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
Team kumite shows off the zoltan sign @ Pirate Game #zoltan made famous by dude where’s my car now trending with Pittsburgh Pirates & team kumite
The Pirates believe in the power of Zoltan
Chris Kasprak/Post-GazetteAndrea Bible, who works at South Side T-shirt store CommonWealth Press, makes the Zoltan “Z” sign with her fingers while wearing the company’s Zoltan shirt that is quickly becoming popular across the city.
Matt Freed/Post-GazettePirates catcher Rod Barajas flashes the team’s new favorite victory sign after he hit a two-run walk off home run May 9 at PNC Park.
Carole Kunkle-Miller was in the stands at PNC Park recently when she noticed something odd. Pirates players and fans were making strange hand gestures.
As a certified sports psychologist, she figured something significant was going on.
“I thought they were just being funny, and then I realized there was a meaning behind it,” said Ms. Kunkle-Miller, who has been practicing in Mt. Lebanon for 12 years.
It means the Pirates are winning and the players and their fans are having fun.
The hand signals form the letter “Z” for Zoltan, a character whose pending arrival is celebrated by a group of losers in the 2000 movie farce “Dude, Where’s My Car?”
It became prominent among the players in May after catcher Rod Barajas belted a game-winning home run against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park. As he rounded third, he found his teammates waiting for him at home plate, their fingers interlocked to form the letter “Z,” a trend that Neil Walker helped start earlier this season in Atlanta.
“We just started doing it, we’ve been raking ever since,” said starter A.J. Burnett. “That was my favorite part of the night, seeing 20 guys behind home plate doing that. It shows you what a group we have.
“It gives them a sense of shared goal and that positive message of winning. It unifies them,” said Ms. Kunkle-Miller. “I remember when the Pirates were in the World Series [in 1979], they would play ‘We Are Family’ to rally the fans and get everybody going. This is a variation on that.”
Like playoff beards and the Green Weenie and the Terrible Towel.
“Athletes in general like to be part of a team,” said Aimee Kimball, director of mental training at UPMC Sports Medicine on the South Side for almost eight years. “So something that they all have in common, like an inside joke, bonds them a little more. And the fans then take it to another level.”
As do the merchants.
Dan Rock, general manager at Common Wealth Press on the South Side, said he and his co-workers were quick to seize on the symbol and have been selling T-shirts depicting the “Z” for a couple of weeks. Since then, they’ve been seeing the shirts pop up on fans during Pirates games.
“We don’t try to find T-shirt opportunities, but they seem to happen quite a bit with our sports teams,” Mr. Rock said. “It’s pretty popular right now, even though they don’t have any words on them. Just the hands.
“That’s what a lot of our stuff is. If you’re not from Pittsburgh, you won’t get it. We get people who come in our shop all the time and say, ‘I don’t understand what these shirts mean.’ We’re definitely Pittsburghers making shirts for Pittsburghers.”
PNC Park shows Team Kumite & Allegheny Shotokan love on the scoreboard. Check out the message above… Thanks to the Pittsburgh Pirates and Michael Russell for the shoutout! To make things nbso better, the bucs won 3-0 over the Marlins. Over 60 kumite classic friends and family came out to support!!
Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward honors Allegheny Shotokan Black Belt and Team Kumite member Dominic Leader with the “Positive Athlete” award.
Pittsburgh Steelers legend and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward has selected an elite group of high school athletes to receive the inaugural “Positive Athlete Awards.” The honor is bestowed upon the 26 positive High School Athletes in sports played throughout Western Pennsylvania. Winning the first ever Martial Arts (Sport Karate) award is Dominic Leader of Norwin High School, a member of the Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club and Team Kumite in Irwin, PA. Leader was nominated by his Coach, Bill Viola (Coach of Team Kumite & Promoter of The Kumite Classic, Pittsburgh)
The Positive Athlete, in partnership with the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum, KDKA-TV, and MSA Sports established the first annual Western Pennsylvania Positive High School Athlete Award. The student athletes were chosen based the characteristic requirements of “Positive Athlete,” that included an optimistic attitude, teammate encouragement, servant leadership, heart for others, ability to admit imperfections, giving 100 percent all the time, and realizing the team is more important than the individual.
Leader, a Senior at Norwin High School, is not only a scholar athlete but a genuine positive role model for today”s youth. He is a member of the National Honor Society ranked among the top 10 of his class, recently honored for representing that top 5% of the school. He is a well rounded casino online student elected 2011 Home Coming King and Sr. Class Officer serving as Secretary. Dominic helps organize the school”s annual blood drive and is a big supporter of the Walk for Juvenile Diabetes (a disease that affects one of his close friends). He also supports the Walk for Grace and other charitable fundraisers in the area. As an active member of the Interact Club, he joins a group of dedicated students who perform volunteer work in the Norwin area. Dominic mentors youth in Westmoreland and Allegheny County though the art of Karate. He has been a Student at Allegheny Shotokan Karate for 15 years, joining the club when he was just 3 years old. He is dedicated to making a difference in kids by donating all of his free time to working, training and coaching younger students. He travels with the across the country as an assistant coach for Team Kumite, an all-star karate team based in Pittsburgh.
As an athlete, Dominic has won numerous state, national and international titles. Most recently he represented the United States and Pennsylvania at the NBL Super Grands World Games. After an undefeated season in 2010, Leader joined a short list of athletes to ever earn a World Title from Western PA. Dominic is a rare student who excels at the top levels of academics and athletics. Dominic will take his talents to the University of Pittsburgh this fall.
SEVEN DEINITIONS OF A POSITIVE ATHLETE:
1.Optimistic Attitude – Most coaches will tell you that an athlete who believes positive things will happen has a greater chance for success.
2.Encouraging Teammate – In every sport, teammates are going to experience some kind of failure. Positive Athletes are the first ones to encourage them.
3.Servant Leader – Positive Athletes do not think about being the “stars of the team.” They lead through serving others first and by setting an example.
4.Heart for Others – Many athletes are blessed with gifts that many others are not. The Positive Athlete seeks to help the less gifted or fortunate.
5.Admits Imperfections – This is Positive Athlete…not Perfect Athlete. Athletes willing to admit they make mistakes gain the respect of teammates and fans.
6.Always Gives 100% – Not every athletic competition goes as planned, but a Positive Athlete always gives 100% no matter what the scoreboard says.
7.Puts Team First – There are times when personal achievement may hurt the team’s goal. Positive Athletes choose their team.
Hines Ward Positive Athlete 2012
Congrats to all the Allegheny Shotokan, Norwin Ninjas, and Team Kumite members for winning the PA Martial Arts Championships in New Castle, PA. Parker, Ethan, Colten, Luke, Ryan, Gavin & Austin, Sidney, Marie and Liz. PS, special congrats to Luke Lokay for winning his first Grand Championship! Next stop Grand Slam NBL in VA. Good Luck
Congrats to Raun Churchfield, Gabriel Anthony and Colten Worbak for representing at Blairsville tournament. Raun and Gabe both won their division with 1st place victories and Colten took home 2nd place.
Congrats to Team Kumite! From our first timers to our black belts… I am so proud of all the Allegheny Shotokan students. 23 team members strong signed up for the tourney, and we made allot of noise! We had more fighters represented on stage than any other team, and really showcased continuous sparring skill. I also wanted to thank all the coaches and parents who helped make the weekend a success. This is a great team, and it was a great team effort. Keep up the good work. Next stop, Grand Slam Open in Virginia.
Pictured left to right (back): Liz Leasbuerg, Dominic Leader, Rachael Bartuska, Nick Kosan. (middle) Raun Churchfield, Luke Lokay, Gabriel Anthony, Sara Russell, Cameron Klos. (front sitting) Ryan Frankovic, Colten Worbak, Ethan Zontek, Dean Crissman, Parker O’Shell
Team Kumite Wins SMAC Titles
North Huntingdon, PA — March 13th, 2012
The 2012 SMAC Internationals were held March 10-11th in Niagara Falls, New York part of the National Black Belt League’s National Can-Am Conference. The competition showcased athletes from across North America and serves as a stepping stone for the NBL World Games held annually over New Years. Team Kumite is comprised of the regions top all-star karate competitors. The members all secured seeds for the year end championship by placing in the top of their divisions.
2010 World Champion Dominic Leader made a successful debut as an adult 18-34 class by defeating the reigning World Champion in the new weight class. Both Dominic and his older brother Billy notched impressive team victories in the finals. In all, Team Kumite had more fighters earn a place in the finals than any other team represented.
23 team members competed at the New York competition including 5 students from the Norwin Ninjas class (4-7 year olds) and 18 from Allegheny Shotokan Karate. The Team Kumite trains under the supervision of Bill Viola Jr. He is the instructor at the Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club and Norwin Ninjas based in North Huntingdon.
The newest members of Team Kumite were announced at the Christmas Party. We are excited to see this group in action during the 2012 Tournament Season. Next stop, SMAC tournament in March. Good Luck!
Team Kumite Member Dominic Leader was recently crowned 2011 Norwin Homecoming King.
Only a handful of Western Pennsylvania athletes have claimed a sport karate world title. Norwin junior Dominic Leader not only claimed his first world title, but he did so with an undefeated record. Leader won every match at every competition for the 2010 season, cumulating with a sweep of his division at the 2010 World Games in Sacramento, Calif., over the winter break. The games are the equivalent to the Super Bowl for martial arts, with more than 2,000 world-class athletes from across North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Europe battling for world titles. Leader has excelled over the past few seasons in a competitive division, but 2010 was the year he made history. The 165-pound weight class continuous sparring championship is a modified version of kickboxing that requires an extreme amount of endurance and physical toughness.
Leader defeated contenders from Canada, Mexico and U.S. leading up to his World Games bouts. In the semifinals, he faced the highly favored Juan Pablo Santiago of Guatemala, the reigning world champion. In 2009, Leader lost to Santiago in the finals. Four inches taller and visibly stronger, Leader overwhelmed his rival and unleashed an offensive attack to win by a unanimous decision and advance to the double-elimination finals.
During the finals, he faced Curtis Fresh of El Paso, Texas. After four rounds, Leader was named world champion and brought home Pittsburgh’s only world title in 2010. “I couldn’t have done it without my training partner and older brother, Billy,” the champion said. Billy Leader also earned a spot in the World Games finals, only to be hampered by injuries that have plagued him throughout the season. He was not medically cleared to finish the final fight and was awarded second place in the 143-pound weight class.
The Leader brothers are coached by Bill Viola, head instructor at Allegheny Shotokan Karate and Norwin Ninjas in North Huntingdon. Dominic Leader joins an exclusive list of NBL Karate World Champions from Pittsburgh that includes Ali Viola, Jose Rivera and Terrence Tubio. All of the former champions are teammates of Leader, making Team Kumite the only NBL World Champions in the region’s history.
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 casino producing the only NBL World Champions in the past decade including; 3x World Champion Terrance Tubio, 3x World Champion Alison Viola, World Champion Jose Rivera, and most recently 2010 World Champion Dominic Leader.