Chris Digout is a 4th Dan in Combat Hapkido. His interest in the martial arts began in the 1980’s when he developed an interest in learning about different fighting system from around the world, some of which were Chinese Kung Fu, Karate and Tae Kwon Do.
By the age of 13, Chris had developed friendships with several martial artists and informally learned various techniques from different disciplines.
At 16 years old Chris joined the Taoist Tai Chi Society and trained with them for the better part of a year, after which he began to pursue a more combative martial art. He soon began training in Uechi Ryu at a downtown Halifax location and excelled in the techniques he learned. Unfortunately, his training was cut short when the school was forced to close down some six months later.
When Chris turned 17, he enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve, with the Princess Louis Fusiliers based in Halifax. After three years in the infantry and attaining the rank of corporal, he elected to leave active service to focus on a University education at Saint Mary’s University. After five years Chris graduated with a degree in Sociology with a large focus on Psychology and child and youth development.
While at SMU, Chris' interest in the martial arts continued; he join a newly formed Kendo School based out of King’s College. The experience gave him the rare opportunity to train with Japanese and Korean instructors. He excelled in his training and, along with a small group of interested students, he found a second location to allow for two more nights of training per week. He eventually became the club's Vice President and took on the Public Relations role for a brief period. As a result, Chris formed a second Kendo club at SMU in his last year at SMU.
After graduating from SMU, Chris enrolled in the Corrections and Policing Foundations Program at Success College. It was here that Master Mike Fournier introduced him to Combat Hapkido, through the Close Quarters Police Defensive Tactics training Master Mike had established at the college. Chris immediately saw the value in this martial art and decided to study the system formally. After his graduation from Success College, he enrolled in Self Defence Canada and continued to train under Master Mike and Master Eric.
In 2004, Chris began his career as a Correctional Officer when he was hired by the Nova Scotia Department of Justice Correctional Services. Early on in his career Chris had the opportunity to work with adult offenders, both in custody and in the community. Four years later he advanced in his career to work with high risk youth in custody as well as those in the community.
By 2007, Master Mike Fournier had re-enlisted in the Army and with Master Eric Rushton, his business partner, stepping back from full time teaching, Chris was asked to operate the Combat Hapkido school and Self Defence Canada. In 2009, Chris became the sole owner and head instructor of Self Defence Canada, operating the school until 2011. During his time with Self Defence Canada, Chris drew a great deal of satisfaction in training a great number of people and had the privilege of testing and awarding black belt certificates to some of his students.
Chris continues to work with and develop the East Coast Combat Hapkido Academy students as they work through their belt levels on their Combat Hapkido journey toward their black belts.