"It's a great feeling," Permenter said of taking home a second consecutive AMAPA title. "After you win the first time it feels great, but winning it a second time is really an honor - it's like a bonus. I expected a lot of competition, and I sure got it. I owe a lot to my sifu, Dennis Guila, for training me."
Permenter, 11, had no prior martial arts experience when he began training with sifu Dennis Guila just over three years ago. However, his natural aptitude for kickboxing, combined with a tremendous passion for the art, has helped him distinguish himself as one of the finest young kickboxers in the country.
"He's dominated his division - his age group and rank - the last two years, which is a very outstanding accomplishment for a young individual," said Guila. "There's a lot of competition among his age group and for any individual to claim a title two years in a row like this is a tremendous accomplishment."
Permenter is currently a senior green belt and is working diligently toward his brown belt, an honor that he is very close to receiving. According to Guila, if Permenter continues training at the torrid pace he's set for himself, he'll be wearing that brown belt within the next six months.
"JT is one of those young kids that has a true spirit of dedication and devotion," explained Guila. "He's the type of student that would be there every day he was allowed to come to the dojo and train. Even on his off days, when he's free from his other activities, even on an off day of martial arts training, he'll call me and ask me if he can come in and train - not every once in a while; every single week. He's certainly one of my protege students."
As a protege of Guila and a member of the school's Black Belt Club, a separate student body whose membership is reserved exclusively for those students whom Guila feels exhibit a true passion for the philosophical aspects of kickboxing as well as the advancement of their physical skills, Permenter is already on the road to becoming an instructor.
"I want to do that (teach) when I grow up," said Permenter. "In my second year, when I started to get higher in the belts, that's when I first thought I wanted to teach. But I also want to become a better boxer. You can never be perfect; there's always something you can do better."
Carriera, 10, has earned Fighter of the Year twice, his prior title coming in 2005. Guila remembers when the semi-contact fighter first came to him more than three years ago, describing him as a "very timid young boy." Now, there are few who would call Carriera timid, as his martial arts training has helped him grow into a confident young man with a fighter's spirit.
"He has great coordination and has developed a lot of speed through the techniques that he's learned," said Guila. "He's also managed to develop great confidence and realize what he had in him all along."
For more information about Guila's Hawaiian Kajukenbo Kickboxing, call 755-3434 or visit the dojo on the Web at www.guilakarate.com.