Category Archives: norwin ninjas

Evolution of X-Caliber Pittsburgh’s first all-star karate team 🥋

karate pittsburgh

🥋Ranked #1 Karate School and Team In Pittsburgh

Team Kumite has been the most successful sport karate school team in the Pittsburgh region.  The team was established in 2000 after a void was left from 1980s/1990s powerhouse X-Caliber National Team.  X-Caliber’s were lead by Captain Mike Shurina (NASKA/NBL World Champion) and coached by Leonard Jackson. 

x caliber karate team
Bill Viola Jr, Todd Humes, CJ, Doug Selchan, Mike Shurina @ Bluegrass Nationals

X-Caliber was a Western Pennsylvania sport karate team that fought out of Pittsburgh.  Members included Bill Viola Jr., Doug Slechan,Todd Humes, Masai Turner, and other Western PA All-Stars.  It was the first Jr. Team from the region during the team fighting boom era of the 1980s and 1990s.  It was the first time in Pittsburgh that Jr. competitors from separate schools joined to represent a one team.  The result was magic…  

The UPSETS: X-Caliber was a “local” Pittsburgh-only based team that took on all the National Powerhouses of the era… and won.  They often fought hand picked teams with champions from around the United States.  At the the NASKA Capitol Classics in Washington DC, X-Caliber upset the unbeaten Jr. SMASH team.  SMASH was considered the elite team to beat since they were sponsored by Sport Karate Magazine.  The SMASH team was made up #1 ranked kids in NASKA from USA and Canada.  X-Caliber was the first team to ever beat them.

x caliber karate team pittsburgh
X-Caliber From Pittsburgh Upsets National SMASH Team

Then at the Ocean State Nationals in Rhode Island, X-Caliber upset the then unbeaten Metro All-Stars in Team Fighting. The word was out, Pittsburgh had some of the top Jr. competitors in the nation. The team was absorbed by the New York City based Metro-All Stars in the early 1990s coached by Hector Santiago. They became the most dominate Jr. team in sport karate history winning NASKA and NBL World Titles.

metro all stars karate
Mike Shurina, Masai Turner, Bill Viola Jr. with the Metro squad

By the mid-1990s Metro had lost its sponsorship and the older players had moved on to start families.  Pittsburgh was without a national team until 2000 when Kumite Internatinal was established.  It was to pay respect to the road that X-Caliber had paved.  Since its inception, “Team Kumite” has been a fixture at the largest events in North American Sport Karate.

best karate school in pittsburgh
Pittsburgh’s Top Ranked Karate School Team

 

The Team trains @ Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” Karate School, established by “Shihan” Bill Viola Sr. The school has been the most active tournament dojo in the Pittsburgh region and Western Pennsylvania for nearly 50 years. Through its sister program, The Norwin Ninjas, they are constantly searching for young new talent to work with. The Viola Family is internationally renowned, for coaching champions at all levels.

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Shihan Bill Viola Sr. The Authority for Martial Arts in the area

Our karate school staff has experience working with everyone from Olympic-level competitors to professional sports athletes from the NFL and MLB.  “Home of National, International, and World Champions.”

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The Viola Karate dojo has produced champions in Mixed Martial Arts MMA, Kickboxing, sport karate, and traditional karate.

A few recent Team Kumite Karate accomplishments:

pittsburgh karate champion

A few recent accomplishments on why they are the best karate school in Pittsburgh for sport karate include:

Team Kumite wins Pittsburgh’s Largest Martial Arts Championships

The Viola Karate School was honored as the “Top Team” at the 2017 Kumite Classic martial arts championships at the 18th annual Pittsburgh Fitness Expo on May 26-27 at Monroeville Convention Center.

The Kumite Classic is the region’s largest multi-sport convention, with over 100,000 square feet of competitions and participation from around the world.

pittsburgh karate champ

Team Kumite Earn Pro Status #WAKO North American Open

karate champion pittsburgh

Team Kumite, a Pittsburgh-based all-star travel karate school team, achieved Pro Status winning Open Weight Grand Champions at the North American Open at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

“It is pretty exciting,” Team Kumite coach and president of Kumite Classic Entertainment Bill Viola Jr. said. “It is the first time anyone from the Pittsburgh area has earned these titles. We are very honored and excited to represent this region on a larger scale.”

Other winners came from Mexico, Great Britain, Quebec and two from California.

“There were only eight pro winners in the world, and three came from our school,” Viola said of the North Huntingdon-based facility. “I am super excited as a coach. We were very fortunate. We have a great squad and great group of kids that push each other. I am impressed but not surprised. They showed it all season long what their skill level is.”

Xander Eddy
Xander Eddy, Team USA Karate Kickboxing

Member of Team USAhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01XPVtbHYqw

 

Sensei Says ®

sensei says quote

Sensei Says is an award winning martial arts and education curriculum.

Being a SENSEI isn’t for everyone, but everyone needs a Sensei  -Bill Viola Jr.

sensei says

My Sensei gave me the greatest gift he could give someone, he believed in me.  This is a concept I have dedicated my life to sharing with the world.  Sensei Says ® is life skills curriculum that promotes character based education.  The program was created by Sensei Bill Viola Jr.  Sensei is an award-winning author and motivational speaker. #senseisays

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Sensei Bill Viola Jr. aka Common Sensei and Founder of Sensei Says 

Bill Viola Jr. is a Pittsburgh Pennsylvania based author, producer, and Master Martial Arts instructor.  He is the president and founder of Kumite Classic Entertainment Inc. and operates  Allegheny Shotokan “Viola” Karate, established in 1969 by his father (Bill Viola Sr., the co-creator of the sport of mixed martial arts). Pittsburgh Magazine recently named Viola Jr. as one of the “40 Under 40” most influential people in the city in 2016.

» Education

  • University of Pittsburgh, Summa Cum Laude
  • University Scholar, 1998
  • BS Political Science, 1999

» Work Experience

Allegheny Shotokan Karate Inc., North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

Master Instructor, 1995-Present

  • Recognized as World Champion by Arnold Schwarzenegger, 1998

Kumite Classic Entertainment Corp., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

President & Founder, 1999-Present

  • Established 18th Annual Pittsburgh Fitness Expo
  • Film producer and writer

Author

Non-Fiction, 2003-Present:  Notable work  

  • Go Ask Your Dad (2016) Debuted on Amazon Best Seller List
  • Godfathers of MMA (2015) Inspiration of the documentary film Tough Guys
  • Tough Guys #1 Amazon Best-Seller

Kumite Quarterly Magazine., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publisher, 2003-2007

Eckert Seamans Law Firm, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

KI Scholarship Program Director, 2001-2007

Congressman Ron Klink (PA 4th District), North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania

Congressional Intern, 1997

» Associations

Western Pennsylvania Police Athletic League Martial Arts Chairman Union member of the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio.

» Honors

  • Honored with The Willie Stargell “MVP Award” for community service, 2011
  • Recipient of The Lifetime Achievement Award, Sport Karate Museum, 2005
  • Inducted into The Martial Arts Hall of Fame, 2003