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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  

Sara Russell

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 bbeckner@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BillBeckner.

WAKO Team USA

wako

WAKO Team USA Members

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.

Jesolo Lido (VE), Italy, 15-23 September 2018:
WAKO Cadets and Juniors World Championships (All Disciplines)

Cancun, Mexico, 24-28 October 2018:
10th PanAmerican Kickboxing Championships (All Disciplines)

wako pan am

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.

wako worlds

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

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.

wako usa
Team USA Members Luke Lokay and Xander Eddy

ShinGiTai

Shin Gi Tai

We have all met them.

Those unique Karate teachers that make everything feel like instant enlightenment.

Those sensei who have a seemingly magical ability to repeatedly find critical points of improvement in an art that we’ve been practising for years. Those sensei who always make you feel safe and happy in the dojo, yet somehow manage to push your limits above and beyond what you thought was even possible (often without you even noticing!).

Those sensei who, not unlike a burning candle, consume themselves to light the way for others.

(If you haven’t met a sensei like this, don’t worry. You were probably just too busy to notice.)

But how do they do it?

How do these inspiring individuals find ways to constantly improve and encourage their students to become the best they can be? There has to be a secret recipe!

Well, I’ve had this theory on my mind for some time now…

And I think I’ve found the answer:

I call it the “Shin-Gi-Tai of Teaching”.

That’s right.

  • Shin.
  • Gi.
  • Tai.

Also known in English as the mind (shin/kokoro), technique (gi/waza) and body (tai/karada), the three famous theoretical pillars of a “perfect” Karate practitioner.

And, in this case, of a “perfect” Karate teacher.

See, it has often been said that if you are to achieve ultimate balance in your Karate practise, you need to keep your body, mind and technique in perfect synchronization. Having too much of one thing, or too little of another, will disturb the equilibrium and make you a one-sided practitioner.

We need to be harmonious.

And that goes not only for how we choose to practise Karate with ourselves, but for how we express it to other people too.

So let me briefly break down what I believe are the three main styles of teaching, why they suck, and how to finally become the ultimate teacher by combining them all.

#1. Shin – The Preacher

If you are too heavily leaning into the shin (mind/spirit) aspect of Karate’s shin-gi-tai trinity, you are what I would call a Preacher.

That is; somebody who likes to “talk the talk”, but doesn’t really “walk the walk”.

(Or, he/she might have “walked the walk” a long time ago – say, twenty years and 110 pounds ago!)

A Preacher loves talking to his/her students about “how one should practise this”, “why one should practise that”, “who’s good”, “who’s bad”, and so on. A Preacher loves pouring out his/her “knowledge” onto anybody that cares enough to listen, and surprisingly often he/she comes through as a very intelligent and caring person.

However, the actual preaching often consists of little more than esoteric mumbo-jumbo, pseudo-taoistic Steven Seagal crap and loads of unconfirmed rumors about secret old-school Okinawan family-Karate experts.

And you will probably swallow it all…

That’s what happens when people get too caught up in the concept ofshin – our mysterious mind.

Be aware of a Preacher disguised as a sensei.

#2. Gi – The Technician

Next we have the Technician

A Technician is somebody obsessed with the concept of technique (gi) and its constant practise. Pounding away at teaching new skills and techniques, night after night, caught up in teaching the finer details of the most uninteresting techniques you can ever imagine (with a relatively small amount of time dedicated to theory or principles for better understanding the practical usage of the actual techniques), a Technician would rather slide down a barbed wire banister into a bucket of alcohol rather than see somebody make the slightest technical error in their dojo.

Way too often, as in the case of the Preacher, a Technician will come off as quite smart and savvy since he/she can easily detect the slightest “mistake” from across a crowded dojo.

The ugly truth though, is that behind this technical façade hides a substantial lack of comprehension in any other aspects of Karate.

Although the Technician can impress with a meticulous care for tiny details, his/her students will rarely, if ever, have any power behind their punches, snap behind their strikes, weight behind their kicks or spirit behind their kiai.

They will just be drones – stuck in a beehive of meaningless details.

Be aware of a Technician disguised as a sensei.

#3: Tai – The Coach

Lastly, we have the Coach.

A Coach is, as the name implies, somebody who’s main interest is the physical (tai, body) development of his/her students and associated training culture.

Needless to say, peeking into the dojo of a Coach is quite the adventure; if will be filled to the brim with people doing all kinds of hardening exercises, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, stretching, weight training, grunting and being generally masculine (in a primitive kind of way, not the metrosexual way).

For some reason, a lot of Goju-ryu, Kyokushinkai and Uechi-ryu dojo spring to mind, but I digress…

A Coach sincerely believes that purely by developing the body – through strengthening it, stretching it, hardening it, occasionally hurting it – is the ultimate way to achieve enlightenment when it comes to Karate. That, and yelling like crazy.

And, just like when it comes to the Preacher and the Technician, the Coach almost always comes of as a bona fide expert in his field (indeed, his subscription to Muscle & Fitness Magazine is probably older than you are) as he tosses around the latest training terms like a friggin fruit salad.

But, as we know by now, it’s all just smoke and mirrors.

The truth is, under the surface of physical training, there is not a whole lot of understanding going on when it comes to the deeper aspects of Karate.

But that is, I guess what make a Coach a Coach.

Be aware of a Coach disguised as a sensei.

______________________________

So, what’s the conclusion then?

How can we, by having briefly examined the three aspects of shin-gi-tai(mind-technique-body) from a teaching perspective understand the actual role of a true sensei better?

Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

The answer is the same no matter what your role is – teacher or student.

You need to have them all.

And, perhaps more importantly, they need to be well-balanced.

To me, that’s a real sensei.

A Preacher, Technician and Coach – all in one.

Which, in the end – as everyone who’s met that special sensei can testify – truly proves there really is such a thing as “a whole greater than the sum of its parts”.

The parts you already know.

The whole?

That’s a sensei.

Viola Karate

viola karate

Check out our 2017 Logo.  Viola Karate since 1969.  Building Champions in Life…  A Pittsburgh, PA Legacy.viola karate

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

Viola Family
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.

 

Sport Karate Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Sport Karate

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

Pittsburgh Karate Champion Dominic Leader

sport karate championship and the first and most established BJJ & Grappling tournament.  For more info visit www.pittsburghsportkarate.com

Who is the father of MMA

toughguys mma book

Father of MMA mixed martial arts

Who’s Your Daddy?

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.

bill-viola-jr-bill-viola-sr

Learn more about the real fathers of MMA here:

Courtesy of Pittsburgh MMA:  https://pittsburghmma.com/2015/02/the-real-father-of-mma/

Who really invented MMA mixed martial arts

 

father of mma

Who created MMA?

Who created the sport of MMA?

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…

Great article on who invented MMA:  http://mmahistory.org/who-invented-mma/

More info at https://pittsburghmma.com/2013/09/who-invented-mma-mixed-martial-arts/