Moscovitch has killer moves on and off ice

STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:54 PM ET

VICTORIA — Waterloo skater Dylan Moscovitch plans to enjoy a long career with the Canadian national team.

He and his partner Kirsten Moore-Towers have broken on to the international pairs scene in a huge way this season, improving from a fifth-place finish at last year’s nationals to a pair of silver medals on the Grand Prix Circuit this season. They also won Friday’s short program at the Canadian figure skating championships.

But even when he eventually leaves the national team, he can always stay on as a security consultant or team bodyguard.

Moscovitch, 26, isn’t the first national team skater to study martial arts. Three-time men’s world champion Elvis Stojko has a black belt in kung fu. But the Toronto-born skater practices a form of martial arts that’s unique, at least to the average shmuck on the street.

Moscovitch studies Krav Maga, a hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel and taught to elite special forces throughout the world. The “self-defence fighting system”, as Moscovitch describes it, involves wrestling, striking and “brutal counterattacks.” Not the typical hobby of most figure skaters.

“It’s my outlet, it’s my passion away from skating,” said the personable Moscovitch, who describes himself as a non-violent person. “And it’s a great workout as well.

“Tell him about the buses,” Moscovitch’s skating coach, Kris Wirtz interjects, as his skater explains Krav Maga to a reporter.

“We’ve done a couple of seminars where the (head) guys from L.A. come in and we do a gun defence or knife defence seminar,” said Moscovitch. “The one time they rented a school bus and put us all in it, to illuminate real life situations ... We’d sit on the bus and someone would have a rubber knife or a rubber gun, and we wouldn’t know who. And all of a sudden they’d take someone hostage or start randomly attacking people and you’d have to respond.”

Triple lutz anyone?

“It’s an exciting hobby,” said Moscovitch, in a major understatement.

Moscovitch first studied kung fu in Milton, Ont., under Glen Doyle, the same man who taught Stojko. Stojko, in fact, taught Moscovitch at times. But when Moscovitch relocated to Waterloo to skate, he couldn’t get to the gym much, but noticed there was a Krav Maga club right beside his apartment, so he gave it a shot, and now is hooked. He even instructs sometimes. Of course, when he’s not learning about disarming gun-wielding maniacs, Moscovitch skates. And, along with Moore-Towers, is turning heads and could very well win the national pairs title on Saturday, especially with three-time champions Jessica Dube and Bryce Davison out, as Davison is recovering from a knee injury.

Moscovitch was skating with his younger sister, Kyra, but had to look for a new partner after she was forced to quit because of Scoliosis.

He was matched with Moore-Towers in the spring of 2009 after her partnership with Andrew Evans dissolved and they’re now coached by two-time Canadian champions (and husband and wife) Kris Wirtz and Kristy Sargeant at the Kitchener-Waterloo Skating Club. In fact, Skate Canada high performance director Mike Slipchuk compared the pairs’ style to Wirtz and Sargeant, in terms of consistency and toughness.

“It’s a compliment to hear that because I find them to be one of the best teams in the world to watch,” said Wirtz. “They lay it out there all the time. I think you can relate that to Kristy and I — go big or go home. We love that and we instil that with all our skaters.”

Skating to Zorba’s Dance, they recorded a score of 64.73 points in their short program on Friday at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre and are in first place heading into Saturday’s free, ahead of Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers of the Wawota FSC (59.38) and Mylene Brodeur and John Mattatall of CPA Saint-Leonard (58.78).

“I feel like a rock star,” Moore-Towers joked. “I had a ball and we’re very pleased that we could come here and keep everything the same and just be us, our two goofy selves, and go out and do what we love to do.”


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