WKA Nationals Gives Amateurs a
HAMPTON, Va. - The
Association (WKA) Nationals were held on
February 18-20 at the Hampton Coliseum. The
event was held as part of the Hampton Sports Festival.
Amateur competitors from different parts of the
country came to compete and make a name for themselves
in muay Thai and mixed martial arts. Smaller
tournaments were also held for Brazilian jiu-jitsu and
submission wrestling competitors.
The WKA Nationals are known to many as
the proving ground for up-and-coming amateur fighters.
At stake was the right to represent the United States
at the WKA World Championships in Germany.
The new two day format for the
tournament events facilitated a successful operation
of the large brackets for each martial arts
discipline. The majority of the muay Thai and mixed
martial arts finals were held on Sunday. The Brazilian
jiu-jitsu and submission wrestling divisions were
completed on Saturday. The event was headlined by
seminars by Rob "The Dutchman" Kaman and Roberto "The
One of the teams from the DC metro
area included Nakapan and Melanie Phungephorn's BETA
Academy, which produced six gold medals, four silvers,
and two bronze medals. The Team Lloyd Irvin
representative academy in NW Washington, D.C. was
composed significantly of novice division fighters,
and had only been established two and a half years
sportsmanship was displayed throughout the event,
however, the seriousness of the competition was
evident during Carlos Lopez' (MASE Training) match
with Alaa Ismail (Sitan Gym). During the match, the
Sitan Gym coaches became vociferous with remarks that
Lopez was overqualified for the beginner division.
Team MASE Training led by Scott Howard felt that they
stayed within the guidelines of the beginner division
and wanted to be cautious about entering a tournament
they had not attended in five years.
In the absolute division of the
Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament, MMA fighter LeVon
Maynard (purple belt) of Global Martial Arts Academy
defeated Kris Moe (blue belt) of Linxx Academy to win
gold in the open. An exhibition match with purple belt
Rachel Demara (Evolve Academy) was held with a novice
Brazilian jiu-jitsu practioner to give the new
grappler an opportunity to compete with someone closer
to her weight class. Kris Moe, who went on to win two
golds and two silver medals on the day, said of the
grappling event that "we all had a chance to compete
with new guys, not just the same guys from the same
Goodwill was also displayed at the
tournament. Hiro Perera of Fairfax Jiu Jitsu (Herndon,
Va.) was called by his muay Thai associates in
Pittsburgh and helped the team prepare for the fights.
While helping his associates at the event, they were
approached by an independent fighter who had no one to
corner him. They went on to assist the fighter by
providing their support as corner men during the
-Article courtesy of
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