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Shihan Viola’s life story comes to Showtime network

“Toughs Guys” make television history on Showtime

showtime

 

When you think of MMA, most people think Dana White.  He has been the face of the UFC and mixed martial arts for years.  A new documentary reveals the true creators of MMA:  Pittsburgh martial artists Bill Viola Sr. and Frank Caliguri (1979-1983). Their company CV Productions was the first MMA promotion in America and established the first league in history.  They were ultimate fighters ahead of their time who invented the Tough Guy Contest.

Emotional day! In 2007 I set out to share the untold story of the “Tough Guys.” These are the men who created the sport of MMA while Dana White was still in elementary school and 13 years before the UFC existed. A decade later and my book (along with my cousin Fred) “Godfathers of MMA” is coming to life on SHOWTIME ? The same network that just set PPV records with Mayweather vs McGregor, will broadcast the real origins of MMA in America. Pittsburgh is the “City of Champions” and now can add “Birthplace of MMA” to its banners! It may have been the wrong place wrong time… but it was one hell of a ride. Congrats to my dad and Frank on being a part of American sports history!!!!!!! #toughguys #godfathersofmma #showtime -Sensei Bill Viola Jr.

tough-guys-showtime-mma

 

ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINATED MORGAN SPURLOCK JOINS ACADEMY AWARD® WINNER ROSS KAUFFMAN FOR THE MIXED MARTIAL ARTS DOCUMENTARY “TOUGH GUYS”

DOCU FILM ON THE ORIGINS OF THE MIXED MARTIAL ARTS COMPETITION PHENOMENON IS SET TO WORLD PREMIERE THURSDAY AT AFI DOCS IN WASHINGTON DC
June 12, 2017 – NEW YORK, NY Academy Award® nominated documentarian Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME) teams with fellow Oscar® winning filmmaker Ross Kauffman (BORN INTO BROTHELS) to bring TOUGH GUYS – the story of the origins of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting phenomenon – to the big screen. The film is executive produced by Kauffman and Spurlock together with Spurlock’s business partner Jeremy Chilnick.

TOUGH GUYS is directed by two award-winning filmmakers, Henry Roosevelt and W.B. Zullo and produced by the award winning commercial producer Craig DiBiase. This moving and insightful non-fiction cinematic film chronicles the origins of the MMA beginning in Pittsburgh, PA in the early 1980s. Back then, these fights were known as the “tough man,” or “tough guy,” or “battle of the brawlers,” or “battle of the superfighters” matches. These fighting bouts have now achieved multimillion-dollar fight status.

“When I was around 12 years old, my dad took me to my first “tough guy” competition in my hometown of Beckley, WV,” says Spurlock. “And I have to admit, it was one of the greatest things I’d ever seen. So when the opportunity came along for me help tell the story of its origin, I jumped at the chance. TOUGH GUYS is an unbelievable tale about the creation of this one of a kind, man against man, skill against skill, sport of the ages. Films like this are rare discoveries, and the characters behind them are even more incredible. If you like watching guys get punched in the face as much as I do, then you are going to love this movie!”

In 1979, Bill Viola and Frank Caliguri dreamed up a contest pitting barroom bigmouths against wrestlers, martial artists, boxers, bouncers and brawlers, billed as no-holds-barred new type of competitive fighting. When the fights succeeded beyond their wildest expectations, they were swept up in a chain of events that ended in the first mixed-martial arts ban in the nation.

Presented through the untold stories of scrappy brawlers and amateur promoters, TOUGH GUYS chronicles the inception of Caliguri and Viola’s first bouts and the colorful, crazy cast of fighters who made them a hit as well as the politicians who brought it all crashing down. The film brings to life a moment when the national martial arts craze was building to a crescendo as the economies of Pennsylvania steel towns were plummeting to levels of unemployment never seen before or since, breeding desperate men looking for chance to prove their worth and earn some money in the ring.

“Like my previous films, BORN INTO BROTHELS and E-TEAM, TOUGH GUYS is about underdogs striving to achieve the impossible,” states Kauffman. “In TOUGH GUYS, the
underdog is America’s working class who are searching for respect and ultimately a way to survive. When I got involved I didn’t know how timely the story would be.”

TOUGH GUYS made ts world premiere on June 15 at the AFI DOCS Film Festival in Washington, DC. It will make its network debut Sept. 15th 2017 on Showtime

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ABOUT TOUGH GUYS Told through the colorful stories of scrappy brawlers and amateur promoters, TOUGH GUYS brings to life the birth of mixed martial arts competitions in 1980’s Pittsburgh. The idea to legitimize street fighting by putting it in the ring, brought big money, crowds, copycat competitions and ultimately scrutiny and tighter control. The film is directed by Henry Roosevelt and W.B. Zullo and produced by award winning commercial producer Craig DiBiase. It is executive produced by Oscar winner Ross Kauffman together with Oscar nominated director Morgan Spurlock and his producing partner Jeremy Chlinick.
ABOUT MORGAN SPURLOCK Morgan Spurlock is an Oscar® nominated filmmaker and founder of Warrior Poets, a New York-based production studio. His first film, SUPER SIZE ME, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural WGA Best Documentary Screenplay award, as well as garner an Academy Award® nomination for Best Feature Documentary. Since then he has directed, produced, and distributed multiple film, television and online projects, including THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD; WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?; RATS; MANSOME; CNN’s INSIDE MAN; and more.
ABOUT ROSS KAUFFMAN Ross Kauffman is the Academy Award winning Director, Producer and Cinematographer of BORN INTO BROTHELS, winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary. He is Co-Director of E-TEAM, a documentary about the high-stakes investigative work of four human rights workers and winner of the 2014 Sundance Cinematography award. He served as Executive Producer on the documentary feature IN A DREAM, which was short-listed for the 2009 Academy Awards and as Consulting Producer on the Academy Award nominated film POSTERGIRL. Ross is a Founder and Creative Director of Fictionless.

Pittsburgh Karate Champs

norwin ninjas karate

Allegheny Shotokan named ‘top team’ at Pittsburgh Kumite Classic

 | SundayJuly 2, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

karate

The Allegheny Shotokan Karate School was honored as the “Top Team” at the 2017 Kumite Classic martial arts championships at the 18th annual Pittsburgh Fitness Expo on May 26-27 at Monroeville Convention Center.

The Kumite Classic is the region’s largest multisport convention, featuring more than 100,000 square feet of competitions and participation from around the world.

One hundred students from the Pittsburgh based school and their sister program “Norwin Ninjas” competed at the tournament. The school brought home more top honors than any other school in North America.

allegheny shotokan karate

The team qualified to compete in Las Vegas this week for the WAKO North American Championships, part of UFC International Fight Week at the MGM Grand.

The team is coached by Sensei Bill Viola Jr. and Shihan Bill Viola Sr.

For more information about Pittsburgh area karate classes visit www.Norwinninjas.com.

http://triblive.com/sports/otherlocal/12430969-74/allegheny-shotokan-named-top-team-at-kumite-classic

 

Tough Guys Movie

Shihan Viola’s life is the subject of the book “Godfathers of MMA” which has been adapted to major documentary set to air on network television later this year called Tough Guys.

tough-guys-mma-movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINATED MORGAN SPURLOCK JOINS ACADEMY AWARD® WINNER ROSS KAUFFMAN FOR THE MIXED MARTIAL ARTS DOCUMENTARY “TOUGH GUYS”

DOCU FILM ON THE ORIGINS OF THE MIXED MARTIAL ARTS COMPETITION PHENOMENON IS SET TO WORLD PREMIERE THURSDAY AT AFI DOCS IN WASHINGTON DC
June 12, 2017 – NEW YORK, NY Academy Award® nominated documentarian Morgan Spurlock (SUPER SIZE ME) teams with fellow Oscar® winning filmmaker Ross Kauffman (BORN INTO BROTHELS) to bring TOUGH GUYS – the story of the origins of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting phenomenon – to the big screen. The film is executive produced by Kauffman and Spurlock together with Spurlock’s business partner Jeremy Chilnick.

tough guys morgan sprulock
TOUGH GUYS is directed by two award-winning filmmakers, Henry Roosevelt and W.B. Zullo and produced by the award winning commercial producer Craig DiBiase. This moving and insightful non-fiction cinematic film chronicles the origins of the MMA beginning in Pittsburgh, PA in the early 1980s. Back then, these fights were known as the “tough man,” or “tough guy,” or “battle of the brawlers,” or “battle of the superfighters” matches. These fighting bouts have now achieved multimillion-dollar fight status.

“When I was around 12 years old, my dad took me to my first “tough guy” competition in my hometown of Beckley, WV,” says Spurlock. “And I have to admit, it was one of the greatest things I’d ever seen. So when the opportunity came along for me help tell the story of its origin, I jumped at the chance. TOUGH GUYS is an unbelievable tale about the creation of this one of a kind, man against man, skill against skill, sport of the ages. Films like this are rare discoveries, and the characters behind them are even more incredible. If you like watching guys get punched in the face as much as I do, then you are going to love this movie!”

In 1979, Bill Viola and Frank Caliguri dreamed up a contest pitting barroom bigmouths against wrestlers, martial artists, boxers, bouncers and brawlers, billed as no-holds-barred new type of competitive fighting. When the fights succeeded beyond their wildest expectations, they were swept up in a chain of events that ended in the first mixed-martial arts ban in the nation.

Presented through the untold stories of scrappy brawlers and amateur promoters, TOUGH GUYS chronicles the inception of Caliguri and Viola’s first bouts and the colorful, crazy cast of fighters who made them a hit as well as the politicians who brought it all crashing down. The film brings to life a moment when the national martial arts craze was building to a crescendo as the economies of Pennsylvania steel towns were plummeting to levels of unemployment never seen before or since, breeding desperate men looking for chance to prove their worth and earn some money in the ring.

“Like my previous films, BORN INTO BROTHELS and E-TEAM, TOUGH GUYS is about underdogs striving to achieve the impossible,” states Kauffman. “In TOUGH GUYS, the
underdog is America’s working class who are searching for respect and ultimately a way to survive. When I got involved I didn’t know how timely the story would be.”

TOUGH GUYS will have its world premiere on June 15 at the AFI DOCS Film Festival in Washington, DC.

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tough guys showtime
ABOUT TOUGH GUYS Told through the colorful stories of scrappy brawlers and amateur promoters, TOUGH GUYS brings to life the birth of mixed martial arts competitions in 1980’s Pittsburgh. The idea to legitimize street fighting by putting it in the ring, brought big money, crowds, copycat competitions and ultimately scrutiny and tighter control. The film is directed by Henry Roosevelt and W.B. Zullo and produced by award winning commercial producer Craig DiBiase. It is executive produced by Oscar winner Ross Kauffman together with Oscar nominated director Morgan Spurlock and his producing partner Jeremy Chlinick.
ABOUT MORGAN SPURLOCK Morgan Spurlock is an Oscar® nominated filmmaker and founder of Warrior Poets, a New York-based production studio. His first film, SUPER SIZE ME, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural WGA Best Documentary Screenplay award, as well as garner an Academy Award® nomination for Best Feature Documentary. Since then he has directed, produced, and distributed multiple film, television and online projects, including THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD; WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?; RATS; MANSOME; CNN’s INSIDE MAN; and more.
ABOUT ROSS KAUFFMAN Ross Kauffman is the Academy Award winning Director, Producer and Cinematographer of BORN INTO BROTHELS, winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Documentary. He is Co-Director of E-TEAM, a documentary about the high-stakes investigative work of four human rights workers and winner of the 2014 Sundance Cinematography award. He served as Executive Producer on the documentary feature IN A DREAM, which was short-listed for the 2009 Academy Awards and as Consulting Producer on the Academy Award nominated film POSTERGIRL. Ross is a Founder and Creative Director of Fictionless.

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown Bill Viola jr Bill Viola Sr

Pittsburgh Steeler Team MVP and Pro Bowl Super Star Antonio Brown with Sensei Bill Viola and Master Bill Viola at the Kumite Classic, Pittsburgh, PA.  Allegheny Shotokan Karate is a proud partner of the Kumite Classic.

antonio-brown-towell

2011 Pittsburgh Steeler Team MVP and Pro Bowl Super Star Antonio Brown with Sensei Bill Viola and Master Bill Viola at the 2012 Kumite Classic, Pittsburgh, PA.  Allegheny Shotokan Karate is a proud partner of the Kumite Classic.

Who is the father of MMA

toughguys mma book

Father of MMA mixed martial arts

Who’s Your Daddy?

Alexander Cartwright, James Naismith and Walter Camp all share a similar rite of passage, each has been honored as the “father” of their respective sports: Baseball, Basketball and Football.  For all intents and purposes history credits them with invention, although each sport evolved incrementally from some inspiration or another.  While there may be scholarly debate about who, what, when, where and how each sport actually was conceived, history proves that the masterminds behind the original “rules and regulations” determine the birth of a sport, and with it the recognition of its original author, aka “the father.”

The journey towards mainstream status for every sport has endured long and winding roads, but each trailblazer took that same very defining first step—RULES.  It’s the creation of rules that distinguishes a game from simply goofing off and sport from spectacle.  While rules have certainly changed over the past century, the essence of each major sport is steeped in tradition.  Basketball, football, and baseball can trace their roots back to a pioneer who drafted a blueprint in an effort to standardize competition.  Embodied by awards that bear their namesake, the legacy of Cartwright, Naismith, and Camp are intact, but who is the father of MMA?  Who penned the holy grail of MMA rules?

The default response isn’t an individual at all but rather, “The UFC of course.” The nonchalant reaction bundles Rorion Gracie, Art Davie, Campbell McLaren, Bob Meyrowitz, Dana White and a host of others into a single entity so you don’t have to pinpoint exactly when the NHB became MMA.  Some would argue that pioneers like Jeff Blatnik, Larry Hazzard, John McCarthy, and Howard Petchler, who all had a hand in influencing modern MMA rules, should be in the conversation.  Each deserves a placard in the Hall of Fame, but unfortunately those rules were not the originals. CV Productions owns the rights whether folks know it or not.

When my father [Bill Viola Sr.] first put pen to paper in 1979 he had a vivid dream.  As successful as mixed martial arts has become, to him, MMA is as brilliant today as it was supposed to be decades ago.  It’s come a long way since the Holiday Inn in New Kensington, but one thing remains the same; my father, Frank and the original “Tough Guys” and Super Fighters will always and forever be the undisputed Godfathers of an American sport.

bill-viola-jr-bill-viola-sr

Learn more about the real fathers of MMA here:

Courtesy of Pittsburgh MMA:  http://pittsburghmma.com/2015/02/the-real-father-of-mma/

Who really invented MMA mixed martial arts

 

father of mma

Black Belt Legacy

allegheny shotokan

Alleghey Shotokan is the oldest most established karate school in the area.  North Huntingdon School Continues Its Black Belt Legacy

Pictured Left to Right:
Front Row: Dave Zezza, Perry Culver, Ray Walters, Bill Viola Sr., Bill
Viola Jr. Ray Adams, Tim Meyer, Rocky Whatule
Second Row: Dave Crissman, Bill Holshue, George Yurechko, Joce Viola, Ali
Viola, Jacque Viola, Addie Viola, Dominic Leader, Dave Jones
Back Row: Mark Luctoch, Josh Dorazio, Arnold Mosa, Billy Leader, Connor
Burns, Charlie Slie

On December 16th 2013, Allegheny Shotokan Karate honored North

Huntingdon resident Dave Jones with the rank of Black Belt. Jones, who
began his martial arts training circa 1975, quickly made a name for himself
as a full contact fighter, honored and inducted in the Heinz History Museum
in 2011 as one of the first mixed martial arts fighters in American history.

Despite his success as a champion fighter, an extremely rare and chronic
blood disorder called Porphyria cutanea tarda (PCT) had kept him from
receiving his black belt for many years. His dedication and perseverance
was finally rewarded in front of his peers at the 2012 Laurel State Karate
Championships, held in White Oak, PA. The 37th annual martial arts event is
one of the oldest running marital arts tournaments in Pennsylvania area and
sanctioned by the Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association (PKRA). Jones
received a standing ovation during the ceremony.

Since 1969, The Allegheny Shotokan Karate School has produced some of
the most celebrated martial artists in the history of Pennsylvania;
recognized as the most successful national and international sport karate
school in the Pittsburgh region by the National Black Belt League. North
Huntingdon Martial Artist Sensei Bill Viola Sr. founded the organization
nearly forty five years ago and since taught tens of thousands students over
his career.

Viola explains, “Even though so many students have trained with me over
the years, its only an elite group that earn the rank of black belt from
Allegheny Shotokan. I believe in quality over quantity, when it comes to
wearing that particular belt. In the case of Dave Jones, he has been with
the school for over 30 years, and fought through adversity. He deserves it.”

Allegheny Shotokan Karate black belts represent over 6 decades of
martial arts excellence in the North Huntingdon area.

viola karate

Pictured left to right: Jacque Viola, Ali Viola, Bill Viola Sr., Bill Viola Jr., Addie Viola @ the Christmas Kumite (Pittsburgh Sport Karate)

Hines Ward Show

hines ward team kumite

Allegheny Shotokan and Team Kumite represent Pittsburgh Karate on the Hines Ward Show. WPXI host Alby Oxenreiter, Brett Keisel and Hines were on hand for the program that features Positive Athletes in Pittsburgh.  Connor Burns, Dominic Leader, and Coach Bill Viola all represented sport karate and martial arts.  Hines was able to learn some karate on air, and warned the Baltimore Ravens to watch out!

Hines Ward demonstrates his best front snap kick and kiai!

pittsburgh karate

Here’s a clip from behind the scenes on the Hines Ward show on youtube:

 

The demonstration included Hines learning to block a roundhouse kick and counter with a reverse punch. Connor Burns was interviewed by Hines for his community service and taking time out to mentor younger kids. He emphasized self-discipline and the confidence that karate instills. Team Kumite sported the custom kumite classic black & yellow all star gear gloves. Yeah, Champions bleed black & gold! The team is based in North Huntington Irwin, PA. Dominic Leader was the first recipient of the Western PA Positive Athlete award for martial arts last year and continues the tradition of team kumite with the program!

From dancing with the stars, football and even karate, Hines ward is a true sport and great role model! Visit his website http://www.positiveathlete.org/

Ali Viola D-1 Star

ali viola soccer kick

Ali Viola has made a successful crossover from Sport karate into D-1 Athletics as the Goal Keeper for the Youngstown State University Girls Soccer Team.  As an NBL World Karate Champion she has made a name for herself as one of the toughest and dominant continuous sparring competitors in the country.  That tenacity helped her to earn a major college sports honor this week.

ali viola soccer saveThe 2010 Norwin High School Graduate was named NCAA’s Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week for her stellar performance at Goal Keeper for Youngstown State girl’s soccer team. The accomplishment marks only the fourth time YSU has been honored since joining the league 2001. At 4-0-0, the Youngstown State Lady Penguins are off to the best start in casino online the program”s history. Viola did not allow a goal in 180 minutes of play, collecting her second and third shutouts of the year. Against Buffalo, Viola was instrumental in the Penguin win, making nine saves in the game, the second-highest single-game total in the Horizon League this year. With twackwear back-to-back shutouts last week, the junior goalkeeper has moved into third on the YSU career shutouts. She also is tied for second on the single-season chart with three, and hopes to break that record this year. In 2011 Viola turned in the best single-season goals-against average in school history, collecting 60 saves while posting a 1.34 GAA and a save percentage of .779 last season. As a scholar athlete, Viola has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her college career, with plans to attend Law School.

Although her soccer schedule has kept her away from most of the major sport karate events in 2012, she was able to attend the 2012 Can-Am Survivor tournament in Jessup Georgia. She proved she hasn”t missed a beat, winning 1st place in both Woman”s Continuous and Woman”s point fighting at the National event. Ali is a kumite classic champion and  a member of the Pittsburgh based Team Kumite and The Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club.

The Penguins will host Niagara on Sunday, Sept. 9. The Horizon League Network will have live coverage of the match, beginning at 4 p.m. ET

For more information visit www.alleghenyshotokan.com or www.kumiteclassic.com 

Royce Gracie

Royce Gracie Bill Viola Kumite Classic

UFC Legend Royce Gracie with Allegheny Shotokan Sensei Bill Viola Jr. @ the 2012 Kumite Classic at the Pittsburgh Monroeville Convention Center.

UFC Legend Royce Gracie with Rare Book school-delays.com Director Michael F. Allegheny Shotokan Sensei Bill Viola Jr. @ the 2012 Kumite Classic at the Pittsburgh Monroeville Convention Center.