Category Archives: sensei says

Finding a Cure for Parkinson’s Disease One “Kick” at a Time

viola karate dojo kickers

Finding a Cure for

Parkinson’s Disease

One “Kick” at a Time

An inspiring group of martial artists have made it their mission to KICK Parkinson’s disease—literally.  On September 3rd 2018 the Viola Karate Dojo and their sister program Norwin Ninjas assembled over 100 students to make a bold statement and kick non-stop for one mile at Boyce Park.  The students showcased their skill and donated over $10,000 to aid The Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (PIND) for research.

parkinsons
Madden McKeever raised $800 for PIND

The “KICK” concept was developed Irwin native Bill Viola Jr., founder of Kumite Classic Entertainment, and former Mayor and State Senator Sean Logan.   Logan was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease in his mid-forties and Viola spent years caring for his Grandmother who passed away from neurodegenerative complications.

phyllis Rossi
Sensei Bill Viola Jr.’s Grandmother Phyills Rossi who passed away from complications of the disease

Logan developed a 5K to promote his “Do Something” campaign as means to encourage exercise.  Physical activity has been proven to be an effective method to combat Parkinson’s disease.   Viola parented with Logan in 2017 to add a “Kick-a-thon” element to the 5k, and its growth has been exponential.  Viola explains, “Last year the KICK raised just over $5000 with 50 participants. This year we doubled both brining us up to over $15,000 with just two kicks-a-thons.

PIND offers a unique twist to the traditional 5K by incorporating Viola’s “Kick-a-thon” concept.  Viola explains, “There are a lot of in-house kick-a-thons that take place at schools but none that actually kick for distance. This is the first of its kind.”  The estimated amount of kicks thrown by each participant was 1500 and with over 100 students, the total number was approximately 150,000 kicks.

Viola said, “The cause is near and dear to my heart.  I’ve been looking for a way to fight this epidemic, and having my school ‘Kick’ for a cure was a perfect fit.  Building character is an important part of martial arts.  My students exceeded my expectations. Their selflessness is incredible.”  9-year-old Mike Barone led the group of by donating nearly $2015 followed by 11-year-old Aidan Thornton ($900) and 5-year-old Madden McKeever ($800).   In just three years, through corporate sponsorships and race participants the PIND 5k has surpassed over $300,000 in total donations for PIND.

kick parkinsons
Mike Barone raised $2015 for PIND

Although Viola is known internationally for his competitive success in karate he says, “Trophies collect dust.  Making an impact on the community is priceless. They are making a difference and learning the value of paying in forward. I tell them, Kick with kindness and create an endless a ripple.”

PIND spearheads efforts to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s Disease.  The kids have already made plans to “Kick Parksinsons” again next year.  For more information please visit:  PIND5K.org

Top 10 Fundraisers for 2018 Kick Parkinsons

First Name Last Name Amount
Mike Barone 2015
Aidan Thornton 900
Danielle McKeever 800
Grace Weingberger 726
Katelyn Regina 620
Gabby Viola 560
Riley Evans 363
Ariana Trout 325
Henry Francisco 210
Aaron Goettler 210
Rayden Galley 206

Sensei Says ®

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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