It’s considered the biggest martial arts event for open sport karate competition in the world and the 2016 US Open lived up to the hype.
Thousands of competitors and spectators converged on Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida the weekend of July 8-9, 2016 for the US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships. For 2016, the US Open introduced more sparring opportunities than ever before with new youth and underbelt team sparring divisions, adult and youth open weight divisions for all ages and continuing with point sparring, continuous sparring and clash sparring as in prior years.
The competition was fierce at all levels with competitors vying for ISKA world championship titles as well as a chance in the Night of Victory Friday night for underbelt and amateur black belts and the Night of Champions on Saturday night for the pro level black belts. The Night of Victory featured a ton of top under belt competitors who had won their divisions as well as amateur black belts with forms and weapons performances being live streamed on SMA-Tv with SportMartialArts.com. Over 45,000 people had watched the live stream of the Night of Victory within a few days of the event putting the future martial arts champions front and center.
The pro level competitors compete for NASKA grand championships and the most exciting divisions get called to the stage in the Night of Champions to compete live on ESPN2 and ESPN3 for ISKA world championship titles. Competitors put in their all for a coveted chance on the stage at the US Open.
The junior team sparring divisions were well received and Team Straight Up boys defended their ongoing team sparring dominance with a win over Team ATL. Junior fighter Bailey Murphy of Team Straight Up took it farther by making it to the finals in boys 14-17 open weight fighting and being invited to compete on stage in the Night of Champions. He faced fighter Blake Spence. The final match was all Murphy as the boys put on a great show for the live ESPN audience. Although they didn’t get to the stage, the girls 14-17 open weight fighting was great with a final match between Gabrielle Cunha and ?? from the United Kingdom. It would be Cunha with the win.
In men’s open weight fighting and men’s team sparring, it came down to Team Paul Mitchell. For the open weight, Tamas Imre faced Zsolt Moradi with Moradi coming out the winner. In team sparring, it was Team Paul Mitchell 2 (Kameren Dawson, Richard Veres, Tamas Imre) defeating Team Paul Mitchell 1 (Zsolt Moradi,Justin Ortiz, Laszlo Gombos) in overtime. The day time eliminations offered a lot of exciting fight match ups in all divisions. For the women, Ashely Firouzi left a mark on Emma Levy as Firouzi sent Levy calling for a medic in round two of the women’s grand championship match. In the end Firouzi took the overall women’s grand championship title.
In the men’s point sparring competition, it was another Paul Mitchell free-for-all. In the super light division, John Curatolo defeated Richard Veres to move into the lightweight grand championships. But Curatolo’s march to the stage was stopped short by Justin Ortiz of Team Paul Mitchell. Ortiz faced the welterweight winner, teammate Laszlo Gombos. The two fought it out on stage with Gombos taking the win. In the heavyweight competition, fights ended with blood, guts and tears but when the smoke cleared, it was Brayan Rodriguez, Zsolt Moradi, Tamas Imre and Kameren Dawson as the final heavyweight four. In the end, Imre and Moradi faced off for the heavyweight title with Moradi taking the win.
In the 14-17 boys ISKA forms championships, Danny Etkin edged out what is probably the most dynamic group of young martial arts competitors out there right now for the title. He faced Shaquan Parson, Derek Meegan, Allen Davies and Aidan Considine. Danny was not done with just one title – he got greedy and took the 14-17 boys ISKA weapons world title for the evening as well.
Sammy Smith is having a great first year as an adult as she was the women’s forms ISKA world champion . Her teammate Mackensi Emory spun her kamas to get the women’s ISKA weapons title. For the men’s CMX forms championship, Tyler Weaver, Jr was the winner with some great moves. The young upstart Ariel Torres is unstoppable in men’s traditional forms and his performance at the Night of Champions solidified his reign with another win and an ISKA world championship title.
The exciting synchronized forms and weapons championships featured some great martial arts competition. Aidan Considine and Danny Etkin of Team Paul Mitchell were the winners in synchronized forms. In the synchronized weapons match up, Jackson Rudolph and Jake Presley were declared the winners.
The Night of Champions also featured some great breaking performances as well as other martial arts performances in continuous sparring and grappling. In breaking, Chip Townsend did a world record break as he plowed through 4 baseball bats with his shin.
The men’s weapons competition had the crowd on its feet. Great performances by Shahin Jahanvash, Tyler Weaver, Jr. Cole Presley and Jackson Rudolph were overcome by the double bo routine of Reid Presley. Presley managed the first and only 10s of the evening as he took 5 perfect 10s and a standing ovation from the crowd to take the men’s ISKA weapons world championship title for the night.
It was a brilliant night for sport karate and martial arts competition at the 2016 US Open Night of Champions. World championships were earned and new heights reached for the sport.
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