Category Archives: featured

Homecoming King

Team Kumite Member Dominic Leader was recently crowned 2011 Norwin Homecoming King.

Only a handful of Western Pennsylvania athletes have claimed a sport karate world title.  Norwin junior Dominic Leader not only claimed his first world title, but he did so with an undefeated record. Leader won every match at every competition for the 2010 season, cumulating with a sweep of his division at the 2010 World Games in Sacramento, Calif., over the winter break. The games are the equivalent to the Super Bowl for martial arts, with more than 2,000 world-class athletes from across North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe battling for world titles. Leader has excelled over the past few seasons in a competitive division, but 2010 was the year he made history. The 165-pound weight class continuous sparring championship is a modified version of kickboxing that requires an extreme amount of endurance and physical toughness.

Leader defeated contenders from Canada, Mexico and U.S. leading up to his World Games bouts. In the semifinals, he faced the highly favored Juan Pablo Santiago of Guatemala, the reigning world champion. In 2009, Leader lost to Santiago in the finals. Four inches taller and visibly stronger, Leader overwhelmed his rival and unleashed an offensive attack to win by a unanimous decision and advance to the double-elimination finals.

During the finals, he faced Curtis Fresh of El Paso, Texas. After four rounds, Leader was named world champion and brought home Pittsburgh’s only world title in 2010. “I couldn’t have done it without my training partner and older brother, Billy,” the champion said. Billy Leader also earned a spot in the World Games finals, only to be hampered by injuries that have plagued him throughout the season. He was not medically cleared to finish the final fight and was awarded second place in the 143-pound weight class.

The Leader brothers are coached by Bill Viola, head instructor at Allegheny Shotokan Karate and Norwin Ninjas in North Huntingdon. Dominic Leader joins an exclusive list of NBL Karate World Champions from Pittsburgh that includes Ali Viola, Jose Rivera and Terrence Tubio. All of the former champions are teammates of Leader, making Team Kumite the only NBL World Champions in the region’s history.

Kumite Classic 2012

The Kumite Classic is bigger and better in 2012! Join us May 25-26th at The Monroeville Convention Center for Pittsburgh’s most established fitness expo.  The media has dubbed The FAST Expo as a “One stop shop for everything fitness.” The expo showcases the latest fitness products, exercise equipment, sports gear, clothing, nutritional supplements, health foods, and cutting edge cosmetic advancements.

The Fitness And Sports Tour campaign is dedicated to promoting healthy active lifestyles through a full scale interactive consumer expo. The event is Pittsburgh’s most established fitness expo, celebrating its 13th annual season attracting thousands of fitness enthusiasts and health conscious consumers from across the country. The multifaceted expo is surrounded by “non-stop action” playing host to simultaneous championships, competitions, and demonstrations in one expansive area for spectators to enjoy. The audience is one of the most diverse (demographic & geographic) in the fitness industry attracting fans from over 15 different sports. The prestigious Kumite Classic brand is synonymous with athletic excellence.

Health and wellness consultations are available with industry professionals and onsite evaluations are presented by doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and natural health experts. The FAST Expo collaborates with health professionals and educators on comprehensive and sustainable approaches to preventing and reducing serious health problems from both conventional medical and holistic approaches. The expo provides spectators the opportunity to participate in workouts, seminars, certification courses, competitions, and challenges.

The general public can meet & greet with celebrities, professional athletes, Olympic champions, and fitness icons. The expo highlights sports performance athletes, strength competitors, and fitness experts though a multitude of athletic skills competitions and world class sport championships.

City of Champions

-Pictured left to right:  Bill Viola Sr, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Frank Caliguri, Bill Viola Jr.

The Champions Association presented the 36th Annual Pittsburgh M.V.P. awards at the Willie Stargell Memorial Awards Banquet, Monday December 5th.  The distinguished ceremony honors industry leaders and professional athletes who are making a difference in the community.

North Huntington resident Bill Viola Sr. received the “Pittsburgh M.V.P.” award for his work as a Mixed Martial Arts pioneer.  Viola co-founded CV Productions in 1979, a company which is credited with creating a new sport, known today as mixed martial arts..   The award brought recognition to the city of Pittsburgh and the Western PA region celebrating the true birthplace of modern Mixed Martial Arts in the United States.  Most fight fans had believed that the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) established the first mixed martial arts competitions, however Viola and his partner Frank Caliguri actually developed the sport in 1979.  They promoted 10 competitions across Pennsylvania in 1980 until the State Legislature banned mixed martial arts with the passage of  SENATE BILL No. 632 Session 1983. The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum of the Heinz History Center in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute unveiled an exhibit on June 23rd 2011 to document Viola’s role in developing mixed martial arts in America.  Dr. Fred Adams of Penn State University is currently writing a new book the history of Mixed Martial Arts that will chronicle Viola and Caliguri’s creation.

Over the past thirty years, The Willie Stargell Banquet has attracted some of the countries most prolific figures including basketball legend Michael Jordan and  World Boxing Champion Muhammad Ali.  Viola was honored to be recognized with such an elite alumni.   Viola said, “Pittsburgh is known as the City of Champions and now they can have pride that the fastest growing sport in the World (MMA), was started here as well.”  Dr. Fred Adams of Penn State University is currently writing a new book the history of Mixed Martial Arts that will chronicle Viola and Caliguri’s creation.

Other distinguished guests and honorees at the 2011 banquet included Pittsburgh County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Judge Dwayne Woodruff just to name a few.  The event was co-sponsored by The Hillman Foundation and the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The banquet was hosted by Champion Enterprises founder Bill Neal, who has dedicated his life to community service.  Proceeds from the event support a Christmas Toy drive for underprivileged kids in Pittsburgh.

Light up the night

Allegheny Shotokan Karate and Norwin Ninjas participated in the Irwin / North Huntingdon annual Light Up Night, November 17, 2011  downtown Irwin.  Despite the bitter cold, the students had a great time.  Cameron Klos and Sara Russell lead the team as they marched through the parade.  We look forward to the 2012 Irwin Light Up Night.

 

A Spooktacular Day

Congrats for winning the karate competition and the costume contest! Sara Russell won 1st place in sparring and won the most “Spooktacular Costume” award.

The 2011 Spooktacular Martial Arts Championship was held October 22nd, in Millersburg, Ohio. The karate event was sanctioned by the National Black Belt League…showcasing competitors from across the East Coast, including Team Kumite who represents the Pittsburgh area.

Representing the Allegheny Shotokan Karate School and Team Kumite of North Huntingdon were Hope Chase (1st place 11-12 year old Jr. Black Belt) Bess Chase (1st place 9-10 year old Jr. Black Belt) Bridgit Chase (1st Place 13-14 year old Jr. Black Belt) Luke Lokay (1st place 8-9 year old novice) Nick Kosan (3rd place 12-13 year old advanced boys), Cameron Klos (2nd place 10-11 year old advanced boys), Sara Russell (1st place 10-11 year old girls), Gabriel Anthony (1st place 8-9 year old novice), Colton Wobrak 4th place six & under beginners), Liz Leaseburg (2nd Place 11-12 girls novice).

The Spooktacular was the last opportunity for competitors to gain a seed into the 2011 Sport Karate World Games. Norwin Senior, Dominic Leader, is the defending 2010 World Champion for the continuous contact and the only World Champion from Western Pennsylvania last year. Earning acceptance to compete and join Leader at the World Games are Bess, Hope, and Bridgit Chase.

The team will complete it’s season by attending the annual Laurel State Karate Championships held December 10th at the White Oak Athletic Association. The event, sanctioned by the Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association, is recognized as the oldest running karate championship in the Central Westmoreland area, showcasing the region’s top talent for over 30 years.

Mon Valley Champs

The 2011 Mon Valley Open Martial Arts Championships was held September 17th at the Joe Montana Gymnasium, Charleroi, PA. The karate event was sanctioned by the Professional Karate Commission and showcased competitors from the tri-state area.

Representing the Allegheny Shotokan Karate School of North Huntingdon were Nick Kosan (1st place 12-13 year old advanced boys), Cameron Klos (1st place 10-11 year old advanced boys), Sara Russell mobile casino (1st place 10-11 year old girls), Rachael Bartuska (1st place 12-13 advanced girls), Gabriel Anthony (1st place 8-9 year old advanced), Luke Lokay (2nd place 8-9 year old advanced), Liz Leaseburg (1st Place 11-12 girls novice). The team will travel to Millersburg, Ohio next month to compete in the National Black Belt League’s Spooktacular Marital Arts Championship. The NBL sponsors the Sport Karate World Games held in Sacramento California.