Stick fighters return to Gong with medal swag

Stick fighters from the Reflex Martial Arts Centre triumphed at the recent Australasian champs. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Stick fighters from the Reflex Martial Arts Centre triumphed at the recent Australasian champs. Picture: ADAM McLEAN

MARTIAL ARTS 

Reflex Martial Arts Centre in Wollongong has established itself as one of Australia's premier stick fighting gyms, with a seven-strong team bringing home 15 medals from the Australasian Stick Fighting Championships this month.

Sixth-degree black belt and two-time world stick fighting champion Dominic Lavalle led the team to the Australasian titles on the back of a gruelling 12-week preparation.

Lavalle took the gold in the men's over-40s no armour category and silver in the single and double sticks events.

Martin Levitski claimed silver in the single stick and bronze in double stick (under-39s) and Lara Moore brought home gold in the single stick and the forms events in the under-16 girls.

Michael Milovanovic won bronze in the single and double stick (under-18s) and Mohammed Bazzaz silver in the juniors double sticks.

Darrin Benfield picked up a special medal for best participation stick fighting achievement.

"I'm big on building teamwork. We trained together, we sparred together, we did all our fitness work together," Lavalle said.

"We all trained hard for 12 weeks and the teamwork is the key to our success."

The true standout was under-16s competitor Tony Musumeci, who brought home three gold medals in the single and double stick events and the no armour category.

Musumeci will now accompany Lavalle and 22-year-old world champion Jaron Ponce, who missed the Australasian titles, to the World Stick Fighting Championship in Cebu City, the Philippines, in August.

"That's the home of stick fighting and you're looking at the best competitors from all over the world," Lavalle said.

"It's unbelievable how hard it is and how fit you have to be."

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