karate

How Jeff Smith Became a Kickboxing Champion —and One of the Most Respected Instructors in the World!

In the early 1960s, when Americans were first hearing about The Beatles, Jhoon Rhee operated four martial arts schools in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. The man who would become known as the father of taekwondo in America also regularly traveled around the country to a dozen clubs, where he tested students trained by his black belts. One such club was located on the campus of Texas A&M University, where Jeff Smith's mother worked and Jeff, then a teenager, delivered newspapers.

"One day on my route, I noticed a sign for a karate demonstration at the student-union ballroom," Smith recalls. "I went and wanted to enroll [in the club], but it was for college students only. I talked to my mother, she talked to the dean, and they decided to let me and several other of the faculty kids in.


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My View on the Life Cycle of a Martial Artist

As I checked my cumbersome six-foot bo staff case in at the Southwest ticketing counter for a trip to teach private lessons in San Diego, the employee asked a familiar question, "Are these fishing poles?" After some small talk about the case actually containing martial arts equipment (never call it a "weapon" at the airport), he was surprised and immediately complimented my dedication for spending 15 years studying the martial arts. I left him with a "thank you sir" and began to ponder the dedication that all martial artists display, that impressed this gentleman so much. We typically begin our training in childhood, fall in love with a particular style, and some of us even make a career out of it. I believe that this life journey of a martial artist can be generalized into three phases: Introduction, Growth, and Sharing.


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Skipper Mullins (right) vs. Thomas LaPuppet

Lewis "Skipper" Mullins, one of the great, early tournament champions of American karate, passed away yesterday. Known as an innovator of flashy kicking techniques, Mullins was widely regarded as the premier lightweight tournament fighter of the 1960s.

Mullins began his martial arts training in 1963 under American taekwondo pioneer Allen Steen. Within a year he was scoring victories at major martial arts events like Ed Parker's International Karate Championships. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965 but continued to train and compete developing a famed rivalry with Chuck Norris.


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Open Martial Arts Tournaments Shifting Online due to COVID-19

The North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA) announced in a press release on Friday that the circuit would be sanctioning a Virtual World Tour for the tournaments that have shifted to online platforms. The first tournaments to be included are the AmeriKick Internationals and the Ocean State Grand Nationals, with the possibility that other events may follow.


Virtual martial arts tournaments have increased in popularity since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions on large meetings. These tournaments are primarily intended for forms and weapons competitors who participate through video submission or livestream, depending on the event. In their press release, NASKA clarified that fighting and team divisions would not be included in the online tournaments and that a few divisions may be combined.

The online versions of the AmeriKick Internationals (June 26-27) and Ocean State Grand Nationals (July 17-19) will feature NASKA rules, judges, and scoring style. These events will not reward competitors with points for the official NASKA world ratings, but points will be awarded for a special rating system specific to the NASKA Virtual Tour.

COVID-19 Pandemic Forces Another International Martial Arts Tournament to Postpone

The Battle of Atlanta World Karate Championships is a sport karate tournament sanctioned by the North American Sport Karate Association (NASKA). Promoters Greg and Toby Ruth announced today that the event has been rescheduled for July 23-25, 2020. The tournament will still be held at its original venue, the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel. The announcement follows the postponement or cancellation of many other world-ranked martial arts events around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The U.S. Capitol Classics and the U.S. Open are other NASKA world tour events that have decided to postpone their events, to November 20-21 and December 18-19 respectively. The Quebec Open, AmeriKick Internationals, and Ocean State Grand Nationals have all been forced to cancel their events. The AmeriKick Internationals and Ocean State Grand Nationals will be hosting virtual tournaments to compensate for their cancellation, and other tournaments are expected to announce decisions regarding virtual tournaments in the coming weeks.

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