More than 1,000 competitors and spectators packed the Deer Valley High School gym on June 28 for the inaugural Bushido Open Karate Tournament hosted by Hamilton Martial Arts Academy (HMA) of Antioch.
The event was the largest interdisciplinary karate and wrestling event in Antioch's history, and featured weapon and creative Kata competition, as well as freestyle wrestling, traditional karate competition and padded stick fighting. The day also featured team sparring competitions.
The crowd was also treated to a special halftime treat a never-before-seen brick breaking demonstration by 17-time World Karate Champion Master Bill Jones which was met with raucous applause.
Jones wasn't the only big name in attendance at the event. The guest list was a who's who of Northern California's best-known martial artists. Special Appreciation Awards were presented to Jones as well as Master Michael Burrowes, Master Clarence Isadore, Grand Master Ruby Navarro, Grand Master Wolf Hillesheim, Professor Tommy Gilbert, Master Allen Nunley, Master Carroll Pegeron and Master Frank McCallister.
Nunley Karate Do was also recognized with a special award as the event's Most Supportive School, and Lifetime Achievement Awards were presented to Master Eric Gardere and Master Troy Whaley.
Each of the division winners was awarded 5-foot trophies, and black belt Willie Hicks took home $1,000 in prize money for his wins in the 18-to-34-year-old division and for being named the tournament's Overall Grand Champion. Hicks was joined by fellow Adult Division winners Tyrone Ward (45 and over) and Whaley (35 and over). Each of the tournament's Junior Grand Champions was awarded a plaque, an embroidered RekSuit and an Apple iPod.
HMA owners Roger and Valrina Hamilton put on the event in conjunction with San Francisco's Gold Cup Sport Karate League, and were proud of how well the inaugural event went, expressing gratitude to the event's sponsors: Washington Mutual Bank, Jamba Juice, Mystic Photo, Mona-Vie, Tiger Claw, RekSuits WEST, Party Lite Candles, Lucky Stores, Starbucks, Round Table Pizza, Aim Mail Center, Crown Trophy, Coca Cola, UV Promotions, Martial Artists Against Drugs (Maad), and Unity Community.
HMA is already in the planning phase for next year's Bushido Open and expects to announce a date and location for the 2009 event in the coming weeks. By all means, said Sensei Roger Hamilton, the coming tournament is certain to be bigger and better than ever.
For the latest information about the 2009 Bushido Open and other news regarding HMA, visit www.hamiltonkarate.com.