Students are eligible to test every 4-months. You will be sent a link (via email) ahead of time to pay for the exam. You current membership dues must be up to date and your account in good standing to test. If you pay for your test and miss it, you can take it the following month at no extra charge.
Etiquette:Full gi, never any t-shirts: clean/ironed, Water is permitted (always raise hand), you must pre-pay before the test takes place, if you miss your scheduled test, you can schedule a private test if an examiner is available (with an additional fee based on private lesson rate) or test the following month at no extra charge with the group.
We use the Japanese Kyu/Dan ranking system. Kyu級 are “levels” for under belts (white-brown) and Dan段 are degrees of black belt.
Kyu ranks move downward ⇩ meaning the lower # is best, while Dan ranks move upward ⇧ while high # is best. Example 1-Kyu brown belt (5 tips) is ready for pre-black belt test. *remember a black belt is not an expert. Shodan means “beginning” degree. It is a major milestone like graduating high school, but then you must start college and move up the Dan ladder.
In our dojo kids <13 are “Jr. Black Belts.” They move to full Shodan status at age 14. An exam at our dojo is influenced by a number of factors that are not cut/dry including:
Minimum requirements (kihon/kata)
Technique (Martial Arts)
Character Development (Martial Way)
Intensity / Effort
Kumite (sparring) in-class evaluation *required at intermediate level to advance
*Minimum requirements: Learning higher kata is admirable, but not at the expense of your requirements. Knowing a more advanced kata does not make you eligible for the belt it coincides with, they are considered bonus. We have time requirements between levels, not just memorization. Kata is only “one” of the factors.
You must meet maintain your basics (foundation), and still focus on the “short list” of kihon and kata specific to your rank. That list often determines if a retest is needed. Previous martial arts experience,Private lessons, kataclass, and Saturdayclass can accelerate advancement as can high level proficiency in kumite (Shihan’s discretion).
The journey from White→Yellow→Orange→ Blue (novice ranks) can be very different for an adult/teenager compared to a Ninja. Rapid advancement, skipping stripes can occur; however it’s not the norm. While you may know all the “technical” material for a certain level, remember the process is a marathon not a sprint.
Every test level advanced is considered a ½ point (stripe) as normal progression. If you jump from white to yellow, that is a full 1-point (skipping the yellow stripe in the process). Jumping a full point is the maximum Shihan allows on any single test, no matter how much material you know. *exception, students who join with previous martial arts training.
*Also we don’t straddle stripes (if you have a yellow stripe, you won’t pass to an orange stripe) earning the “solid” belt is the goal. The development of our system takes adequate time for maturity and character development (time served). Never compare your progress with your line mate. Your journey is “individual” you versus yourself. Students with limitations or who may suffer from a disability either (physical or mental), chronic injuries or disease also play a part in the subjective outcome of a test. This is where heart, attitude and determination come into play. Courage/Determination (or as Sensei likes to call it “will over skill”) is a vital characteristic to consider. This can outshine the technical aspect of a test in some cases. Personal development is just that, personal.
Intro-Ninjas: We do not work on kata in the intro class. This is typical training in our novice class after you earn a stripe for basics. If you wish to attempt to earn a yellow belt as an “intro student” “optional” private lessons is the only way to do so. An intro Ninja can earn a yellow belt if they learn the entire Heian #1 (first kata). This kata isn’t taught during intro class and isn’t required for the white belt with yellow stripe, which most ninjas earn first.
Line up by
Rank: In our Ninja classes, the higher belts
line up in the front line in order by colors ascendingly. There is no specific assigned order within a
color for Ninjas. Once a student moves
into the Intermediate or adult class, they must line up individually by “rank”
based on the performance of their test.
Those in a group who score “highest”
are called out “last” when given
results (or the leader of that group).
This position in line can flip flop based on each test.
to consider: Students who enjoy
tournaments please factor that your belt or kata can determine your division:
Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced. I
always encourage students to move “up” to challenge themselves, but make sure
you are ready. Just because you can
perform kata #4, you must ask yourself is it at an intermediate or advanced
level? If you wish to perform kata #4, you must move from novice division to
intermediate or advanced at tournaments.
Sometimes staying the course is better than jumping ahead so you can
gain experience. This is a good conversation to have with Sensei.
Intermediate (Blue ⇆ green) and advanced (purple
⇆ brown) incorporate
2 tips on the obi. Example: If you are a
solid green belt and score a “full point,” you could in theory earn 2 tips at
once (however jumps at blue, green, purple become increasingly difficult). *exception:
students with previous experience, this is open to Shihan discretion. Brown
belts do not skip tips. Each tip is
critical in the learning process
*If a student shows dynamic skill
or maturity an expedited test can occur (less than the standard 4-month
period). These are rare and nominated by a high ranking black
belt. It is never polite to ask, this
will happen organically if necessary.
*Perspective: Sensei Bill Jr. and Gabby never skipped any stripes or
belts. They have earned each level in in
succession. So always expect to just take one step at a time J
Pass/Fail/Retest: Nearly every test, a few students
don’t pass or need a retest. This is normal
and part of the learning curve. It is
also reminder that you need to “earn” each step and can be a wakeup call. We want each student to exceed their own “potential,”
so every student is evaluated differently.
Pass: Self-explanatory. Results typically given 1-week from the test at the end of class
Fail: Did not meet minimum requirements, must wait for an upcoming test. (Discussion with sensei to determine the amount of time needed to prepare)
Retest: In some cases the majority of the test is passed, but a single area needs improvement. An immediate retest can occur within 2 weeks, after consultation with the examiner. Sometimes a single private lesson on the trouble area can do the trick. There is no fee associated with this, and rank is promoted immediately after the retest session.
Immediate Release: 11/21/19 Contact: Call/Text Bill Viola Jr. 724-640-2111
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.
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.”
Norwin’s catcher Sara Russell signals an out for her team during softball against Latrobe at Greater Latrobe High School in Latrobe, on Friday, April 6, 2018.PreviousNext
Sara Russell sometimes gets the urge to bow to pitchers when she comes to the plate for Norwin. Not that she is showing weakness or submissiveness — quite the opposite.
It’s just a habit from her decorated ventures in martial arts. Just like how she braids her hair.
“I won my first (National Blackbelt League) championship fight with a braid in,” she said. “I’ve done it for every game of softball since, too.”
And while her uniform belt is navy blue, the belt she is most proud of, the one she earned at age 12, is black.
Meet Norwin’s karate kid.
The junior catcher is a model of toughness and skill and a calming presence behind the plate for the Knights (1-0) who, like most WPIAL teams, are ready to chop through a cement block in frustration as rain, snow and cold temperatures continue to plague games.
“Sara is a very hard worker and is highly dedicated to her craft,” Norwin coach Brian Mesich said. “She will play a key role for our pitching staff — communication and positive support of her teammates.”
Russell, an IUP recruit, attributes much of her on-field success to martial arts. She is a two-time NBL world champion in karate. She competes with Allegheny Shotokan, Team Kumite, out of Irwin.
“Competing in both kata and sparring at an international level requires intense focus and discipline,” she said. “And that has definitely carried over to catching and hitting.”
Russell batted .382 last season with 16 RBIs. She threw out 15 of 38 would-be base stealers and added three pickoffs. Hi-yah!
Like almost every budding softball prospect, Russell plays travel ball, for Pittsburgh Nitro. With eight years of karate training — two or three practices a week, she said — one can imagine how busy her schedule was at times.
She remembers a whirlwind couple of days, in particular.
“When I was 14, I was fighting in a major tournament in Pittsburgh,” Russell said. “The championship fight was on stage at 12:30 a.m. I had a softball game at 8 a.m. the next morning in Hagerstown (Md.). My dad and I went to a hotel right after my fight. I showered and slept for a few hours.”
Russell left at 4 a.m. and made it to the field on time.
“I played four games in 90-degree weather, and I think that was the most exhausted I have ever been in my entire life,” she said.
Softball, like karate, was something Russell became enamoured with from a young age. Both brought out her impetus to compete and improve, never settling or claiming to know too much.
“Sara is a student of the game,” Mesich said. “Her knowledge and leadership comes from learning from her successes and failures on the field. She has good surveillance and reactionary skills.”
Russell also considered Buffalo, Cal (Pa.) and Saint Vincent, but IUP had the math and physics requirements she wanted and seemed like the best fit.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BillBeckner.
Congratulations to Xander Eddy and Luke Lokay for earning a spots on “Team USA” at the WAKO National Team Trials in Kansas City. The two have been selected to represent America at the WAKO Team Trials in Kansas City and our official members of “Team USA” At the Pan-American Games (Mexico)and Jr. World Championships (Italy). Austin Hladek won Bronze and an alternate position for the Pan-American Games. Gavin Hladek made his debut in the black belt division placing as a finalist.
Today WAKO counts on 128 affiliated nations in the 5 continents, which are officially recognized by either National Olympic Committee or relevant National Government Sports Authority.
The World Association of Kickboxing Organizations or WAKO; is the largest international organization of kickboxing, and the governing body of Amateur kickboxing sport certified by SportAccord. It is formed of two organizations: WAKO for amateur sports and WAKO PRO for professional sports. Besides holding world championships, WAKO sanctions the champions of kickboxing in six rule styles.
WAKO holds a world championships every two years, with youth (18 and under) and adults (18–45) on separate years; only national teams are accepted. Each member country can present only one competitor in each weight class. Competitors are commonly the national champion of their weight class in that particular kickboxing style and many are also officially recognized by their National Olympic Committees or Ministry of Sports.
WAKO kickboxing was one of thirteen combat sports participating in the first ever World Combat Games which were held in Beijing, China under the patronage of the IOC and SportAccord in 2010. WAKO once again participated in the 2013 World Combat Games which were held in St. Petersburg Russia in October of 2013 under the patronage of the IOC and SportA ccord. Three rule styles were involved at the Combat Games – Low Kick, Point Fighting, and Full Contact.
WAKO USA and WAKO PRO govern and sanction the sport of kickboxing in three rule styles that compete inside a boxing ring: Full Contact, Low Kick, and K-1.
WAKO USA governs and supports martial arts competition which takes place on a matted floor in four styles: Point Fighting, Light Contact, Kick-Light, and Musical Forms.
Every two years the WAKO World Championships brings together the best athletes from around the world to compete in each rule style. Each of WAKO’s 85 affiliated national federations can present only 1 competitor in each weight class and the WAKO World Championships determines who truly is the best of the best.
Check out our 2017 Logo. Viola Karate since 1969. Building Champions in Life… A Pittsburgh, PA Legacy.
Allegheny Shotokan Karate aka “Viola Karate” founded in 1969, is an award winning Martial Arts School. The club was founded by Sensei William Viola II. The name “Allegheny” represented the school’s first location in Allegheny County (East Allegheny High School) in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. “Shotokan,” is the base style of Japanese Karate taught. Since its establishment, the school has held classes in the suburbs of Pittsburgh including Turtle Creek, North Versailles, Paintertown, White Oak, Irwin, North Irwin. The school currently resides in Irwin / North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.
The dojo was founded on the traditional principles of the Japanese Karate Association (JKA) and The All American Karate Federation and later became affiliated with the United States Karate Association and USA Karate Federation.
In the late 1960s Viola began teaching private lessons in the Brownsville, PA area. By 1969 Viola accepted a position at East Allegheny High School and established Allegheny Shotokan Karate in the school gymnasium. Among his earliest students was fellow teacher Keith Bertoluzzi, who was the Master of Ceremonies at the Holiday House, Monroeville, PA. Jack Bodell, would become the Viola’s first black belt and later a member of the United States Secret Service responsible for the protection of President Jimmy Carter.
Mixed Martial Arts
In 1980, Allegheny Shotokan Karate member Dave Jones of North Huntingdon represented the school in the first Tough Guy Contest, a Mixed Martial Arts competition, by recording a TKO victory over Mike Murray of Vandergrift in the 3rd round.
Over the years, the dojo earned the nickname “Home of Champions” as a dominate force at martial arts competitions and kickboxing championships. Allegheny Shotokan has produced hundreds of regional, national, and international champions including titles from; Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), United States of America Karate Federation (USAKF), United States of American National Karate Federation (USANKF), National Black Belt League (NBL), Sport Karate International (SKI) North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA), and Police Athletic League (PAL) Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association (PKRA).
USA Karate Team Members Doug Selchan and Dustin Baldis began their training at the school. Selchan went on the win a Gold Medal the 1999 Pan-American Games for the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karate_at_the_1999_Pan_American_Games Allegheny Shotokan Karate is the only karate school in Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association (PKRA) history to win all seven grand championships at the Pittsburgh Karate Championships in 1996. Viola’s son, Bill Viola won 8-consecutive black belt overall state titles (1992-1999) and was inducted into the PKRA Hall of Fame. In 1998 the school was honored by Arnold Schwarzenegger as the #1 Martial Arts team in the United States of America.
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 producing World Champions in including; Sara Russell, Dominic Leader, 3x World Champion Terrance Tubio, 7x World Champion Alison Viola
William Viola has had the opportunity to teach all five of his children Shotokan Karate; Bill Viola, Addie Viola, Jacque Viola, Alison Viola, and Joce Viola have all earned black belts and have served as instructors at Allegheny Shotokan.
Pittsburgh Sport Karate is dedicated to the top sport martial artists in the Western PA region. The best of the best in pittsburgh karate, tae kwon do, tang doo do, kung fu, brazilian jiu-jitsu, submission grappling, kobudo, and all combat sport disciplines. This is the #1 resource for news archives for Pittsburgh Karate tournaments, championships, competitions, seminars, and workshops. Pittsburgh the “Steel City” has produced some of the most legendary karate competitors in the country. Champions Bleed Black and Gold! The Kumite Classic is the mecca for martial arts, host of the area’s largest
Alexander Cartwright, James Naismith and Walter Camp all share a similar rite of passage, each has been honored as the “father” of their respective sports: Baseball, Basketball and Football. For all intents and purposes history credits them with invention, although each sport evolved incrementally from some inspiration or another. While there may be scholarly debate about who, what, when, where and how each sport actually was conceived, history proves that the masterminds behind the original “rules and regulations” determine the birth of a sport, and with it the recognition of its original author, aka “the father.”
The journey towards mainstream status for every sport has endured long and winding roads, but each trailblazer took that same very defining first step—RULES. It’s the creation of rules that distinguishes a game from simply goofing off and sport from spectacle. While rules have certainly changed over the past century, the essence of each major sport is steeped in tradition. Basketball, football, and baseball can trace their roots back to a pioneer who drafted a blueprint in an effort to standardize competition. Embodied by awards that bear their namesake, the legacy of Cartwright, Naismith, and Camp are intact, but who is the father of MMA? Who penned the holy grail of MMA rules?
The default response isn’t an individual at all but rather, “The UFC of course.” The nonchalant reaction bundles Rorion Gracie, Art Davie, Campbell McLaren, Bob Meyrowitz, Dana White and a host of others into a single entity so you don’t have to pinpoint exactly when the NHB became MMA. Some would argue that pioneers like Jeff Blatnik, Larry Hazzard, John McCarthy, and Howard Petchler, who all had a hand in influencing modern MMA rules, should be in the conversation. Each deserves a placard in the Hall of Fame, but unfortunately those rules were not the originals. CV Productions owns the rights whether folks know it or not.
When my father [Bill Viola Sr.] first put pen to paper in 1979 he had a vivid dream. As successful as mixed martial arts has become, to him, MMA is as brilliant today as it was supposed to be decades ago. It’s come a long way since the Holiday Inn in New Kensington, but one thing remains the same; my father, Frank and the original “Tough Guys” and Super Fighters will always and forever be the undisputed Godfathers of an American sport.
A new book, Godfathers of MMA documents the history of mixed martial arts and answers the question of who really created the sport of MMA.
Who really created the “sport” of MMA in The United States? It wasn’t the UFC. A new book, Godfathers of MMA, is set to release early 2014 and reveals the answer. This is the birth of an American sport…