Author Archives: Bill Viola

Viola Legacy

Ali Viola world champion

A Pittsburgh Legacy “Building Champions in Life”

Pittsburgh, PA — January 5th, 2015

Winning World Titles is nothing new for the Viola family, especially for Duquesne University law student Ali Viola.  Over the course of the past decade, she has become a 7x National Black Belt League (NBL) World Champion with international honors that have made her the most successful female karate fighter in Pittsburgh history. She has followed in the footsteps of her martial arts pioneer father and International Champion brother, Bill Viola Sr. and Jr.  Although she doesn’t have anything further to prove on the mat and wasn’t planning on competing in 2014 due to college commitments, it was a very special season for the family.

Photo Courtesy of Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The 2014 World Games marked a ceremonial passing of the torch, a karate tradition that has been a rooted in Pittsburgh for fifty years.  Ali Viola competed alongside her 4-year-old niece, Gabby Viola, the youngest competitor at the World Games and the next generation of Violas to represent Pittsburgh.

The 25th Annual Sport Karate World Games known internationally as the “Super Grands” was held 26th-31st in Buffalo, New York. The tournament is sanctioned by the National Black Belt League (NBL) and Sport Karate International (SKIL) which are responsible for the largest sport karate ranking system and league for black belts in the world. The competition is the equivalent of the Super Bowl for martial arts with over thousands of world class competitors representing North America, South America, Asia and Europe each year at the Games. The competitors must compete at a series of regional and national events to earn a seed and qualify for the competition, a process similar to NCAA tournaments that is required to secure an invitation.

Gabby’s Aunt [Ali] added two World Titles to her resume, one for Women’s Middle Weight sparring (defeating a contender from France in the semi-finals and then the number #1 ranked fighter from California, Ashlee Grant, in the finals); the second victory was a team title that included teammates Willie Hicks (Texas) and Luis Jimenez (Mexico).  Jimenez, a friend of Ali’s coach and brother Bill, also entered his son Joey Jimenez (the second youngest competitor at the World Games).

Gabby and Joey formed a unique bond that extended beyond the ring as they learned about family, respect and tradition.  Although neither Gabby nor Joey won the overall division (Gabby 4th and Joey 6th) they learned something much more valuable—the importance of carrying on a legacy!  Each walked away with an Amateur International Title and took the first step towards creating their place in martial arts history.

As Viola Sr. says, “Titles come and go, but a legacy is forever.”  The school’s motto is “Building Champions in Life.”  He prides his students on being community leaders and exceling in the education.  Ali Viola is a first year law student at Duquesne University and former Division-1 soccer star at Youngstown State.  She currently works at Eckert Seamans Law Firm and is an assistant coach for “Team Kumite” the all-star travel team founded by her brother.  She avidly supports the Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League and also trains boxing at the Third Avenue Gym downtown Pittsburgh in her free time.

Gabby Viola is currently a yellow belt in the Norwin Ninjas program at Allegheny Shotokan Karate and is coached by her father (Bill Jr.) and instructed by her Aunt (Ali) and Grandfather (Bill Sr.) aka “Papa Sensei.”  For the past fifty years, the Viola name has been synonymous with martial arts excellence and Gabby is next in line to carry the tradition.  More importantly, she is learning how to build character through martial arts.  Viola Jr. adds, “Respect, discipline and focus are the cornerstones of karate and those traits will help you throughout your schooling, your job, and life.”

For generations, the Viola family has put Pittsburgh on the map in the world of martial arts.  Bill Viola Sr., the family patriarch, has been a pioneer of karate since the 1960s and is credited as the co-creator of the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) in 1979, a decade before the UFC was a household name. In 2011 The Western PA Sports Museum and Heinz History Center honored him with an exhibit documenting Pittsburgh as the birthplace of modern MMA. In all, Viola Sr. has five children [Bill Jr., Addie, Jacque, Ali, and Joce], all of whom have earned black belts and excelled in international competition.


Bill Viola Jr. has created the Mecca for martial arts in Pittsburgh, promoting the region’s largest and most prestigious competition known worldwide as the “Kumite Classic.” He’s an accomplished martial arts author and movie producer whose credits that include Tapped (2014) starring UFC Champions Lyoto Machida and Anderson “Spider” Silva.

About Allegheny Shotokan:  Bill Viola Sr. established Allegheny Shotokan Karate in 1969, and has since produced more World Champions than any other school in the Pittsburgh region.  The school has been representing Pennsylvania and the United States at the World Games dating back to the establishment of the league.  www.alleghenyshotokan.com

Other students from Allegheny Shotokan and Team Kumite who represented at the World Games were:

  • Sara Russell
  • Cameron Klos
  • Nick Kosan
  • Hope Chase
  • Bess Chase
  • Brigid Chase
  • Luke Lokay
  • Brady Johnson
  • Austin Hladek

Voted Best Karate School

irwin pa karate

Allegheny Shotokan Karate voted best martial arts school in the Westmoreland Country area by Trib Total Media.

Pittsburgh based Allegheny Shotokan Karate was voted the best martial arts school in the region by Trib Total Media! We thank all the friends and families that make our dojo special.

Allegheny Shotokan Karate: A Pittsburgh Family Martial Arts Tradition

Martial Arts are great way to build self-confidence and boost self-esteem in children. Every mom and dad wants to instill respect, discipline and focus in their kids, but with so many options available today it can be difficult to find the right program. Parents across the region have been raving about the Irwin based Norwin Ninjas, winner of the Trib Total Media Readers’ Choice Gold Award. As Western Pennsylvania’s premier youth marital arts course, the programs are structured to develop positive “character” traits that reinforce strong family values. The award winning classes have been honored for their creativity and unique curriculum developed by certified teachers and educators. Gary Klos of North Huntingdon has a son in the school and tells us, “Every class is exciting, and the workouts challenge the kids mentally and physically. I’ve been around a lot of other martial arts and this is simply the best program for my son. He loves it.”

The energetic group of students is led by the Viola family; three generations karate champions. Master Bill Viola Sr. has over fifty years’ experience in the martial arts and has enlisted his black belt family; son Bill Jr, and daughters Addie, Jacque, Ali and Joce to help run the school. Over the past 6 decades Viola Sr. has taught thousands of students, making him the authority on karate in the Norwin area. In 1969 he founded Allegheny Shotokan Karate, the first martial arts school in the area. Viola Sr., a retired school teacher, has used his education background and years of hands-on experience to help devise a program that not only teaches self-defense and Shotokan karate, but more importantly building character in young people.

The Norwin Ninjas emphasize a child’s “SELF” image and uses goal oriented objectives to encourage them. Every student sets goals and works towards reaching them. Sensei Bill Viola Jr. says, “We strive to build positive role models, and as our students advance, they are taught to set an example. To us, it’s all about building future leaders. The mental focus and determination they learn in karate will carry over to school, family and life. It starts a young age and I have seen so many kids improve their grades, behavior, and coordination after joining the class. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids who have graduated from our programs.” In fact Connor Burns and Liz Leaseburg were honored by former Steeler Hines Ward as male and female “Positive Athletes of the Year” for martial arts. Viola continues, “Kids like Connor and Liz are making a difference in the community. They epitomize the motto, ‘Building Champions in Life.’”

Michael Russell of North Huntingdon has a daughter in the teenage class. He says, “I love that it is a family run school. All the instructors are exceptional and they make you earn everything! This is not a chain; you will progress at your own pace. They have really brought out the best in Sara.” Sara recently competed at the National Black Belt League World Games representing the United States and won a World Title. Eight years ago she began as a Norwin Ninja, and now after years of dedication has become yet another role model for the next generation of Norwin Ninjas. Sensei Viola ads, “We teach all our Ninjas that to in order to achieve, you have to embrace the three ‘D’s’ Desire, Determination, and Dedication.”

New students are now being accepted for Monday and Wednesday classes at our Irwin and North Huntingdon locations. If you would like to reserve a spot for a free lesson at no obligation, call Sensei Bill Viola at 724-864-3495.

www.alleghenyshotokan.com

irwin pa karate

 

 

Pittsburgh Fitness Expo

pittsburgh fitness expo

Pittsburgh Fitness Expo

2014 Pittsburgh Fitness Expo is coming up May 23-24th at the Monroeville Convention Center.  It is the region’s most prestigious martial arts and karate championships, tournament and competition in the Pittsburgh region.  Allegheny Shotokan Karate will be in the house representing under the Team Kumite banner!  Good luck all team members.  www.kumiteclassic.com

Family Tradition Norwin Ninjas

Norwin Ninjas:  A Family Martial Arts Tradition in the Irwin, North Huntingdon, Pittsburgh area…

Martial Arts are great way to build self-confidence and boost self-esteem in children. Every mom and dad wants to instill respect, discipline and focus in their kids, but with so many options available today it can be difficult to find the right program.  Parents across the region have been raving about the Irwin based Norwin Ninjas, winner of the Trib Total Media Readers’ Choice Gold Award.  As Western Pennsylvania’s premier youth marital arts course, the programs are structured to develop positive “character” traits that reinforce strong family values.  The award winning classes have been honored for their creativity and unique curriculum developed by certified teachers and educators. Gary Klos of North Huntingdon has a son in the school and tells us, “Every class is exciting, and the workouts challenge the kids mentally and physically. I’ve been around a lot of other martial arts and this is simply the best program for my son.  He loves it.”

The energetic group of students is led by the Viola family; three generations karate champions.  Master Bill Viola Sr. has over fifty years’ experience in the martial arts and has enlisted his black belt family; son Bill Jr, and daughters Addie, Jacque, Ali and Joce to help run the school.  Over the past 6 decades Viola Sr. has taught thousands of students, making him the authority on karate in the Norwin area.  In 1969 he founded Allegheny  Shotokan Karate, the first martial arts school in the area.  Viola Sr., a retired school teacher, has used his education background and years of hands-on experience to help devise a program that not only teaches self-defense and Shotokan karate, but more importantly building character in young people.

The Norwin Ninjas emphasize a child’s “SELF” image and uses goal oriented objectives to encourage them. Every student sets goals and works towards reaching them.  Sensei Bill Viola Jr. says, “We strive to build positive role models, and as our students advance, they are taught to set an example.  To us, it’s all about building online casino future leaders. The mental focus and determination they learn in karate will carry over to school, family and life. It starts a young age and I have seen so many kids improve their grades, behavior, and coordination after joining the class.  I couldn’t be prouder of the kids who have graduated from our programs.” In fact Connor Burns and Liz Leaseburg were honored by former Steeler Hines Ward as male and female “Positive Athletes of the Year” for martial arts. Viola continues, “Kids like Connor and Liz are making a difference in the community.  They epitomize the motto, ‘Building Champions in Life.’”

Michael Russell of North Huntingdon has a daughter in the teenage class.  He says, “I love that it is a family run school. All the instructors are exceptional and they make you earn everything! This is not a chain; you will progress at your own pace.  They have really brought out the best in Sara.” Sara recently competed at the National Black Belt League World Games representing the United States and won a World Title.  Eight years ago she began as a Norwin Ninja, and now after years of dedication has become yet another role model for the next generation of Norwin Ninjas.  Sensei Viola ads, “We teach all our Ninjas that to in order to  achieve, you have to embrace the three ‘D’s’ Desire, Determination, and Dedication.”

New students are now being accepted for Monday and Wednesday classes.  If you would like to reserve a spot for a free lesson at no obligation, call 724-864-3495. www.norwinninjas.com

 

 

NAIKC Karate

Connell Loveless presented the North American International Karate Championships NAIKC NBL Karate tournament this past weekend and Allegheny Shotokan and Team Kumite had a big time showing. The crew swept the continuous sparring divisions with Ali Viola, Billy Leader, Bess and Hope Chase winning big. Also the Jr. Girls team continued their undefeated streak with another first place win (Sara, Hope, Bridget) Great job by Cameron and Ryan in the black belt point sparring divisions. Cam did an awesome gojushiho sho kata.  Ryan showed alot best online casino of heart!  Bess also dominated the sparring competition. Liz took top honors in her advanced sparring division as did Sara and Ali. Ali advanced to the Grand Championship round vs Morgan Plowden.

Meanwhile at Mickey Forte”s BCAC Mon Valley Tournament (PKRA rated) the rest of team represented well under the direction of Sensei Arnold and Sensei Dave. Great weekend for team Kumite!!!

detroit

 

Survivor Karate

corky sikes survivor

Team Kumite represent Pittsburgh Sport karate with major national wins both Men’s Team Sparring Title and Junior Girls Sparring Titles at the 2013 Can-Am National Survivor Karate Tournament in Jessup, GA.  The event was hosted by Corky Sikes and World Class Karate.  Team Kumite now has the #1 national seed for team fighting for the Super Grands.

Billy Leader, Dominic Leader and anchor Cass Sigmon beat Team Velocity from Florida and Team ATL in the finals.  Great job guys.

Sara Russell, Hope Chase, and Bridget Chase also took top honors.

Congrats to Liz on winning her first National 1st place and Cameron for taking home top honors in Continuous sparring.  Ali Viola also captured the #1 national seed for female  sparring going undefeated in continuous sparring in 2013.

ASG all star gear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gabby Viola sports her new ASG All Star Gear gloves with Aunt Ali

Summer Smash Karate

summer smash karate

Team Kumite was proud to support the White Viper Summer Smash Karate Tournament in Pittsburgh.  The Chase sisters: Bridget Chase, Hope Chase, and Bess Chase are members of the school and team working hard towards winning an NBL Super Grands World Title.  Congrats to Billy Leader for winning the Summer Smash overall kata grand championships, Dominic Leader for winning the adult black belt sparring grand championship, and Rachael Bartuska for winning the advanced youth Grand Championship.  A great event and showing by the entire team and Allegheny Shotokan!

Peter Chase,Billy Leader and Bill Viola… Sensei Viola and Rachel Bartuska