Tag Archives: irwin

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)

NBL Player of The Year

Pittsburgh Martial Artist Billy Leader named NBL Diamond Award Winner for Sport Karate “Player of the Year”

The 23rd Sport Karate World Games known internationally as the “Super Grands” was held 26th-31st in Buffalo New York. The tournament is sanctioned by the National Black Belt League (NBL) and Sport Karate International (SKIL) which are responsible for the largest sport karate ranking system and league for black belts in the world. The competition is the equivalent of the Super Bowl for martial arts with over 2000 world class competitors representing North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe each year at the Games. The competitor must compete at a series of regional and national events to earn a seed and qualify for the competition, a process similar to NCAA tournaments that is required to secure an invitation.

NBL Karate logo
At the closing ceremonies of the World Games, the NBL Executive Office votes on a series of Hall of Fame categories that represent the entire league. For the first time in Pittsburgh history, a local resident was honored with the NBL Diamond Award “Player of the Year.” 21-year-old Billy Leader of North Huntingdon Township was inducted into the NBL Hall of Fame on December 31st 2012 and honored with this prestigious title. Leader’s coach Sensei Bill Viola Jr explains, “It is similar to a league MVP type honor, an award for his entire body of work as a competitor. He was in contention with thousands of international competitors worldwide. This is huge, it puts Pittsburgh on the map when it comes to sport karate.” The Norwin Graduate and Penn State Junior has studied martial arts since he was three years old at the Allegheny Shotokan Karate School in Irwin, PA.
Allegheny Shotokan was founded in 1969 and since has produced more World Champions than any other school in the Pittsburgh region. They school as a rich tradition of representing Pennsylvania and the United States at the World Games dating back to the establishment of the league. Serving as captain of the Pittsburgh based all-star Team Kumite Classic, Leader defeated Andres Garcia of Guatemala (the reigning 6-time World Champion) in the Men’s Light Middleweight Continuous Sparring division en route to an appearance on the main stage for the finals. His brother, 19-year-old Dominic Leader, also advanced to the finals to face Hugo Mendoza of Mexico. Leader’s teammate also includes 20-year old Ali Viola who claimed her 4th continuous sparring World Title by defeating the top international competitors from Canada, Guatemala and Mexico in the finals. Viola had previously become the first female form Pittsburgh to win a World Title in 2006, 2008, and 2009 before winning the Adult title this year.
The Team Kumite Classic Roster also includes a trio of sisters; 14-year-old Bridget Chase, 13-year-old Hope Chase, 11-year old Bess Chase all of Imperial, PA and 17-year-old Connor Burns of North Huntingdon who was inactive due to a torn ACL two weeks prior to the tournament. All of the athletes compete in Black Belt Continuous Sparring, a hybrid of kickboxing which requires high levels of endurance and physical toughness.  Coach Viola was very proud of his team stating, “In all, we qualified six black belts who attended the World Games, and all six placed top three in the World. Its an incredible winning percentage, especially when you consider that our school is the only one in the Pittsburgh area to bring home a World Title. They are a special group of students and Billy [Leader] works harder than any other student I have ever had. Winning player of the year is well deserved.”

billy leader nbl
Billy Leader holds the NBL Diamond Award for Sport Karate Player of the Year inducted into the National Black Belt League Karate Hall of Fame

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’s 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, “This 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.”

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

 

Irwin Karate

Bill Viola Hines Ward karate

Looking for the most experienced karate school in the Irwin area?  Allegheny Shotokan has been an Irwin Karate landmark since 1969.

Irwin, PA Karate Martial Arts is home of World Champions.  Pictured is Sensei Bill Viola, Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward, and NBL World Champion Dominic Leader of Team Kumite. Allegheny Shotokan Karate is the most established karate school in the Irwin North Huntingdon Norwin area.  Home of Champions in the Pittsburgh region.  Contact us for a free lesson.

irwin karate

Pittsburgh Karate Champions

Allegheny Shotokan is home to the only Pittsburgh Sport Karate World Champions.  Team Kumite, coached by Bill Viola,  is the only NBL World Champion’s in the Pittsburgh Region.  3x World Champion Ali Viola, 3x World Champion Terrence Tubio, World Champion Jose Rivera, and World Champion Dominic Leader.  The all-star team represents the Irwin / North Huntingdon area and the entire City of Pittsburgh at regional, national and international martial arts karate tournaments, championships and competitions.  You can see the team in action at the Kumite Classic held at the Monroeville Convention Center.

North Huntingdon Karate

norwin ninjas

Allegheny Shotokan is North Huntingdon, PA”s home for the very best Karate and Martial Arts training.  The school is home of NBL World Champions.  Self Defense classes for men, women or children.  Allegheny Shotokan Karate is the most established karate school in the Irwin North Huntingdon Norwin area.  Founded by Bill Viola, Home of Champions in the Pittsburgh region since 1969.  Contact us for a free lesson.

norwin ninjas

Master Viola

Shihan (Master) Bill Viola founded Allegheny Shotokan Karate in 1969. Viola is master of the martial arts and member of the USA Karate Hall of Fame. Viola established Allegheny Shotokan Karate in 1969 and over the past 5 decades Viola has taught thousands of students and coached hundreds of regional, national, international, and World champions. Arnold Schwarzenegger recognized his school as the number #1 team in America in 1998. In 1992 Viola hosted the USA Karate Junior Olympics under the sanction of the USAKF, the national governing body for Karate in the United States and member of the US Olympic Committee. Viola’s experience lead him to be named to the USA Karate Organizing Committee, responsible for coordination of the USA Karate National Championships. In 2003 The USA Karate Federation named William Viola as Man of the Year, and was awarded the lifetime achievement award.

Viola has promoted hundreds of events in his career and in 1979 he co-founded CV Productions Inc. with his partner Frank Caliguri. In 1980 the company introduced a new sport to America, which now known as MMA. The first mainstream mixed martial arts competitions in the United States began in Pittsburgh in 1980. Viola is a documented innovator and pioneer of modern mixed martial arts in America, honored by The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum in 2011. The Heinz History Center, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute, unveiled an exhibit on 23 June 2011 to document Viola’s mixed martial arts roots. As a result of Viola and Caliguri’s unique new sport concept, Pittsburgh is considered the birthplace of modern mixed martial arts as a sport in the United States.

Viola has had the unique opportunity to teach all five of his children Shotokan Karate; Bill Viola Jr., Addie Viola, Jacque Viola, Alison Viola, and Joce Viola have all earned black belts and have served as instructors at the Allegheny Shotokan Karate School.

William Viola II is an American entrepreneur, martial arts instructor, event promoter, and mixed martial arts pioneer. Viola is recognized internationally for his promotions and advancement of martial arts as a sport.

Viola was born in Brownsville, PA and graduated from the California University in 1969 with a teaching degree. He did his graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh and served as a science teacher in the East Allegheny school district from 1969 to 1999.

As a high school student, Viola studied shotokan karate in the early 1960s. Viola established his first karate club, Allegheny Shotokan Karate, in 1969 at Park Terrance Junior High School (East Allegheny School District). He later achieved rank from late Grand Master Robert Trias (United States Karate Association), and late Grand Master George Anderson (USA Karate Federation). Viola was a champion competitor in kata and kumite and retired from competition in 1979. He has coached hundreds of regional, national, and international champions.

Viola has promoted over 200 events in his career beginning in 1975 with karate and kickboxing competitions, followed by a host of unique productions including; The Crossroads Antique Faire, auctions, baseball card shows, martial arts banquets ,seminars, and mixed martial arts fights.

In 1979 he co-founded CV Productions Inc. with his partner Frank Caliguri. In 1980 the company introduced a new sport, the first mainstream mixed martial arts competitions in America. Caliguri and Viola are credited with inventing the “Toughguy” competition and promoted 10 mixed martial arts style fights across Pennsylvania including the “Battle of the Brawlers” and “Battle of the Superfighters.” Viola is a documented innovator and pioneer of modern mixed martial arts in America, honored by The Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum in 2011. The Heinz History Center, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute, unveiled an exhibit on 23 June 2011 to document Viola’s mixed martial arts roots. As a result of Viola and Caliguri’s unique new sport concept, Pittsburgh is considered the birthplace of modern mixed martial arts as a sport in the United States.

In the 1970s Viola founded the annual Laurel State Karate Championships. In 1990, the Laurel State Championship was sanctioned by the NBL (National Black Belt League) and joined the Northeast National Conference. In 1986 s Viola was appointed Pennsylvania regional administrator for the USA Karate Federation. He promoted the Allegheny Mountain Championships, a qualifier for the USAKF National Championships. In 1992 Viola hosted the USA Karate Junior Olympics at the University of Pittsburgh Field House. The USAKF was the national governing body for Karate from 1985-1995 in the United States and member of the US Olympic Committee. Viola’s tournament experience lead him to be named to the USA Karate Organizing Committee, responsible for coordination of the USA Karate National Championships.

In 2003 The USA Karate Federation named William Viola as Man of the Year, and inducted him into the USA Karate Hall of Fame. He was awarded the lifetime achievement award by the USAKF. In 2010 Viola resurrected CV Productions Inc. and promoted Caged Kumite, a pro-am mixed martial arts fight held in conjunction with the Kumite Classic at the Monroeville Convention Center.

Viola has had the unique opportunity to teach all five of his children Shotokan Karate; Bill Viola Jr., Addie Viola, Jacque Viola, Alison Viola, and Joce Viola have all earned black belts and have served as instructors at the Allegheny Shotokan Karate School.

Other Companies and Promotions include:

  • Viola Estates (Commercial & Residential Real Estate)
  • Bullpen sports memorabilia
  • Crossroads Antiques Faire

Viola has been inducted into the following Hall of Fames:

  • USA Karate Hall of Fame
  • National Federation of Martial Arts Hall of Fame
  • PKRA Hall of Fame
  • Pittsburgh MMA Hall of Fame
  • Kumite International Hall of Fame

Allegheny Shotokan

Allegheny Shotokan Karate, established in 1969, is a Martial Arts School based in Western Pennsylvania. The club was founded by Sensei William Viola. The name “Allegheny” represented the school’s first location in Allegheny County (East Allegheny High School). “Shotokan,” is the base style of Japanese Karate taught. Over the past 40 years the school has held classes in the suburbs of Pittsburgh including Turtle Creek, North Versailles, Paintertown, White Oak, Irwin, North Irwin and currently residing in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.

The school is based on the traditional principles of the Shotokan Karate. Later the school became affiliated with the United States Karate Association and USA Karate Federation.

In 1969 Bill Viola began instructing Keith Bertoluzzi, his first student at East Allegheny High School. Bertoluzzi was the Master of Ceremonies at the Holiday House, Monroeville, PA. Bertoluzzi used his musical influence to invite several celebrities to attend karate classes including;

During the 1970s and 1980s the club was a dominant force at martial arts competitions, successful in both karate and kick boxing championships. The school is credited with sponsoring numerous championships including the Laurel State Karate Championships founded in the 1970s. In 1980, members of the dojo entered mixed martial arts style fights know as Toughguy competitions. During the 1990s the school organized the USA Karate Allegheny Mountain Championships, a qualifier for the USAKF National Championships. In 1992 the school was instrumental in bringing the USA Karate Junior Olympics to the University of Pittsburgh Field House. At the time, The USAKF was the national governing body for Karate in the United States (1985-1995), and member of the US Olympic Committee.

USA Karate Team Members Doug Selchan and Dustin Baldis began their training at the school. Selchan went on the win a Gold Medal the 1999 Pan-American Games for the United States. In 2003 The USA Karate Federation named William Viola as Man of the Year, and inducted him into the USA Karate Hall of Fame largely in part of his body of work at Allegheny Shotokan.

Allegheny Shotokan Karate is the only karate school in Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association history to win all seven grand championships at the Pittsburgh Karate Championships in 1996. Viola’s son, Bill Viola won 8-consecutive black belt overall state titles (1992-1999) and was inducted into the PKRA Hall of Fame. In 1998 the school was honored by Arnold Schwarzenegger as the #1 Martial Arts Demo team in the United States of America.

Allegheny Shotokan has produced hundreds of regional, national, and international champions including titles from; Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), United States of America Karate Federation (USAKF), United States of American National Karate Federation (USANKF), National Black Belt League (NBL), Sport Karate International (SKI) North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA), and Police Athletic League (PAL) Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association (PKRA).

Modern Champions:

Allegheny Shotokan is the home of Team Kumite, an all-star travel team. The dojo is the most successful sport karate school in the Pittsburgh region producing the only NBL World Champions in the past decade including; 3x World Champion Terrance Tubio, 3x World Champion Alison Viola, most recently 2010 World Champion Dominic Leader.

In 2010 Allegheny Shotokan launched Norwin Ninjas, a specialized course designed to build self-confidence, instill respect, and teach discipline to children ages 4-7 years olds.

Viola Family

William Viola has had the opportunity to teach all five of his children Shotokan Karate; Bill Viola, Addie Viola, Jacque Viola, Alison Viola, and Joce Viola have all earned black belts and have served as instructors at the.

Notable Alumni:

Keith Bertoluzzi, The first karate student in Allegheny Shotokan Karate history. -1969 Co-worker of Sensei Viola at East Allegheny School District.

Jack Bodell, Former agent of the United States Secret Service charged with protecting President Jimmy Carter.

Art Timko, Department of Tobacco and Alcohol

Ray Walters, Senior Ranking Allegheny Shotokan Black Belt Instructor

Ray Adams, Longest running active student -since 1970.

Dave Jones, Recorded a TKO of Mike Murray in round 2 March 1980 in the first mixed martial arts competition in United States.

Rich Sowash, represented the United States at the 198 Pan American Junior Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica winning a bronze medal in WUKO Kata.

Doug Selchan began his training at Allegheny Shotokan and represented the United States at the 1999 Pan-American Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada winning a Gold Medal in 80+ Kilo Kumite.

Bill Viola USA Karate National Champion, Sport Karate International Champion, Founder of Kumite Classic Entertainment.

Addie Viola USA Karate National Champion.

Rocky Whatule Professional comedian and actor, Host of Hollywood Rockin’ Wrap-up

Terrance Tubio 3x NBL World Champion

Billy Leader Team Kumite Captain, NBL World Games

Ali Viola 3x NBL World Champion Continuous Sparring: 2006 weight World Champion, 2008 Middleweight World Champion, 2009 Middleweight World Champion Buffalo, New York. 2010-present Division 1 Goal Keeper for Youngstown State University.

Dominic Leader 2010 NBL World Champion