Category Archives: cameron klos

Olympic Glory

ariel torres olympics

Olympic Aspirations Hit Home in North Huntingdon 🥇🥋

Karate made its Olympic debut last week in Tokyo, Japan the birthplace of the sport, but for one local dojo it’s been a long time coming.  Students filled the parking lot of Allegheny Shotokan “Viola Karate” in North Huntingdon to watch the games live on a 20 ft. screen like a drive-in movie theater. While Judo and Tae Kwon Do have been part of the Olympic program for years, this the first time in history for karate.    The event was special for Bill Viola Jr. and his father Bill Viola Sr. who have been dreaming of an Olympic berth since the 1980s.  Viola Sr. helped spearhead the grassroots Olympic movement in Pennsylvania decades before.  Viola Jr. said, “It’s taken over 40 years for Karate to make its way to the Games, and we’ve been cheering every step of the way.” 

The Viola’s have been instrumental in the sports development and were part of a big push to get karate included in the Pan-American Games in 1999.  Doug Selchan, a member of Team USA, began his training with Sensei Viola and was able to win a Gold Medal at karate’s PAN-AM debut in Winnipeg, Canada. Sensei George E. Anderson was responsible for getting the Olympic Karate movement started in the United States, and he enlisted Sensei Viola to oversee Pennsylvania and help coordinate national events for USA Karate. The USA Karate Federation (USAKF) was the National Governing Body for Karate from 1985-1995 in the United States and member of the US Olympic Committee.  In 1986 Viola was appointed Regional Administrator for the USA Karate Federation and promoted the Allegheny Mountain Championships, a qualifier for the USA National Championships.  In 1992 Viola hosted the USA Karate Junior Olympics at the University of Pittsburgh Field House.  Viola’s tournament experience lead him to be named to the USA Karate Organizing Committee, responsible for coordination of the USA Karate National Championships.  Today that group has transformed into the USA-National Karate Federation (USANKF) under the banner of the World Karate Federation (WKF) which oversees Olympic karate.  On March 9, 2019 Viola Sr. was inducted into the USA Karate Hall of Fame as a “Pioneer of USA Karate” specifically for his contributions to the Olympic karate movement.

George Anderson (President of USA Karate with Sensei Bill Viola Sr.

Viola Jr. was a multiple time USA Karate National Champion and Team USA Member.  He has since passed the torch to his students, namely his daughter Gabby.  At just 10-years-old, she is highly accomplished already winning Gold at the WKC National Championships and earning a spot on WKC Team USA.  She has been recognized as a 5x State Champion and currently ranked #2 in North America by North American Karate Association (NASKA). This month Black Belt Magazine published her as “Top 5 Female” competitors in the country.  At the 2021 US Open in Florida she was awarded Competitor of the Year” by Point Fighter Live.  The honor, dubbed as a “Power Award” was voted on by coaches, competitors, and promoters from across North America.  After a nationwide poll, Viola not only won her category (edging out a talented competitor from El Paso, Texas) but was the highest vote getter of the show.  However, her biggest inspiration is training with the best athletes in the world, including the first Olympic champion in karate history.  Six-time defending European Champion Sandra Sánchez of Spain became the first-ever Gold Medalist in the sport on August 5th 2021.  Gabby has had the rare opportunity train with Sandra, and that experience has left a lasting impact.  She even named her special edition Olympic Barbie “Sandra,” touting it as she claimed Olympic glory. 

Olympic Gold Medalist Sandra Sanchez with Gabby Viola

As for the United States, they won their first-ever and “only” karate medal of the games when Ariel Torres secured bronze for Team USA in kata.  Torres, from Hialeah Florida, works with 20-year-old Viola Karate student Cameron Klos.  Torres is like a big brother to Cameron, mentoring him in the ways of International Competition.  Klos a student at Saint Vincent University, is a 2020 North American Sport Karate (NASKA) World Champion, WKC Team USA Member, and Kumite Classic Champion.  He travels to train with Ariel and studies remotely via Zoom weekly with him for private lessons. Ariel is preparing Cameron for a bid to make the USA Karate National Team. The same team Ariel represents and competed for in the Olympics.    

Sensei Cameron Klos with Olympic Bronze Medalist Ariel Torres

Sensei Bill Viola Sr. says, “I’ve trained thousands of students, many who have had Olympic aspirations and skill.  It was satisfying to see the Olympics on television, knowing my students have personal connections to these champions.  I know all the hard work has finally paid off.”  Viola Karate has been serving Western Pennsylvania since 1969 and is a member of the USA-NKF under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee.  Their sister program is the award-winning Norwin Ninjas.  

NASKA World Champions

naska ring

NASKA World Champions

luke lokay, xander eddy, cameron klos

The North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) sanctions the most prestigious karate tournaments in the country and abroad.  For the last thirty years, the league has tracked and ranked competitors throughout the tournament season to determine the World Tour Champions.  The ratings are compiled annually, with the highest point total determining who earns the World Championship Belt and ring. 

naska world champion

North Huntingdon residents Xander Eddy (10 years old), Luke Lokay (16 years old), and Cameron Klos (17 years old) became the first Western Pennsylvania martial artists to win a NASKA title since their Coach, Bill Viola Jr. and his sister Addie were ranked #1 in NASKA in the 1980s.

bill viola addie naska
Bill Viola Jr. and Addie Viola #1 Ranked NASKA (1989)

Sensei Bill Viola Jr. said, “I am so happy to pass the torch to these kids. They are an inspiration to this community and a testimony of hard work and dedication.  They made all of Norwin and Pittsburgh proud.”

The 2019 World Championship awards were presented at the AKA Warrior Cup in Chicago, Illinois.  It is the longest running tournament in America founded in 1964.  The tourney hosted the NASKA Banquet on Thursday January 23rd 2020.  NASKA President Larry Carnahan from Minneapolis, MN presided over the ceremony in which the three Western Pennsylvanian black belts earned #1 rankings and World Titles for their age categories.

NASKA World Tour Champions:

  • 10-year-old Xander Eddy         World Champion (10- Open Weight  and 10- Black Belt)
  • 16-year-old Luke Lokay            World Champion (16-17 Light Weight Black Belt Sparring)
  • 17-year-old, Cameron Klos      World Champion (15-17 Open Weight

16-17 Heavy Weight black belt sparring

The trio are members of Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” Karate Dojo which recently celebrated it’s 50 Year Anniversary proclaimed by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald as “Sensei Viola Day” on September 23rd 2019 for the Pittsburgh region. 

Xander, Luke, and Cameron traveled to Illinois, California, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, New York, West Virginia, Ohio, New Jersey and Canada to compete during the season.  The honor is based on an entire year’s body of work.   

Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

https://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2019/09/26/Bill-Viola-Sr-Allegheny-Shotokan-Karate/stories/201909260004

Pittsburgh Tribune Review:

https://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/governments-students-honor-north-huntingdon-karate-instructor-bill-viola/

The team is gearing up for the 2020 WKC World Championships held in Madrid, Spain and fundraising to visit Tokyo, Japan and attend the 2020 Olympics.

For more information visit www.alleghenyshotokan.com  

Press Release

WKC World Champions

world champions
WKC World Champions

For Immediate Release:  11/21/19                   Contact:  Call/Text Bill Viola Jr. 724-640-2111

2019 World Titles brought home to Western Pennsylvania

The World Karate and Kickboxing Council (WKC) hosted the World Championships November, 3rd -9th in Niagara Falls, New York.   The world’s best from 22 countries converged to compete in WKC Tatami-style divisions.  The competition was the largest WKC championships in history with thousands of athletes.

wkc champion
Riley Evans on the podium

Team USA was comprised of athletes from across the country who won the National Team trials in Detroit this past June.  13 members from Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” Karate Dojo earned positions to represent the United States at the World Championships.  Of that group, 5 students advanced to the medal rounds and secured top honors.  These medals are the first ever for the Pittsburgh region.    

Sensei Bill Viola Jr. said, “I am proud of the way these kids represented our community and the United States.  Win or lose, they demonstrated respect and determination.  We they play our National Anthem for Gold, it makes all the sacrifice worthwhile.”

xander eddy karate
Xander Eddy Wins Gold

Medaling for the United States:

  • 10-year-old Xander Eddy, Gold (male kickboxing team)
  • 18-year-old, Cameron Klos, Silver (classical kata) Silver (traditional kata)
  • 12-year-old Sammy Pietrzyk, Silver (female kickboxing team)
  • 12-year-old Taylor Provence, Bronze (female kickboxing)
  • 12-year-old Riley Evans, Bronze (female kickboxing)

 The 2020 WKC World Championships will be held in Madrid, Spain.  The team will be fundraising to send a team to Spain and to visit Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics.

For more information visit www.alleghenyshotokan.com