This year’s 40th Battle of Texas was held at the beautiful San Luis Convention Center in Beautiful Galveston, Texas. There’s been so many tournaments there I lost track several years back. The Cindy Benavidez family and Al Garza with his Garza’s Premiere Martial Arts organization Hosted this long running event. Master Jessie Benavidez was the former promoter before Cindy and Al Garza took over. Most competing at the event weren’t even born when this tournament first started back in 1978. An added bonus to the event was the Galveston Mardi Gras being held on the same weekend. A Mardi Gras parade passed by the venue during competition adding to the festive atmosphere inside the ball room.
After a short rule meeting the demo divisions ran and these little dragons were on their best for moms and dads with 12, 1st place winners including myself… just kidding. I couldn’t beat these guys any way. By the way, Zulfi Ahmed showed up with a bunch of students and an army of black belts. These kids were there to give it their best and to get their chance to win the day.
Gabriel Cabral was on top winning a massive 11 and under junior black belt specialty forms division. Evan Tomastik was phenomenal winning in another large 12-17 junior black belt specialty form division. Chelsea Lopez won the 18 – 34 adult black belt specialty forms division and Johnnie Murphy managed to overcome a big group in black belt 18 plus weapons 35 + specialty forms.
«« Article finishes below gallery. »»
Athena Land won black belt junior self-defense with Mark Briggs winning the adult black belt self-defense. In junior female kata Gabriel Cabral was on a roll winning another first in the 10-11 junior black belt kata. Layla Itzel De La Garza won the 12-13 female kata. Nick Leonard of Bushi Ban Karate in Pasadena was first in the 14-15 black belt kata. Other junior black belt kata champions were Matthew Quigley male 16-17, Divia Escobedo female 10-11, Kimberley Morales female 16-17, Abdulhadi Lqbal boys 10-11,the amazing Jaden Nguyen won boys 12-13 and one of my favorite junior champions Christian Montifar, won boys 14-15.
Adult kata champions were Danielle Patterson women’s 18-31 division, Seth McFerren male 18-34 kata and my favorite executive, Daniel Perez won the men’s black belt executive kata. Other black belt champions were Alma Voorhies winner of women’s executive 45+ forms. Travis Owens was first in a big men’s 45+ division. Kazi Zuhayr was the adult traditional kata champion. Tia Buras of Wilson Karate Academy won the women’s 18-31 kata. The Junior and adult under belt kata and sparring divisions also terminated with some amazing contest’s as well as large under belt Sparring divisions. Larry Fields and Wayne Hinkle ran the new and awesome breaking divisions with Wayne Hinkle ending up first in the adult black belt division. Larry Fields is to be commended for his hard work bringing breaking into the AOK’s required divisions this year.
Black belt sparring was the highlight of the tournament with Danielle Patterson winning the women’s 18-31 division and Alma Voorhies was the women’s 32+ sparring division champion. Jacobie Gilder was his usual awesome self with an great and entertaining show of talent and skill in his men’s 18-34 light weight sparring division. Taz Bariere was unstoppable in the men’s black belt middle weight sparring division overcoming some well-known champions.
Jonathon Davis took the men’s heavy weight sparring division in his battle with Kazi Zuhayr. 2017 State Champion, Jiran Walker is now an executive black belt and ended up winning the men’s light weight division. Daniel Perez rolled over his competition in the men’s black belt 35+ heavy weight division. David Patterson and D.E Chambers slugged it out in the men’s final fight of a large 45+ heavy weight division with David Patterson ending up the winner. Louis Vasquez defeated Charles Shedd in the men’s 55+ sparring champion. The whole event ended on time and was well run. Thanks to Cindy Benavidez and Al Garza for producing this excellent event.