Sun, heat, beach and ocean make the Texas Gulf coasts a Jewel of the south. Corpus Christi lies at the same latitude as many of the Caribbean's most prized playgrounds for entertainment. This puts it on the map as one of the top undiscovered pleasure capitals around the Gulf of Mexico and stands out as one of its best kept secrets. I've been there several times before and have always had a great time. It's easy to drive to and has an airport as well as other modes of transportation that rate this place as a good pick for a national karate tournament. So when one finally came to the place I made tracks for it. This tournament, Hosted by Chris and Cindy Gallio, was held on August 26th and 27th at the Ramada Inn Bayfront. Across the street from the waterfront and downtown with all the other cool night spots and entertainment.
As customary with all NBL national tournaments, Friday nights competition are supposed to consist of weapons forms, contemporary forms, breaking, self defense and continuous sparring. So the ball room was crowded with many events running at the same time and people scrambling to make the multiple divisions that they entered. Some of the adult weapons Champions that stand out were John Dengel, Johnnie Murphy, Don'a Pettaway, Willie Galvan and Gabriel Pena, all going head to head in heated competition and a chance at the next days forms grand's money. In the adult open hand contemporary forms, Tony Lopez was the man, taking out his competition without even breaking a sweat. Other contemporary open hand forms champions were John Dengel, and Gabriel Pena.
Junior weapons and contemporary forms turned out to be awesome. Team GOP's entire junior squad went head to head against everyone else. Marco and Clarissa Villanueva were in top form scoring multiple wins in the junior contemporary black belt forms and weapons. Ryan George Junior of New Orleans pulled a rabbit out of his hat, beating out the GOP A squad and the rest of the crowed to win Junior hard open musical forms. Joseph Pruiett of Houston was clearly in the saddle and looking like old times winning junior black belt creative 12 to 17 weapons. Zachary Tomlinson, Chris Martin, Renato De Leon, Taylor Prenzler and lets not forget Chris Gallio, were all winners in contemporary weapons and forms. Brittan Kabela won the team forms division.
Continuous sparring provided some upsets and unusual drama such as the men's middle weight division where Willie Galvan came out with both barrels blazing, which by the way is his style. Willie's first fight was intense and after a close contest he was stopped in his second fight by James Gunn who beat Willie in a hard fight. Team GOP took first place in boys and men's team sparring.
We all got to sleep late for Saturday's competition. The tournament didn't start till 10 AM. Thank You Cindy Gallio. I personally feel that the human body was not meant to do extraneous unnatural physical feats until at least mid morning, or is that I was not meant to do unnatural physical activities. Anyways, the competition began with all the traditional divisions and some contemporary forms and as usual Junior black belts were first followed by the adults.
Marco Villanueva was perfect in junior Japanese/Okinawa forms with Jordan Rios and Krystle Seley taking junior Korean forms divisions. Willie Galvan led the way in traditional forms winning adult soft and Kenpo/Kajukenbo. Adam Longoria ran his patented version of Gojushiho to take adult Japanese/Okinawa forms. Traditional weapons champions were Johnnie Murphy of Team Focus in the adult and Brittan Kabela of team GOP in junior division.
After what seemed an eternity and many under belt junior and adult divisions the black belt point sparring was up. Hakim Walker, a recent convert to Team GOP was in there and a number of the best fighters in the NBL were also in attendance. Junior black belt fighters were at their best. Have you ever noticed how some junior fights always seem to produce the loudest and most obnoxious people around the ring, then after the fight they miraculously return to normal and nice humans. Most of the attendees did behave themselves and added some excitement to the junior point sparring.
Senior point sparring fighters was a who's who of the senior NBL divisions with Norman Roberts of Team Focus winning the 45 plus and 35 plus heavy weight divisions against some of the best Cowboy and Bayou conference senior fighters. Derrick Wilson won the senior 35 plus middle weight division and Regina Thompson was the black belt women's sparring Grand Champion.
Adult 18 plus point sparring was a contest between top fighters vying for a chance at the $850.00 prize. Adult point sparring divisional champions for the grand's ended up being Tony Lopez, Jason Holmes, Adam Longoria, James Gunn, Hakim Walker and Jose Santamaria. After some tough run off battles Hakim Walker and Jason Holmes ended up going head to head for the money. The fight was a classic clash of styles with both fighters using every trick in the book and pulling rabbits out of their hats. After several time outs and some back and forth all out blitzes, Jason Holmes was victorious. Jason seemed stingy with that money as it was handed to him and had this most unhappy look on his face after Regina Thompson grabbed a handful of cash from Jason's hand and ran across the ballroom with it. Actually they were goofing off and Jason was happy to be the Battle On The Beach point sparring grand champion.
Marco Villanueva won the junior contemporary and traditional forms grand championships. Joseph Priuett had a strong nunchuck form and surpassed his competition to take the junior weapons grand. Willie Galvan Managed to beat Johnnie Murphy and Adam Longoria to win the traditional forms grand championship. Contemporary forms grand's came down to Gabriel Pena, Johnnie Murphy, Willie Galvan and Tony Lopez. Tony excelled in his open hand form to nudge out the competition to win the money and another adult grand championship.