The AmeriKick Internationals have always been a staple of the sport karate world. It has always exemplified the competitive spirit in a positive atmosphere, and the drive to be ever bigger and better.

This year there was another piece that added to the appeal. The merger between Team All Star and Team AmeriKick made this year’s AmeriKick Internationals a debut, of sorts, for the new unified face of these two great teams. And did they ever show the world what they were capable of.

Competition was fierce and the energy, and tension, was high. But The 2017 AmeriKick Internationals was an event that pushed competitors to their best and showcased some of the very best sport karate has to offer. The event was held in the Pennsylvania Convention Center in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. It is a sprawling complex that afforded the AmeriKick Internationals an enormous space in which to hold their event. There are some tournaments that feel a little cramped, not so here. Plenty of space for warming up, and spectators to freely wander.

The AmeriKick Internationals is slowly growing into something a little different. Starting on Thursday, there were Martial Arts business seminars in the attached Marriot Hotel. This was followed by a Hyper Training Camp that took up most of the evening. This effort to build both the martial arts and business skills of the arriving competitors and families gave the AmeriKick Internationals a different feeling than many other big events.

Friday started off with all Traditional Challenge, Team, Demo, and Creative, Musical, and Extreme Forms divisions. For the fighters, we had Adult Men and Women’s Teams and Continuous.

There was one other aspect here as well. Hyper had its own area and contributed to the tournament with its Weapons Challenge on Friday afternoon and various other events during both days of the AmeriKick Internationals.

Saturday Eliminations progressed with great enthusiasm and showed some truly spectacular competition. It was a high-energy day that set the stage for the Saturday Night Finals.

The Night Time Finals electrified the crowd. There were some incredible forms and intense sparring competition that had everyone on the edge of their seat. The Men’s and Women’s Open Weight Sparring was a newer division, and all the fighters involved put on a clinic for high-level sparring competition. Evelyn Neyens took the title for the Women’s Open Weight Championship while Avery Plowden took the Men’s Open Weight Championship. Both fights were fantastic and showcased the skill and determination of all the fighters competing.

The forms competition was no less intense. Sammy Smith and Cole Presley took Men’s and Women’s Overall Weapon’s Grands and Allen Davies lit the crowd on fire with his win in the 14-17 year-old Overall Forms Grands.

Hyper had its own showing for the Finals, bringing competitors from all over the country and world together to compete in the Hyper challenges. It was with phenomenal skill and a sense of fun that these athletes showed the crowd their best tricks and stunts, and a truly admirable sense of sportsmanship. It was a reminder that no matter the skill level, martial arts has always been about respect and support. Hyper demonstrated those ideals beautifully.

The AmeriKick Internationals filled the weekend from end to end and showcased the best Sport Martial Artists in the world pushing their limits in pursuit of victory. It was an inspiring, humbling, and wonderful experience to be a part of. With the merger between AmeriKick and All Star, and the focus on the business of martial arts, the AmeriKick Internationals is on its way to becoming something a little different than the traditional karate tournament. And that is truly exciting.


Corey Holzman