Spill the Tea with Ms. Rabbit talks Pandemic, Martial Arts and Indigenous martial art form with Black Belt Martial Artist Logan Bruneau.

Lets meet Logan Bruneau, a 31-year-old martial artist from Red Deer. He holds a black belt rank in Chinese Boxing and Kyokushin Karate, and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Bruneau talks about Okichitaw, a Canadian martial art that utilizes the combat techniques of the Plains Cree First Nations

Logan Bruneau

Q: Can you tell me about the world of Martial Arts? What got you into it? As someone who does not know anything about? What can you tell me?

A: In short, martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons, such as self defence, military applications, competition, physical and mental development, entertainment, and sometimes the preservation of a nations intangible cultural heritage.  

Some arts are done as combat sports such as kickboxing and wrestling, some are more about practical combat applications, and some are practiced merely for the sake of art.Some martial arts styles, like Kenjutsu, Kali and Fencing focus on various weapons techniques.

Some focus heavily on striking techniques, such as those found in Karate, Muay Thai, Boxing or Tae Kwon Do.  And others focus more on grappling and ground fighting techniques, such as Wrestling, Judo, Sambo and Jiu-Jitsu.

Logan Bruneau

Q: How Martial Arts impacted your life?

A: I began training martial arts at the age of seven.  My father was the head instructor of the Chinese Boxing Connection so I began there at a young age training with him. I achieved my black belt in his eclectic system when I was 17, and when I turned 19 I travelled to Japan and earned a black belt in Kyokushin Karate.

The following year I began studying predominantly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and have been focusing on it heavily since then.  My martial arts training has given me qualities in certain aspects of life that I know most people don’t have. Confidence, humility and respect.

Problem solving and strategic intellect, critical thinking skills, epistemology, stress management, and a deep feeling of satisfaction in life. All of these I have grown within myself because of martial arts. 

Logan Bruneau

Q: What benefit can Martial Art Class be to First Nation communities? Like how can your craft help inspire indigenous youth to live rewarding lives?

A: People tend to think that martial arts are entirely of an Asian heritage. But this is simply historically inaccurate. Every part of the world has an indigenous martial art form.

Some where just preserved over time better than others.  This means that First Nations people also had their own forms of martial arts.  Unfortunately due to the effects of colonization, coupled with the fact that First Nations traditions are primarily passed down orally, much of that ancient knowledge of war arts has been lost.

For example, Okichitaw is a Canadian martial art that utilizes the combat techniques of the Plains Cree First Nations, including hand to hand fighting, knife, tomahawk and war club techniques.  Unfortunately practitioners of these arts are few and far between.  But that doesn’t mean the First Nations community can’t still benefit from practicing martial arts in general.  

After all, it isn’t the physical form of the art that matters in terms of being culturally relative…whats important is that we carry with us the spirit of the warriors of the past; men and women who we could look up to, as individuals who chose to be prepared to protect the weak, the children and the elders, no matter the cost, because it was the right thing to do.  

In every community there isn’t a child who couldn’t benefit from learning to cultivate discipline, honour, and virtue within them.  If nothing else it is an outlet to channel the negative energies that everyone has to deal with. 

Logan Bruneau

Q: How has the pandemic impacts Martial Arts in Alberta?

A: Because the group practice of martial arts has been restricted, the business aspect of the martial arts community has unfortunately been brought to its knees, but true martial artists have been keeping up with their training with private lessons and solo practice at home alone or with online video meetings.

Logan Bruneau

If you are interested in martial arts for yourself (or your children) do some research on what martial arts seem to interest you.  I highly recommend actually trying multiple different styles if you can.  Make sure to do your research on the instructors background information before enrolling in anything. For more information Contact: Logan Bruneau at loganbruneau@hotmail.com

Chevi Rabbit, Contributing columnist, for River Radio News.

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