Story by Boice Lydell
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Shane Baker
photos by Billy Bly
Date of birth: January 14, 1984
Age: 22
Place of birth: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Residence: Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada
Marital status: Occupied
Style: Goju-ryu
School: United Family Martial Arts
Instructor: Trevor Nash
Year started in martial arts: 1994
Year received black belt: 1999
Team: 2006 - Team Straight-up
Sport karate coach: Trevor Nash & Joe Greenhalgh
Favorite technique: Spinning hook kick
First national win: 2002 Dixieland Nationals
Sport karate world titles:
2005 - Lightweight point sparring world champion
2005 - Lightweight continuous sparring world champion
2004 - Lightweight point sparring world champion
2004 - Lightweight continuous sparring world champion
Toughest fighting opponent: Jack Felton
Sport karate career highlight: Back to back lightweight point and continuous NBL world titles
Martial arts goal 1: To be recognized as the all-time lightweight fighter
Martial arts goal 2: To develop his own world champions
Martial arts goal 3: To continue to run successful karate schools
Non-martial arts goal: To get married and have a family
Favorite tournament: TNT Internationals & The Super Grands
Favorite Super Grands (why): Panama City - Because he had fun goofing off with Cody Diesbourg
Favorite sport karate players:
Past forms: Karyn Bellinger
Present forms: Casey Marks
Past fighting: Jim Flood
Present fighting: Trevor Nash and Richard Steckham
Most admired martial artists: Trevor and Casey Nash
Most admired people: His parents Phil and Lori Baker
Favorite food: Pasta and Lasagna
Favorite movie: Happy Gilmore
Favorite actor: Adam Sandler
Favorite magazine: Wakeboarding and snowboarding
Favorite book: Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Favorite music: Rap, Rock & Punk
Favorite hobby: Wakeboarding and motocross racing

Few sport karate players will ever be able to make their mark winning initial world titles the way Canadian, Shane Baker has. He seemed to have appeared out of nowhere in 2004 when he wound up on stage at the Super Grands World Games opposing the famed nine time junior world champion fighter, Jack Felton. While it was Felton’s rookie year as an adult he was well primed and certainly the favorite to win the men’s featherweight point sparring world title. Baker, while virtually unknown and titleless, gained a one point, 8 to 7 lead in the final match of the eliminations against Felton sending them both to the Grand Finale stage to determine a victor. Perhaps still numbed by his eliminations victory, he took a whipping in the Grand Finale 7 to 1 placing him even with Felton at one loss apiece. With reality setting in that a final do or die match was to follow, not to mention the reality of facing his coach, Trevor Nash, Baker rallied once again garnering another 8 to 7 victory. While never hurting Felton’s fame as an all-time fighting champion, this victory elevated Baker from a nameless face to one that would, from then on, gather a crowd around his ring. He added to his victory at the World Games with a win in lightweight continuous fighting as well. Of course winning once can always be a fluke but Baker returned to win two more lightweight sparring titles in 2005 giving him a rare adult win in two individual divisions for two years in a row. But, while Baker seems to have magically appeared out of nowhere as another Trevor Nash protegee, an actual review of World Games statistics reveals that Baker has actually been to every Super Grands since 2001 hiding in the shadows since Super Grands XII in Hollywood, California where he took an unnoticed seventh place in junior light heavyweight continuous sparring.

Part of the criteria in being chosen for cover spots is a player’s value as a role model and their behavior at tournaments. It’s a rare occasion to find Baker out of line. He generally keeps a calm demeanor during competition and can often be seen playing cards or entering juniors from his school after competition. Yes, I thought Baker was the ideal roll model staying out of trouble and away from the vices until I asked him as to which was his favorite Super Grands. He instantaneously mentioned Panama City. I naturally quizzed him why, as he related all the fun he had sliding down hotel stairs on hotel room service trays and jestingly duck-taping fellow competitors to chairs that have castors and sending them away for yo-yo journeys on hotel elevators. Ok Shane, it was harmless fun, but lets keep it a secret from the up coming young and innocent that would never dream that you did those crazy things?

Actually Shane’s always shown a bit of fun goofiness. The first time this author ever really had exposure to Baker was a few year back when his instructor, Trevor Nash, had dinner at a Ponderosa restaurant with the two of us. I swear I’ve never laughed so hard as when Trevor asked me to watch when he offered Baker $5 to approach a waitress and ask her for a date. Baker, always one for a challenge, obliged. We’ll keep what she told him a secret. Neither one of us can recall if Nash paid up or not, so I think Trevor should make it official with a $5 (plus interest) presentation in public at the next NBL event.

He says he’s always been a “master knucklehead” but that he’s not so much any more. But that’s what has made him so likeable by his fellows competitors is his ability to laugh at himself. In any case Baker is here to stay and adds a unique and healthy flavor to sport karate competition.

Despite his allegiance to his school team “United”, his instructor/best friend gave him the nod to accept Joe Greenhalgh’s offer to join Team Straight-up this season and wear the purple and white. Can you kick “straight-up” Shane? Baker looks at this as a great opportunity and finds his coach “hilarious” and finds Greenhaulgh’s care for all the team members as the bond for the team as a whole.

While Baker admits that’s he’s only been serious about competition since 2000, he had ten years training prior to that under Jim Flood, only meeting Nash when Nash bought the Hamilton, Ontario school from Flood in 2000. While Baker was headed off to a career as a machinist, Nash coaxed him on to become a full time instructor and their bond has grown to where Baker seems more like a partner in Nash’s two schools than an employee. Baker relates that Nash shares well and they plan out their school curriculum and strategies together and it must be working as the Nash, Baker and Casey Marks Nash trio teach over 400 students in their two locations. While Baker tells of interest in owning his own school he was quick to point out that it will be in unison with his instructor.

Oh, and closing if my van ever gets toilet-papered again, guess who will be the next victim of duck tapping and sent voyaging on an elevator?