The North American International Karate Championships (NAIKC) may only be rated as a regional event in 2014 but promoter Conell Loveless went BIG this year and had a turn out that would make a national rated event proud. Competitors participated in packed divisions for both black belt and under belt with top competitors in house to give the event an excellent atmosphere. Held September 12-13, 2014 in the Adoba Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, the event attracted top competitors like Avery and Morgan Plowden, Gina Thornton, Jackson Rudolph, Nick Cain, Kevin Walker alongside many talented local competitors from the midwest area.

Jeremy Elliott of Canada has been competing in self-defense for years and he found himself facing a huge division of over 20 competitors during the Friday night eliminations for self-defense. Elliott was able to throw his uke Jacob Clearly everywhere and take the win for the event. Also at the event were the Chase sisters who competed in self-defense. With three girls in the family, the uke selection is pretty easy. Brigid Chase beat up her sisters to the delight of the crowd and the judges. The rest of Friday night was all about the weapons, continuous sparring and team sparring. Weapons winners for the evening included Nick Cain, Jackson Rudolph and Cody Sanders who competed in the adult division for the first time.

On Saturday, the weapons were put away and the forms divisions and point sparring eliminations were held. Justin Chang of Team AKA decided to try his hand in the adult divisions to success with a win in the men’s open musical division. The adult traditional divisions were intense. With some great kicks, Jeff Doss was able to win the adult Korean division and go to stage for the traditional grands.

Paul Piazza was able to take the win in a large 17 & under open musical forms division. The event decided to do something a little different and have all contemporary and traditional winners compete in a run offs with the top three competitors going to the finals for the grand championships. Unfortunately, Piazza twisted his ankle on an acrobatic trick during the run-offs and was unable to make it to the stage.

In women’s fighting, Meghan Sims, Morgan Plowden, Michelle Antolic and Tressa Young all made it to the final four. Plowden defeated Thornton in an intense match-up. The men’s divisions were full of talent and great fights. In the men’s lightweight division, Sergio Brandon and Adam Medford went into overtime with Medford getting the sudden victory point to win the division. Kevin Walker, Avery Plowden and Jared Roberts joined Medford on the stage representing the middleweight, heavyweight and super heavy divisions respectively. For men’s team sparring, Team KTOC and Team Plowden ended up as the final two teams going to the stage for the challenge.

The NAIKC finals opened with a demo showcasing Team Revolution followed by junior team sparring with the three little guys on Team Revolution taking the win! After the excitement of team fights, the finals turned to continuous sparring which was an opportunity to see South Carolina’s little Trent Spence. Spence has been tearing it up in the 11 & under fighting divisions and was a double winner in continuous and point sparring at the NAIKC event.

The kids forms and weapons grand championships were full of talent and a bit of controversy. For the junior traditional grand championships, Jacob Cleary faced Hope Chase. Cleary was the traditional weapons winner and the Japanese forms winner. Chase had won the Korean division. After the three performances, the scores gave the win to Chase but it was determined that Chase had gone over on the three minute time limit for her performance. As a result, she was disqualified and Cleary was declared the winner. In the youth contemporary forms/weapons grand championship, Jackson Rudolph left nothing to chance with a great performance and the backing of the crowd as he took the win.

The adults also had two grand championships in forms and weapons. In the traditional grand championship competition, Jeff Doss and Brett Thomason faced the intensity of Devon Javois’ Japanese routine. Javois is in his first year as an adult and is making waves. He was declared the winner this evening. Cody Sanders, Justin Chang, Ewell Carter and Tressa Young were the competitors for the contemporary grand championships. Although Sanders, Chang and Carter were flying high with their routines, it was Tressa Young’s bo routine that was noticed by the judges as the Canadian walked away with the grand championship title and cash prize.

In the finals for men’s team sparring, it was a close beginning as the score was tied 15-15 after the second round with Avery Plowden bringing Team Plowden back from a deficit. The final fight pitted Anthony Merricks of Team KTOC against Alphonzo Bowe¬†of Team Plowden. Merricks started out strong and kept the heat on to give Team KTOC the men’s team sparring win.

Although Plowden was not the name on the billboard for team sparring, it was certainly the name in individual point divisions. In women’s point sparring, Morgan Plowden first defeated Meghan Sims to move into the final round. Michelle Antolic eliminated Tressa Young to move on to challenge Plowden. Plowden used her legs to her advantage as she defeated Antolic in a fast paced match. For the men, Avery Plowden narrowly defeated Jared Roberts to advance to the finals to face Kevin Walker who had eliminated Adam Medford. In the final fight, Walker put on a great show but it was all Plowden this evening as Morgan’s younger brother brought another title back to the Plowden household for the night.

The kids grand champions – including the under belt champion – all received Microsoft Surfaces and the adult champions all received cash prizes. The promoter even gave cash to some of the runners-up! Following all the competition, a weapons seminar with Jackson Rudolph and sparring seminar with the Plowden siblings were offered on Sunday morning. Promoter Loveless (ConnyLove) left nothing to chance and went BIG in 2014 to put the NAIKC on the sport karate competition map. He’s planning even bigger for 2015!