Stephen Prince is returning to Team Canada after a few years away from the national sikaran club.
The former fighter started his involvement with the club on the coaching side of things in 2014 when he brought members of his dojos to a national event, where most of them won their division. Prince describes the martial art of sikaran.
"Sikaran is a Filippino martial art, similar to Karate and Taekwondo with the exception being it is Filippino foot fighting," Prince explains. "For 90 per cent of the techniques, you use your feet or your legs. The only time you use your hands is for blocking."
Prince has been inducted into the Canadian and World Sikaran Hall of Fame as an instructor, and he has now reopened his two dojos to train fighters for upcoming national and world tournaments. He says in 2017, his students were extremely successful.
"We took our team to the North American Championships, and my team won every gold medal except for two," says Prince. "So, that was in the regular sparing, sword fighting, and knife fighting competitions. We won every gold but two. Six months later, we went to the World Championships and won over 20 medals."
The instructor says he initially moved away from the martial art as he began to get involved with politics. Prince says after about a year he was missing the art like crazy and notes when COVID hit he took the opportunity to get back into sikaran.
He adds the first regional tournament is set for September, but Prince is putting together a warm-up event between his two dojos in the near future. The instructor runs a dojo in the Keeshkeemaquah area and another in Swan Lake First Nation.
Prince outlines how excited he is to return to doing what he loves.
"This is something I've done all of my life, and I just love watching my students blossom. We're the only sport where we encourage our students to kick the other participant in the head," says Prince. "Also, seeing how the parents get involved with competitions is so exciting."
Prince plans to keep his students prepared for all the major events that will be announced in the coming months.