What happens when you mix sun, sand, beach, Spanish and sport karate together? The 2014 Mexican Open! Bigger and better than ever, the event was held August 29-30, 2014 in Acapulco, Mexico and marked the second high caliber event of the new Open World Tour. Competitors from all over the world joined together for this major competition with some of the best going head-to-head in forms, weapons and sparring in the glorious Fairmont Princess Acapulco Hotel overlooking the Bay of Acapulco and Pacific Ocean.
Top competitors from the United States like Willie Hicks, Chad Cannon, Chance Turner and Ryan George were all in the house alongside some of the best from Mexico and Guatemala – two of the top supporting countries for the event. Chad Cannon showed his diversity with a win in the adult open musical forms divisions. In fighting, Guatemala’s infamous Team Schumann was able to fend off challenges from Team Gipsy of Texas and a Mexican team to move to the semi-finals to face Florida’s Team WKF for the men’s team sparring championship in the Saturday-night finals.
Much like the Irish Open, the Mexican Open offered an “open weight” division for fighters looking to be crowned overall champion. Ryan George of Louisiana emerged from the battles as one semi-finalist. He would face Juan Pablo Santiago of Guatemala for the open weight title.
Amanda Armendariz has grown up competing and is nearly at the adult divisions. She was the winner of the girls 15-17 musical weapons division and would head to the stage for the junior weapons grand championships. She also won the open musical weapons division after a tie with Leo Perez. Her brother Arturo Armendariz challenged top competitor Trace Megalles in weapons for the boys and Armendariz came out the winner. After spending the night in the Mexico City airport, Tim Conkel arrived in time to compete in and win the men’s musical weapons competition during the Saturday eliminations to secure a spot in the finals.
The Americans who came to fight at the Mexican Open found themselves facing the very talented latino fighters in the ring. The first upset was Jorge Morales’ win over Willie Hicks in a divisional match. Another latino fighter advanced to the finals to face Morales – Iker Marin – leaving no Americans available to challenge for the individual point sparring title. In the finals, Morales and Marin had a hard fight with Morales coming out the winner and taking the men’s individual point sparring grand championship title. His female counterpart was Mexico’s Ceci Calva who won the women’s point sparring grand championship.
The kids got a chance on stage in the Mexican Open finals for traditional forms, musical weapons and musical forms along with some fighting expos. In the junior team sparring challenge, Team ProK of Mexico ended up with the winning points and the title. Brandon Aguilar took the junior traditional grand champion title for the evening. Amanda Armendariz kept on her winning track to take the junior contemporary weapons grand championship title. Little Micayla Francisco traveled a long way and was able to take home the junior contemporary forms grand championship title.
Tim Conkel’s uncomfortable evening in the airport paid off as he got on stage for both weapons and forms at the event. Conkel’s weapons performance received four perfect 10s from the judge and gave him the overall championship title for adult weapons. Conkel then went on to perform his open hand routine and won an unprecedented second grand championship title for the night. The only championship he did not compete in was the adult traditional grands. It was Mexico’s Sergio Calva who won the adult traditional grand championship.
Some of the most exciting finals action came from the open weight competition and the men’s team sparring challenge. In open weight, the fight came down to Ryan George and Juan Pablo Santiago. The match was hard hitting with a lot of kicks, especially from the long legged George. In the end, when the dust settled it was George who was declared the winner. In the team fighting Guatemala’s Team Schumann opened strong gaining an 8-3 lead after the first fight. WKF was not backing down and in the second match WKF brought its team back within 2 points as the match ended 13-11. The final fight saw Pablo Moreno of Mexico facing Team Schumann’s Juan Pablo Santiago. Moreno brought his team back and in the process, Santiago took a hard elbow to the mouth. When the buzzer rang, the score was tied 15-15 and the players went into sudden victory overtime.
In overtime, Moreno went for the blitz over the top but Santiago’s sidekick was a split second faster and Santiago got the points. It would be Team Schumann with the team sparring win for the 2014 Mexican Open.
After the finals, it was time to explore the Acapulco night life and get ready to spend some time soaking up the sun the next day. Results from the 2014 Mexican Open count towards Open World Tour ratings as well as NBL seeding for the NBL Supergrands. For more information about the Open World Tour, go to www.openworldtour.com