Team Straight Up GForce

Despite the cancellation of the NASKA in-person tournament season amid COVID-19 concerns, The Battle of Atlanta proceeded as a ProMAC event with professional safety protocols and pulled off a world-class tournament.

Sport karate competitors, coaches, and their families filed in to the 2020 Battle of Atlanta with their parties spaced at least six feet apart as they passed the mandatory temperature check to enter the venue on both days of the event. Groups of chairs were set up to accommodate the attendees and, miraculously, not a single chair was moved the entire weekend. Promoters Greg and Toby Ruth reported that there were minimal problems concerning mask-wearing, an issue that many expected to be difficult to manage. The success of The Battle of Atlanta's COVID-19 protocols are a testament to the passion and dedication of the promoting and coordinating staff who did an excellent job with their event during such a tumultuous time. The only thing more impressive than the effectiveness of the safety measures was the quality of competition.


The fireworks at the Battle of Atlanta began with men's team fighting, where a hybrid version of Team All Stars would face Team Straight Up in the semifinal match. The first matchup saw Willie Hicks, who does not normally represent the All Stars but joined them for this event, challenge young contender Romani Alicea of Team Straight Up. Alicea held his own against the veteran Hicks, which set up the second fight between All Star veteran Chris Walker and Straight Up's notoriously tough Brandon Ballou. The back-and-forth battle culminated in the final fight, a clash of superstars between Kevin Walker of All Stars and Bailey Murphy of Straight Up. Murphy used his incredible speed to maintain the Straight Up lead and secure the victory, much to the delight of coach Joe Greenhalgh. Team Straight Up would go on to defeat the hometown Team ATL in the finals, and you can watch their entire run through the team fighting division in the Facebook livestream below courtesy of Alex Reyes and Point Fighter Live.

Bailey Murphy continued his dominant winning ways throughout the weekend, securing the open weight fighting championship and a $1,000 prize sponsored by Josh Horwege and The Dojo, as well as claiming the lightweight overall grand championship title. The undefeated weekend by Murphy is a testament to his work ethic as he continues his quest to be considered the best in the world. Kevin Walker also continued his hot streak in individual competition, as he avenged the All Stars team fighting loss by winning the heavyweight overall grand championship. Willie Hicks would also bounce back to win the overall fighting grand championship for the 30+ age category. Dee Everett of Team NMAC secured the women's 30+ sparring title, and Riley Rhodes of Team Heartland was the victor of the 18+ women's division.

Meanwhile, Connor Chasteen of Team Infinity and Shaquan Parson of Team Next Level would conquer the CMX (Creative, Musical, Extreme) weapons and forms divisions, respectively. Parson used his high-flying tricking techniques and contagious energy to carry his divisional wins into the men's overall forms grand championship. Chasteen's impressive kama routine with a great deal of difficulty and creativity was favored to win the men's weapons overall grand championship, but Donis Coronel of Team DKS had other plans as he stole the victory with his Kung Fu whip chain performance. In the women's division, Kyleigh Boyer of Team Competitive Edge won her first major grand championship as an adult with her double nunchaku form and Melanie Strauss, a student of the widely-respected Joe Anon, would take the forms title with her traditional routine. Other notable forms and weapons performances included Team NMAC's Drew Derrick-Bisbee going undefeated with two overall grand championships in the senior division, Team Competitive Edge's Connor Roberts winning his first major overall grand championship in the junior forms division, and Team Infinity's sibling duo of Diego and Sofia Rodriguez-Florez securing overall grand championships in the junior weapons and youth forms categories, respectively.

These are just a few highlights of an extremely exciting event at The Battle of Atlanta. All of the major overall grand championship winners are as follows:

Men's Heavyweight Point Fighting

Kevin Walker

Men's Lightweight Point Fighting

Bailey Murphy

Women's Point Fighting

Riley Rhodes

Men's Weapons

Donis Coronel

Women's Weapons

Kyleigh Boyer

Men's Forms

Shaquan Parson

Women's Forms

Melanie Strauss

Junior Weapons (14-17)

Diego Rodriguez-Florez

Junior Forms (14-17)

Connor Roberts

Youth Weapons (13 & Under)

Madison Magnotta

Youth Forms (13 & Under)

Sofia Rodriguez-Florez

Point Fighter Live Power Ring Winners

Natalie Allen

Drew Derrick-Bisbee

Shaquan Parson

Kevin Walker

We look forward to seeing you at the 2021 Battle of Atlanta on Father's Day weekend. For more professional sport karate coverage, stay tuned to BlackBeltMag.com

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Judo
Saddleburn

Two-Time Black Belt Hall of Famer Hayward Nishioka has been campaigning for judo in the United States to harvest more shodans (1st degree black belts) Shodan literally means student. It's analogous to being a freshman in college. It's not the end but the beginning according to Jigoro Kano, the Founder of Judo.

A very dear friend and sensei of mine the late Allen Johnson, may he rest in peace made a home at Emerald City Judo. In Redmond, Washington.

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Destinee Tartuffe

My friend Destinee Tartuffe a 4th dan and Head Sensei at Good Time Judo in Santa Rosa, CA has always been a pioneer and developer in all her life endeavors. She first took over the judo program at Santa Rosa Junior Collegestarted by my old friend Terry Kelly upon his retirement then went on to complete getting her law degree, JD.

Recently Destinee contacted me about a new training tool she’s invented. Upon my investigation, I was so impressed with this product that I asked her to write something about it for this week’s Black Belt Blog.
Judo Equipment

Members of Good Time Judo using Judo Jaime Training Tools.

As judo practitioners we know judo is an exciting dynamic Olympic or recreational sporting activity that offers social interaction, stress relief, and tons of fun. However, we also know that judo can be a dangerous, and potentially deadly activity when used for self-defense or when not practiced safely.

For all the fun and benefit that judo provides an enthusiast it seems to be the world’s best kept secret from the general populace. My coach and mentor taught me that judo is an inclusive, not an exclusive activity. So, I look for ways to get more people interested.

One of the biggest issues relates to the very idea of inclusiveness, which for me translates to one dojo cannot be everything to everybody. The age old saying jack of all trades, and master of none comes to mind.

Recently, I watched YouTube videos of three respected Judo coaches discussing the state of Judo in the United States. One of their common observations is that students who come to train with them lack the fundamental skills which would allow them to actually help those students reach a level of Judo expertise whereby the student could compete at an elite level of competition.

While I was disappointed to hear their dire opinions, they were similar to what I was experiencing in my college classroom. Honestly, I have been concerned for many years about how to continue when so many of the students come to class with an attitude of being a “super ninja” when in actuality they are often uncoordinated and seemingly unwilling to follow even the simplest of instructions. This creates a situation or environment where “bullies” prevail, injures occur, and students are lost. This attitude seems a direct conflict to the principle of Mutual Benefit and Welfare, and it made me think about hanging up my judogi.

Then, COVID caused programs to close, but as a college Judo instructor I was tasked with creating an online curriculum for my students and doing so within one week! I knew my students did not have the proper safety equipment in their homes to continue with the rolls and falls that we were practicing in class. We spent the last eight weeks finishing out the semester via Zoom class. I found the biggest challenge to be communicating to the student how they needed to correct their postures, or their ability to visualize the skill and apply my instructions for any given lesson.

The last night of class of had a vision of how these issues could be addressed. That’s when I created the Fundamental Directional Movement Mat and a Proximity Training Device that I call Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke. These tools can be used together or separately. The benefits conferred to the user by using the tools together can greatly excel the beginning students understanding of the application of Judo.

These tools are not just for beginners, it is important for even the most experienced judoka to review the fundamental movements regularly. Think about it there are pre-arranged forms (katas) that specifically address movement!

The Fundamental Directional Movement Mat is a durable vinyl mat with an elliptical design (mapping the movement of the Judoka in the plane of applied Judo). The instructor whether in-person or in an online class can assist the student by directing them to orient either along the horizontal or vertical 180 degree lines, which are also used to demonstrate and solidify 90 degree turns/pivots that are important to the fundamental movements for application of Judo. The mat also has indicators for the student to see the 45 degree angle of technique application easier.

Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke is a proximity training device that allows beginning Judoka to develop the proper posture and understanding of the proximity for applying judo techniques without the resistance, frustration, or fear that working with a partner initially brings. My years of teaching adults have shown me that despite what the student says, they often approach contact with another with fear and the mistaken belief that over-powering or resisting their partner is the proper thing to do; however, one-half the goal of Judo is that someone falls down! With Judo Jaime the student has the opportunity to develop the confidence and skills to make an actual attack when they are ready to engage with a person.

The device weighs no more than five pounds and is approximately 53” in height (when assembled). It is easily transportable and fun to use vs. the usual training dummies which are awkward, heavy and unsafe to use without proper instruction or direct supervision. While either product can be used alone we recommend using the tools together. This allows the student to fine-tune visualization skills and apply techniques, here again, without resistance from a partner. The student will develop an understanding and integration of the techniques for proper response timing more quickly.

The Fundamental Directional Movement Mat and Instructional material is copyrighted by Destar Productions, Inc.

Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke is a proximity training device with a patent pending by Destar Productions, Inc. For questions regarding orders and other product descriptions email Destinee Tartuffe at senseidestinee@gmail.com or visit our online store directly.

Judo Jamie

Judo Jaime

Fundamental Direction Training Mat

Fundamental Training Mat

Good Time Judo Outdoor workout with Judo Jaime

Outdoor Judo Jaime2

Judo training Without a Partner/ Introduction of Training Tools for Standing

This video introduces some new training tools for practicing, maintaining and gaining skills for application of Judo technique.Be sure to check out the Demon...

Demonstration of Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke

Demonstration of Judo Jaime: Your Training UkeBe sure to check out our video Judo training while social distancing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heSY5VGeA6M

I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to gary@garygoltz.com, thanks.

Gary Goltz
Xiaolin Gruv
Photo Courtesy: Carmichael Simon

Title Image: XiaolinGruv Masters 2005 : Nigel Bolton, Carmichael Simon, Kory Watkins, Anthony Gooch, and Jeriel Bey

During the 1980s as BBoys (Breakers), Poppers, and Lockers share their creative spirits within the New York City transit line, Los Angeles nightlife, and media platforms such as Soul Train, we travel a few miles from Bruce Lee’s nostalgic school where the “Arts & Soul” of Oakland, California harmonize. Orchestrating the culture of their roots, heritage of movement, and diversity of social economics, we find the Alice Arts Center.

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