A two-time world champion and instructor of jiu-jitsu killed in Hawaii last month, will be honoured at Sugar Cane near Williams Lake with a celebration of life on Thursday, Feb. 20.
Benito Segura III’s death in Hawaii on Jan. 23 is being treated as a hit and run, his mother Viviane Sandy told the Tribune.
“He was in Hawaii training for his next fight in Australia with his boss when it happened,” she said.
On Jan. 28, 2020, the Hawaii Police Dept. identified Benito as the victim of a hit and run and stated the traffic enforcement unit had initiated a negligent homicide investigation.
They also renewed a request for anyone who may have witnessed the incident or may have information relative to the identity of the responsible driver to contact police.
Benito was born in Seattle, Wash. on March 23, 1974 and spent his toddler years with his grandmother Nellie Evelyn Drynock (Wycotte) at Sugar Cane.
He leaves behind his daughter Deshya Rose Segura who was born on his birthday in 1996, and his granddaughter Anaya-Marie Rose Disxon who was born in 2015.
Sandy, who is originally from Sugar Cane and left when she was 17, said her son went all over the world competing and teaching.
Pulling out her cell phone she shared a photograph showing him teaching some youth in South Africa.
“Here in Canada he had a dream to teach jui-jitsu on all the reserves,” she said.
His interest in martial arts began with boxing and judo, and ultimately led him to training with Marcus Soares Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in the Lower Mainland.
Under Soares, he achieved his second-degree black belt and was a two-time world champion of jiu-jitsu in five continents: South American, Australia, Japan, UK and the US, Sandy said.
Another passion of Benito’s was the protection of children against prostitution, which saw him start a community initiative to target pimps that were recruiting young girls in East Vancouver.
He developed an outreach program and designed posters, using actors, with slogans such as ‘sex is being bought from a child right now.’ The posters were placed in bus stops and business centres.
Benito volunteered with a Vancouver action plan and in 1991 was involved with the creation of Dusk till Dawn Youth Resource Centre for high-risk youth.
He also pursued post-secondary education, and graduated from the University of B.C. and Langara College.
The process of bringing Benito’s body back to B.C. was complicated, with lots of paper work back and forth, but was helped in a big way by a gofundme created by his boss and students.
Sandy said there were also many elders along the way from Hawaii to Vancouver who helped bring him home.
“Everyone worked together,” she said. “There is no way I can show our appreciation — from his father — Benito Charles Segura — his daughter, his granddaughter and myself — we would like to honour you all in a memorial next year.”
In Hawaii, the International Indian Treaty Council arranged for medicine people to do a ceremony over Benito’s body as well.
“We will be displaying prayer blankets at the funeral that we will then send to Hawaii to acknowledge the medicine people’s efforts,” Sandy said.
The celebration of life will begin at 11 a.m. in the Elizabeth Grouse Gymnasium and will involve a meal.