Master Eric Rushton CMA CFO, was a student of Grandmaster Pellegrini since he obtained a Combat Hapkido Charter in 1996 and, with that, can be considered a pioneer of Combat Hapkido in Canada. Sadly, Master Eric left us too early and succumbed to cancer after a valiant battle on February 13th, 2017. His legacy lives on.
Master Eric Rushton was a 5th Dan in Combat Hapkido, having been awarded his certificate of rank by Grandmaster John Pellegrini, in 2009. Master Eric had been involved in the martial arts for more than 40 years, going back to when he began studying Judo in 1973 and competed in his first Provincial Judo Championships in 1974.
He recounted how, after having seen the first Billy Jack movie, and being so impressed by the Hollywood version of this truly awesome martial art, he changed his martial arts discipline and began studying the Moo Sul Won system of Traditional Hapkido under Master James Kim. He remained with this system for a number of years and was eventually drawn to the more "no nonsense" Combat Hapkido discipline founded by Grandmaster John Pellegrini. Master Eric also studied under Grandmaster Woo Yong Jung, Canada's former Olympian and Olympic Team Coach to achieve his 2nd Degree Black Belt in WTF Tae Kwon Do.
Over the years, Master Eric worked to promote and teach Combat Hapkido in the community and hosted the founder of Combat Hapkido, Grandmaster John Pellegrini, to Halifax for seminars with the aim of introducing more martial artists and non-martial artists to the science of self-defence - Combat Hapkido. In 2003, the school hosted, the largest Combat Hapkido Seminar ever held in Canada.
Master Eric continuously worked at improving his art. As well as being a past student of Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido he also studied Judo and Kumdo, the art of Korean Sword Fighting.
As a reward for his long involvement in the Martial Arts Master Eric was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame. The award was presented to him by the world's most prestigious Grandmasters Council, and Grandmaster John Pellegrini, at Universal Studios in Florida in 1997. This award gave him instant international recognition as a Combat Hapkido Instructor. Master Eric has the dubious distinction of being the first martial artist in Eastern Canada to be a member of any Martial Art Hall of Fame. In 2005, he was inducted into the Budo International Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
Another distinction for Master Eric was his appointment as vice president of the International Combat Hapkido Federation (the ICHF) in 1999. Although that appointment no longer exists he was the first Canadian to hold it; he was also a certified IPDTI Police Defensive Tactics instructor.
In his day to day life, Master Eric Rushton was a successful Certified Management Accountant and Chief Financial Officer of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.
He will be missed.