By Rudey Downey
Special to the Star
When competing in the North American Kickboxing Championship, Jake Quinton feels the main concern for him is if he’s in good enough shape.
Quinton and his coach Jeff Brake will be travelling to Toronto, Ont. together this weekend.
He isn’t sure what competition he’ll be up against when he lands in Toronto, but that doesn’t deter the young kickboxer from giving it his all.
“The closer it gets, the more nerves I get,” said Quinton.
The championship will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Both coach and student will be competing in the style of K1: clinch, knees, kicks and punches.
His goal is to bring home a kickboxing championship belt for his age group, the 13-15 year old kickboxers from Canada and the United States.
Quinton, 15, fought in a kickboxing match in St. John’s this past September, but says most of his matches are of the Judo variety. He says there aren’t very many people to fight against in this area in terms of kickboxing. He thinks the interest problems are mainly because of the population of this side of the island and because the sport isn’t very mainstream.
“It’s not for everybody, and we got a small population so there’s not a lot of people to pick from to do it,” said Quinton.
Brake, Quinton’s coach for the better part of the last two years says the young fighter always showed a high compete level since the two met and seemed to always want to push himself to new levels.
“He was a more quiet participant, but always shined in terms of work ethic,” said Brake.
In his young student he sees a guy who is tall, lean, fast and focused. All good traits for a kickboxer.
Brake has fought in kickboxing competitions in St. John’s and Mount Pearl in the past, but for most of his competitions he usually travels to other provinces throughout the maritimes.
The kickboxing coach, just 29 years old himself, thinks the sport isn’t very popular in Newfoundland because it isn’t very traditional like other sports on the island.
“A lot of people are stuck in their ways, they are still highly affiliated and work into the hockey and the baseball and the soccer stuff,” said Brake. “I know provincially as a spectator sport it would do well, I know we’d be able to have a lot of people watch it.”
Brake continues to stay optimistic and hopes to be coaching more young fighters as time goes by.
“It’s a really serious sport that you have to put a lot of work into competing,” said Brake.
Quinton will be in the Junior B division competing at 147 pounds, while his coach will be competing in the Senior division at 165 pounds. Brake says he has a lot of confidence that his young student will do really well. Whatever the result for his understudy, Brake still remains incredibly proud.