The Texas AOK is one of the longest running karate circuits in the country. Its tournament schedule dates back to the late 1960’s with tournaments that boasted competition by the greatest martial artist of all time. At one point it remained the only organization in the country that rivaled any world class tournament circuit including many that no longer exists. So competing at one of their events is a prestigious accomplishment because they are picky about who they let produce a Texas Amateur Organization of Karate tournament.
The Texas Finest Nationals is no different than the early organization’s tournaments because it is attended by many current and past dignitaries of the Sport Martial Arts World. Derrick Wilson was the promoter of this event. Derrick worked his way up over the last several decades to become a legend in Texas and has made his Texas AOK event memorable by presenting a professional and class event. The tournament was held at the Harvest Time Church in Houston Texas, a very nice venue for a tournament.
This August 19th 2017 tournament was well run and included many new comers and well known champions vying for the chance to be first place. The center black belt ring was padded and allowed for the kata and self-defense competitors to push it to the limits. Mitzi Benton directed this well run tournament with husband Barry Benton there to assist. Tracy Olds, David Johnson, Johnnie Murphy, DE Chambers, Barry Benton, Mike Polomo and Al Garza’s Premiere Martial Arts groups showed up with great competitors to elevate the level of competition.
Black belt adult kata champions were Jersan Kannady adult soft, Carol Parenti BB executive women, Mike Polomo 35 plus men kata, Johnnie Murphy BB senior specialty and senior executive kata, Zack Johnson BB adult specialty and in a big adult weapons Charles Green was first with Zack Johnson and Johnnie Murphy tying after a second run Johnnie Murphy ending up 2nd, Chelsie Clark won women’s black belt kata and Tia Buras was first in adult traditional kata.
Some of the Junior kata champions were Sierra Watson, student of Cindy Benavidez who won the 11 under specialty, Justin Olds BB 16 -17 kata, Allen Lopez 16-17 boys advanced, Samuel Strong BB junior traditional, Sophie Adams 12-13 BB girls kata and the junior team kata champions were Team Sushi Squad. The junior black belt sparring divisions were ran immediately after the kata divisions with some memorable matches that included Chandler Sternes winning a tough 16- 17 year old sparring division all in all this was a well-attended junior point sparring competition.
The men’s black belt sparring fights were great as Dave Patterson won in a tough 35+ point sparring division. Larry Fields and Tracy Snowden slugged it out in the 45+ sparring division with big Tracy Snowden winning. Other champions were Jersan Kannady, Jiran Wacke, Charles Mckinney and Charles Green.
In the men’s adult grand championship competition Jersan Kannady overcame Jiran Wackle for the adult men’s black belt sparring grand championship. In a battle for the senior men’s sparring grand championship. The last fight was a war between Tracy Snowden and David Patterson and after an exciting series of heated exchanges and a couple of ties, Tracy Snowden was able to overcome David Patterson to become this year’s senior black belt sparring Grand Champion.