MASSENA - Approximately 40 students representing studios in Massena, Malone, Canton, Potsdam, Salmon River and other Northern New York towns recently spent an entire weekend immersed in various aspects of martial arts training. HCCC in Herkimer was the venue for Super Summer Seminars, an open annual event designed to expose martial artists to different fighting arts and methods. Since 1983, it has attracted students from as far away as New Zealand.
Over 35 classes were offered over two days that dealt with such diverse subjects as choke escapes, defending against armed attackers, Krav Maga (a close quarter combat system developed by the Israeli army), tournament sparring, jujitsu throws, Quigong (an art similar to Tai Chi), aikido basic techniques and studio business management.
The most popular seminars were those led by special guest instructor Jean -Yves Theriault, a retired world kickboxing champion. Mr. Theriault was born on Jan. 15, 1955 in New Brunswick. He began his martial arts training with Jiujitsu in 1972. He won his first kickboxing competition in 1976 and became the Canadian Middleweight Kickboxing Champion just over two years later. In 1980, he won the PKA Middleweight World Title and held it for a record 15 years.
Fellow kickboxer Rodney Batiste gave him the nickname The Iceman for his icy stare and cool demeanor in the ring. In 1983, he wrote Full Contact Karate, one of the first books on kickboxing. He also has his own video series on the science of combat sports. The National Film Board of Canada even made a documentary about him.
Since his retirement from competition in Dec. 1995, he has kept busy with several projects, most notably the Iceman Amateur Kickboxing Circuit, which promotes new fighters. He has also been active through Big Brothers and the Childrens Wish Foundation.