Austin, Texas is one of the most beautiful cities in the country with an accent on preserving the natural beauty of the hill country. It’s always a pleasant place to attend a tournament there because there is a lot to do. I’ve been to many tournaments here and it never ceases to amaze me how the people at these events seem to be like a big family. Mike and Sharon Hill was this year’s June 24th tournaments gracious host for the Sunset Open. Mike is a legend in the Texas Amateur Organization of Karate. Mike Hill has been a champion and a tournament promoter for many years.
The Tournament started off with specialty and weapons and included some impressive adult and junior competitors vying for a chance to win one of the beautiful 4 foot trophies. Several of the competitors were there to gain points for a shot at the AOK Golden Greek hall of fame award. Many past and current adult black belt champions were there officiating and competing to make this event both efficient and prestigious.
The black belt weapons and men’s adult open kata champion was Charleston Green with Larry Fields pulling off an impressive win in the black belt executive specialty. A great AOK kata champion in the executive traditional division was Jason Castro who won in executive Traditional Kata division and the black belt heavy weight sparring. Karen Schroeder, an AOK icon, won in the women’s executive 32 Plus kata division and the women’s black belt executive sparring. Alma Voorhies and her husband were the dynamic duo cleaning up with wins in the 45 plus executive black belt kata and sparring divisions.
Other adult kata champions were Gutemveog Bisserth, the adult black belt adult traditional kata champion with a name that I still have trouble pronouncing correctly. The amazing Daniel Perez won the black belt self-defense division. Daniel also won the black belt men’s executive sparring division. Mike Palomo won the black belt men’s 35 plus kata division. Mike Palomo and Daniel Perez are students of the now deceased Texas Black Belt legend Richard Dixon. They both are top AOK promoters and champions.
Black belt men and women sparring finalized with some impressive competition. One of my favorite people I’ve known and watched since he was a junior competitor is Matt Tyler. Matt always gives 100% and has been a black belt sparring and kata champion for many years. Matt won the men’s black belt adult middle weight sparring division.
Other champions of notoriety in the Junior and adult divisions were Avery Tomastik – BB 12-13 kata, Mark Monroe – adult amateur specialty, Zachary Wright – 10-11 advanced kata, Amari Alverez – 14-15 BB sparring and Anthony Garza – Boys advanced 14-15 sparring, Roman Lopez – advanced junior specialty, Brea Lewis – intermediate junior specialty and Samuel Strong 10-17 BB traditional kata.
The tournament finalized with the black belt Grand Champions. They were Jason Castro – BB kata, Daniel Perez – BB men’s sparring champion and Karen Schroeder women’s sparring champion.