This year’s Texas Karate Organizations final showdown was held at the San Luis Convention Center in Galveston Texas. The San Luis Convention Center is elegant and has a classical ambience that take you back to a more nostalgic time. Wayne Nguyen who is president of the TKO produced this event. In attendance were hundreds of anxious competitors attempting to win one of the beautiful TKO championship rings. Also in attendance were some impressive NBL and “LEAGUE” champions competing helping as officials.
November 18 was amazingly warm with great weather in beautiful Galveston Texas. I was especially grateful for the warm atmosphere of all in attendance. It reminded of a big family reunion. I was able to see many old friends and it felt like family. The added bonus of the next week being Thanksgiving helped tremendously and gave the whole tournament a festive atmosphere.
Starting off the festivities were team forms with little Annalise Bolen’s Team Sushi Squad nudging out Team Armstead for their win. Among the first divisions were Black belt adult women’s weapon’s, it was won by Paige Bantam followed by the black belt adult traditional weapons with Brenda Guitierrez pulling ahead of the other competitors and a first place state championship. Thomas Saenz took home the championship in the 17 and under black belt Traditional weapons division. I would like to mention an up and coming black belt named Alejandro Bernal who has evolved and is always friendly and smiling no matter what. I could take a few lessons from him. Alejandro won a state championship in stick fighting.
Next up was the black belt seniors. Anthony Allen from Dallas pulled out his walking cane and ran a well-executed technical weapons kata for his win in the 35+ black belt weapons. Carol Parenti of Woodlands Texas was her usual precise and consistent self-running an awesome contemporary sword kata and won the women’s 35+ weapons State Championship. Carlo Falcon won the men’s 45+ kata division. Tracey Armstead won the 35+ black belt traditional division then turned around and took out the 18+ black belt creative kata division.
Trace Megellan was ruler of the men’s 18+ adult black belt creative weapons with his patented high speed dynamic demonstration of what a world champion can do with a bo staff. Zach Johnson looked a lot like his dad David Johnson winning the adult men’s black belt traditional kata. Brenda Gutierrez came back to the spot light with her amazing Japanese Go Pai Sho kata which by the way, Carol Parenti also ran Go Pai Sho in women’s senior 45+ black belt division for their state championships.
Junior under black belt traditional kata winner was Anika Vemulapacci . Contemporary black Belt junior kata champions were Leal Alejandro, Mason Maloney, Anthony Garcia, Joseph Dilan and Alex Garza. Black belt junior weapons champions were Annalise Bolen AKA Team Sushi as well and a little cute dynamo. Also Thomas Saenz, Dylan Joseph, Alex Garza and my favorite Nguyen, the amazing Jaden Nguyen, son of the White Ninja.
There was a stick fighting championship ran by the great champion and TKO promoter Robert Montifar. Stick fighting has grown in Texas and is awesome to watch. Also I asked and yes, it hurts when you are hit by those rubber coated PVC sticks. The Amazing world champion Larry Fields ran the breaking part of the state championships. It finalized with some great routines and hard hitting breaks.
Adult black belt Sparring State Champions were Jose Verte 18 + light wt men, Chance Turner 18+ middle wt men, Jason Holms 35+ light wt men, Owen Gunn 35+ heavy wt men, Derrick Wilson 45+ men, Alyssa Gullien 18+ feather wt women, Dani Patterson 18+ light wt women and the powerful but elegant Karen Schroeder women’s senior champion.
Junior black belt Sparring champions were Mason Maloney 6-7 male, Emily Montenegro 6-7 female, Emmanuel Perez 10-11 male, Leia Teal 12-13 male, Marilyn Garner 12-13 female, Logan Price 14-15 male, Jacqueline Yanez 14-17 female, Alex Garza 16-17 male and again my main man Jaden Nguyen.
In the night time finals, world champion and one of the few men to ever catch an arrow in flight on tv, with millions watching him do it on the Discovery channel, I mean the Iayatola of RocknRola… Larry Fields, who overcame Lee Ordonio to win the breaking state championship. Then Davan Petaway took everyone and cleaned up winning the junior black belt forms grand championships. Paige Bantam was totally awesome with her fast and dynamic kama form in adult contemporary weapons and awed the crowed for her Grand Championship. Luke Villareal was unstoppable in the Junior weapons.
Adult traditional kata was a showdown between Tracy Armstead and Zach Johnson with Zach overcoming Tracy with a well-executed Gojushiho Kata.
On a special note, Sean Dumalo was there representing “The League” a recent rival to the NBL. It is supported by a number of the National Black Belt League’s world champions and an entourage of west coast heavy hitters. “The League” was the original brainchild of Tony Kattengell with Sean Dumalo as his point man and partner. They were there to check out Texas and its wealth of great martial artist. Maybe they will one day have their world championships in Texas.
Last up in the night time finals was adult sparring. Chance Turner overcame Jose Vente for the elimination men’s fight. Alyssa Guillen won the adult women’s grand championship. The men’s final match was a showdown between two great world champions. Jason Holmes and Chance Turner who fought it out for the right to be this year’s men’s sparring grand champion. This was a classic fight of the speed of youth against the ring savy of experience. A memorable and awesome contest and when the final moments closed Chance Turner emerged as the 2017 men’s sparring grand champion.
This Year’s 2017 TKO State Championships was a successful event and well run. Congratulations to its founder Wayne Nguyen for all the hard work and a fun event for all.