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February 28, 2011

WKA Nationals Gives Amateurs a "Fighting" Chance

HAMPTON, Va. - The World Kickboxing 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 Spider" Traven.

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 ago.

Good 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 local schools."
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 fight.

-Article courtesy of MMAinDC.com

Click here for more articles from MMAinDC.com on the tournament.

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