Skip to content

Yorkton man becomes first resident in city to earn black belt in Brazilian Jui-jitsu

Attained after many years of practice

YORKTON – Mike Forster, the Master instructor of the Yorkton Martial Arts Training Center, becomes the first Brazilian Jui-jitsu black belt to reside in Yorkton.

For those unfamiliar with the martial art, “Brazilian Jui-jitsu revolves around the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend him/herself against a bigger, stronger, heavier opponent by using leverage and weight distribution, taking the fight to the ground and using a number of holds and submissions to defeat them,” as noted on Wikipedia's Brazilian Jui-jitsu article.

Forster's achievement came by way of many years of hard work, 15 to be exact.

“My first [Brazilian Jui-jitsu] seminar was in February of 2007 in Prince Albert,” said Forster.

“I decided after that seminar that I should probably learn more.”

“My first instructor was Jeff Wiley, who was the first BJJ black belt in Saskatchewan,” adding, “I would travel to Regina for private lessons to train with him once or twice a month.”

In the years to follow, Forster would go on to complete his testing under Joe Bossenberry and Chris Desautels of Queen City Martial Arts in Regina.

“My instructor (Desautels) got his black belt when I got my blue belt in 2009,” said Forster.

Forster, who is now 44, started training in BJJ when he was 29.

“I wasn't the oldest guy to start training BJJ, but I wasn't the youngest either.”

When asked if he ever had any thoughts of quitting, Forster responded, “Sure, everybody does, everybody has plateaus and doubts. Those, 'what am I doing this for' moments.”

In the end, Forster said it was his students that kept him training.

“If it wasn't for the students, I don't know that I'd still be doing it.”

To show his gratitude, Forster devoted his hard work to those who kept him going.

“I dedicated my black belt to my students, because without them there is no purpose in teaching.”

Forster said that receiving his black belt was a humbling experience.

“It's very rare that a person wants a black belt, because it's held in such high regard due to the wealth of knowledge behind it,” adding, “I'm not sure how long it will be until I actually feel like a black belt.”

As with all BJJ Black belts, the lineage of Forster's can be confirmed and traced back to the creators of the martial art, brothers Carlos and Hélio Gracie. The brothers adapted their form from traditional Kodokan judo, which was taught to Carlos by a travelling Japanese Judoka named Mitsuyo Maeda, as noted by Wikipedia.

“Our head instructor in Brazil is Rogerio Poggio,” said Forster.

Poggio received his black from Totila “Pitoco” Jordan, who received his from Renan Pintanguy, who received his from Rickson Gracie, who learned from his father, Helio Gracie.

Preceding this milestone achievement, Forster had spent years practicing multiple disciplines including Judo, Muay Thai (kickboxing), boxing, and wrestling to name a few.

As a decorated martial artist, Forster already possesses black belts in several other martial arts, including a 6th degree black belt in TaeKwon-Do, and a 3rd degree black belt in Haidong Gumdo, the art of Korean swordsmanship.

In 2013, Forster was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Taekwon-Do instructor of the year.

His accolades include gold medals at the International Taekwon-Do championships that took place in South Korea in 2015, for board breaking and ITF (Internatioanl Taekown-Do Federation) Forms.

Forster, who had injured himself prior to competing, decided 2015 would be his last year for competition.

“I wrecked my knee in 2015,” adding, “I finished worlds and hung it up.”

Now, Forster said he enjoys watching his students compete.

“I enjoy watching my students drive and succeed,” adding, “I got all my trophies and medals in, and that's enough for me.”

Forster took the opportunity to thank those close to him.

“I have to thank my wife and family for putting up with my martial arts addiction.”

The Yorkton Martial Arts Training Center, which has been in operation for twenty years, continues to see new people eager to learn various forms of martial arts disciplines.

“We're getting new students all the time,” said Forster, adding, “It's nice to see the sport keep growing.”

For news and information on available programs, visit

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks