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Karate class "kicks up" happiness for both the master and the student

"He had first stopped me at Memorial Gardens and asked me to show him the Bruce Lee one-inch punch."

In Karate the instructor's titles change with experience.

"The titles start at Sempai, then Sensei, Renshi, and Shihan and are followed by Kyoshi - which can be translated as 'professor or expert teacher' in English," says longtime North Bay instructor Kyoshi Chris Marceau.

He started training back in 1969 and teaching in 1980. He's trained thousands of students over the years and his dojo (training facility) is currently located at 1428 O'Brien Street.

He has many, many fond memories from those scores of students - but there's one he's working with right now that inspires him as much as he hopes to inspire his pupil.

"My one [physically challenged] student Chris Leblond has been training with me for just over two years," says Marceau.

He says they met at a hockey game.

"He had first stopped me at Memorial Gardens and asked me to show him the Bruce Lee one-inch punch."

Kyoshi Marceau says he's seen Chris blossom over the past 24 months.

"The benefits he's experienced include weight loss, as well as greater balance since he is usually in his wheelchair. He has also been graded to his yellow belt and is working on his orange belt, and also competed last year in his first karate tournament which had a division (appropriate for Chris] to compete in. He managed to bring home first-place in both his open hands, or 'Kata' division, and in the self-defense demonstration as well, adds the Kyoshi.

Leblond, now 57, says his life changed when he had brain surgery at age 18 for seizures. Since then he's had challenges with mobility and communication.

Still, his excitement shows through when he talks about how much he has enjoyed training in martial arts. Chris says he was always "interested in self-defense" and that one day he hopes to "be a black belt" or even "be a Kyoshi" just like his trainer.

His face lights up when he talks about watching martial arts stars and icons like Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee. He says he loves reruns of Norris' show "Walker Texas Ranger" and lists films he's seen. He mentions classic like Lee's "Enter the Dragon", and his all-time favourite film "Touch of Death."

Above is a photo of Chris proudly holding the two 1st-place trophies he's earned is competition. He says his next dream is to ride or even "drive" (under supervision) an 18-wheeler.

This is one of a series of good news articles about "Helpers" in our community. To suggest a person, volunteer, group or an organization contact Mike Anthony at