After 43 years of competition, a Lachine resident is getting ready to hang up his karate belt. Danny Griffith will be set to defend his tenth and final World Martial Arts Organisation (WMO) championships in Costa del Sol, Spain, this October.
“It’s just time,” said Griffith. “I think I’ve done enough for the sport, I don’t see what else there is to win.” The more than 1,100 international victory trophies Griffith says he has in a storage locker are testament to that.
“I have a goal to win my tenth world championship,” he said. “If I win it, then great, if I don’t, no harm done.”
The sensei plans to focus his energy by continuing to nurture the black belts of the future in his two Kenpo Karate schools in LaSalle and Lachine. He also has Olympic dreams for 2020.
“What I really want to do is take care of Team Canada . . . As a coach, take care of the players, take care of the team, take care of the country.”
Three of Griffith’s students, 17-year-old Nicolas Beauregard, Ruth Ann Williams and returning bronze medal champ, 7 year-old Kingsley, will also be competing in the WMOs.
Kicks over sticks
Griffith was drawn to karate from the moment he went to his first course as a teen in St. Eustache. He started cutting hockey and football practices just to spend more time learning Kenpo under Grand Master Jean-Guy Angell.
Not only did the sport come naturally to Griffith, but the self-defence teacher and former security guard liked knowing he could stand up for the little guy. “I always felt protective. I didn’t like people who picked on people—bullies, that kind of thing,” Griffith explained. “I felt like karate gave me that kind of respect, and was also like a family.”
The World Championships take place in Costa del Sol, Spain, Oct. 3 – 10. Griffith’s Lachine Kenpo Karate schools are located at Très-Saint-Sacrement church, 800, Provost St., Lachine, and Dance 123, 7927, Newman Blvd., LaSalle.