covers the finals of the 2011 US Capitol Classics

The Kahan Brothers won synchronized teams at the finals of the 2011 US Capitol Classics

In 2010, the US Capitol Classics and China Open moved to a new location in National Harbor, Maryland at the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center. The mammoth and beautiful building that encompasses the Gaylord Resort was again the setting for the 2011 US Capitol Classics and China Open. Held the weekend of August 5-6, 2011, the event promoters made some improvements but still kept the glamorous feel from 2010 for the event.

A much larger turn-out for the sport karate and soft-style competitions was a definite boasting right for promoter Dennis Brown. More importantly, the event drew a collection from sport karate history with attendance by some of the sport’s best competitors of old – Anthony Price, Richard Plowden, Terry Creamer, Steve “Nasty” Anderson, Linda Denley and Tony Young who all spent some time judging, reminiscing and even coaching their students in competition. At the finals, the bring-back expanded more as Jeff Smith and John Chung also showed up.

Friday night competition was the place for extreme and musical forms and weapons as well as the run-offs for team fighting. Becca Ross made the first statement with a win over Caitlin Dechelle in women’s musical weapons. The biggest adult division had to be the men’s musical weapons competition and Kalman Csoka was the top scorer. Csoka cleaned up actually in musical and bladed creative weapons to assure a spot in the finals.

Five teams were on hand for the men’s team sparring competition. Full Circle made everyone take notice by fielding two teams for competition as well as a women’s team (for which there were no challengers). In the initial match, Full Circle 2’s line up lost by a mere point to Team Victory. There was controversy and complaints of poor scorekeeping but the win stood and Victory moved on to face Full Circle 1. In the other bracket, Team Paul Mitchell’s makeshift line-up saw Alex Lane back in competition after nursing himself back to health from an injury. He had returned at US Open and continues getting back into the competition spirit. Paul Mitchell took out Team Straight Up’s Cody Nascene, Kevin Braxton and Troy Sexton to secure a spot in the finals.

In the final round, Full Circle 1 left nothing to chance against Team Victory. Jason Grenier opened up the fights with a 6-1 win over Sam Simeon. Of note, Rich Plowden, the son of fighting legend Richard Plowden, had a solid match against Hamed Firouzi that resulted in a 7-7 tie. Ross Levine gave up little to Troy Binns in the anchor match with an 8-4 win to advance Team Full Circle to the finals to face Team Paul Mitchell.

During the Saturday eliminations, there were some color battles going on and teams showed their rivalries. The team that seemed the one everyone most wanted to beat was Team Full Circle. The Full Circle gold was everywhere in the sparring divisions and most of the time in the final matches for fighting you could see the distinctive gold.

Over in the 14-15 girls point sparring ring, Ashley Dahlquist wearing the Team Straight Up purple duked it out for the first place title against Jasmine Kitterman of Team Full Circle. Not only were the girls intense but their fans in the crowd were cheering like maniacs. In the end, the smaller Kitterman was able to hold on to a lead and win 8-5 for the title.

Men’s soft style forms was exciting at the event as Marco Johnson returned to performance. Johnson was the winner in the division with Austin Jorgenson in second and Mickey Lee in third.

In kids’ forms and weapons, the crew watched many, many forms and weapons performances and when asked to comment, they immediately exclaimed “Tyler Powell is dope.” Powell of Team 100% Performance put together a creative routine that included a double-leg split and made his extreme competitors take notice. Although Powell did not win the grand championship title for his category, he made quite the impression.

In women’s lightweight sparring, Morgan Plowden, the daughter of fighting legend Richard Plowden, found herself facing Colbey Northcutt of Team All Stars. Plowden held nothing back and defeated Northcutt with an 8-1 score. Plowden is currently finishing her fourth year of college at the University of Michigan – Dearborn where she is majoring in Health Policy. It looked like the young Ms. Plowden would also be moving into the run-offs for the grand championships. However, a new face – that of Shenoah Cassidy-Miller of Canada stopped Plowden’s drive to first place as Cassidy-Miller scored at the buzzer to win 5-4 and advance out of the lightweight division. An excited Cassidy-Miller moved on to the run-offs while Plowden discussed her performance with her father and was overheard stating, “you know I’m never moving out of your house Dad.” The look on the senior Plowden’s face showed that he has finally met an opponent he has no chance of defeating.

In the heavyweight men’s sparring competition, it turned out as expected. Ross Levine dominated and ended up the heavyweight men’s grand champion. It was the lightweight and middleweight divisions that provided the mystery. In the super lightweight competition, Dylan Suarez of Florida in a Team Full Circle uniform defeated Ulysses Ramos for the divisional win. He was eliminated in the lightweight grand championships by his teammate Hamed Firouzi.

In the middleweight competition, the light middleweight division was filled with interesting and talented fighters. Jason Brown of Canada almost made it to the final round but he lost to Kodaq Wray in a semi-final match. Sam Gagnon of Canada also made quite a run for the money but Troy Binns of Team Victory eliminated Gagnon with a 3-2 win. In the end, it was Binns versus Wray for the title in a high-spirited fight. It ended with a 7-7 tie and went into overtime with Wray scoring the sudden victory point to advance.

The middleweight grand championship round was between Wray and none other than Richard A. Plowden (the younger). Plowden left nothing to chance and went after Wray with everything he had. The final score was 9-3 and Plowden moved on to the run-offs and was one win away from going to the stage.

In the 30 and over competition, Eugene Floyd almost perculated himself into the 30 and over grand champion spot. Floyd was stopped short by Gamal Byfield who won and advanced to the run-offs. Firouzi and Plowden met for a second time in the run-offs to determine who would go to the stage. Plowden started strong but Firouzi’s speed and ring experience were too much as Firouzi ended with a 6-3 win. Byfield faced Levine to see who would take the second spot. Byfield was game but Levine was too much as Levine defeated Byfield with a 9-2 final score. It would be teammates Levine and Firouzi on stage for the grand championship title.

For the 30 and over competition, Giselle Segura dominated for the women taking the women’s forms grand championship and the weapons grand championship. Drew Derrick-Bisbee of Full Circle was the men’s forms grand champion for 30 and over while Eric Tremblay of Canada won the weapons competition for the event.


The finals opened with the always fly promoter Dennis Brown greeting the crowd while wearing a most-fine brown suit. The Reid Temple Youth Choir provided the crowd with musical entertainment as well as singing the National Anthem.

It was on to martial arts competition as the mini-rivalry between Team Paul Mitchell’s Caitlin Dechelle and Marc Canonizado and Amerikick’s Kahan Boys – Josh and Jake Kahan was about to begin. These two teams have been trading wins at this event over the years with Kahan Boys winning in 2010 but in 2009, Dechelle and Canonizado were the winners. During the daytime eliminations, the Kahan Boys received the highest scores and this evening, they did it again!

Children’s competition was next with Amanda Chen opening the 13 & under weapons grand championships with her traditional bo. Chen’s intensity was followed by the intensity of Jackson Rudolph who won in traditional weapons. Normally Rudolph performs a creative bo routine but this time it was’s own 1-2 Watch Carson Crawford who would take that spot on stage. Sammy Smith is like the terminator for the girls musical weapons divisions as she is constantly on stage with her nunchucks and tonight was no different as she flipped, spun and threw the chucks in an extreme performance. Crawford’s sword was the final performance of the evening. Crawford had his own flashy performance to rival Smith even after recovering from an asthma attack that occurred on Friday night. This evening, the traditional performance of Jackson Rudolph got the votes of the judges.

The 14-17 weapons competition opened with Ross Kohnstam’s flashy nunchucks and tricks. He was flying around the ring and had the crowd cheering with what was turning out to be a fantastic performance when he lost control of a chuck and it flew out of his hand. Kohnstam is really ready for a win – the boy has been right on the fringes for quite some time now and we are expecting him to finally get his due soon! Kohnstam was followed Stephannie Figueroa and her traditional sword and then Cole Eckert and his traditional bo. Both Eckert and Figueroa stayed in focus with their performances. Jessica Goldman was the final competitor with an extreme chucks routine that had the crowd cheering. It was traditional again as Eckert took the honors.

More youth competition was next on the stage with the 13 and under forms finals. Danny Eckert took his cuteness to the stage again with a high-energy extreme performance that included an additional corkscrew to his form. Eckert’s performance was followed by that of Samantha “Sammy” Smith, on stage again – as expected – with an extreme performance and a brand new song. Amanda Chen was up for a second time as well with a traditional performance. The final performer was Alex Vecchio with his traditional routine and sporting a mohawk. It was traditional again as Amanda Chen was awarded the top spot after the scoring.

Cole Eckert was back for another chance at a title in the 14-17 forms competition. He was performing a traditional routine which had good odds at this event considering the titles so far. Vincent Scarduzio was next on the stage, hoping to change the judges’ flow and wow them with his extreme performance. Sarah Callande brought her traditional rendition to the stage next with deep stances and strong blocks. The final contender was Mackensi Emory with a musical performance that included a pretty awesome miss-leg webster out of a standing kick at the end that made everyone take notice. Scarduzio broke the traditional pattern by winning the title this evening.

The tournament is not just the US Capitol Classics – it is also the China Open so next on the stage were the winners from the Open Weapons and Open Forms divisions from the China Open tournament. Wong En Dee was first up with double steel whip chains. Chung Su Shua presented next with the qwan-dau. For the three minutes these gentlemen took the stage, imaginary massacres were taking place and it was a dangerous place to be. The final competitor was Tammy Lee with a qwan-dau as the weapon. In the end, Chung Su Shua was declared the winner.

In the men’s forms competition, it was Max Ehrlich, Samson Lee and Chung Su Shua. Ehrlich – last seen on the NASKA circuit as a very young junior, is now a full grown adult. He performed a Southern Style routine. Lee’s routine did not involve much footwork but showed strength in his stances and arms. Su Shua used a lot more stage than Lee to rival Ehrlich. It was Ehrlich this evening who would walk away with the China Open title.

Team 100% Performance provided entertainment with their winning demo team performance. This team rivals K.I.C.K. Team with its number of wins and dominance in this division over the past few years.

It was on to the Hall of Fame and VIP awards where Dennis Brown recognized all the great-ones at the event. A few words from Steve “Nasty” Anderson were next as he reflected on being asked whether the fighters of today are better than the fighters of his era. This is a question that is thrown around often. Anderson’s response – the fighters of today “fight in a manner I am unfamiliar with”. The result – the mystery still continues somewhat.

After the Hall of Fame/VIP portion, it was time for self-inflicted wounds and pain with a USBA breaking demonstration. Boards and brick power breaking demonstrations were performed as people attempted to make records with the number of bricks and boards demolished. The best break title for heavyweights went to Clint Murphy with a total of 10 concrete slabs being broken.

Things became a bit less painful but no less intense as the women’s weapons grand championship began next. Becca Ross sported a shiny white bo as she opened the competition. Traditional weapons were represented by Olivia Wicker of Minnesota and her plain wood bo. The final competitor was Caitlin Dechelle who tossed out the bo and entertained the crowd with her sword and extreme tricks. Sword beats bo! Dechelle gets the title.

Men’s weapons involved six different competitors with Austin Jorgenson starting out the fray. Jorgenson’s drunken sword performance has won at a number ofdifferent tournaments and he hoped that his performance this evening would be enough to overcome going first out of six strong competitors. Amerikick’s Jarrett Leiker was next on the agenda with a musical bo performance. Brent Thompson started the traditional weapons performances with an oar. Stephen Grasz brought his traditional sword to the stage next. The intensity of Kalman Csoka can be felt throughout the room when he starts his finals performances. His double sword routine had the audience going crazy with cheers – a tough performance to follow which was the fate of Marc Canonizado. Canonizado sported a single sword but also incorporated acrobatic kicks and tricks in his performance. Knowing he had a tough uphill battle, Canonizado brought good intensity to the stage. The cheers continued as Csoka awaited his scores and the result was as expected with two perfect 10s and the win.

Becca Ross and Caitlin Dechelle met again in women’s forms. This time Ross gave a traditional performance with her Korean form. Dechelle let the music blast as she brought energy to the stage with her extreme form. Two times for Dechelle as the judges gave her a second title for the evening.

Men’s forms was super-special as our own Jeff Langlois got a chance on stage with his win in the men’s Korean division. First to perform was Marco Johnson with his shirt off and all oiled up to a shiny sheen. He had the crowd roaring to open the competition. Josh Kahan was next with a very extreme performance that had his fan club screaming in the audience (fan club consisting of brother Jake and the DMV trickers). Stephen Grasz’s Japanese performance gave everyone a second chance to see his traditional side. Langlois was next and, despite the mispronunciation of his name, he stayed focused in his performance. Marc Canonizado was last with his mohawk and gold/black bumblebee uniform. Would the unusual combination and extreme performance be enough to overcome his opponents? As the crowd chanted “Marco” “Polo” it turned out that Canonizado was declared the winner by a mere 1/100th of a point.

Next was the fighting. The women’s sparring grand championships were on stage with Nicole Pelland of Full Circle fighting Alana Wegfahrt of Amerikick. Wegfahrt was on the defensive from the start as Pelland went on attack from the line. This served Pelland well until she ran into a side kick but by then, Pelland was up 4-0 and time ran out before Wegfahrt could score again. The final score was 4-2. Pelland then ran off the stage before a photo could be taken so she could remain the elusive celebrity that she aspires to be.

The men’s team sparring division was called to the stage next with Full Circle facing Team Paul Mitchell. Jason Grenier started out for Full Circle facing veteran Chris Rappold. Rappold was on the board first with a point and then asecond but Grenier landed a face shot with his foot that tied up the score and made Rappold much more cautious. The final match score was 5-2 in favor of Grenier. Hamed Firouzi stepped out covers the 2011 Capitol Classics

Ross Levine blitzes Alex Lane in the finals of the 2011 US Capitol Classics Karate Tournament

next for Full Circle and he was matched against Elias Lemon. This was an interesting match as both fighters are from the same state and martial arts school but are on rival teams. Lemon was similar to Rappold, opening with the first point. After that it was a point exchange and the match ended 3-3. Alex Lane of Paul Mitchell and Ross Levine of Full Circle were next. Lane needed his legs to score but Levine was not giving him the chance, the final score of this match was 4-2 and Full Circle continued to dominate the sparring divisions with another win.

In the men’s point sparring grand championship, Hamed Firouzi the lightweight faced Ross Levine the heavyweight. This was a surprise as Firouzi used his ring smarts to overcome Levine with a 6-3 score.

The evening ended with a kids tricking contest with youngsters flying around the stage. Jaylen Carr was the winner of the amateur competition with a whopping $500 prize. Next was the team trick competition that had Tyler Powell, Micah Karns, Sam Gallagher, Alex Patterson and Jacob Pinto flying around the stage in a chaotic mass of crazy acrobatics. Sam, Alex and Micah won the first round. During the second round, Tyler landed wrong and knocked his elbow out of the socket which pretty much ended the competition for the evening.

Despite the unexpected end to the finals competition, there was still a great after competition party to go to and we wouldn’t miss it!