Returning to Texas Sport Karate is the fabulous San Antonio Yellow Rose Nationals produced by Tony Lopez. This awesome event was ran on the 2011 4th of July weekend. July 1st and 2nd turned out to be sunny and hot at the El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel. I thought wow this sounds like some cool new exotic venue for a Karate tournament but as I drove into the parking lot I was shocked because it was the former Four Points Sheridan that had received a make over and a new turquoise paint job. I didn‘t event snap to it at first. Back in the 1990’s it was the Holliday Inn. The 1995 NBL World Games and many NBL, SKIL and TNT tournaments were held there through the 1990‘s and early 2000‘s. I was surprised but love the Hotel’s makeover although it seemed smaller some how.
Ok enough on that. The tournament was held in the adjacent convention hall of the hotel. Present were some of the best known martial artist in the State of Texas along with top officials of the National Black Belt League. Daryl Stewart, Jeff and Jan Shadoin, Jose Santamaria and a long list of other promoters were on hand to make this event run efficiently. As could be expected the support for this well known tournament lived up to its past attendance with over 475 competitors. Starting On time at 4:45 Friday was the black belt and junior weapons, self defense, breaking, some musical forms, team sparring and continuous sparring divisions. As things finalized it was apparent that many new Yellow Rose champions were emerging.
Friday night junior boys black belt champions in creative weapons were Sean Henderson – 11 under, Zach Johnson – 12 ton 14 weapons, Sean McCurtain – 15 to 16 weapons. Junior boys choreographed musical weapons black belt champions were Jordan Maxwell – 11 and under, Javier Leal 12 to 14, and Dominic Estorga 15 to 17 years old. The junior open musical weapons champion was Zach Johnson. Girls 12 to 14 creative junior black belt weapons champion was Ariel Casas and the 15 to 17 girls champion was Shayna Norris wow now that’s a well known name.In the adult creative weapons divisions top world champions were vying for first place. Marco Villanueva has moved up into the adult black belt divisions and won in the men’s hard creative weapons while his sister Clarissa Villanueva won the women’s hard creative weapons division. Andy Brett was the adult black belt hard choreographed musical weapons champion. Manuel Serrano of San Antonio was the black belt adult soft weapons winner and Johnnie Murphy was the senior hard creative weapons champion. Specialty divisional champions were Bear Loebe in the black belt adult choreographed fight, Billy Sweeney – adult traditional self defense, and Jonathan Wallace was the adult breaking champion.
Continuous sparring ran simultaneously with the other divisions. Any one can compete in continuous sparring as a result I’ve seen some people receive a severe beating due to low skill level. So just remember to prepare for continuous sparring and condition yourself for the heavy endurance of it. Champions in the junior continuous were Evan Brown – junior 11 under fly weight, Ryland Garza – junior 11 under light weight, Matthew Hernandez – junior 11 under middle weight, Dallas Stockdale – junior 11 under heavy weight. 12 to 14 years old boys continuous champions were Anthony Corona – light, John Garcia – middle and Larry Lockhart – boys heavy weight. The junior champions in the 15 to 17 years old continuous were Sean McNeal – light and Peter Le – middle weight. Girls junior continuous champions were 12 to 14 feather Ariel Casas, Shelby Pintor – 12 to 14 light and Samantha Garcia – 15 to 17 girls light weight.Men’s continuous sparring always provides the ultimate in non stop action and these guys wanted to fight.
Men’s continuous champions were Ashlon Smith – -feather, Ben Acosta – Light, Ryan George – middle weight, Cristo Flores – light heavy weight, Kurt Gerlach – heavy weight and Christopher Pfenninger – men’s super heavy weight. The only competing women was Jennifer Pett who won the feather weight division. Boys team winner was Chuck Norris’s Team Kickstart. The girls champion’s were Team PTKO. Men’s team point sparring champion was RCG. The adult mixed champions were Team Futurekick. Team Forms champion was Chance Maxwell.
Saturdays competitors filled the competition floor. People were wall to wall. Starting at just after 9AM were the traditional forms divisions. Junior black belt traditional champions in the Japanese/Okinawan divisions were Jordan Maxwell – 11 under, Robert Anthony – 12 to 14 and Samantha Garcia – 15 to 17 years old. Junior black belt Korean champions were Dallas Stockdale – 11 under, Elvin Nunez 12 to 14 and Thomas Sauceda 15 to 17 years old. Ronnie Zapata won the junior Kempo/Kajukenbo forms champion. Adult black belt traditional champions were Eric Cantu – men’s Japanese/Okinawan, Moriah Chatman – adult Kenpo/Kajunkenbo, Marco Villanueva men’s Korean, Manuel Serrano Adult Chinese, Martha Garcia – women’s Japanese/Okinawan, Clarissa Villanueva – women’s Korean, David Johnson senior hard and Johnnie Murphy – 45 plus senior hard forms.
Contemporary black belt forms also ran on Saturday. High flying acrobatics was the name of the game. Little Sean Henderson once again was on top in the 9 and under black belt division. Ok, someone tell Ronnie Zapata to stop winning all the 11 and under divisions, its embarrassing, I’m not kidding you got to leave some divisions for those other guys buddy. Other black belt junior contemporary forms champions were Elvin Nunez – 12 to 14 and Sean McNeal – 15 to 17. Junior black belt Hard Choreographed Musical champions were Sean Henderson – 11 under, Javier Leal – 12 to 14. Sean McNeal won the 15 to 17 years old contemporary forms. The junior black belt hard open musical champion was Peter Le. Girls black belt junior contemporary forms champions were Samantha Alvarado – 12 to 14 and Dallas Stockdale was first in the junior hard creative musical division.
Adult contemporary champions were Eric Cantu who won the men’s hard creative and the adult hard choreographed musical. Bear Loebe won the adult hard open musical and Manuel Serrano was first in the adult soft forms. Clarissa Villanueva was first in the women’s hard creative forms division. The senior champions were Mike Polomo – men’s 35 plus and Patsy Estorga – women’s 35 plus champion.
Point sparring junior divisional champions were Shelbie Stricklin – 9 under light, Jordan Maxwell – 11 under light, Ronny Zapata – 11 under middle, Chance Maxwell – 11 under heavy, John Garcia – boys 12 to 14 light, Elvin Nunez – boys 12 to 14 middle, Timothy Wiggins – boys 12 to 14 heavy, Isaac Moreno – boys 15 to 17 middle and Douglas Cyril – boys 15 to 17 heavy weight. Girls black belt junior point sparring champions were Ariel Casas – girls feather, Aliyah Cyril – 12 to 14 light and Samantha – girls 15 to 17 years old.
Last up at the event was adult point sparring. A lot of old timers were there making this tournament an amazing blast of hard core point sparring. Men’s black belt champions were Ashlon Smith – fly, Andy Brett – Feather, Luis Jimenez – light, Ryan George – light middle, Curtis McNeal – middle, Christo Flores – light heavy, Garett Lee – heavy weight and Chris Pfenninger – super heavy weight. The women’s black belt point sparring champions were Jennifer Pett – fly, Moriah Chatman – feather and Regina Thompson – women’s middle weight. The senior men’s point sparring champions were Luis Jimenez – light, Derrick Wilson – middle, Daniel Perez – heavy and Norman Roberts – senior men’s super heavy weight point sparring champion. The black belt senior 45 plus point sparring winners were Ronald George – heavy and Johnnie Murphy – light weight.
The night time finals were held in the hotels adjacent convention center. A gathering of well known and high ranking black belts helped do the judging. The whole finals was a classy show as usual with The Yellow Rose Nationals. The junior grand champions were Sean McNeal – junior musical forms, Jordan Maxwell – Junior Japanese forms, Thomas Sauceda – junior Korean forms and Dominic Esturia who won the junior musical weapons. Adult grand champions were Eric Cantu who won both adult men’s creative and traditional forms grand championships along with $200.00 cash. Clarissa Villanueva was the women’s forms grand champion. The men’s point sparring grand champions were from the dynamic duo of Ryan George men’s and his dad Ronald George men’s senior point sparring champion. Regina Thompson, who has won so much money, championships and world titles that I’m not sure she even knows how many, won the women’s point sparring grand championship. This whole tournament was well run and was on par with the best national competition I have ever been to. I would give this event a high rating because of its location, hotel and attendance. Thank you Tony for bringing back The Yellow Rose Nationals.