US Capitols Classics is always a classy event. Held at the beautiful Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland over the weekend of August 2-3, 2013, the event boasted a sophisticated venue and some excellent competition. As always, some faces from the past were on hand to attend the event with appearances by Linda Denley, Shah and Hakim Alston, Steve “Nasty” Anderson and special guest, Billy Blanks.
Friday night at the US Capitol Classics was fun and competitive. There were some huge divisions for men’s weapons and forms and 16-17 boys. Nick Schneider ended up the winner in men’s creative weapons while Austin Jorgensen managed to come out on top after a tie with Sen Gao in men’s musical weapons. The soft style war moves forward between these two guys. Austin Crain won men’s extreme form and was looking well on his way to repeat his success from the recent US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships. Sammy Suddeth was in the adult divisions and she looked strong!
Marissa Mayer and RaeLynn Perkins took on a challenger and won the women’s team sparring competition. In men’s team sparring, there were four teams and all four were good. In the end, Team Paul Mitchell (Cass Sigmon, Justin Ortiz and Alex Lane) narrowly defeated Team MASMAL to advance to the finals. Team Impex (Avery Plowden, Troy Binns and Jadi Tention) took on Team Next Level to take the spot against Paul Mitchell for the night finals.
The finals open with team forms. In synchronized teams, it was a battle between Team AKA, Team Amerikick/AKA and Team JPM. The Team AKA boys messed up a bit and Jackson Rudolph and Kyle Montagna were right on to give Team Paul Mitchell the win. In 13 & Under weapons, a rare bo drop by Dallas Liu opened the door for Isabella Caracta, Derek Meegan and Sage Sweeny. Meegan took advantage with his strong traditional bo routine which garnered him the overall title for the evening. Jackson Rudolph was in his zone in 14-17 weapons. He had some new music and some new moves that obviously worked well as he went home with the overall grand championship title defeating Mackensi Emory, Gigi Valdivia and Cole Eckert.
Dallas Liu got a second bite at the apple in forms competition – and this time he made no mistakes. Liu defeated Isabella Caracta, Derek Meegan and Jae Sweeny for the 13 & Under Forms overall grand championship. Known lately for his double bo routine, Reid Presley showed diversity with a win in the 14-17 forms overall grands with his extreme routine. He defeated Sammy Smith, Gigi Valdivia and Ross Kohnstam for this title.
The US Capitol Classics also is the home of the China Open which runs simultaneously. Sen Gao was able to bring home two China Open wins – one in weapons and one in forms. But, in a rare occurrence, he went home without any NASKA titles from this event.
The demo team competition was very competitive. The kids from K.I.C.K. Team of Georgia stepped it up and kept Team Infinity on their toes. In the end, it was Team Infinity of Wisconsin going home with the demo team win during the finals.
Promoter Dennis Brown offers a few ‘extra-curricular’ events during his 2013 night time finals. One was a Point MMA demonstration by Marco Johnson and Amari Williams. The match ended with Johnson being declared the winner. And then it was time for awards. Montez Dennis and his wife along with John Sharkey of Team AKA were honored this evening.
In the tricking competition, there were bodies flying all over the place. Team Suicide, led by Danny Etkin, won the team challenge and then Danny went on to win the 17 and under one-on-one competition. Will Coneys made everyone gasp with his double front flip as he went on to win the adult challenge. A breaking demo was next with Grandmaster Elton Trower breaking boards with a thumb, a spear hand and then with a palm against sharp nails in a board. We prefer using a hammer and other modern tools to destroy boards and bricks but seeing breaking demos reminds everyone of the power of the martial arts.
Justin Ortiz of Team Paul Mitchell faced Jadi Tention of Team Impex for the first semi-finals match for the men’s sparring overall title. Ortiz was working his defensive side kicks on Tention but Tention’s speed and reach were too much for Ortiz tonight and Tention advanced to the final round. Avery Plowden of Team Impex and Kodaq Wray of Team Next Level fought the other semi-finals match for the men’s sparring grand championship title. Plowden was not there to play and he brought his A game tonight. Despite Wray’s efforts, Plowden was able to get and hold a lead through the match and advance to the final round to face his teammate Tention for the grands.
For the men’s sparring grand championship, Avery Plowden faced teammate Jadi Tention. Tention jumped out to an initial lead and Plowden had to play catch-up the rest of the match. Just because they are teammates does not mean that Plowden held back at all. When Tention started to relax a bit as time was running out, Plowden saw his chance and was able to score but it was not enough as time ran out and Tention was declared the overall grand champion winner.
Caitlin Dechelle cleaned up in the women’s divisions. She started out the night winning the women’s weapons title defeating Becca Ross and Stephanie Figueroa. Dechelle was not content with just one grand championship win because that would not be balanced. So she won the women’s forms grand championship title as well.
Seven competitors went to stage for men’s weapons but only one could be declared the winner. They all performed well and in the end it was Austin Jorgensen’s drunken style performance that was declared the winner. Another seven men stepped up to the stage for men’s forms. It was a formidable line-up but Austin Crain has been training hard. He decided to follow up his grand championship win from the US Open earlier this year with another grand championship title and show everyone that he’s not just some new kid in the adult divisions.
In the women’s sparring grand championship, teammates Raelynn Perkins and Marissa Mayer faced off. Perkins had a lead throughout the match but Mayer tied it up at the buzzer. In the sudden victory overtime, Mayer was able to score first and bring home the title.
The 2013 finals ended with men’s team sparring. Team Paul Mitchell faced Team Impex. In round one, Justin Ortiz of Paul Mitchell gave his team a nice 5 point lead after he used his speed and great kicks to defeat Troy Binns 8-3. Then Jadi Tention of Team Impex stepped into the ring to face Alex Lane of Paul Mitchell. The two had not fought for many years and last time, the match had been fairly even. Lane called Tention out and Tention responded by defeating Lane 10-0, mainly with blitzes. This put Impex back in the driver’s seat with a 5 point lead.
In the final round, it was Avery Plowden of Team Impex against Cass Sigmon of Team Paul Mitchell. Sigmon had to attack because his team was behind. Plowden knew it and took advantage of it. Sigmon was able to score a few points and just when it looked like he was going to have the advantage, Plowden would return fire and score some points of his own. In the end, Sigmon could never pull ahead enough to make a difference and Team Impex ended as the overall team champions for the event.