Category Archives: Team Kumite

World Champs

ali viola world champion

Pittsburgh was once again represented at the 23rd Sport Karate World Games aka the NBL National Black Belt League Super Grands by Allegheny Shotokan Karate and Team Kumite. Ali Viola claimed her 4th continuous sparring World Title and Championship in Buffalo New York over New Years. She defeated international competitors from Canada, Guatemala and Mexico in the finals. Team Captain Billy Leader defeated Andres Garcia of Guatemala (the reigning 6-time World Champion) in the Men‚Äôs Light Middleweight Continuous Sparring division en route to an appearance to the main stage for the finals. His brother Dominic also advanced to the finals to face Hugo Mendoza of Mexico. The team sent six black belts to the competition and all six placed top three in the World and earned NBL title belt. Coach Bill Viola was very proud of his team stating, ‚ÄúThis year our team had to face allot of adversity and injury. Ali had bad hamstring injury and Bill could hardly walk let alone fight, but they found a way to persevere. Each year they bring respect back to Pittsburgh. I am also impressed with our Rookies at the Super Grands. The Chase sisters all earned a belt in their first World Games.‚ÄĚ

Black Belt Roster @ the Super Grands:

Billy Leader

Ali Viola

Dominic Leader

Bridgit Chase

Hope Chase

Bess Chase

Also representing the team in the SKIL Sport Karate International Games were Liz Leaseburg and Cameron Klos who fought up in the NBL Continuous division with a 5-2 record against world class competition.

Inactive due to injury or sickness included:

Connor Burns: ACL

Joe Powell: Ribs

Raun Churchfield: Pneumonia

Ali Viola poses with her 2012 World Championship All-Star Gear Karate Gloves, and The Leader brothers Dominic and Billy pose with Ali after their big wins. Ali shows off the NBL 1st place belt and Coach Bill Viola Jr. Congratulates NBL Player of the Year Billy Leader

 

Its Spooktacular

kumite spooktacular

Team Kumite had a spooktacular time at Christine Fisher’s annual karate tournament in Millersburg, Ohio. We represented with 30 competitors and brought home big wins in almost every division. Matt Morrow started off the day winning the 6- boys sparring division with his first big win at an NBL tournament. All of the Norwin Ninjas showed courage and gave 100% in their first travel team event. Cameron Klos won 4 straight matches to win first place in his point fighting in a very competitive group. ¬†Gabe Anthony also dominated his division for a big first place win. The team did great in kata as well with Marie Mosa pulling in first place with her Bassai Dai. We are very proud of the heart and intensity that each and every team¬†member¬†showed in the¬†continuous¬†sparring divisions. ¬†Bess Chase and Sara Russell put on a great show as the final two standing in the younger girls¬†continuous¬†division while sisters Hope and Bridget took top honors in the older girls group. The Chase sisters brought home a ton of hardware earning some very important points towards The NBL Supergrands. Liz made her¬†first¬†appearance¬†in a black belt division and won her¬†first¬†match in a¬†slug fest¬† ¬†Highlights also included Sara Russell defending her “most spooktacular” costume ¬†(plus big¬†first¬†place win in sparring) and Rachel Bartuska winning funniest costume.

Thanks to all the parents who took time to support their kids at the competition.¬†The event is the final¬†tournament¬†of the year for the NBL National Black Belt League’s¬†Tecumseh¬†conference which included Bill Viola’s Kumite Classic in Pittsburgh and Connell Loveless’s North American Karate International NAIKC in Michigan. Next stop the Christmas Kumite on Dec. 16th in White Oak.

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/

Fall Brawl

Team Kumite traveled to the first Fall Brawl in Altonna, PA hosted by Steve Morrissey and the ¬†PMA Pennsylvania Martial Arts Alliance. Billy Leader was honored as the Grand Champion “Best of the Best” for sparring. ¬†He also took an¬†inadvertent elbow that gave him a bloody nose, but if you know anything about the Leaders… that only motivated him more! ¬†Also winning first place at the tournament were Liz Leaseburg, Gabriel Anthony, Cameron Klos, Ryan Frankovic, Marie Mosa. ¬†Second place winners Rachel, Gavin and Travis. ¬†Winning third place was Luke and Colten. ¬†In most cases, the team had to¬†eliminate¬†each other in the run offs, but everyone showed great sportsmanship. ¬†Next stop… the NBL Spooktacular Karate Championships in Millersburg, OH.

Hines Ward Show

Allegheny Shotokan Karate Black Belt and Team Kumite Member Connor Burns featured on the new Hines Ward Show! Filming takes place this Thursday.

WPXI PITTSBURGH ‚ÄĒ

Pittsburgh Steelers legend Hines Ward officially joined the WPXI-TV family on Friday.

This fall, Ward will host a weekly show on Saturday evenings.

‚ÄúPittsburgh has given me so much, so it‚Äôs great for me to come back once a week and be part of the show,‚ÄĚ said Ward.

The station will now be the home of two weekly shows hosted by future hall of famers.  The Jerome Bettis Show also airs on WPXI-TV.

On Friday, Ward met the WPXI-TV team and caught up with staff members whom he already knows.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm going to miss the competitive nature of football, but I‚Äôm excited about being a part of a new team.¬† You guys are my new teammates and my new family,‚ÄĚ said Ward.

The new show won’t just focus on football.¬† It will include other hot topics of the day.

‚ÄúGiven his broad appeal to a large audience, Hines has the chops to tackle topics that may be a bit non-traditional for an ex-athlete,‚ÄĚ said WPXI-TV General Manager Ray Carter.

The Super Bowl XL MVP is one of only eight NFL players to have 1,000 or more career receptions.  Ward played for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 14 seasons before retiring this year.

North American Internationals

sensei bill viola

Team Kumite traveled to Novi, MI (just outside Detroit) to compete in Connell Loveless”s North American¬†International¬†Championships, part of the NBL National Black Belt League¬†Tecumseh¬†Conference. ¬†Representing the team were: Coach Bill Viola

team kumite novi mi

  • Billy Leader: 1st place¬†continuous
  • Dominic Leader: ¬†1st place¬†continuous , 1st place point
  • Connor Burns: 2nd place point
  • Bri Chase: too many to list
  • Hope Chase: too many to list (on stage for The high school uses a cohort model in which a vice principal, a counselor, and two resource teachers follow the students from 6th to 8th grade, providing academic, emotional, and social continuity throughout out their years at King. Grand Champion)
  • Bess Chase:¬†1st place¬†continuous among others
  • Cameron Klos: 1st place point, 3rd kata
  • Sara Russell: 1st place point
  • Gabe Anthony: ¬†1st place point, 1st place weapons
  • Liz Leaseburg: ¬†2nd kata, 3rd point

Team Kumite collected some important points towards the NBL Supergrands. ¬†Next stop is Christine Fisher”s Spooktacular in Millersburg Ohio to finish out the conference.

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‚Äôs Horizon League Defensive Player of the Week for her stellar performance at Goal Keeper for Youngstown State girl‚Äôs 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 

Zoltan

Zoltan Pittsburgh

Team kumite shows off the zoltan sign @ Pirate Game #zoltan made famous by dude where’s my car now trending with Pittsburgh Pirates & team kumite

 

The Pirates believe in the power of Zoltan

July 3, 2012 10:44 pm
  • Chris Kasprak/Post-Gazette
    Andrea Bible, who works at South Side T-shirt store CommonWealth Press, makes the Zoltan “Z” sign with her fingers while wearing the company’s Zoltan shirt that is quickly becoming popular across the city.
  • Pirates catcher Rod Barajas flashes the team's new favorite victory sign after he hit a two-run walk off home run May 9 at PNC Park.
    Matt Freed/Post-Gazette
    Pirates catcher Rod Barajas flashes the team’s new favorite victory sign after he hit a two-run walk off home run May 9 at PNC Park.

Carole Kunkle-Miller was in the stands at PNC Park recently when she noticed something odd. Pirates players and fans were making strange hand gestures.

As a certified sports psychologist, she figured something significant was going on.

“I thought they were just being funny, and then I realized there was a meaning behind it,” said Ms. Kunkle-Miller, who has been practicing in Mt. Lebanon for 12 years.

It means the Pirates are winning and the players and their fans are having fun.

The hand signals form the letter “Z” for Zoltan, a character whose pending arrival is celebrated by a group of losers in the 2000 movie farce “Dude, Where’s My Car?”

It became prominent among the players in May after catcher Rod Barajas belted a game-winning home run against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park. As he rounded third, he found his teammates waiting for him at home plate, their fingers interlocked to form the letter “Z,” a trend that Neil Walker helped start earlier this season in Atlanta.

“We just started doing it, we’ve been raking ever since,” said starter A.J. Burnett. “That was my favorite part of the night, seeing 20 guys behind home plate doing that. It shows you what a group we have.

“It gives them a sense of shared goal and that positive message of winning. It unifies them,” said Ms. Kunkle-Miller. “I remember when the Pirates were in the World Series [in 1979], they would play ‘We Are Family’ to rally the fans and get everybody going. This is a variation on that.”

Like playoff beards and the Green Weenie and the Terrible Towel.

“Athletes in general like to be part of a team,” said Aimee Kimball, director of mental training at UPMC Sports Medicine on the South Side for almost eight years. “So something that they all have in common, like an inside joke, bonds them a little more. And the fans then take it to another level.”

As do the merchants.

Dan Rock, general manager at Common Wealth Press on the South Side, said he and his co-workers were quick to seize on the symbol and have been selling T-shirts depicting the “Z” for a couple of weeks. Since then, they’ve been seeing the shirts pop up on fans during Pirates games.

“We don’t try to find T-shirt opportunities, but they seem to happen quite a bit with our sports teams,” Mr. Rock said. “It’s pretty popular right now, even though they don’t have any words on them. Just the hands.

“That’s what a lot of our stuff is. If you’re not from Pittsburgh, you won’t get it. We get people who come in our shop all the time and say, ‘I don’t understand what these shirts mean.’ We’re definitely Pittsburghers making shirts for Pittsburghers.”

 

This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To subscribe: http://old.post-gazette.com/trypress/ Bill Brink contributed. Dan Majors: dmajors@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1456.
First Published July 3, 2012 4:43 pm