Cadets explore the military life during March Break

Cadet MS Shianne Auger is instructed in striking techniques

MS Shianne Auger of 158 Grizzly Cadet Corps is instructed in striking techniques by James Tosoff.

Lined up on the hardwood floor of the Naden Athletic Centre gym last week, the row of cadets more closely resembled the ranks of disciplined Royal Canadian Navy sailors.

The group of 30 youth, under the tutelage of James Tosoff, were being given an overview on the basic rules of taekwondo, kickboxing, and jujitsu.

“I’ve trained a few military personnel in my time, so I wanted to work with the kids who could be the future of our military,” says Tosoff, owner and Chief Instructor at Westcoast Taekwon-Do. “This is a prime time in their lives, where the discipline and physical fitness learned through martial arts can impact their future.”

Tosoff and his instructors gave the cadets demonstrations and theory lessons on the basic strikes, kicks, blocks, fighting stances and warm up exercise. They were also shown basic juijitsu grapples and kickboxing strikes.

“These techniques are building blocks for fitness and discipline,” says Tosoff. “It’s the lessons at the core of the techniques that are really important: patience, confidence, and leadership.”

The cadets were part of the 2013 Regional Inter-Divisional Seamanship Competition. The week-long event took place over spring break and tested the naval skills of select sea cadets from across British Columbia.

Part of the event included teambuilding exercises, such as the martial arts lesson, to strengthen leadership and cooperation.
 “It was a lot of fun, and it was very enlightening,” says PO1 Emily Roberts of Sea Cadet Corps 137 Kamloops. “We get to do a lot of things in cadets but this was a new experience for me.”

She has been training in karate for 10 years, but says the opportunity to try a new style of martial arts was exciting.
“Even if it’s just the basics it’s still a new experience,” she says.

PO1 Roberts says her time in martial arts has greatly benefited her time as a cadet, and the cross-over in skill sets shouldn’t be over looked.
“I gained my basic leadership skills through karate, and they were enhanced by the cadets,” she says. “The mindset of karate is very similar to the mindset of the cadets. I’ve gotten so much out of both.”

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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