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Bradshaw Brothers Do the Province Proud

Quinn and Thatcher Represented BC In Karate Nationals

Two youths from Lions Bay were proud to represent their home province recently at this year's Canadian National Karate championships in Laval, Quebec.

"It was hard to process at the time," Quinn Bradshaw told The Watershed after his return from the competition, which was held in early July. "You look around and see all these other kids, and you know they are the best in Canada. But it's hard to remember that I'm one of them."

Quinn is 16 and heading into grade 12 this fall. He began taking karate classes just over four years ago, inspired to join by his younger brother Thatcher. Thatcher, who has just graduated from Grade 7 and is about to enter Rockridge High School this fall, has been taking karate since 2017.

Thatcher in 2017, on his first day at the dojo.

"I've just always really liked it," says Thatcher. He also plays a few team sports like basketball at school, but his heart belongs to karate. "We train at least twice a week for an hour, with extra practice for competitions. And cross-training means long hikes, plus push-ups, squats and planks. It's a lot of work!"

Both Thatcher and Quinn have earned their half-brown belts – the final colour level below the fabled black belt – in their respective age and weight categories.

Karate Canada regulates the sport across the country, with the aim of promoting the growth, development and excellence of karate in Canada. Quinn and Thatcher are members of West Van Karate Academy, and both train under Sensei Matt Bickel.

Quinn has competed at the national level before, in St. John's Newfoundland. "I just try to do better every time," he says. "I work to improve my skills every year, making sure I push myself to the best I can be." He's also flown to Fort St. John to compete, and both boys are considering entering a Karate 1 Youth League event that will be held later this year in Mexico.

Quinn Bradshaw competes in the Junior under 68 kg class, at the Karate Canada Nationals, 2023.

Mother Andrea Bradshaw ends up being very involved, which naturally means a lot of driving, and keeping schedules organized. She's delighted with how well her sons are doing, but admits to worrying about what she calls the negative side of the sport. "There's a point system for getting to Nationals, and they have to pick a weight category for the whole season back in March," she says. "Making weight can put a lot of pressure on the kids who compete. I've seen kids bundled up, running around before a meet, trying to sweat off those last few pounds."

Still, she believes the most important aspect karate offers her boys is a sense of family, with all the support the kids and their coaches offer each other. "In general, I like the philosophy they stand for," she says. "In a speech he gave at the Nationals in St. John, the head of Karate NL said 'There's winning and there's learning – no losing.' And I appreciate that."

Thatcher Bradshaw competes in the Youth under 45 kg class, at the Karate Canada Nationals, 2023.

Quinn is putting this philosophy into practice, as he has now reached a level where he's both competing and helping coach the younger players. "It's sometimes nerve-racking to walk in and be told that I get to run the class," he says, grinning. "But I just think "let's do this", and then I go for it. And I really like working with the younger kids, seeing what they can do."

Both Thatcher and Quinn agree that the sport teaches them motivation, and gives them a sense of discipline. Which is not to say they don't know how to relax. In their down time, Quinn's been working on swim training, and they both enjoy online gaming. Quinn's current favourite is Battlefield 2042, and Thatcher's is Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

When asked about the pressure of competing at an elite level, both brothers nod. "But it's a little bit of both," says Quinn. "Fun and pressure. Fighting the best in Canada. It's pretty cool."

Pretty cool indeed.

Soon Quinn and Thatcher have to make a decision about competing in Mexico...but first, they've got a few online battles to wage.

The Watershed loves celebrating the accomplishments of our village youth. Got thoughts to share? Leave your comments below, or email us at

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Way to go Quinn and Thatcher! What an accomplishment. Congratulations!


Thank you Karen, a fabulous write up! ❤️


Well done, gentlemen!

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