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THE PACK – Some members of the Alpha Pack Territorial Kickboxing club pose for a pic at Better Bodies in Whitehorse recently. Left to right: Pack leader James Albert, Kevin Hoy, Giaus Lowe, Anthony Gioia, Kyle Couch and coach Robert Lowe. The Pack is off to the WAKO Canadian national kickboxing tournament at the end of the month.

Alpha Pack Kickboxing sending team to national tourney

Alpha Pack Territorial Kickboxing is sending a team to the WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) Canadian national kickboxing tournament.

By Whitehorse Star on March 8, 2023

Alpha Pack Territorial Kickboxing is sending a team to the WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) Canadian national kickboxing tournament. The tourney takes place March 30-April 2 in Niagara Falls at the Convention Centre.

Alpha Pack leader James Albert said it’s the first time his fighters will be going to the tournament.

“What it’s really all about is getting the athletes somewhere to compete. I couldn’t imagine doing all this practice and having nowhere to compete. The athletes are putting in a lot of work here.

“We are one of the only places where it is still illegal to have competitions, like, bouts. They consider it prize fighting.

“There’s been several martial artists and myself that have been reaching out to the government about amending this law. Pretty much every other province and territory has. That way we don’t have to go all the way to Nationals on the biggest stage of them all. And, you know, try out our skills. We can practice here more, grow a better society of competitive martial artists. Because that’s a big side of martial arts. It’s more than just kicking pads and kicking a bag.”

Albert said that’s why this came about for him.

“Most of the martial arts organizations around here don’t have competitive, combative sports insurance, so they can’t even spar, they can’t practice. So how are we going to send somebody to a tournament?”

Albert had a mentor for his martial arts training, Grant Campbell.

“He guided me into WAKO and I got involved in WAKO. I took my first coaching course for kickboxing through him. I passed and I started reaching out to different gyms.

“I started to see a trend. Okay, coaches are looking at You Tube five minutes before their class coming up with a bunch of different combinations inside the pocket. Then just running three, four or five of those in the class. So the athlete really isn’t retaining anything because true martial arts is 1000 reps per technique.”

Albert said there’s no real structure to the “You Tube” coaching technique.

“I found structure in WAKO, and I brought it back here and eventually I ranked myself all the way up through everything and I got my level two coaching certification now and it’s good anywhere WAKO is.”

According to Albert, WAKO is worldwide, meaning he can teach anywhere he wants to set up a dojo.

Three athletes will be going to the nationals with Albert.

They include Giaus (“The Lion Cub”) Lowe, 11, Kevin (“The Hammer”) Hoy, 21, and Kyle (“The Cobra”) Couch, 32.

“Kyle is only going on a year in kickboxing with me and he’s almost ready for his green belt just because of all the hours and reps that he’s put in. He’s come that far in that short amount of time.” Couch currently has an orange belt.

“Kevin, he is a trooper, he’s been with me for four months. And this is the most consistent he’s been at a martial art and it’s only been four months but he’s come a long way too.” Hoy hasn’t been graded for a belt yet. “He’ll probably be able to grade up to an orange belt pretty quick,” said Albert.

“And Giaus has been doing it since he was six.” Lowe has a green belt.

As for how they’ll do, Albert is looking at this as a learning experience.

“When you go to these tournaments, there’s more than just stepping in the ring and fighting.”

Athletes can compete in forms competitions, weapons’ displays, K1, low kick, light kick, and full contact.

“There’s all different kinds of things to compete in,” related Albert.

“I told the guys when we were registering, ‘Sign up for as much of it as you can. Take it in as an educational experience.’ But I told them the only thing I expect, win or lose, doesn’t matter to me, is that you guys give full effort and you make sure that your opponent knows that he was in a fight. Give 100 per cent effort and see where we end up.”

Albert was also going to compete, but injuries have kiboshed that plan.

He added they have more athletes in training to possibly compete in an upcoming tournament in B.C.

“Being part of WAKO, we have access to all these other tournaments because we’re covered under the same insurance.”

They include two female fighters, Skye Hanson, who’s training for forms competition, and Montana Kains-Beaudoin.

Albert said when you compete in kickboxing, you get what’s known as a passport.

“It tracks your bouts, so you get 10 for a beginner level amateur. And then after you get those 10 bouts you go to amateur advanced. And then once those 20 bouts are in, if you’re comfortable enough, you can apply for professional athlete’s status.

“You can move on to bigger things like Glory (Kickboxing).”

Classes run not so bright, but early from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

“We’re doing more between 4 and 6 a.m. than the average adult does in the entire day with the workouts that we do,” said Albert.

“Monday to Friday, we do athletic development, performance development, building your techniques through your strikes.

“And then on the weekends, it’s fight science. That’s where we learn to control the ring, how to push your opponent ––into your power side, or into whatever technique you have lined up and how to keep the pace, push, and how to own the centre of the ring.

“That’s the most important part. The cage, the ring or whatever you’re on, the mats, you’ve got to own that centre. That way you’re not controlled, your back isn’t up against the ropes. You’re not being pushed around.”

Alpha Pack has been in operation for about one year.

Anyone wanting to become an Alpha Pack member can leave their name and information for Albert at Better Bodies.

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