The 2019 US Capitol Classics/China Open was a statement in elegance. Located at National Harbor Maryland in the beautiful Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, there was a sense of grandeur and luxury that isn’t matched anywhere else. Despite the beautiful and wonderful accommodations. The US Capitol Classics/China Open had one major issue.
Friday eliminations went off without a hitch. They were smooth, showcased some of the best in the country and had no technical issues. However, during Saturday eliminations the internet crashed, making Uventex, the SportMartial Arts streams and countless other functions and projects suddenly stop. Dennis Brown and his team handled this with grace and aplomb. Working with several other individuals, the internet issue was cleared up well enough for divisions to run, and the tournament to continue. It was a nightmare situation, and Dennis Brown’s team handled it as well as could be expected. There were delays because of this throughout the Saturday eliminations, but they were expedited as quickly as they could be, and the event ended surprisingly early, given the technical issues.
The Saturday Night Finals were a showcase of some of the best in karate, absolutely, but also some of the best from the China Open, creating a unique show that promoted both to new heights.
Isabella Nicoli started the night off strong, winning her 13 and Under Girls Form grand championship with her typical energy and focus.
Gabe Bastian battled against Mason Bumba in 13 and Under Boys Form Grands, and while his traditional was sharp, Mason took the title with an incredible extreme form.
In 14-17 Girls Weapons, Sydney Mason took the title from Noelle Jellison by the barest margin, both girls put on an amazing show, but Sydney took the win in her first stage performance on the NASKA World Tour!
In 14-17 Boy Weapons and great traditional pattern from Jake Presley was not quite good enough to beat Alex Mancillas, who took his first NASKA overall weapons grands.
From here, there was a shift in tone, Master Won demonstrated an amazing long sword pattern, providing inspiration for many older competitors. He was followed by Jong Pap, who held the entire audience captive with a truly astounding pattern that was a modern twist on a tai chi pattern. When he finished, he received a standing ovation from the entire crowd.
Team weapons was a battle between West Coast World and Team Competitive Edge, but after a bobble in the West Coast Edge’s performance, Competitive Edge took the title
Sammy Smith exploded onto the stage for Women’s Weapons but dropped mid form, and Julia Plawker came on with just as much intensity, wowing the crowd with and taking the title.
Men’s Forms was a battle between Will Nevitt and David Majia, both put on an incredible performance, but David won by 0.01 points, taking the title by the skin of his teeth.
Team Infinity’s Connor Chasteen and Diego Rodriguez-Florez took the team sync. Building momentum off of their win at the U.S. Open.
The Chinese Sanda division as something a little different for many of the spectators. The fighters were in full gear, but the rules seemed to be closer to kickboxing with some throws and grabs allowed. The round was two, two-minute rounds. Paschal and Omari fought hard, at the end of the two fights, the judges deemed it a tie, and they had to do a third two minute round to decide the victor. Starting that third round, Omari took a more aggressive stance, putting on plenty of pressure and keeping Pachal moving back and on the defensive. In the last few seconds, Omari ended the match with a playful cartwheel kick. Getting the crowd to cheer, and solidifying his win.
The night moved on to 18+ Men’s Open Weight between Tyreeke Saint and Hector Solory. At the end of two minutes, the match was tied up at 6-6. The crowd was on their feet and screaming when Solory came in with a blitzing backfist, but Saint got the block up and delivered a blazing counter punch, taking the win and making the crowd roar.
Drew Beatty confidently and smoothly took the win for 18+ Women’s Open Weight. Team Infinity and Competitive Edge took to the stage next, Competitive Edge was good, but Team Infinity was super clean and took the title for the night.
Kodi Molina took the win over Isabella Nicoli for 13 and Under Girls Weapons while Mason Bumba was the only competitor in the 13 and Under Boys division.
In 14-17 Girls Overalls, Solange Oliver was beat out by Megan Butterfield and Mason Sotwell was the only Competitor in the 14-17 Boys. He forgot his traditional form halfway through, threw a flip, then remembered a few moments later and finished, to the amusement of the crowd and judges.
Team Gipsy + Baily went against Team Velocity. It was a tight fight with the score staying pretty close the whole time. It closed at 10-8 for Team Gipsy, giving them the win.
Melissa Belgarion took the win over Sammy Smith for Women’s Grands and in Men’s Grands, Jackson took the win over Will Nevitt.
Despite technological issues, and the general chaos of any large event like this, the 2019 U.S. Capitol Classics/China Open had heart. There was a comment made about the event being genuine. Throughout the two days it ran, there was a sense of legitimate concern for the competitors, and a push towards competitor first that can always be too easy to overlook at any large event. There’s a reason this tournament has been around for as long as it has, and this year proved it.