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Seizing martial arts in Innisfail for all-around growth

Innisfail’s Seibukan Connection is striving to train great athletes but also ones with commitment to each other, respect for opponents and to their community

INNISFAIL – It was almost eight years ago when Logan Bruneau and his younger brother Conor were being celebrated in the local newspaper for winning championship belts at a Jiu-Jitsu tournament in Blackfalds.

“Competing on a Canadian level is really great. If I ever had the time to, I'd love to compete at an international level or even North American level,” said Logan Bruneau, who began training in martial arts at the age of seven with his father Ed, the owner of Innisfail’s Chinese Boxing Connection, a club that had been town since 1999.

Logan continued to compete at a high level, reaching a peak in 2019 when he won a bronze medal at the World IBJJF Championship in Las Vegas.

However, four years earlier Chinese Boxing Connection closed.

But the Bruneau martial arts connection in Innisfail rose again and is alive and well in 2024.

In 2022 Logan, now 34, opened up Seibukan Connection, a martial arts school he proudly operates from the legacy of his father, and one that is already producing a score of medal-winning performances from his students.

“We did a lot more tournaments and competitions than I would have even expected because when I opened the club I didn't open it just to get a tournament or competition team. I just wanted to have a martial arts club and teach people martial arts,” said Logan. “But a bunch of them decided that they wanted to fight pretty early and that was both kids and adults. I didn't hold them back.

“Personally, it's probably been the most gratifying I have felt from anything I've done in martial arts, including getting a black belt, including winning bronze; more important than that.”

For the past 30 years the popularity of today’s martial arts scene – a mix of several disciplines, including karate, kung fu, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, wrestling and judo, has skyrocketed through the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), which claims to be the largest mixed martial arts organization in the world.

'I’ve never been interested in going after the UFC but someday we could train somebody that would,” said Logan, acknowledging that while martial arts is a sport it is really much more.

“It's actually an art before it's a science, and a science before it's a sport,” said Logan. “It's actually a sport as a tertiary thing. We practice it as a sport.

“But we manifest it as an art; we learn it as a science.”

His dojo is open for both men and woman and has both children and adult classes.

Since opening in 2022 his classes have grown to about 12 eager athletes.

And while the long row of tournament-winning medals that hang high inside his dojo is proof that martial arts combat can bring success on the mats his athletes are also taught it can also constructively help combat their way through life.

 “It’s not only the tactics that we use to transfer into our life but the philosophy of martial arts is incredibly important,” said Logan. “And so we have to utilize those philosophies to improve ourselves.

“For me, personally, the philosophies of martial arts have had the biggest impact,” he said. “And then the gratification I get from seeing the success of my students has the number one most impact for me but it has to start from my own personal philosophical point of view.”

Logan notes there has not in recent years been a lot of access to martial arts in Innisfail. This fact has left him with a committed mission to see Seibukan Connection grow.

However, he emphasized the club was not established for athletic-minded citizens solely as a venue for competition.

In fact, Logan said most athletes at his dojo don’t compete at all, although he added there are a few that “potentially have that potential” for higher-level competition.

What he is focused on is operating a martial arts school where championships are a natural byproduct of the skill development process that comes with the school’s learning.

But he also wants to see his club grow with members who are like-minded and receptive to seizing its positive cultural mindset.

“Although every student in my club trains for a different reason they also learn to be a member of the community,” said Logan.

“They learn to show up for one another, take care of one another, be considerate of each other's health and progress and abilities, to be ambitious but also respectful of our opponents.

“Our opponents present us with the challenges that we choose to take, just as we do for them, and this is the mentality of martial arts, that ‘I want to grow'.”


Johnnie Bachusky

About the Author: Johnnie Bachusky

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