Leah Bergmanis, 3rd Dan – Toronto, ON, Canada
Leah Bergmanis, 3rd Dan, started karate when she was 3 years old.
“When I was younger my parents had put me in many different sports in attempt to crack the tireless energy of youth inside me. However unsuccessful, karate was the sole activity that stuck.”
Leah used to live in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The dojo she was apart of there practiced “Ishinryu” karate and her first sensei was Lamon Kersey.
“He helped me begin my martial arts journey.”
She earned her black belt in 2009 and 2nd degree the following year from Sensei Kersey. In 2010 her family moved to the big city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada and sought to find a new dojo. Eventually leading her to join the IKD family.
Shihan Keith Da Costa was her first IKD sensei and over the years she has had the pleasure of studying under Shihan Josef Woon-A-Tai, as well as Shuseki-Shihan Master Frank Woon-A-Tai. When she joined the IKD she re-tested for her nidan in 2011 and passed her sandan under Shuseki Shihan Frank Woon-A-Tai in 2016.
“I started competing on the national level in 2014 after Sensei Keith put me on the team.”
At the 2014 Canada Cup, she won gold for individual kata, individual kumite and adult women’s team embu. From then she has competed in the 2015 World Championships held in Toronto, the 2016 Canadian Nationals held in Montreal, the 2018 World Championships held in Barbados, and local tournaments where she has won golds and silvers as well as the most outstanding junior female competitor award in both Montreal and Barbados.
Currently, Leah has begun her first year as a university student studying Arts and Business at Ryerson University in Toronto.
“I am excited to start a new part of my life but I hope that karate will still find a place in my busy schedule. A favourite hobby of mine other than karate is drawing. The high school I graduated from had a Regional Arts program where I specialized in visual arts.”
Karate is a huge part of her life. She has a deep respect for this art, its philosophy being to achieve a balance between mind and body. Karate also helps to develop characteristics such as self-control, patience, focus, and perseverance in individuals through its practices. Furthermore, she is extremely grateful to all the figures in her life.
“Thank you to my Senseis, my fellow karateka, my teammates, my friends, my co-workers and my family who continue to encourage and support me and all my future dreams and endeavors. I owe you all a lot, thank you.”