Once again I find myself at Texas City, a Mecca for south Texas Sport Karate. Why this little city south of Houston is so predominant in the martial arts scene has to do with its demographics and the number sport karate schools in the area. In close proximity are Houston, Galveston, Clear Lake/ NASA, Spring, Katy, Woodlands, Kingwood, Webster, Dickenson, Baytown and Beaumont which is only one and a half hours away.
Texas City has been the venue for The Bay Area Karate Championships for over a decade. Mike Tucker Instructor and owner of USA Karate, produced this June 10th 2006 Texas AOK event. Unfortunately Mike Tucker could not attend his tournament due to illness that required hospitalization. Mike Tucker has long been an important supporter of Texas sport karate and was missed by all. The Texas AOK producers were on hand as well as Mikes own efficient staff were on hand to make things run smoothly.
Black belt competition had many adult and juniors scrambling to get to there rings. Yawning faces could be seen during the Saturday morning start. Once the preliminary ring assignments were made and judges set, the competition started. Power house judges like Darrel Stewart, Mr Nelson, Mike Hill, Jessie Benavidez, Linda Denley and a long list of well known Texas black belt master’s were on hand to officiate.
Black belt adult forms and weapons were up first. A large adult black belt men’s forms division lined up with many of the top South Texas champions present. Andrew Carrasco of Team Focus pulled out the win with a powerful form. Manuel Serrano was flawless in soft forms with his Kung Fu kata, he was the judges choice and went home first. Wayne Nguyen won 35 plus forms and Johnnie Murphy was the 45 plus black belt forms champion.
In the weapons and specialty divisions, Andrew Carrasco again shown through as the dominant force blowing past world champions David Johnson and Johnnie Murphy with his dynamic staff form to win adult black belt weapons. Then David Johnson took first in black belt specialty with his world champion musical staff form. Kyle McLean ran into a large Junior specialty division and ended up winning that division.
Kyle then came back with his team mate Steven Smith and took out the other competitors in Black belt team forms.
Another division had Kyle McLean and Ashley Wood tied in 14-15 junior black belt forms. In a runoff both ran the Korean form Gay Beck. once again Kyle ended up the champion of another division. With Kyle’s close run in sparring, he was arguably the tournament showcase competitor. Brian O’Grady was the champion of 13-13 years old black belt forms and Steven Smith won 16-17 black belt forms.
Junior black belt point sparring was undoubtedly the Jewel of this competition with some of the most excitement of the day centering around the junior point fights. The top junior sparring divisions in the AOK east this year has been boys 14-15 and 16-17 point fights. As could be expected Kyle McLean, mentioned earlier, ended up against James Davidson in a phenomenal boys 14-15 point sparring contest. This fight got everybody’s attention with its intensity and had the spectators up and shouting. James Davidson ended up first in this memorable point fight. Charlie Davidson, James older brother, won the boys 16-17 years old black belt sparring division. Ashley Woods was unstoppable in the girls 14-17 point sparring. Valencia Price took home the girls 12-13 point sparring.
Adult black belt point sparring divisions were up last. Men’s adult heavy weight contest came down to Roland Thomas and Courtney Allen. After a heated back and forth exchange, Roland Thomas ended up victorious over Courtney Allen. The Men’s light weight division was fast, this is due to the speed of lighter men. This light weight division was full of good fighters, all evenly matched and after the smoke cleared Ocie Thomas was the man.
Wayne Nguyen beat Manuel Serrano in a close 35 plus men’s executive light weight point fight with a 4 to 3 victory. D.E Chambers and Daniel Perez of Austin went head to head in a close 35 plus heavy weight point fighting contest with D.E Chambers winning 6 to 5 over Perez. And in a surprising 45plus point sparring division Joe Gilliam ended up beating Barry Benton.