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Bermuda Sanshou Association Mission StatementHistory & Timeline


In October of 2005, the Bermuda Sanshou Association (BSA) was formed after an official announcement was made by International Olympic Committee President Dr. Jacques Rogue that wushu would be a part of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Wushu is the modern form of kung fu which displays the artistic side of the traditional martial art. In addition to displaying all the martial elements of speed, power, accuracy, and spirit, the beauty of the art is displayed with fancy acrobatic movements and artistry that almost appears to be a dance. The official fighting art of wushu is san shou which translates as “Chinese free style.” This is a full contact fighting art in which punches, kicks, and throws are scored. Many martial artists from various styles have been attracted to san shou because of its versatility and very structured competition rules.

The Bermuda Sanshou Association’s Executive Committee is made up of the following members:

  • President – Garon Wilkinson
  • Vice President – Reuben Bean
  • Technical Committee Chairman – Oscar Lightbourne
  • Secretary – Damion Wilson
  • Treasurer – Dueane Dill

On October 22nd 2005, the President and Vice-President of BSA competed in a full contact exhibition match at the Police Black Tie Boxing held at the Fairmont Southampton Princess. The feedback was extremely positive and BSA began to pave their way to the Olympics. BSA held a meeting in December 2005 with other potential fighters and coaches in order to strengthen Bermuda’s bid for the Games and the response was astounding.

On March 4-6th 2006, BSA’s Garon Wilkinson and Reuben Bean competed for the first time in san shou at the Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio. The traveling team also consisted of Oscar Lightbourne, Damion Wilson, Devrae Noel-Simmons , Garry Wilkinson and Raymond Lightbourne. Garon and Reuben finished with a 2nd and 4th place respectively in the san shou division. Garon picked up one gold and three bronze medals in the Chinese Forms divisions while Reuben picked up a gold medal in the Wing Chun division.

April 2006 | Back to top

On April 23rd 2006, BSA held an Olympic Recruitment/Training Course at Police Gym in Pembroke, Bermuda in which 25 athletes attended. The day commenced with an extremely intense cardio and strength workout conducted by strength and fitness coach Devrae Noel-Simmons and Bermuda 10k record holder, Garry Wilkinson. The athletes were then treated to a boxing session with boxing coach Allan “Forty” Rego and boxing icon Troy Darrell, who was once ranked 5th in the world in the middle weight division.

During the lunch break the group studied the video “Born to Fight” by Cung Le. Kung fu instructor Sifu David Simons conducted a kung fu session, which focused on kicking and tai chi pushing techniques. Finally, jujitsu instructor Kyoshi Arnold Allan guided the athletes through a series of throws and takedowns. The day concluded with one-round of sparring implementing the techniques that were introduced during the day.

As a result of the resounding success of the training course, BSA recruited a number of new fighters to compete in the 6th Pan American Wushu Championships in Toronto, Canada on July 22nd & 23rd 2006. The team consisted of Nathan Dill, Reuben Bean, Garon Wilkinson, Otero Smith, Talia Iris, and Celia Tuzo. The coaching staff and corner-men were Oscar Lightbourne, Damion Wilson, David Doars, and Leroy Maxwell. The team secured 1gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals at the event.

On September 3rd 2006, BSA participated in the SMAC Sports Fair held on Front Street, Hamilton, Bermuda along with 23 other national sports governing bodies. BSA had a great display at their booth and a ring was set up and shared with the Bermuda Amateur Boxing Association (BABA). A number of san shou exhibitions were given throughout the day.

On November 23rd 2006, BSA hosted Bermuda Fight Fest, an international san shou invitational fight night. Fighters from the US, Canada, and Trinidad & Tobago squared off with fighters from Bermuda. Bermuda Fighters were Nathan Dill, Reuben Bean, Sentwali Woolridge, Otero Smith, Garon Wilkinson, Leroy Maxwell, and Jermal Woolridge. Bermuda won 4 out of 6 matches and the historical event was recorded as a resounding success.

March 2007 | Back to top

On March 2-4th 2007, BSA once again flew to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the Arnold Classic. This time the team had a lot more depth. San shou fighters were Nathan Dill, Sentwali Woolridge, Garon Wilkinson, Damion Wilson, Leroy Maxwell, and Jermal Woolridge. Form competitors were Reuben Bean (who captured gold, silver and bronze) and Kent Bean Jr. (who captured gold and silver). Coaches and corner-men consisted of Oscar Lightbourne, Allan “Forty” Rego, Devrae-Noel-Simmons, David Doars, and Troy Burrows. Nathan Dill captured a bronze medal. Sentwali Woolridge, Damion Wilson, and Garon Wilkinson captured silver medals. Leroy Maxwell and Jermal Woolridge both won their division matches to capture gold medals. They both went on to fight for the Outstanding Fighter Belt. Leroy Maxwell narrowly lost a decision to settle for silver while Jermal Woolridge slammed his opponent three times to the canvas forcing him to give up. As a result Woolridge captured a second gold medal.

On June 23rd 2007, BSA proudly sanctioned “Sanshou Showdown” at the Berkeley Institute Gymnasium. The event, hosted by Jiketsu Martial Productions featured Bermuda fighters Nathan Dill, Sentwali Woolridge, Leroy Maxwell, and Jermal Woolridge in a round-robin tournament against teams from Barbados and Ohio, USA. Team Bermuda secured three out of four weight division titles and proved to the country that the team had drastically improved since FightFest.

Garon Wilkinson and Reuben Bean missed the opportunity to compete at Sanshou Showdown but had a chance to make their presence felt at the 2007 Taiji Legacy in Dallas, Texas on July 21-22nd 2007. Heavyweight fighter Jermal Woolridge and junior competitor Kent Bean Jr. joined them. The small team of four captured 9 gold medals in san shou and forms competition.

On November 11-19th 2007, BSA flew to Beijing, China to compete in the 9th World Wushu Championships. This event served as the qualifier for Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 being held during the 2008 Olympic Games. Team Bermuda did their country extremely proud while competing against san shou powerhouses Belarus, Norway, Switzerland and Thailand. Heavyweight fighter Jermal Woolridge placed in the top eight in the +90kg division. The highlight of the championships was the acceptance of Bermuda’s official membership into the International Wushu Federation (IWuF).

July 2008 | Back to top

On July 16-20th 2008, BSA competed in the 7th Pan American Wushu Championships held in Campinas, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Bermuda fighters faced host Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Venezuela in their matches. Garon Wilkinson and Jermal Woolridge secured bronze medal finishes in their weight categories while Leroy Maxwell and Sentwali Woolridge finished with a respectable 5th place in their weight divisions. Oscar Lightbourne also served as judge for the international san shou competition.

On November 1st 2008, BSA hosed Bermuda FightFest2 featuring our team of eight fighters against Florida’s John Wai Kung Fu, Kung Fu USA, and American Top Team. This year’s event featured three kickboxing rules matches and five san shou rules matches. The calibre of the matches were of a very high standard and Bermuda fighters Lucian Marele, Sentwali Woolridge, and Jermal Woolridge secured victories for the Bermuda team.

On April 5th 2009 BSA fighters Shannon Ford, Khalid Pitcher, and Garon Wilkinson took part in the Kickboxing Division of the Bermuda Open Karate Championships & Wellness Show held at Fairmont Hamilton Princess. Both Ford and Wilkinson won both of their bouts. Ford, in his first ever tournament was awarded the gold medal as a result of him winning both of his matches by knockout.

On July 19th 2009 BSA fighters Reyel Bowen, Talia Iris, Khalid Pitcher, Garon Wilkinson, and Sentwali Woolridge took part in the san division of the 1st Annual Legends of Kung fu Tournament in Dallas, Texas. Talia Iris captured a gold medal with a TKO victory over her opponent in the very first round. Reyel Bowen won his first match via decision and narrowly lost his second to secure a silver medal. Garon Wilkinson won his first match in convincing fashion and lost his second to secure the bronze medal. Sentwali Woolridge won his first match by KO and narrowly lost his second match to secure a bronze medal. Khalid Pitcher also ended up with the silver.

October 24-29th 2009 | Back to top

On October 24-29th 2009, the Bermuda San Shou team took part in the 10th World Wushu Championships in Toronto Canada. Fighters Reyel Bowen, Shannon Ford, Talia Iris, Khalid Pitcher, Garon Wilkinson, Jermal Woolridge and Sentwali Woolridge competed against athletes from Ukraine, Brazil, Turkey, USA, Switzerland, and Russia. The Bermuda Team fought very competitively however failed to advance beyond the opening rounds of competition.

On December 5th 2009, Garon Wilkinson competed in traditional advanced men’s forms at the ICMAC World Championship in Nassau, Bahamas. Wilkinson secured a silver medal in the open weapons category with a drunken sword form.

Wilkinson left Bahamas and traveled to Baltimore to conduct a seminar in san shou at Jing Ying Institute on December 8th 2009. Over 20 of Sifu Sean Marshall’s students took part in the seminar.

Recent Timeline | Back to top

October 2010 – Participated in 8th Pan American Wushu Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina securing 2 silver medals

April 2011 – Talia Iris took on Canada’s Ashley Nichols at Fight Night XII in a 4-round Women’s World Muay Thai Federation Continental Title

July 2011 – Sentwali Woolridge represented BSA at Friday Night Fights in NYC, the first time any of our fighters competed with out any protective gear

October 2011 – Participated in 11th World Wushu Championships in Ankara, Turkey where Jermal Woolridge won Bermuda’s first ever medal by capturing the bronze and qualifying for the Sanda World Cup

September 2012 – BSA traveled to China to train with Chinese National Team

September 2012 – Samir Furqan became the first junior to compete at the 4th Junior World Wushu Championships in Macau, China

September 2012 – Garon Wilkinson was elected to the Executive Board of the Panamerican Wushu Federation at the 9th Panamerican Wushu Championships in Monterrey, Mexico. Oscar Lightbourne was elected Deputy Secretary General of Caribbean Affairs and Chairman for Drug Policy and Education

October 2012 - Sentwali Woolridge fought a 5-round bout against Canada’s Daniel Kechego for the American Muay Thai Association Continental Title and lost a very close split decision

October 2012 – Jermal Woolridge competed in the 6th Sanda World Cup in Fujian Province, China. He duplicated his efforts in the World Championships by finishing in 3rd place and pocketing 3000RMB for his efforts.

January 2013 – Garon Wilkinson acquired a wild card spot at the 2013 Cali World Games competing in the daoshu (broadsword) / gunshu (staff) combined division.

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