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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
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.
Pictured left to right: Jacque Viola, Ali Viola, Bill Viola Sr., Bill Viola Jr., Addie Viola @ the Christmas Kumite (Pittsburgh Sport Karate)
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.
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.”
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:
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
Connor Burns pictured above with Pittsburgh Steelers Brett Keisel and Hines Ward on the set of the Hines Ward Show.
Connor Burns is currently a senior at Trinity Christian School in Pittsburgh, PA. Burns transferred from Kiski Prep in 2012 in order to continue his training in the sport of karate and pursue his dream of winning a National Black Belt League (NBL) World Title. He is currently the #2 ranked competitor in of the Can-Am National Conference. He has earned a seed for the 2012 World Games held in Buffalo, NY. Connor is recognized as the #1 ranked competitor in Pennsylvania in the 15-17 year old 143- lb Sparring category. Connor has been studying Shotokan karate for over 10 years and won numerous state and regional titles. He is a member of the prestigious Team Kumite all-star travel team. The team is responsible for the only NBL World titles in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade.
He was honored in 2010 by Trib Total Media and selected to receive the “Outstanding Young Citizen Award” in recognition for his exemplary character, outstanding academic achievement and generous community contributions. He was honored for his dedication in supporting local food banks through the “scouting for food” initiative. He also volunteers his time weekly to mentor younger kids apart of his karate school and competitive sport karate team.
Burns is a well rounded scholar athlete. In addition to his martial arts training, he is deeply committed to earning the Boy Scouts highest rank of “Eagle Scout.” As a member of Troop Unit No. 257 he is currently an Eagle Scout candidate working on his final project to benefit the Norwin Public Library. The Eagle Scouts are expected to be leaders in life, and set an example for the entire community. As a senior patrol leader, he was responsible for 65 kids in charge of organizing all troop events, meetings and activities. Burns finished the 2011 school year with a 3.75 GPA.
Connor is also an accomplished pianist, playing since he was 4 years old. He was selected to perform for the CFA commencement program in 2009, and has volunteered for numerous chapel services at Christian Fellowship, Saltsburg Baptist Church, and Calvary Baptist Church throughout the years. He is a model student, champion athlete and avid supporter of the community.
Congrats to a great group of Norwin Ninjas who graduated up to Team Kumite. The group of 7 kids all did a great job at the team tryouts! Go Parker, Matt, Skylar, Layla, Emma, Ethan, and Noah. The Allegheny Shotokan karate family is proud of you. Good luck, Sensei Bill
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.
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.
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.