Tag Archives: pittsburgh karate

Voted Best Karate School

irwin pa karate

Allegheny Shotokan Karate voted best martial arts school in the Westmoreland Country area by Trib Total Media.

Pittsburgh based Allegheny Shotokan Karate was voted the best martial arts school in the region by Trib Total Media! We thank all the friends and families that make our dojo special.

Allegheny Shotokan Karate: A Pittsburgh Family Martial Arts Tradition

Martial Arts are great way to build self-confidence and boost self-esteem in children. Every mom and dad wants to instill respect, discipline and focus in their kids, but with so many options available today it can be difficult to find the right program. Parents across the region have been raving about the Irwin based Norwin Ninjas, winner of the Trib Total Media Readers’ Choice Gold Award. As Western Pennsylvania’s premier youth marital arts course, the programs are structured to develop positive “character” traits that reinforce strong family values. The award winning classes have been honored for their creativity and unique curriculum developed by certified teachers and educators. Gary Klos of North Huntingdon has a son in the school and tells us, “Every class is exciting, and the workouts challenge the kids mentally and physically. I’ve been around a lot of other martial arts and this is simply the best program for my son. He loves it.”

The energetic group of students is led by the Viola family; three generations karate champions. Master Bill Viola Sr. has over fifty years’ experience in the martial arts and has enlisted his black belt family; son Bill Jr, and daughters Addie, Jacque, Ali and Joce to help run the school. Over the past 6 decades Viola Sr. has taught thousands of students, making him the authority on karate in the Norwin area. In 1969 he founded Allegheny Shotokan Karate, the first martial arts school in the area. Viola Sr., a retired school teacher, has used his education background and years of hands-on experience to help devise a program that not only teaches self-defense and Shotokan karate, but more importantly building character in young people.

The Norwin Ninjas emphasize a child’s “SELF” image and uses goal oriented objectives to encourage them. Every student sets goals and works towards reaching them. Sensei Bill Viola Jr. says, “We strive to build positive role models, and as our students advance, they are taught to set an example. To us, it’s all about building future leaders. The mental focus and determination they learn in karate will carry over to school, family and life. It starts a young age and I have seen so many kids improve their grades, behavior, and coordination after joining the class. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids who have graduated from our programs.” In fact Connor Burns and Liz Leaseburg were honored by former Steeler Hines Ward as male and female “Positive Athletes of the Year” for martial arts. Viola continues, “Kids like Connor and Liz are making a difference in the community. They epitomize the motto, ‘Building Champions in Life.’”

Michael Russell of North Huntingdon has a daughter in the teenage class. He says, “I love that it is a family run school. All the instructors are exceptional and they make you earn everything! This is not a chain; you will progress at your own pace. They have really brought out the best in Sara.” Sara recently competed at the National Black Belt League World Games representing the United States and won a World Title. Eight years ago she began as a Norwin Ninja, and now after years of dedication has become yet another role model for the next generation of Norwin Ninjas. Sensei Viola ads, “We teach all our Ninjas that to in order to achieve, you have to embrace the three ‘D’s’ Desire, Determination, and Dedication.”

New students are now being accepted for Monday and Wednesday classes at our Irwin and North Huntingdon locations. If you would like to reserve a spot for a free lesson at no obligation, call Sensei Bill Viola at 724-864-3495.

www.alleghenyshotokan.com

irwin pa 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

 

Pittsburgh Karate Champs

pittsburgh karate champions

Champions Bleed Black & Gold. Team Kumite Classic is known as Pittsburgh’s top sport karate competition team and home to the only NBL World Champions in the Pittsburgh region in the past decade. The open martial arts travel team represents Western PA and Pennsylvania at the NBL Super Grands World Games each year. The members attend tournaments and follows the National Black Belt League NBL circuit and the PKRA Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association. If you are interested in joining “Team Kumite” contact coach Bill Viola Jr. The team is open to all schools and styles (karate, tae kwon do, tang soo do etc.) for tryouts. It is a positive and fun atmosphere. Upcoming events include The Christmas Kumite.

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/

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.

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