From the Ironman divisions and special underbelt grands to the discounts at the hotel restaurant, the 2015 Grand Slam Open catered to competitors. Held the weekend of April 17-18, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia, the Grand Slam Open had a great turn out and fun competition. It was Nick Cain who managed to fight and perform his way to the Ironman Challenge title for the event and there were many other notable performances throughout the event.
Gina Thornton went home with two titles – women’s doubles and the women’s sparring grand championship. Her doubles partner was Carolyn Langston. A motley crew of Ross Levine, Jermond Wiggins and Wayne Easterling managed to win the men’s team sparring title even though Easterling left after his fight to get some treatment for a broken nose.
El Java Abdul-Qadir defeated Awesome Gerald Dawson to take the senior men’s sparring title while the final four men battled it out for the 18 and over title. Kevin Walker was first to advance as he defeated Landon Reynolds. Walker moved on to face Ross Levine for the title match. In the end, it was Levine with the title for 2016.
Paul Piazza was also a double winner with the junior contemporary forms grand championship title and the tricks battle honors. Juniors also got a chance on stage in fighting with continuous sparring finals and a win by Blake Spence in the 15-17 fighting finals. Hope Chase took the title for the contemporary weapons grand championships with her nunchuck routine.
In the kids’ traditional competition, Aaron Bailey was on the winner’s podium in the youth Japanese forms grand championships. The strength of Hope Chase brought her a second title of the evening in the youth Korean forms grand championship. Steve Kawamura traveled from Canada to win the adult traditional title and bring it back North.
You’re only as old as you feel and Mike Welch of Team Infinity wasn’t feeling old at all as he took the adult contemporary forms grand championship. A drop of the bo meant Welch would not win two titles. In the adult contemporary weapons grands, it was Chris Urcinola with the win this time.
A special highlight of the event was the reunion of Team CJB as promoter Jeff Doss brought Spencer Arrington to the event to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It was great to see history on the stage. Another good year for the Grand Slam Nationals – look forward to even more for the people in 2016.