Ukrainian Refugees to Hold Training Seminar at Red Deer Martial Arts School – Red Deer Advocate

Teenage Ukrainian brothers who escaped the ongoing war in their homeland will teach martial arts to young people in central Alberta this weekend.

Bohdan and Vova, who are 15 and 16 respectively, will lead a seminar this Saturday at Arashi-Do Martial Arts in Red Deer.

“I can’t say enough good things about them,” Arashi-Do owner and instructor Gary Vig said of the Ukrainian brothers.

“They are really hard working kids and they have a great attitude. It’s great to see them here, safe and hopefully thriving. If there is anything we can do to help them, we look forward to it.

The two arrived in Red Deer earlier this year and began training with Vig about two months ago.

“Unfortunately, their English is not yet excellent, which is normal because they are from Ukraine. But they get it back,” he said.

“I told my youngest (students) that if they train really hard, the sky is the limit. I referred a lot to Bohdan and Vova.

Having the Ukrainian brothers hold a class will help them integrate into the local martial arts community, Vig said.

“It will help them practice their English and show everyone what they can do,” he said.

Vig said the brothers were “extremely talented” martial artists.

“Sometimes people tell you about their experience and when you look at them, you don’t necessarily see them. But with them you can see they are extremely polite and seasoned,” he said.

“I’ve worked with kids who maybe are better attackers or better bidders…but in terms of overall skill they’re the best I’ve ever seen (at their age). They’re at a level of ‘elite.

Vig said that both are Ukrainian level champions and European champions in combat sambo, while Vova, the older brother, is a world champion.

“Combat sambo isn’t very big in the world, but it’s very big in Eastern Europe…and it’s quite competitive,” he said.

Vig described combat sambo as “Russian judo”.

“There are modified rules for juniors, but it’s pretty much MMA, like what you would see in the UFC,” Vig said.

“They wear headgear and I believe in juniors they don’t do floor and weights, but with stand-up they pretty much do full kickboxing and their throws. Then, on the field, they make their submissions.

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Kristen T. Prall