This year’s December 6th and 7th event was held at the downtown convention center in Abilene Texas. My impressions of Abilene are of a hometown atmosphere full of pleasant and polite people. I was comfortable everywhere I went. Having a reputation as a cowboy town I expected to see them everywhere but the only people I saw wearing cowboy hats were at the tournament.
This was a wonderful place. The Abilene Reporter – News, the city’s main newspapers front page headlines were about “Signing Santa brings cheer to deaf students” politics and the usual unpleasant news was further back … where it belongs, unlike other big city newspapers and on line news where the unpleasantness of the day is presented as if we actually wanted to hear it in our already stressful day.
President D.E Chambers of the Texas AOK karate organization and the board members went all out for the 2019 AOK State championships presenting a quality event with excellent judging and officiation. My good friend and multiple world champion breaker “Larry Fields” was the primary host promoter for the AOK and all the other AOK promoters were on hand to make sure this event ran efficiently. I am always amazed at the pleasant staff at the AOK State Championships and the way they always make you feel comfortable. On a side note Larry Fields and his boundless energy along with his students run and make the breaking divisions possible. Alma Voorhies one this years and last years Golden Greek winners was unable to compete at this years event due to knee problems.
Friday night was the time appointed for the black belt specialty kata, weapons, musical, breaking, team forms and other specialty divisions including under belt junior and adult divisions. The Abilene convention centers main ball room was packed with the most talented competitors from the 2019 competition season. All the conferences of the state were represented. The battles were fierce for the right to be called 2019 State Champion and win the 2019 AOK state championship diamond rings, cool custom AOK gym bags and custom struck medals.
The Saturday competition started early. Many competitors were still trying to wake up as competition started. The convention center was even more crowded than the night before with some of the best competitors going all out to get noticed by the judges and win a title. All Kata or “forms divisions “and sparring divisions were finalized on Saturday except for adult black belt sparring which would be completed on stage Saturday night. Some of the great fights produced memorable conclusions with everyone jumping up and down voicing their support for their fighter.
Some of the Legends at the event who were judging, officiating and helping run as well as competing were included Linda Denley, Anthony Allen, Daniel Perez, Derrick Wilson, Robi Kunkel, Robert Silver, Myron Burse, Larry Lockhart, The amazing Fred Simon, Mike Fillmore, Andre Hodge, James Williams, The great Abe Villareal, Zedrick Burns, Willie and Geri Galloway, Steve Jackson, Michael Hornsby, The dangerous Jason Chartouni and two new promoters who are legendary AOK champions as well as multiple Golden Greek winners “ Matt and Ashley Tyler”. Last but not least…yours truly along with one my best world champion Black belts the elegant “Carol Parenti”.
The 2019 Golden Greek winners were Alma Voorhies and Carlo Falco in the adult executive category, Ashley Woods Tyler and Matt Tyler adult black belt and Erin Lewis and Devin Collum winners of the junior black belt Greek Hall of Fame. Also, a number of producer awards and specialty awards were given out. This year started a new tradition with the New Linda Denley under black belt over all point competitor of the year awards being given to the best under black belts of the year.
In a dramatic conclusion to the Saturday nighttime sparring finals, the Chartouni brothers worked their way through the field of other champions to only end up facing off against each other. The younger brother Peter Chartouni defeated his older brother Jason Chartouni and narrowly squeaked out the victory. I thought this would be a coin toss fight but they both were going at it in a sort of brother’s vendetta competition. In the end Peter Cartouni reigned as the 2019 men’s black belt AOK state sparring grand champion.