Burnaby martial artist Scott Boudreau became the first fighter from Western Canada to win a gold medal in a world jiu jitsu tournament.
The 39-year-old owner and instructor of Budo Mixed Martial Arts in North Burnaby won the senior I men's lightweight division for blue belts at the first-ever International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation masters championships in Los Angeles last weekend.
"I feel great," said Boudreau, who entered his first international tournament on the encouragement of his friend and ringside coach Raz Chan. "I've got to thank (Raz) for that. He got me super prepared," Boudreau said.
Boudreau, who is also a second degree black belt in Kyokushin karate, won all four of his five-minute jiu jitsu bouts by submission, including the championship final against American Ryan Keith in the men's 35-to-40 division.
"He looked like a wrestler and he was stocky. I said, 'This is going to be a tough fight.' But he fell into my trap," Boudreau said.
Boudreau, who prides himself on his standup technique, caught Keith with an arm bar before submitting his fourth straight opponent in the competition with a leg choke to the neck.
"He made a mistake," Boudreau added. "He wasn't tapping. I went for it really hard. I felt (his arm) popped and I went for a triangle choke. I was happy with that."
Boudreau was also happy to get through the championship without a single point scored against him in any of this bouts.
But, despite his newfound fame, Boudreau does not believe that his philosophy on martial arts will change much.
"Training with a world champion does not mean that you will be way better. But I would like to consider myself as an instructor first," he said.
The Quebec-born fighter trained for nearly two months with Westcoast associates Don Whitefield and Jason Gagnon in preparation for the competition.
"I compete because I want to learn. I like losing - that's how you learn. But winning gold is a great accomplishment. It tells me I'm ready for the next level," said Boudreau.
Although Boudreau will turn 40 next year, he has plans to perhaps try his hand in future open world championships.
"It's a tough sport and requires a lot of practice. You have to be a good fighter," he said. "You have to practise jiu jitsu. It's the one martial art you need to know. It's also good for fitness. It's physical chess. It really, really is."
Budo Mixed Martial Arts is located at 3916 Pender St. in Burnaby. Besides jiu jitsu and karate, Boudreau also teaches Muay Thai boxing, submission wrestling, kickboxing, as well as fitness and conditioning classes for kids and adults.