Guelph martial artist Nathan Skoufis has made history.
He won the Canadian Open Martial Arts Championships last weekend in Kitchener, breaking a martial arts record.
Skoufis said he likes that the open tournament features competitors from different disciplines, including kickboxing and kung fu.
“Each person obviously presents their own challenges, and you may have to fight a little bit different in using what kind of game plan you have going into the match,” Skoufis said.
Skoufis added you’re not always going to face an opponent with a background in karate or taekwondo.
“Each style does have their unique challenges and if you’re not really prepared for it, it can throw you off a little bit,” he said.
He said what’s challenging about this tournament is you’re unsure of when you’re going to compete. Depending on when the matches end, Skoufis said you could fight five minutes later or one to two hours later.
After finishing in first place at lightweight, he faced the winners from the senior and heavyweight divisions to capture the Overall Grand Champion title, his ninth in a row. The 27-year-old broke a martial arts record with the victory.
Skoufis said it’s really surreal to have won the title nine years in a row.
“It definitely means a lot because there’s a lot of great martial artists out there throughout the province, throughout the country and you get people to come down from the United States as well,” he said.
Skoufis has attributed his success at this competition to not only his training but to his mother Sophie, who’s also his coach.
“She’s been a huge part of my martial arts journey,” he said. “She’s been with me my whole martial arts journey so she really knows my style and she knows what I’m trying to do in the match and my things that I rely on.”
He said his mom is with him training in studio and at tournaments, and it gives them a huge advantage.
Skoufis will be competing in North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) tournaments throughout the United States this year and then he’ll prepare for Team Canada qualifiers in Ottawa this summer.
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