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Sports Hall of Fame inductee hopes plaque will inspire youth to help make a difference

Long-time local martial arts figure of note and grandmaster, Rudy Timmerman, donates plaque to Legion
20211120 Sports Hall of Fame  Builder Plaque Presentation by Inductee Rudy Timmerman To Sault Legion Branch 25 Va 1
Kevin and Annette Lamour, Michael Paciocco, Pohnyuk Fam, Steven Jensen with Grandmaster Rudy Timmerman presenting to Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 President Helen Stewart and Vice-President Pierre Breckinridge

On Nov. 16, 2021, Grandmaster Rudy W. Timmerman was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame by the City of Sault Ste. Marie as a Builder for his lifelong commitment to martial arts.

During the small virtual induction ceremony, which included only the base participants, a beautiful plaque honouring Timmerman was presented to commemorate the occasion.

In a bid to show his appreciation for the opportunities the Legion has given himself and Sault Legion Hapkido to honour his students and preserve his legacy, Timmerman made the decision to present the plaque to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 where he is hoping for a permanent home for it in the new building once complete.

At the age of 10 in 1950, Timmerman began his journey into the world of martial arts while training in the Netherlands. After immigrating to Canada in 1958, he immediately joined two local martial art schools. Through the 60s and 70s, he continued his training while travelling extensively throughout Europe, Asia and North America and pairing up with some of the highest-ranking martial artists in the world.

During this time his repeated success in competitions prompted the opening of the Ancient Fighting Arts school in 1973 at a location near the underpass.

Since opening his first school in Sault Ste. Marie, thousands of students worldwide have benefited from his tutelage, with a number of local students becoming repeat world-class champions.

After suffering a back injury at work in 1983 and the ensuing years of rehab, he opened a new school – Kuk Sool Won Canada on Gore Street.

During this time, Timmerman was appointed as the director of the World Kuk Sool Association for Canada and the state of Michigan. 

Over time, in addition to his recent induction into the Sault Ste. Marie Sports Hall of Fame, Timmerman also received commendations from two prime ministers, RCMP, OPP and local police agencies, many MPs, MPPs, mayors, and was given the keys to several cities.

His achievements did not end there. Previously, he was inducted into the Pioneers and Legends as well as the Canadian Black Belt Halls of Fame.

As well as creating several martial arts schools, Timmerman created the National Korean Martial Arts Association in 1973, the Bon Soo Martial Arts Tournament, the Can-Am Classics Tournament, and the Korean Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame in 2014, and is currently writing his third book.

Over a span of about 50 years, these opportunities have brought thousands of students, masters and grandmasters to the Sault to teach, learn, share and demonstrate their skills which have made a significant impact on the local economy.

After retiring in 2012 and selling his school, Timmerman came out of retirement in 2018 after watching a television program about drug abuse, suicides and overdoses locally, to see if there was some way he could help.

Sault Legion Hapkido was formed after reaching out to the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 25 to request the use of the building for the martial arts school. 

It became a reality in the summer of 2018. The school was allowed to train one day a week but quickly evolved into three after the executive granted the extra days.

Timmerman’s vision for the Legion Hapkido Club is to see young children working hard to make a difference. Aside from the usual martial arts curriculum, Sault Legion Hapkido focuses on discipline, fitness of mind and body, bully proofing and the value of good citizenship. Instructors lead by example.

Several years ago, Timmerman himself was elected to the Legion’s sports chair. Two other instructors, Master Steven Jensen and instructor Kevin Lamour, also serve the Legion on various committees. Students of Legion Hapkido as young as 10 join adults in activities like fundraising, selling poppies, cleaning the Legion parking lot and making needed repairs to the building. 

In an effort to recognize and respect all of Grandmaster Timmerman’s hard work over the years the core group of instructors sought his induction into the Sault Ste. Marie Sports Hall of Fame. 

Not able to be present during the virtual induction ceremony, instructors Kevin and Annette Lamour, Master Steven Jensen, instructor Michael Paciocco and instructor Pohnyuk Fam were invited to be present when Timmerman made the plaque presentation to Legion Branch 25 president Helen Stewart and vice-president Pierre Breckinridge in a brief outdoor meeting in front of the Legion on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.

Timmerman believes, “It is a fitting thing because the entire Legion Hapkido program is about building good people into great people. This gorgeous plaque will hopefully be a reminder to all Legion Hapkido students that we can make a difference, and that we should never stop trying to do just that.”

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About the Author: Violet Aubertin

Violet Aubertin is a photograher and writer with an interest in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma's great outdoors
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