On June 11th Jessie Benavidez teamed up with All Garza to produce this years 33rd Battle of Texas. The San Luis Convention Center in Galveston was once again picked to host this years martial arts tournament. The event was AOK and TKO rated. I have been to this tournament every year for the last eighteen years and I can say the best competition in the state of Texas and Louisiana are always in attendance. Over 350 competitors filled the convention center with top competition schools.
The tournament started 9 AM as billed. Many of the Texas AOK producers and officials were there helping to make the event run smoothly. There were many new faces in the crowed who’s excitement overflowed into the competition floor. Many of the veteran competitors could be seen warming up and performing their customary start up rituals. The City of Galveston has hosted many impressive martial arts events with this one rating at the top of the list. Galveston a favorite place for many competitors due to its sun, surf and relaxed vacation atmosphere.
Competition got under way with black belt kata and specialty. Black belt men kata and soft forms was won by Alfredo Bustamonte. Melody Clay was the black belt specialty champion. Johnnie Murphy won the Black belt adult weapons, 35 plus specialty and in a close squeaker beat out Mike Hill to win the 45 plus kata. Martha Garcia was the black belt women’s kata champion. In the biggest black belt kata division of the event, Martha Garcia edged out Alfredo Bustamonte for the black belt adult traditional forms championship. Courtney Allen won the black belt self defense division.
Junior black belt kata also ran in the morning. The junior 11 and under black belt specialty champion was Sebation Pedroza and he also won the 10 to 11 boys kata. David Tate won the black belt 12 to 17 years old junior specialty, 12 to 17 weapons and 12 to 13 boys kata. Daniella Conway won the 11 and under weapons division. C J Haywood won a large 14 to 15 boys black belt kata division. Rommel Paul was first in the black belt boys kata division. In the black belt girls kata division Daniella Conway won the girls 11 and under kata. Other black belt girls kata champions were Lizbeth Villegas 12 to 13 and Jordyn Craighead 14 to 15 girls.
Under black belt kata and sparring competitors were up mid morning with some of the best competition of the tournament. Future black belt champions were exhibiting their skill. I think most people who go to martial arts tournaments get a sense of accomplishment from competition and go home with a feeling of a job well done no mater what place they end up with. This is what really matters and the day spent with family is priceless.
Junior black belt point sparring ran in the afternoon and preceded the adult black belt fighters. Junior black belt boys champions were Vernon Walker 12 to 13, David Chambers 14 to 15 and the amazing Rommel Paul was the 16 to 17 years old champion. Lizbeth Villegas won the 11 and under black belt Pee Wee division. Samantha Garcia was able to overcome Danica Farias for her win in the girls 16 to 17 years old point sparring division.
Adult black belt point sparring rounded down the tournament. Women’s champions were Melody Clay flyweight, Ashley Wood light weight and Sheryl Quick who was the women’s executive black belt point sparring champion. The men’s fighters ran last as usual. Men’s middle weight champion was multiple world champion and the awesome Jason Holmes. Cody Garza was the men’s middle weight champion and Garrett Lee defeated Joe Richardson in the men’s heavy weight division. A tough men’s black belt executive point sparring division pitted some of the best executives in the state with Daniel Perez pulling ahead for his win. Mike Hill was the men’s 45 plus senior executive champion.
The grand championships ran last. Up was cash and two gold rings. In the kata grand championship Martha Garcia won the women’s grand and $100.00. Alfredo Bustamonte beat out Johnnie Murphy for his win in the mens kata grand and $100.00 dollars. Then a final run for the gold Battle of Texas Kata grand champion ring was between Martha Garcia and Alfredo Bustamonte. This contest ended up being awarded to Alfredo Bustamonte. The men’s point sparring grand championship came down to a nail bitter match between Garrett Lee and Mike Hill. In a close fight that ended in a tie run off Mike Hill became the 2011 men’s point sparring Grand champion and took home the second Gold Battle of Texas ring.This concluded this years 2011 Battle of Texas. Congratulations to Jessie and Cindy Benavidez and All Garza for a successful and fun event.