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Master Viola

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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 Det ar ett perfekt satt att bade testa pa casinot med dess spel och samtidigt fa chansen att vinna en del pengar utan att riskera sina egna. 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

Did you know?

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We have some pretty unique Alumni. Jack Bodell was a martial arts student and black belt under Master Viola at Allegheny Shotokan Karate. He was at the time an agent of the United States Secret Service responsible with protecting President Jimmy Carter.

Pictured below is Former World Kickboxing Champion Jaquet Bazemore with “The Greatest” Muhammed Ali.

Jacquet Bazmore was a Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion who trained at Sensei Viola and Sensei Caliguri martial arts schools. He served as a referee for Sensei Viola’s mixed martial arts championships in 1980. Noted as one of the most prolific Kickboxers of his era, he also was a sparring partner for boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Bazemore is also Nephew to boxing legend Archie Moore.

Other 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 WinnipegManitobaCanada 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, 2011 #1 Ranked Can-Am fighter

Ali Viola  3-time 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