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.
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.
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.
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 will have its world premiere on June 15 at the AFI DOCS Film Festival in Washington, DC.
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.
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.
Gabby Viola sports her new ASG All Star Gear gloves with Aunt Ali
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
Congrats to Team Kumite and Allegheny Shotokan Karate Black Belt Connor Burns on earning his Eagle Scout award! We are proud of all our well rounded students. Connor is currently an assistant instructor in the Norwin Ninjas karate class.
Team Kumite brings home major hardware after the 2013 SMAC Internationals NBL Sport Karate Championships. Great way to kick off the Can-Am season. Highlights included main stage Finals victories by Luke Lokay and Hope Chase. Gavin represented the team in the Novice Grand Championship for kata. Sara Russell won four 1st places including two black belt divisions. Cameron Klos won 1st place in a division of 33, that was split with his Gojushiho sho. All the norwin ninjas got valuable experience, thanks to Sensei Dave for coaching. The Jr. Team Girls: Sara Russell, Hope Chase, and Bri Chase dominate winning 1st place after taking a 19-1 point lead over Rhinebeck from New York. Rachel made her debut in Continuous sparring and took home second place honors, while Bess and Marie had a great battle for top honors. Liz rounded out the field of some tough girls in that division.
Billy Leader won 1st place in men”s point over Shane Baker nbso and also the Middle Weight Grand Championship on stage winning 10-0 over his opponent. That win earned him a spot to face one of the World”s best… Trevor Nash for the Overall Grand and $1000 prize. Billy put on a great show scoring the first point and keeping it close (2-4 Nash with 28 seconds to go). Bill showed allot of courage in the “David vs Goliath” match up, lol. In the end, Trevor proved why he is one of the best in NBL history taking the title home to Canada, but we were all proud of Billy”s performance.
Billy Leader vs Trevor Nash 2013 SMAC Internationals