Congratulations to our very own President and founder Bill Viola Jr. on making the prestigious “40 under 40” List in Pittsburgh.
Bill Viola Jr. 
President, Kumite Classic Entertainment Corp.
Pittsburgh often is credited as the birthplace of a self-defense discipline known as Mixed Martial Arts.
Bill Viola Jr. is the author of the book “Godfathers of MMA,” which chronicles the life of his father, Bill Sr., and explores the world of martial arts as first developed west of the Alleghenies. The younger Viola is known internationally for his work in the martial arts industry, founding the highly regarded annual Kumite Classic in 1999.
He also was named to the U.S. Karate Hall of Fame in 2005 and was the winner of the Willie Stargell Pittsburgh MVP Award in 2011 for his work training youth in martial arts programs.
He currently is head instructor at his family’s Allegheny Shotokan Karate studio, founded in 1969, and he is the founder and producer of the Pittsburgh Fitness Expo.
The biggest thing I ever had to overcome … In 1999, I was in a car accident that ended my competitive martial arts career. Going from world champion to watching on the sidelines was complete culture shock, but the injury was actually a blessing. In rehab, I found my true passion, being a sensei (teacher). Seeing my students succeed is more rewarding than any title I won.
Meet our 2016 class of 40 Pittsburghers Under 40 who are changing our region – and the world – for the better.
By Dennis B. Roddy
October 19, 2016
PHOTOS AT PNC PARK BY BECKY THURNER BRADDOCK | HAIR/MAKEUP BY TRAVIS KLINGER
People are drawn to lists, and sometimes when a list isn’t handy they make one up. Consider Jorge Luis Borges, whose fantastical prose lit up the world of Latin American literature in the 20th century.
He referenced a Chinese list — a taxonomy of different types of animals — and attributed its translation to a known academic of the time. According to this list, animals broke down into categories such as “those that belong to the Emperor,” “mermaids,” “embalmed ones,” “fabulous ones,” “those that resemble flies from a distance,” and even, “those that have just broken a flower vase.”
Scholars spent decades trying to locate the original list which, as it turns out, was stored safely inside Borges’ head and nowhere else. The French writer Michel Foucault referenced the Borges list in his book “The Order of Things.”
Foucault’s main theory was that the thinking of each age is defined by a single, dominant prism of beliefs and constructs through which we view things. Called an “episteme,” it set the boundaries for all knowledge and understanding at the time. The episteme for the pre-classical period was based on differences and similarities. In the Classical Period, it was all about order and measurement.
And, so on.
What worldview informs this year’s list of 40 Under 40? The conceit of the list is that Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP invite others to nominate people who, not quite midway through life, have done something — or several things — remarkable. Community service, professional achievement, a general overcoming of obstacles that would stop the rest of us — or all of these factors can land someone on this list.
One of our honorees was inspired by growing up in war-scarred Ethiopia. Another founded a company that provides free, online language-learning to anyone. Still another seems to have succeeded in so many community organizations, she borders on requiring her own, separate list.
The list is so diverse, the personalities so disparate and the accomplishments so varied that fitting our 40 Under 40 onto a single list requires breadth of imagination and depth of understanding. None has broken the flower vase, nor have we noticed any mermaids. As to any “embalmed ones,” there always is a reception to celebrate this honor, so we’ll need to get back to you.
In the meantime, accept that at least on this list, we can include the term “fabulous ones” and not be accused of making anything up.
Bill Viola Jr. Named to Pittsburgh Magazine’s “40 under 40” List
The 2016 class of 40 Pittsburghers Under the age of 40 who are shaping our region was celebrated by Pittsburgh Magazine October 21st at the Rivers Casino. For the past 18 years, Pittsburgh Magazine and the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project has complied a prestigious list to honor and recognize outstanding people ranging from CEOs to non-profit leaders who are changing the city for the better. These influential leaders are featured in November’s issue of Pittsburgh Magazine, now on newsstands. The list is considered the premier honor for young professionals in Western Pennsylvania.
The process to narrow an entire city and region down to just 40 recipients is a daunting task that included a through selection process. Viola Jr. caught the eye of the committee through his reputation as a leader in the martial arts industry and the recent award winning books. As the author of “Godfathers of MMA,” his work is recognized at the Heinz History Center, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute with an exhibit that chronicles Pittsburgh as the birthplace of modern mixed martial arts. The book, inspired by his father’s [Bill Viola Sr.] life story is the subject and basis of the film; Tough Guys (now is post production).
As graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he is the creative force behind Kumite Classic Entertainment which oversees the region’s largest multi-sport event (The Pittsburgh Fitness Expo). His resume includes film producing, talent management, journalism, and mixed martial arts historian. He is a member of the Sport Karate Museum Hall of Fame and recipient of the Willie Stargell Pittsburgh MVP Award. His most recent work is the creation of the “Sensei Says” martial arts curriculum, which has had a direct positive impact on the North Huntingdon community implemented with “Norwin Ninjas.” Norwin Ninjas is the sister program of his families karate business (Allegheny Shotokan Karate) which his father, Bill Viola Sr., established in 1969. The Ninjas teach life skills, and mentor kids to become future black belts. Viola Jr. explains, “We build champions in life.” He is part of a growing Pittsburgh karate legacy that that includes all four of his sisters and his daughter, Gabriella Capri Viola, a Kindergartner at Stewartsville Elementary.
The award has garnered the attention of community leaders, as Viola Jr. has received congratulations from The United States Senate, as well as the Allegheny County Council who issued an official proclamation honored Viola Jr. for his achievement, and praising his, “passion, commitment, visibility, diversity and overall impact on the region.”
The ceremony was is presented by Dollar Bank and in association with BNY Mellon, Carlow University, Junior Achievement, UPMC Health Plan among others. The full list of 40 under 40 winners can be view at www.pittsburghmagazine.com
Kumite Classic Entertainment is proud to partner with the newly established Global Glorious Productions (GGP Productions) founded by Jimmy Cvetic of the Western PA Police Athletic League. GGP and Kumite Classic are promoting a variety of projects including a new television series and core curriculum aimed at raising the moral standards in our community. The headquarters for GGP will be located in the Monroeville Mall.
Visit the GGP booth at the 2015 Expo for more information.
Who really invented the sport of MMA in America? It wasn’t the UFC, learn about the first mixed martial arts league in history! CV Productions (Caliguri and Viola) Godfathers of MMA is the best kept secret in MMA. Read all about it in the new book that documents the real history of MMA.
Over $1000 in cash and prizes to winner’s of the Pittsburgh Talent Search. Free to enter and limited spots available. Singers, dancers, martial artists, b-boys, feats of strength, jugglers, etc. Anything goes in a 4 minute time limit. (30×30 stage) If you have talent, its time to prove it.