We started operations at Beach Walk Family Fitness in Belle River on July 1st 2000. There were 6 students who came with me from Philips School if I recall correctly. There was Kevin Miller and his son Kyle, Emily Sylvester (Now Rivard), Adam Rivard and 2 others Mark and Paul. Plus one Black Belt Chris Durand.
When we went in for the first juniors class we were very surprised at the number starting. I don’t remember exactly and I don’t have the paperwork here with me to research it, but I believe their was 12-15 in the first junior class. The ones from the old school were all adults.
We had a great time! That summer our numbers grew and grew. By December we had added another class and had people on waiting lists. The response was far greater then I ever imagined. It took some time and work to hash things out with the gym logistically. We were taking lot of their parking, and they never expected the number we were dealing with. But Rene, one of the owners was great to deal with.
At about this point in time I was searching for ways to expand our knowledge of the arts. I know how fast students develop and I did not ever want to run out of things to teach, so we started our quest for knowledge. I searched for various federations to join in the hope of being exposed to other masters. I finally settle on a groups founded our of New Brunswick called The World Budo Alliance. The group was about a year old and had expanded into many, many countries including most of Europe. The founder Shihan Dave Degrouchie and I become friends. He asked me to be the technical advisor for the Hapkido division as we were the first of this style. I accepted.
A few months later the International President of the World Budo Alliance Hanshi Richard Buchan resigned due to personal reasons. I was asked to take the position. A great honour in my view. Especially only being at a rank of 5th Dan Black Belt.
A seminar was soon setup in Bathurst New Brunswick so we could all meet, as well as share knowledge. It was slated for the 1st weekend in November. Curt and I, plus Chris Durand and his girlfriend Amy who was now a student drove to the event.
Curt, a 3rd Dan Black Belt at the time was in for a surprise. I had arranged for him to grade for 4th Dan and Master. What a weekend that was!