Yumiko

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Yumiko Kawano (also known as the Samurai Killa) is a fiery, entertaining, experienced fighter with the heart of a Samurai. Born and raised in a small town amidst the majestic mountains and ocean of Japan, Yumiko is a true martial artist at heart. Her love and dedication her school, her team, her Kru and Muay Thai have taken her to competition across North America and now over-seas.
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Yumiko’s story as a Canadian started in 2007 when she took a leap of faith and decided to leave her home in Japan and study abroad. With the love, support, and ambition of her parents and sister (her heros) she secured an acceptance at the University of British Columbia where she studied sociology and anthropology, with a focus on First Nations Studies. Coming on board as an international student, Yumiko spoke very little English but that did not stop her. She quickly applied her Samurai spirit, learned the language, the discipline, and the study and continued on to graduate as a top student in her program. During her time at UBC, Yumiko’s big heart guided her to give back to her new found home. She was involved in community programs, preparing breakfast for those in need and also participated in a monumental creek revitalization project in the Masquem territory. Noted by her professors for her ability to meet challenges with optimism, her giving heart, and her ability to consistently conquer her goals and master her craft, she was invited to join the Social Justice Education Faculty at OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) – An internationally acclaimed faculty at the University of Toronto. In Yumiko’s Ph.D work, she is busy documenting Aboriginal women and women of colors experiences in the academy, in particular graduate level programs, focusing on how violence has been institutionally manifested, maintained as well as reproduced, and how these woman negotiate and claim their space in the academy. Her unique approach is to utilize their stories in dealing with day to day challenges in the academy. Yumiko is a strong believer that “stories are who we are” and today, she is working to complete her thesis and tell her own story.
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In 2013 Yumiko found Muay Thai by accident. She was handed a class pass at a university event and attended a class at Krudar Muay Thai. There she met some of her greatest friends, a supportive community, and fell in love with the art and sport of Muay Thai. Training inside and out, balancing her academic career, her family over seas, and rigorous training was just another goal that Yumiko would conquer with ease.
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Yumiko quikcly progressed and in 2015 she had her first pro fight in NYC. Since then Yumi’s spirit has been on fire. She is an avid spin, rock climbing, strength and conditioning, and Muay Thai athlete. She trains hours each day, sharpening her skills, and improving her athletic abilities. In Mar 2017 Yumiko participated in a very important card to support International Womens Day, an event that was right at home with her. She was granted an opportunity to fight one of the leading female Muay Thai competitors in her class and with the roaring cheers of her fans and family at Krudar, she took home a significant win and earned her name in senior level competition. With this experience, Yumiko has expanded her vision to include world class fighters and has ambitions to compete against the best in the world.
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Yumiko continues to write her Thesis and has goals to complete her Ph.D this year along with taking home some prominent championships in the Muay Thai world. No goal has ever seemed to big for Yumiko, and we are incredibly excited for her journey ahead. As her favourite quote goes “The truth about stories is, that’s all we are” (by Thomas King). Yumiko is eager and ready to tell her story in the ring.
This month, Yumiko and her “Double Dragon Sister” co-fighter and friend Janice Lyn will be travelling to Mexico to compete first in the Mayan Cup and from there, Yumiko will continue to the Muay Thai Pan Amercian games where she will represent Canada in the female 54KG division. Representing Canada is a tremendous honour to Yumiko and she is looking forward to bring home a medal for Canada.
Yumiko is currently fundraising at the gym by offering $25 pad sessions of which all funds will be dedicated to helping her and her team make their way to Mexico. If you would like to smash some pads while helping Yumi’s dreams come true, sessions can be arranged by contacting the gym at (416) 923-5633.
Support of the gym and friends and family is the bloodline of Yumiko’s passion and she is forever grateful for every smile, cheer, and donation that is blessed upon her. We thank you for your generous contributions in making this dream a reality.
To support Yumi’s journey to the Pan Am Championship, please visit her page on the Muay Thai Canada Website
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Upcoming Events


OCT 14
Yellow Shorts Test

OCT 21
Blue Shorts Test

OCT 28
Kids Halloween Party @ both gyms
Costume Class + Bring a Friend for Free


Two Great Locations!

KRUDAR KENSINGTON (K1)

152 Augusta Ave Toronto, Ontario M5T 2L5 (416) 923-KNEE contact@krudar.com

KRUDAR DON MILLS (K2)

1335 Lawrence Ave East Toronto, Ontario M3A 1C6 (416) 444-KNEE donmills@krudar.com

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