Volume 96, Issue 95
Friday, March 28, 2003

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Kelly Albert: Goodwill champ

By Benjamin Mills
Gazette Staff

Beth Kerim/Gazette
YOU WANT A PIECE OF ME? TOO BAD. Kelly Albert shows his menacing look; the same look that made a 12-year-old cry.

It's not unheard of for Western athletes to dominate on a provincial, or even national level, but when a Mustang dominates his or her sport on the world scene, it makes for some interesting news.

Kelly Albert is a fourth-year biochemical engineering student from Huntsville, Ontario. He's the head lifeguard at the Deerhurst Resort during the summer, one of his favourite movies is Bad Boys, his favourite band is Creed, his favorite colour is yellow and he just happens to be an ass-kicking machine.

Did I mention he just won three – count 'em three – medals at the Goodwill Games, held this past January in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico?

He is a mixed martial artist by trade, and in case you don't know what mixed martial arts is, we will explain. It's a combination of karate, jiu jitsu, aikido and kendo. Albert said he favours jiu jitsu for the grappling, and karate for the history and mental aspects. Here's one more fact for you: Puerta Vallarta is a vacation hot spot on the Pacific, and is frequently the destination of many Price is Right showcase showdown prizes. Just thought you'd like to know.

As for those three medals, they were gold, silver and bronze.

His gold medal was earned in, a seven match, single elimination sparing tournament where you face off against other opponents, scoring points by striking opponents in either the chest and torso area, or within a three-inch halo around your opponents head – without making contact with the head, otherwise you get disqualified.

Albert went on to win a silver medal in the open-hand kata, finishing behind a Canadian teammate. Katas are a set routine of strikes and kicks done in a similar format to gymnastic routines, but slower and involving no tumbles or flips. Judges score on form, technique, flow and stance.

Albert's bronze came in the weapons kata, where the competitors use different ancient weapons in their routine and are judged on overall weapon handling expertise. Kama, which is similar to a sickle (think former Soviet Union flag) was his method of mayhem.

Fourteen countries competed, including: the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Mexico. "The Americans were very good at sparing, but overall the British were the toughest," Albert said.

Canada was the overall winner in mixed martial arts.

His next step is the World Championships, but he says he needs to focus on the upcoming school year in order to graduate.

Did I mention that he's in biochemical engineering? I had to look in the dictionary just to learn how to spell that.

During the school year, he trains much less than does during the summer – it must be tough to train for the World Championships, let alone train with 36 hours of class a week. And I think I have it tough juggling four hours of class with 36 hours of pot-smoking every week.

He hits the gym whenever he has spare time and runs frequently. During the summer he trains at the Baker-Racine Karate School, going to four two-hour classes every week. His "Mr. Miyagi" – Sensei Racine – has a fifth-degree blackbelt in all four of the previously mentioned martial arts. Basically, that means he could kick my ass four different ways, times five.

Kelly sees his martial arts as an extra-curricular activity, not something to aim for as a career option with the Ultimate Fighting Championships or Pancrase. "I want to keep my face," Albert offered as the rationale behind his decision to stick with academics over drop kicks.

Smiles and sunshine aside, Albert did make a kid cry during a sparing match when he was 12-years-old – and those 12-year-olds can be harder than week-old meatloaf.

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