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November 13, 2009


With all the news we've sent out regarding late October's TEAM USA trip to the WKA Worlds in Spain, it's about time we got you the results and outcome of the Team's trip and performance.

Held at the breathtaking Barcelo Punta Beach Resort in the fishing village of Punta Umbria, near Huelva, Spain, the 17th annual WKA Amateur World Championships was packed with competitors and coaches from many countries competing in divisions ranging from MMA and Thai Boxing to Forms and Weapons. From October 27 to November 2, competitors showed off their best skills against each other while retaining a sense of comradeship and team spirit.
From the United States, eleven competitors from the Ring Sports division attended along with four coaches and a cameraman. Thai competitors Steven Dang (Evolve Academy, MD), Scott Sawade (Real Fighters, KY), and Chris Kwiatkowski (Church Street Boxing Gym, NY) joined female K-1 fighters Lindsay Scheer (Real Fighters, KY), Aisha Thomas (Lloyd Irvin, MD), and Lindsey MacMhaolain (Combat Sports Center, VA). This year, WKA Worlds has added, with much encouragement by WKA USA, MMA as a division for the first time. The US Team brought a good showing of MMA fighters, among them Chris Lujan (Evolve Academy, MD), Gary LaBreck (Shotokan Academy, MA, and Evolve), Jeff Blachly (Lloyd Irvin, MD), Michael Goodman (Combat Sports Center, VA), and Eric Heegaard (Shidokan Atlanta, GA).

All US Ring Sports fighters who had a match placed, bringing home five golds, one silver, and three bronze medals. Of note were Chris Lujan’s and Michael Goodman’s wins (earning each a gold medal) in the MMA division in its first year as a division at the WKA Worlds. Chris won his final match by defeating Spanish fighter Manuel Yusta. Goodman won his his final by standing guillotine (after a clean clinch and knee that was later discovered to have broken his opponent’s ribs) against a strong and game Canadian, Stephane Dube. Lindsay Scheer won the gold by defeating last year’s gold medalist, the much more experienced Greek Maria Pantazi. Her teammate Scott Sawade lost by close decision to a Croatian fighter in the quarter-finals for his weight class. Chris Kwiatkowski won all of his Thai Boxing matches, ending his division in a final match against Iranian fighter Javad Jafari with both a gold medal and a huge grin. Aisha Thomas likewise made it to the finals and won the gold, her aggression and busy technique in the ring overwhelming her opponents. Steven Dang fought hard in the quarter-finals and lost only by close decision to an Iranian fighter. Eric Heegaard lost via submission to tough Brazilian fighter Gustavo Sampaio in the finals, earning the silver. Lindsey MacMhaolain lost in the quarter-finals via TKO in the first round in her K-1 division to the power-packed body kicks and knees of Swedish Jill Idh. Gary LaBreck and Jeff Blachly, both game and ready to fight, were disappointed that their opponents withdrew after seeing strong performances by other US MMA fighters and left them without a match, but both stayed on to help train and encourage their team


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