Category Archives: karate tournaments

Gabby Viola “3rd Generation” Black Belt

gabby viola

Gabby Viola Joins the Viola Karate Legacy

On August 17th 2021, Pittsburgh area karate champion Gabby Viola celebrated her 11th birthday and simultaneously became the youngest Black Belt at Allegheny Shotokan, a dojo that dates back to the 1960s.  Gabby joins a Pittsburgh karate legacy that includes three generations of Viola black belts including her Grandfather, Bill Viola Sr., father Bill Viola Jr., and four aunts (Addie, Jacque, Ali, and Joce). 

Her granddad aka “Papa Sensei” is accredited as the co-creator of mixed martial arts (MMA) and karate pioneer, while her father, Bill Jr., is a former World Champion and bestselling martial arts author. She’s following in her family’s footsteps literally as her dad explains, “She’s been kicking before she could walk.” Her mom, Jenn Viola, tells us, “She literally grew up in the dojo.  It was like her playground.”  The rank itself is an accomplishment that less than 100 people have achieved in over fifty years, but what’s even more impressive is that she did so fighting an incurable form of colitis – Inflammatory bowel disease.   

bill viola sr, bill viola jr, gabby viola

In 2018, Gabby was diagnosed with bowel disease, and her immune system has been constantly under attack since.  From the outside it is difficult to tell she is sick, but on the inside she suffers from severe bleeding, dehydration, abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, inflammation of joints, skin and eyes, and a swelling colon.  She was only seven-years-old when discovered; no family history of the illness.  Martial arts teaches perseverance, and she decided that nothing would stop her from earning her black belt someday. She chose to be a “fighter,” and has been proactive meeting with the best specialists, naturopathic and holistic experts.  Treatment includes trials, diets, meds, steroids, tests, and therapy. She is under the care of Dr. Sandra Kim, a nationally recognized expert in pediatric and adolescent inflammatory bowel disease at UPMC Children’s Hospital where she is treated with monthly infusions.  Although she has had a number of setback and emergency room visits, earning her black belt has remained in focus.    

gabby viola olympics

He father, Bill Jr., is a USA National Champion and All-American Athlete has passed the torch to his daughter. Despite the risk of having a “flare” (major symptoms after a period of remission) she has competed nationally across the country.  In 2019 she won Gold at the WKC National Championships and earned a spot on “Team USA.”  She was one of the youngest participants (only a brown belt), in a pool of seasoned black belts.  She has been recognized as a 5x State Champion and ranked #1 in the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) for black belt sparring in 2020 before the global Covid pandemic. Her efforts paid off when the August issue of Black Belt Magazine ranked Gabby as a “Top 5 Female” competitor in the North America.  Most recently at the 2021 US Open in Orlando, Florida she was awarded “Competitor of the Year” by Point Fighter Live.  The honor, dubbed as a “Power Award” was voted on by coaches, competitors, and promoters from across North America.  After a nationwide poll, Viola not only won her category (edging out a talented competitor from El Paso, Texas) but was the highest vote getter of the show. Her dad couldn’t be more proud saying, “Win or lose, Gabby leaves it all on the mat. She’s had to fight harder than the average kid, but that has made her stronger. She has indomitable spirit.” Her winning ways opened doors and the opportunities to train with the best athletes in the world, including Sandra Sánchez of Spain, the first Olympic champion in karate history.  Inspired to say the least, Gabby named her Olympic edition Barbie “Sandra.” Gabby and her teammates cheered for Sánchez on from the dojo, watching the Olympics live on 20-foot outdoor screen like a drive-in theater.  Gabby said, “I knew Sandra was going to win.  She is the most powerful woman I know.”   

sandra sanchez olympics

Bill Jr. explains, “Gabby has what I call ‘zentensity,’ a body-mind connection that pushes past what you thought was possible. That is a term he coined the book “CommonSensei.” It’s a mindset that leaves nothing to be desired – 100% effort. Outside the ring she is shy and reserved.  Inside the ring, she transforms into tiger.”   “Zentensity” is what has led her to this moment.  She chose her birthday to partake in the final most difficult part of her young martial arts journey.  The shodan test (1st degree black belt) is a grueling mental and physical challenge.  It is a four-month process that encompasses learning a vast history of martial arts, Japanese terms, hundreds of techniques, endless combinations, self-defense maneuvers, and physical endurance.  Many organizations award black belts in a short window of time, but Allegheny Shotokan is “old school” and upholds the strictest of standards. The Viola family including Gabby is held to a higher standard.   The final exam represents nine years of training, thousands of hours of practice, and hundreds of competitions.   Gabby says, “I wanted to be like my Dad.  My black belt is better than any trophy.”

Allegheny Shotokan Karate black belts

She shared this honor with teammates and lifelong friends who also took the test including Remington Whatule, Lucy Lokay, Sammy Pietryk, Michael Pietryk, Taylor Provence, and Riley Evans.  Whatule traveled from Los Angeles, California to test with Gabby, a special honor set up since he is the son of Sensei Bill’s best friend, 4th Degree black belt Rocky Whatule who began his training at Allegheny Shotokan nearly thirty years ago.  Viola Jr. says, “The bonds formed in martial arts are lifelong.”  

remington whatule

Birthdays have a special place in Allegheny Shotokan lineage.  On September 23, 2019 the Pittsburgh region celebrated “Sensei Viola Day” in honor of Allegheny Shotokan Karate’s 50-year dojo anniversary.  It was symbolic as the date coincided with William Viola IV’s birthday.  That is Gabby’s 4-year-old brother’s birthday who trains in the “Nursery Ninja” program, and holds a yellow stripe belt.  Now Gabby’s birthday will forever be a reminder of her most important victory, and constant reminder she can do anything.  Viola Jr. says, “The belt is something physical around your waist, but the lessons learned are from the heart.  She is on her way to being a ‘black belt in life,’ and that’s all that matters.”   

viola karate dojo

For more info.  Contact Bill Viola Jr.  724-640-2111 bill@kumiteclassic.com

WKC World Champions Karate & Kickboxing

wkc karate usa

For Immediate Release:  11/21/19                   Contact:  Call/Text Bill Viola Jr. 724-640-2111

2019 WKC World Titles brought home to Western Pennsylvania

Xander Eddy wins Gold!

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 over 2000 athletes.

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, 4 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.”

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, Japan for the 2020 Olympics.

For more information visit www.alleghenyshotokan.com  

Christmas Kumite

christmas kumite
http://www.karateregistration.com

2019 Christmas Kumite Saturday Dec. 14th

Directions:  255 Arona Road New Stanton, PA 15672

  • Doors Open 8:30 AM 
  • Black Belt Meeting 9:30 AM
  • Photos with Santa 10:00 AM  
  • Tournament Starts 10:00 Sharp!  
  • Contact:    724-640-2111  
  • Top 4 places in Black Belt Divisions qualify for WKC National Championships
  • All Rings Matted
  • All Rings operate with Uventex automated scoring
  • Open to all styles and schools of martial arts. 
  • 2-min sparring, 1-point sparring, forms, weapons, Team Fighting, Tag Team Fighting and more
  • Novice, Intermediate and Advanced divisions for all age groups
  • 200 divisions offered, something for everyone
Item Pre-Reg before November 25th Register by December 7th At the Door
1st Event 50 55 60
Additional +5 +8 +10
Team Events +15 +20 +25
T-Shirts +15 n/a limited
Adult Spectator +10 +10 +10
Youth Spectator +5 +5 +5
Under 4 years old free free free
Coaches pass +10 +10 +10

Season’s Beatings! 👊 Welcome to Christmas Kumite , a collaboration of the entire Viola family and the Viola Karate Dojo.  The tournament continues the “Laurel State” Karate legacy that Shihan Viola established in the 1970s.  This is an “open” event that welcomes all styles and schools of karate, tang soo do, tae kwon do, kung fu etc. Whether you are from an Okinawan, Japanese, Korean and Chinese style background, you are encouraged to visit, compete, and make new friendships.  We strive for good sportsmanship within a professional atmosphere.  All our rings are matted and utilized the latest technology (uventex) to ensure accurate score keeping.  Fair judging is a cornerstone of this competition.  If you are a black belt from a school attending, please contact me personally so we share the rules with you and add you to the judging panel.  We want to have a diverse referee core and do not discriminate from any style.  If you have any questions, my personal cell phone is 724-640-2111.  Merry Christmas.   めりーくりすます

CHRISTMAS KUMITE RULES

*rules are subject to change, please check with center judge for any updates. 

CHRISTMAS KUMITE RULES

*rules are subject to change, please check with center judge for any updates. 

RINGS: Matted area for divisions

JUDGES: All divisions have the option to use 3 or 5 judges.

MAXIMUM DEVIATION: (only used with a 3-judge panel) .02 is the maximum deviation permitted from the “middle score.” This eliminates the impact of one judge altering the outcome of the entire division. This theory has been tested and utilized in national and international events.

TIES: Broken by head-to-head comparison scores of each individual judge (treated as votes). The majority of votes (higher individual preliminary scores) will break the tie if possible. If it is a “true tie” (unable to be broken) the competitors will run their form again and judges will point (by show of hands) to the winner.       Running a different form is optional and not mandatory.

PROTESTS: Must be made at the time of the ruling. Protocol is to ask the coordinator/scorekeeper to alert the center referee. If the situation requires further investigation the ruling can be arbitrated.. All decisions by the arbitrator are final.  *Protests can only be made by someone with an official coaches pass.

UNIFORM: All competitors must wear a martial arts uniform with no foul or offensive language.

AGE: Competitors must compete their age as of the tournament date December 2nd 2019.

SEQUENCE: Luck of the draw is based on a uventex computer lottery when you register. The draw is 100% random and determined by a third-party.

CLOSED DIVISION: A division is considered closed once the first player bows-in to perform a form or once the first sparring match is started. *Exception: computer-based or staff related errors.

RESTARTS: 1 restart is permitted for under black belt divisions only.  No restarts for black belt divisions *Exception: restart for weapons that break during performance.

SCORING RANGE: 9.90-10 (black belts)  9.80-9.90 (under black belts)

TRADITIONAL: No gymnastics, splits, rolls, or creative interpretations. Any traditional uniform with a tie-over-style top is permitted. Patches and/or logos are a non-factor and permitted. A pure white uniform is NOT required, however the uniform should hold true to the standards of the style. Classical Japanese/Okinawan divisions enforce a maximum 4 kiai rule and based on unaltered kata.

FIRST TIMERS:  First timer divisions are for competitors with little to no tournament experience. The purpose it to build self-confidence.  All competitors win an award.

TEAM FORMS

Team forms must have a minimum of 2 players.  No maximum.  The entire team must perform in the “oldest” and/or “highest rank” of any team members.  (Therefore teams can “bump up” divisions but not down).  Teams may perform kata or weapons.  Judges will score on synchronization, technique, intensity and creativity.

SPARRING (POINT FIGHTING)

UNIFORM: No t-shirts or shorts. No exposed jewelry or metal.  No shoes.

EQUIPMENT: It is MANDATORY for all competitors to provide and wear their own approved sport karate head gear, safety boots, safety gloves, mouth guard, and protective cup (males). Highly recommended but not mandatory:  face shields, chest protectors, leg pad, arm pad, elbow pads and knee pads.

WEIGH-IN: ALL players competing in a weighted division must weigh-in prior to the division (1lb allowance)

BYES: All byes are randomly selected by computer based lottery. Competitors from the same school (not team) will not be matched in the first round if possible. *optional: logic is followed by same country then state.

OUT OF BOUNDS: Out of bounds (exit) is when any part of the body touches outside the mat (tatami).  No points can be scored out of bounds.  Intentional exit or avoiding the fight: 1-point penalty.  A contact exit, force-out, or offensive player who steps out due to momentum is not a penalty.

GROUND FIGHTING: Is not permitted. *Exception:1). All WKC boot-to-boot sweeps are legal and are scored as 1-point if the opponent is deemed down from the sweep. Follow up is an additional 1-point if it scores. Momentum contact is not a penalty.

DOWN BY CONTACT: A player is considered down by contact when any part other than hands/feet are touching the ground [knee, elbow, hip, or backside etc.] after making contact with their opponent. The match is stopped.  No Penalty.

FALLING DOWN: A player is considered “fallen” down if they “intentionally” fall to the ground on their own accord (with or without contact).  1-point penalty by majority judge’s discretion.

SCORING TARGETS: Headgear area, face, torso (front/side) with control, light or moderate contact depending on player’s option, skill level, and division.

POINT TECHNIQUES: All clean martial arts punches, kicks, ridge hands, and back fists that use appropriate contact and form in the designated scoring areas. (Important: a hand or foot that touches the scoring area does not always warrant a point. The technique demonstrate martial arts merit). *This is a subjective matter, similar to  umpires calling balls/strikes in baseball.  Protests cannot be filed on judgement of points.

SPREAD: 10-point spread (mercy rule) is in effect.

SCORING: 1-point: hand techniques and body kicks. 2-points: head kicks, jump body kicks, and spinning body kicks.  3-points:  spinning head kicks, elevated (jump) spinning kicks (including cartwheel kicks). 1-point for sweeps (that cause the other player to go down additional point if score on the downed opponent). *WKC-style either front leg or rear leg sweeps are permitted.  Player with the most total accumulative points after the 2-minute round is the winner. Preliminary tie: Sudden Victory (next point wins).

Win BY 2: All “first place” matches must have a 2-point spread to determine the winner.

ILLEGAL TECHNIQUES: Haymaker (swinging/wild punches) with no regard for control, strikes to the groin or throat, uncontrolled, excessive or malicious contact to any area, intentional striking to non-scoring areas (spine, joints, legs etc.), late hits, dropping to the ground to avoid the fight, intentional running out of bounds.LEGAL CONTACT:

  • -CONTROL:  No touch/pulled (Halo)……
  • -LIGHT: Touch…………………………….
  • -MODERATE: Slight penetration………..
  • PENALTY CONTACT:
  • -UNCONTROLLED:  Beyond legal contact (majority judges discretion)
  • -EXCESSIVE: Extreme penetration  (majority judges discretion)
  • -MALCIOUS:  Intentional excessive contact:  Automatic DQ  (majority judges discretion).

PENALTIES: 1-point penalty points: (all infractions based on majority of judges) Uncontrolled contact to any area, intentional running out of bounds, intentionally falling (to avoid the fight),  intentional late hits, retaliation hits, unsportsmanlike conduct.

DQ (Disqualification): is based on the majority vote of the judges (*or if the arbitrator is ringside and witnesses the infraction). Malicious contact is automatic disqualification. Incidental excessive contact, accidental contact and/or self-inflicted injuries that may cause swelling or draw blood are subject to discretion of the arbitrator after consultation with judges. Medical staff has the final say if a competitor can continue or not.

INJURY: If a player is unable to continue on his own accord or is advised by medical staff to bow out due to incidental contact, accidental contact or self-inflicted injury then his opponent will advance.  Players will not        advance if they intentionally injure their opponent or use malicious contact.

CLOCK MANAGEMENT: Black Belts: 2-minute running clock except final 30 seconds (clock is stopped on each “stop” break). Under Belts: clocked on breaks in final 10 seconds. Match over at “0” on scoreboard.

COACHING: Coaches must wear an official coaches pass (wrist band) that is purchased for $10.00.

(1) Ten-second time out is permitted per match. Coaches must stay within specified coaches box. Only 1 coach per box.  Coaching without a wristband is a penalty. The timeout can only be used during standard match breaks (not during the flow of a match). A coach does not have to be a black belt (parents are permitted to coach with a coaches pass.  Coaches are only allowed on the competition floor when the specific division is being staged or in progress.  No coaches on the floor for forms divisions.

1-Point Kumite SPARRING 

All rules of normal point sparring apply with the exception of the winner is determined by the first person to score.  All “3” of the judges must be “unanimous” on the score.

TAG TEAM SPARRING 

Normal point sparring rules apply.  Create your own team, or partner up with a friend(s) from another school. Minimum of 2 players to make a team, maximum of 3 players. 2-minute matches/Total Points.  Each time a player scores, the scoring player must tag in a new teammate.  If a player is scored on 3 consecutive times, and automatic tag is made.  The “switch” or tag only takes place on the call/break by the center judge. 1-time out permitted per team. The team that calls timeout, may make a switch if they choose to.

WKC Divisions have alternative rules.  Please see center judge for any questions.