August 31st, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 34
Olsen's Martial Arts closes after 13 years
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Herald contributor
Junior Olsen, founder of Olsen’s Martial Arts Club, is closing his organization to spend more time with his family. Pictured above, Junior Olsen in 2005 with Hunter to his right and Logan to his left.
Pass Herald Reporter
As a very young man, Junior Olsen learned that he could take a punch.

He was also pretty good at giving them. So at the age of 12 he started training under his first coach Blair Orr, a man who taught him the art of fighting and its associated philosophy of discipline, sportsmanship and respect.

He founded Olsen’s Martial Arts Club in 2003 and has since imparted his skills and mentorship to a whole generation of Crowsnest martial artists. But whether by stoppage, TKO or decision, all things come to an end and last week the 47-year old Crowsnest resident said he was closing the club to spend more time with his family.

“I came to a crossroads,” he said. “It was a really hard decision. I’ve made lots of great friends and feel that I’ve helped out lots of people but after much discussion with the wife, we decided to be there with our boys. Time flies and we didn’t want to miss out.”

In his fighting years, Olsen was good. In 35 amateur fights, Olsen suffered four losses and two draws. The rest were victories.

By the age of 16 he’d already competed in his first amateur kickboxing match though he did not come out the victor.

“Looking at it now, it was good that I lost my first fight,” said Olsen. “I knew that I lost that fight not because the opponent was better than me, it was because I wasn’t prepared for that fight.”
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At the age of 18, under the mentorship of his coach Cal Fuller, Olsen challenged the Alberta kickboxing champion Don Gunderson. He won by unanimous decision and received the Alberta middleweight amateur title.

At age 19 he fought Inar Larson, the Canadian champion, in a non-title match. For Larson, it was supposed to be a warm up fight in preparation for an international competition but Olsen knocked him out with a spinning back fist in the third round.

“That was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my career and most memorable fight,” said Olsen.

That victory got him noticed by the Canadian kickboxing community. Olsen challenged the champion for a title fight but the champ refused the match and had to vacate the title. Six months later he fought Bruce Walker, the number one contender, for the Canadian title. Olsen won by second-round knockout and became the Canadian middleweight champion.

In a 1989 bout in Lethbridge, Olsen fought and won the North American title by unanimous decision.

In 1991 he fought a Detroit man for the junior middleweight title and won by second round stoppage. Later that year he fought and won, a spot on team Canada’s kickboxing team though he never competed internationally because of funding issues.

In 1997, he was inducted into the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame.

He fought and fought and then eventually he was ready to teach.

He moved to Crowsnest Pass in 2001 and started working for Teck’s Elkview Operations. He founded Olsen’s Martial Arts Club two years later and began training a new generation of fighters.
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The feisty mountain townspeople with fighting spirits took to kickboxing and Olsen immediately recognized that Pass residents would do well in the ring.

At first the club operated out of Elks Hall in Blairmore averaging 20 to 30 students during its first year. The next year the club moved to the MDM Centre in Bellevue and in subsequent years he would teach upwards of 65 students at a time.

His three boys Hunter, Logan and Owen joined the fight club. A number of women got in on the action including Olsen’s wife Jocelyn. Then there were the locals who trained with Olsen and then moved on to fight their own amateur bouts including Ben Rozner, Darnell Parker, Jesse Campbell, Gavin Carpenter and Caleb Bailey.

Olsen’s sons have embraced passions outside of combat sports. Olsen said they like basketball and other recreational activities so he’s decided to close his martial arts club to devote more time to being a father.

“It’s not about me anymore,” he said. “When you have kids, it’s about raising them and bringing them up right.”

But as a coach and mentor, Olsen’s achievements speak for themselves.
He’s helped hundreds of people prepare for the physical and mental challenge of kickboxing. His students attended dozens of tournaments where they dominated the competition. Nine of his students received black belts and hundreds more gained the benefits of martial arts training.

“Seeing them work so hard to gain their own confidence and pride in what they’re doing was awesome,” he said. “And me being able to give that to others is something I’ll remember for the rest of their life.”
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August 31st ~ Vol. 85 No. 34
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