Updated: Apr 21, 2019
*Originally published in Talent North Magazine*
When it comes to being a family there is so much more possible than who has married whom and which cousin is the oldest or how many siblings you have. The Korean Martial Arts Centre (KMAC) is a family with people from all over Northern Ontario clustered together as one, giant, wholesome and amazing second-family.
Master Christian Fortin, a sixth degree black belt (2014), grew up with martial arts in his life. He says they were never just “classes” as they were something they did as a family. His father, Chief Master Gerry Fortin, is the person who really set him on this path.
Though, Christian Fortin recalls trying classes when he was six years old but says he was, “actually scared during the class.” He also mentioned in those days it was very “militant.”
What really pushed him into trying it again at 10 years old was when his little brother Adam (six years old at the time) decided to take classes.
“Okay, so am I,” Fortin says he decided.
Fortin also mentions that beginning martial arts really created a special bond between him and his father. He says it strengthened his relationship with his dad.
“I’ll always be grateful,” Fortin says.
Even in times when he didn’t want to attend class he recalls instances where his father would ask him if he was going to go to accompany him or not and Fortin would tell his dad no.
“Dad would wait in the truck,” Fortin says. “Then I’d run out with my bag.”
Fortin was also able to meet his wife, Nicki, through martial arts as she began taking kickboxing classes. Fortin notes that she has also obtained her black belt.
He says they’re some of his best memories. He also feels it has helped lead him to where he is today.
Fortin attended Laurentian University for two years (1994-1995) to become a Physical Education teacher but changed his mind as it wasn’t for him. The next year he spent training with Master Lee, who has taught numerous student that are under the KMAC branch. Fortin says he learned much of what he knows during that time.
In 1997 he came back to Sudbury and studied at Cambrian College to be a millwright. He moved to Hamilton for eight years afterward (1998-2007). He opened a French-immersion school which he ran for five years (2002-2007).
Upon his return to Sudbury (2007) he began teaching Millwrighting at College Boreal. He also he took the responsibility of running the Sudbury branch of KMAC.
Over the past ten years he has helped KMAC delve into community initiatives such as the annual Christmas Telethon and Santa Claus Parade. Most recently, he and his father were awarded with a Community Builder’s Award in the Sports and Recreation category (2016). He says KMAC his second-family.
“A lot of people you develop relationships with become a second family,” Fortin says.
As a teacher, he says the best part is watching students develop and grow throughout the years. He remembers one student who was once six years old and is now teaching, has her black belt and says is “extremely ambitious.”
Of course, he says he can’t take the credit but boasts that KMAC students tend to be ambition and smart. Fortin also says that he’s never considered KMAC to be “his” club, rather, he calls it “their club.”
“I want them to share my passion,” Fortin says. “To share the same experiences I have. Be proud of their martial art and their school. Develop the characteristics of a leader.”
The Korean Martial Arts Centre is going to be celebrating its 40th year in Sudbury in 2017. As part of their celebration students who are interested in traveling and competing in a World Championship are going to South Korea in June 2017.