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Hines Ward Honors Allegheny Shotokan

bill viola hines ward dom leader

Hines Ward recently honored Pittsburgh Karate and Martial Arts Champion Dominic Leader. The Allegheny Shotokan Karate Black Belt was joined by Sensei Bill Viola who was inducted into the Heinz History Center Western PA Sports Museum last year with an exhibit honoring him as a pioneer of martial arts in Pittsburgh.

The Heinz History Center hosted this years inaugural Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete Awards on Saturday, April 21st. Student Athletes representing 26 different boys and girls high school sports were honored by Positive Athlete spokesperson, and former Pittsburgh Steeler star wide receiver Hines Ward, as well as Jeff Kartsens from the Pittsburgh Pirates..

Over 170 nominations from coaches, principals, athletic directors, teachers and parents were submitted, representing 75 different Western Pennsylvania high schools from as far away as Erie, PA. In addition to excellence on the field, each nominated Positive Athlete was required to show characteristics such as an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time, and realizing the team as more important than the individual.

“Being a Positive Athlete symbolizes something,” said Ward. “I wasn’t even the most talented guy on my football team – there were a lot of guys who had more talent. But I think what separated us was their negative attitude. I think that’s what the Positive Athlete Voting Academy saw in these 26 high school athletes as well”.

The event was emceed by KDKA sports anchor Bob Pompeani, with assistance from MSA Sports broadcaster’s Lanny Frattare and Don Rebel. In addition to an award certificate signed by Mr. Ward, award winners received an autographed Positive Athlete Dedication t-shirt and they will be guests of the Pittsburgh Pirates during a home game on May 9th where they will be brought onto the field to watch batting practice and meet players.

Allegheny Shotokan Karate Irwin North Huntingdon Pittsburgh, PA

Hines Ward Honor

Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward honors Allegheny Shotokan Black Belt and Team Kumite member Dominic Leader with the “Positive Athlete” award. 

Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward has selected an elite group of high school athletes to receive the inaugural “Positive Athlete Awards.” The honor is bestowed upon the 26 positive High School Athletes in sports played throughout Western Pennsylvania.  Winning the first ever Martial Arts (Sport Karate) award is Dominic Leader of Norwin High School, a member of the Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club and Team Kumite in Irwin, PA. Leader was nominated by his Coach, Bill Viola (Coach of Team Kumite & Promoter of The Kumite Classic, Pittsburgh)

The Positive Athlete, in partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, KDKA-TV, and MSA Sports established the first annual Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete Award. The student athletes were chosen based the characteristic requirements of “Positive Athlete,” that included an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time, and realizing the team is more important than the individual.

Leader, a Senior at Norwin High School, is not only a scholar athlete but a genuine positive role model for today”s youth.  He is a member of the National Honor Society ranked among the top 10 of his class, recently honored for representing that top 5% of the school. He is a well rounded casino online student elected 2011 Home Coming King and Sr. Class Officer serving as Secretary. Dominic helps organize the school”s annual blood drive and is a big supporter of the Walk for Juvenile Diabetes (a disease that affects one of his close friends). He also supports the Walk for Grace and other charitable fundraisers in the area. As an active member of the Interact Club, he joins a group of dedicated students who perform volunteer work in the Norwin area. Dominic mentors youth in Westmoreland and Allegheny County though the art of Karate. He has been a Student at Allegheny Shotokan Karate for 15 years, joining the club when he was just 3 years old. He is dedicated to making a difference in kids by donating all of his free time to working, training and coaching younger students. He travels with the across the country as an assistant coach for Team Kumite, an all-star karate team based in Pittsburgh.

As an athlete, Dominic has won numerous state, national and international titles.  Most recently he represented the United States and Pennsylvania at the NBL Super Grands World Games. After an undefeated season in 2010, Leader joined a short list of athletes to ever earn a World Title from Western PA. Dominic is a rare student who excels at the top levels of academics and athletics. Dominic will take his talents to the University of Pittsburgh this fall.

 

SEVEN DEINITIONS OF A POSITIVE ATHLETE:

1.Optimistic Attitude – Most coaches will tell you that an athlete who believes positive things will happen has a greater chance for success.

2.Encouraging Teammate – In every sport, teammates are going to experience some kind of failure. Positive Athletes are the first ones to encourage them.

3.Servant Leader – Positive Athletes do not think about being the “stars of the team.” They lead through serving others first and by setting an example.

4.Heart for Others – Many athletes are blessed with gifts that many others are not. The Positive Athlete seeks to help the less gifted or fortunate.

5.Admits Imperfections – This is Positive Athlete…not Perfect Athlete. Athletes willing to admit they make mistakes gain the respect of teammates and fans.

6.Always Gives 100% – Not every athletic competition goes as planned, but a Positive Athlete always gives 100% no matter what the scoreboard says.

7.Puts Team First – There are times when personal achievement may hurt the team’s goal. Positive Athletes choose their team.

Hines Ward Positive Athlete 2012


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.

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.

Viola MMA Innovator

By John Santa,
Monday, July 4, 2011

Bill Viola still can remember the meal like it was yesterday.

For the former East Allegheny science teacher, who in 1979 was promoting local karate and kick boxing events with partner Frank Caliguri, it was a meeting that changed his life.

“One day we were meeting at Denny`s,” Viola recalled. “I said, ‘What do you think, Frank?` He said, ‘You know, I hear the same story, I know someone that could beat this guy up, or who`s the toughest (fighter). What happens if Muhammad Ali would fight Bruce Lee? What happens if Bruno Sammartino … got in the mix? Who would win?`”

From those questions, the pair got an idea to supplement their kick boxing and karate events with a new sport.

“We decided, ‘Hey, why don`t we do something totally bizarre?`” Viola said. “‘Why don`t we throw all these people in the ring and see what`s going to happen?`”

The result became Viola and Caliguri`s “Tough Guy Championships,” which pitted various styles of fighters against each other and spawned the first organized Mixed Martial Arts league.

Now, 32 years later, MMA has become one of the most popular sports worldwide.

Last week, Viola and Caliguri were enshrined at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Senator John Heinz History Center as part of a new exhibit celebrating the local roots of MMA.

“It`s kind of a big honor to be down there right next to Franco Harris, and you go a little bit further, then there`s Danny Marino,” said Viola, a North Huntingdon Township native. “It`s unbelievable.”

Viola first began working to promote kick boxing and karate events in the early 1970s by starting CV Productions with Caliguri.

“In those particular days there was no Internet, there was no texting, there was very little communications,” Viola said. “The way that we would get the word out for a show is, you could advertise in the paper or you could get television or radio.”

The rivalry between different types of fighters helped create the buzz that has made MMA so popular.

“For a kick boxing show we would get maybe 100 phone calls of people asking questions,” Viola said. “You`d get 1,500 people at the gate, which was really nice for those days. We must have had in the first week of (MMA) 1,500 phone calls.”

“I can remember they were from Yonkers, N.Y.,” he added. “They were from Michigan, Florida. The word got out and it just went totally out of control. We had to actually hire secretaries. (Before that) we were nothing. We were just mom-and-pop karate schools.”

The first MMA event that Viola produced took place in New Kensington in March of 1980. That event led to the Tough Guy Championships held at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh later that year.

“The first three shows we sold out all three nights,” Viola said. “You could not get in the place. The electricity was unbelievable. No one knew what to expect.”

From there, Viola and Caliguri had plans to hold events all over the country, culminating with a national championship prize fight to be held in Las Vegas in 1981.

“We thought it was crazy at the beginning,” Viola said. “Now, amplify that by 10.”Â

Those bouts never took place because MMA became banned in Pennsylvania in 1981 when a fighter died during a fight not affiliated with CV Productions.

Although Viola`s tenure promoting MMA events ended prematurely, it still left a lasting impression on the local sports scene.

“The Sports Museum has brought to light the central role that Pittsburgh has played in the sports of boxing and wrestling, focusing on such greats as Bruno Sammartino and Kurt Angle,” Anne Madarasz, co-director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, said. “This exhibit adds a new chapter as we trace the roots of mixed martial arts in the United States back to the Pittsburgh region.”

For Viola, to be associated with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum is a true honor.

“That was our project, our child,” Viola said. “We were the brainchilds of this. We were the Barnum & Bailey promoters of this event. We went completely out of the envelope when no one believed it could happen.”

Read more: Viola honored as Mixed Martial Arts innovator – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/dailynewsmckeesport/sports/s_745188.html#ixzz1hB8tFj5N

Bill Viola MMA Pioneer

Godfather of MMA godfathermma.com

Leader Wins World Title

Leader Wins World Title
January 13, 2011

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.  

Viola Wins Willie Stargell Award

Karate coach Bill Viola recognized by peers

January 6, 2011

Trib Live

The Champions Association, in conjunction with Highmark, presented the 35th annual Willie Stargell Memorial Banquet and Pittsburgh MVP awards on Dec. 16.

The annual ceremony honors business leaders and professional athletes who are making a difference in the community, and this year, North Huntingdon resident Bill Viola received the Pittsburgh MVP honor for his work in the fitness and martial arts industry.

Viola is a promoter and entertainment entrepreneur credited with producing the Kumite Classic.

He is recognized as national and international martial arts champion competitor and coach.

He has been noted as the most successful sport karate athlete in Pennsylvania State Karate Rating Association history and was honored by Arnold Schwarzenegger as a World Champion in 1998.

As the founder and president of Kumite Classic Entertainment Corp., Viola works alongside sports celebrities, professional athletes andOlympic champions across North America.

His professional success is in direct correlation with his personal passion, martial arts.

Viola has been recognized as a USA Karate All-American athlete, and he online casino was inducted into the National Black Belt League Hall of Fame.

Viola’s most recent project, Norwin Ninjas, has been receiving widespread acclaim.

Norwin Ninjas is a specialized program in the North Huntingdon area developed for children ages 4- to 7-years old to help instill respect in discipline.

Norwinninjas.com is quickly becoming a popular website among parents looking to teach their children the importance of setting goals and staying in shape. Viola was commended by the association for his work with youths.

Other distinguished honorees at the banquet included Pittsburgh Steelers’ legend Franco Harris, WTAE Reporter Sheldon Ingram, Pitt legend Sam Clancy, Super Bowl champion Darnell Dinkins and former Steeler and District Justice Dwayne Woodruff just to name a few.

Pictured is Bill Viola & Franco Harris @ the 2011 Kumite Classic