Copyright © Canadian Black Belt Hall of Fame, 2006
(Pierre) Andre Langelier
Fighter – Teacher – Promoter
November 24, 1942 - April 24, 1990.
Survived by his wife Catherine Udvarhelyi married August 17, 1968; daughter Genevieve Langelier born March 4, 1974; grandson Matthew Iapalucci born July 13, 2006 (looks like Andre).
Andre Langelier was born in Hull, Quebec, on November 24, 1942.
He began his Karate training in 1957 under Ary Anastasiadis and later received his shodan from the Father of Canadian Karate, Masami Tsuroka. His certificate was signed in 1967 by the founder of Chito Ryu Karate, Dr. Chitose.
In 1964, he opened the Langelier Karate Dojo on Bronson Street in Ottawa but moved the next year to Rideau Street where his club remained until he quit karate in 1973 and passed it on to his Black Belts.
Andre competed in a few major competitions but what he was known for were his teaching skills. He developed some of Canada's greatest fighters: Fern Cleroux, Harry Villeneuve, Webb Cockerin, and many more that spread the reputation of the Langelier Karate Dojo.
He eventually received his 5th dan from Sensei Masami Tsuroka before retiring from the martial arts world.
Andre quit karate in 1973 to open a restaurant disco bar but stayed in touch with karate as a promoter running the first national karate championship in Ottawa – The Canadian Karate Championships – that hosted some of the greatest fighters of that time: Walter Slocki, Ted Marton, Bill Wallace, Joe Lewis, Fern Cleroux, George Sylvain, Harry Villeneuve, Morris Guido, Alex Steinberg, Ronald Van Clief and many more.
Andre was very emotional person. A quote from his, wife Catherine Udvarhelyi, “He cried at our wedding and blubbered his vows but could not resist a fight in bars. On one occasion, when he was picked on to fight and the person found out who he was, the stranger backed off and offered to buy him a case of beer. On another occasion, while sitting at the bar a man was bragging he was a good friend of Andre and Andre just let him talk on. That is how popular he was. He was very flamboyant with his yellow corvettes at each club for his black belts to the way he dressed in fur coats, green velvet suits, leather and suede outfits and Kimonos.”
In 1971, he was a co-founder of the Canadian Karate Association with Fern Cleroux and George Sylvain which is still running to date.
In early fall of 1989, after complaining of a persistent cough, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. In the spring of 1990, he passed away.
He is greatly missed.
Fern Cleroux started Karate at the age of 19 in 1957 under Ary Anastasiadis and Mike Godard. He received his Shodan in 1967 from Dr. Chitose in the Chito-ryu style of karate from a recommendation from his teacher, Masami Tsuroka.
He went on to receive his Nidan and Sandan from Dr. Chitose.
During this time, Cleroux's name grew as a fighter, teacher and coach. He produced some of Canada's greatest champions, and his famous Cleroux Power Team competed all over the world, winning many championships. In tournament circles, he was known as “the Bear” for his tenacity to defend his students or team in any competition or country.
He received his 4th degree Black belt from Richard Kim and his 5th and 6th from the Quebec Karate Federation.
In 1987, he received his 7th Dan from the Lt. Governor-General of Quebec. In 1995 he received his 8th Dan from the Premier of Quebec, the Right Honourable Jacques Parizeau, for his life-long dedication to the art of karate in Quebec and Canada.
Other notable accomplishments include:
• President of the Canadian Karate Association since 1971.
• Founder of the Quebec Karate Federation and VP from 1973 to 1984.
• Founder of the Provincial Chito-Ryu Karate Association 1976 to 1996.
• Founded the Chito Shin Kai Style and Association in 1996 and is currently president of the organization.
Police Officer – Competitor – Trainer
Mr. Sylvain began his training in combative arts over 50 years ago when he joined the Canadian Military Police during the Korean War. Since his initial introduction to Military unarmed combat, Mr. Sylvain has trained in several combative arts, including Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, weapons, standard police techniques and Western boxing.
In 1965 he was selected as one of the fighters to represent Canada in a USA vs. Canada match, held in Toronto by the National Karate Association, hosted by Masami Tsuroka at the 4th Annual Canadian International Karate Championships.
In competitions, his most famous and feared technique was an overhand hammer fist strike. Some referred to it as a 'tomahawk chop'.
A veteran police officer, he has been in charge of several tactical training and self defense programs for provincial, regional and RCMP programs.
As a trainer, he was unparalleled in the Canadian full contact and kickboxing circuits, having trained several of Canada's earliest kickboxers, including World Champion Jean Yves Theriault in his the early stages of this superb athlete's career.
A tenth degree Black Belt and founder of Can-Ryu Ju Jitsu, Mr. Sylvain is also a 4th degree Black Belt in karate.
"Mr. Front Thrust Kick"
Ted Marton, a friend of Wally Slocki since childhood, was introduced to karate by Wally in 1965.
He trained with Benny Allen for his entire martial arts training. Ted Marton was one of those totally gifted fighters that was a natural right from day one. His rigorous training was exceptional, as he sparred constantly and, in between sparring, conditioning was his 'cooling off' time.
He would often be seen running around the dojo on the tops of his toes to add to his already lethal front kick.
George Sylvain said, “I will never forget that front kick he hit me with in the 1967 Canadian Championships at Varsity Arena. He was 21, and I was 32. He threw a front kick and he hit me right in the ribs, breaking two ribs with that kick. He was the fastest person I ever faced.”
In the 1960s the main tournament was always the Canadian Championships, held at the Varsity Arena by the Father of Canadian Karate, Masami Tsuroka.
In 1967, Teddy Marton faced off against George Sylvain. It was a match for the history books. George Sylvain, with his tomahawk chop or bottom fist and Ted Marton with his front thrust kick. This time, it was Marton the victor, but only after an absolutely amazing match that had everyone in the arena fighting to get close to ringside to see the match of matches.
Ted retired from competition after he had trained for a full contact match with a famous American fighter, which was subsequently cancelled after the fighter saw Ted training.
Ted Marton, “Mr. Front Thrust Kick”, one of Canada's premier fighters of all time.
Coach of the Year
In 1970, Mitchell Kawasaki took over the reins as chief instructor of one of Canada's premier Judo schools: the Rendokan Judo Academy, when his father passed away.
Mitchell began Judo at the age of five. He's currently ranked shichidan (7th degree black belt). He has held numerous positions within Judo's governing bodies, including Vice-President of Judo Ontario, technical director for Judo Ontario, Ontario Provincial Black Belt Grading Board, and National Black Belt Grading Board. Mitchell has held the position of Head Coach for the Ontario Judo team, and he has also been a headline instructor at Camp Olympia.
Sensei Kawasaki has held numerous Canadian championship titles, not only in Judo, but also in freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling and gymnastics; all talents which he employs while instructing judo. Mitchell also competed in the 1976 Montreal Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling.
In the year 2000, he was awarded Coach of the Year, (he coached both the female and male athlete of the year for the same year).
His educational background includes an honours B.P.H.E. degree from Lakehead University and N.C.C.P level 3 coaching certification.
Recognized as one of the leading Canadian Training Centres, Kawasaki Rendokan Dojo was also instrumental in bringing the 1993 World Judo Championships to Hamilton's Copps Coliseum.
Gentleman and Competitor
From 1963 to 1974, Hal Henschel trained with Mas Tsuroka at the original Queen Street and Yonge and Bloor dojos, where he eventually attained 2nd Dan.
From 1964 to 1968, he operated Hamilton Chito Ryu Dojo as Head Instructor. In 1980, he relocated to Alberta, where he instructed in the Edmonton, Calgary and Canmore dojos until 1982.
Hal competed and won in numerous tournaments, including participation in the renown Tournament of Champions in New York City which drew the Top Ten North American competitors...(his division was won by Chuck Norris). He also qualified for the Canadian National Team in 1976, for the World Championships in Paris, France.
From 1974 to present, Hal Henschel became a full time student at Shane Higashi's dojo in Toronto, where he has attained Shihan level.
In 2003, Hal retired to the more gentlemanly soft side of karate.