Trevor Brownell retiring after 11 years of competition
By Mike Pearson, News staff
He moves with lightning-fast speed and precision as an appreciative crowd cheers him on. He maneuvers the paddle, also known as an oar or Eku, with amazing proficiency. During his high-energy martial arts display, the oar never leaves his hand and never touches the floor.
Trevor Brownell is retiring as a champion after defending his title at the 2012 National Blackbelt League Super Grands. For the second straight year, Brownell returned from Super Grands as the Sport Karate world champion in the 15 to 17-year-old Hard Traditional Weapons division.
After more than a decade of competition, the Grade 12 Ancaster High School student is looking ahead to a career that will help him utilize his electrifying martial arts skills.
“After 11 years of competing in tournaments, it’s been really fun, but since I’m in my final year of high school, I wanted to focus on my education, save up for college and become a police officer.”
Brownell said martial arts teach useful skills for a career in law enforcement, including self-respect, discipline and respect for others. He hopes to study policing at Niagara College this fall.
After beginning his martial arts career at age seven, Brownell has collected an astonishing number of trophies and championship plaques, somewhere in the ballpark of 400. But perhaps none are sweeter than his most recent title, earned following a Dec. 28 competition in Buffalo, NY.
At the Super Grands, only the top two seeded competitors advance to the final, known as the stage portion. During the preliminary round, competitors hope for a high seeding to ensure their routine makes the best possible impression with judges. Competing third, Brownell had to watch more than a dozen other competitors showcase their skills before judging was complete. But heading into the late stages of the competition, Brownell found himself in a three-way tie for second place and a coveted spot on the stage.
The tie-breaker went Brownell’s way, setting up a showdown with an old friend, Jacob Cleary from Binbrook, Ont. Cleary had already placed first during the early competition, making him the favourite to dethrone the defending champion Brownell.
But other competitors seemed to be defying the odds.
“It seemed like everybody that was seeded last was winning,” said Brownell.
Despite the uphill battle, Brownell went to the stage with a determined mindset.
“I’m not going to give up the title without a good fight,” he recalled.
With 1,000 fans cheering him on, Brownell got an instant boost as he stepped out to compete.
He blocked out all the distractions and became one with his craft.
“I felt that that was probably the best I was able to perform it,” said Brownell. “When I was finished, it just felt incredible.”
Seven judges awarded Brownell high marks for his solid execution. Scores are tabulated according to a 10-point scale.
“When I heard I had majority 9.99s, I felt like I had it,” said Brownell.
After watching Cleary execute a clean routine, Brownell knew it would be a close decision.
When the final marks were in, Brownell has edged out Cleary for the coveted title.
“I couldn’t picture myself going up against anyone better than a friend I’ve been around all my life,” said Brownell.
Brownell attributes his martial arts success to years of training under world class instructors like Rick Joslin, Jeff Joslin, Russell Savage, Ryan Shields, Cody Hackman, Nick Bateman and Andrew Cabilan in addition to his current instructors at United Family Martial Arts, Trevor Nash, Casey Marks Nash and Shane Baker. He trains in cardio and core strengthening twice a week with MoorFit personal trainers Justin and Renee Moor.