guys who puts six or seven hours a day into school,” said Keith. “He may fight for the world amateur title this summer in Cairo now that he’s finished (school).”
Both brothers have second-degree black belts in shotokan karate and have been teaching martial arts for more than a decade.
“I made Gabriel teach four one-hour kids’ classes a week for a year in the year leading up to getting his black belt,” said Keith. “And the same with Aaron.”
The camps will begin with a workout followed by instruction on the proper kicking and punching techniques, self-defence, and will deal with both standup and ground work.
“Someone throws you to the ground and jumps on you – what are you going to do?” said Keith. “So they learn standing self-defence, ground self-defence – they’ll learn jiu jitsu.”
The camp in Watson Lake will take place at the rec centre and will be split between kids ages 6 to 12 in the mornings and 13 to 18 in the afternoons.
The Whitehorse camps will take place at the Avalanche MMA gym in Riverdale. Following the camp at Avalanche MMA, the Vargas will conduct an adult clinic over the weekend.
“This will be a training and sparring seminar for those wishing the opportunity to improve on their skills,” said Keith. “This will give the participants the opportunity to see what world champions around the globe are doing as well as to train and spar with Gabriel and Aaron.
“It’s not an Avalanche event; Avalanche is donating their space,” he added. “They are so community-minded they want everybody to come. They just want to offer their fighters, the other club’s fighters, boxers, anybody in town a chance to get a little bit better.”
Those interested should contact the Watson Lake Recreation Centre at 867-536-8020 or Avalanche MMA at 867-633-3750 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Varga champs have fighting in their blood. Their father Keith, who is currently working in the Yukon as a pilot for Trans North Helicopters, produced a 13-1 amateur record and a 1-1-1 professional in his younger days. Keith’s uncle, Coleman Varga, was a top Canadian boxer and even fought Sonny Liston.
Contact Tom Patrick at