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The 2012 Super Grands World Games

We just got back from the 23rd NBL Super Grands World Games.  If you weren’t there, then you missed a stellar lineup of martial artists showcasing their skills.  From the very young and fresh, the first-timers, to the long since cultivated, martial artists from across the U.S. and other countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Canada, Ireland, and more gathered in Buffalo, New York for six days and nights of intense competition.  All were reaching for that world title, that first place belt, and that coveted ring.


27278_546879871989895_742100080_nAs I strolled the hallway during registration, I saw a lot of familiar faces back to retain their titles.  I also met a lot of new competitors, eager to join the ranks of the NBL’s best.  Just a few among them: Mackenzie and Baileigh Nolan – don’t be fooled by these young and delightful little girls… they are tough as nails.  Greg Bullock was here to compete after attending as a spectator three years ago.  I also encountered MJ Amba, son of returning competitor, Martin Amba.  He has trained alongside his father, but was taking his first stab at the highly competitive atmosphere that is the Super Grands.  They were joined by Blake Murphy and Tyler Crowley, all from the Reno, NV area.


Competitors and their families started filling the Adam’s Mark Hotel by Christmas Day, with the competition starting on Wednesday December 26, 2012.  The week was kicked off with Traditional Self-Defense, Choreographed Self-Defense, Breaking, and Team Forms.  Already, the tone was set: good sportsmanship, camaraderie, but nonetheless fierce battles for the top spot.


The divisions to break in the very sought after Super Grands Stage included Girls’, Boys’, Adult Mixed, and Men’s Team Sparring.  Up on stage first on Wednesday night were the Girls’ Teams.  Team Seronio put up an incredibly tough fight, but Team Alchemy came out with the win.  Next were the Adult Mixed Teams.  Schumann’s ProK and Gallio TKO went head to head, with Gallio’s Willie Hicks, Regena Thompson, and Augustus “PeeWee” Blanco bringing the title to Houston, TX.  Team ATL and Team Proper kept everyone on their toes during Boy’s Team Sparring.  Proper’s Jacob Adriano, Bobby Seronio, III, and Keyon Allen pulled out the three-peat with their third consecutive world title in this division.  Team Proper was back up on stage for Men’s Teams, but ultimately lost to Gallio TKO.  That action wrapped the first day of Super Grands.


293663_546918335319382_1489209622_nThe second night included an official introduction to the show, featuring a captivating demo by Team Rumble.  Thursday night’s show included many Juniors’ divisions including creative and choreographed weapons, traditional weapons, Japanese/Okinawan forms, Kenpo/Kajukenbo, traditional self-defense, and point sparring.  Some of the night’s winners include: Eric Rodriguez, Seth Boyette, Alexis Bonifacio, Mihaela Keller, Karina Perea, Victoria Gutierrez, Rafael Garcia, Brandon Aquino, Emily Hemmerling, Amanda Armendariz, Karina Hipolito, Adam Goldstein, Andrea Tyrell, Elizabeth Aquino, Khyll Jorge, Bobby Seronio, III, and James Gilbeaux.


On day three, the fervid competition continued.  On this night, it was the adults’ turn to take it to the stage.  Again, the audience was treated to creative and choreographed weapons, traditional weapons, soft weapons and forms, team forms, traditional self-defense, and more point sparring.  Thursday’s newly crowned champions included: Nick Cain (hard choreographed musical weapons), Edwin Alejandro (hard contemporary weapons), Jacob Gunn (choreographed fight), Nick Cain (hard creative weapons), Javier Velarde (soft contemporary forms), Rommel Gargoles (soft open weapons), and JoAnn, Tessa, Emma, and Joseph Falanga for Team Forms; for men’s 18+ point sparring: Ashlon Smith (fly), Robbie Lavoie (feather), Sergio Calva (light), Jack Felton (light middle), Juan Pablo Santiago (middle), Leon Jefferson (light heavy), Rene Torres (heavy), and Cass Sigmon (super heavy); for women’s point sparring: Deon Beatty (35+ all weights), Andrea Marroquin (feather), Chenoa Cassidy-Matthews (light), and Regena Thompson (middle); and for men’s 35+ point sparring: Troy Whaley (light), Bobby Seronio, Jr. (middle), El-Java Abdul Qadir (heavy), and David Coppock (super heavy).


Saturday’s stage show added the following competitors to the list of world champions: Hunter Orlowski (11- hard choreographed musical forms), Karina Hipolito (12-14 hard creative forms), Tyler Weaver (15-17 hard creative forms, 15-17 hard choreographed musical forms, & 17- hard open musical forms), Julia Moreci (17- hard choreographed musical forms), Eric Rodriguez (9- hard creative forms), Davis Teston (12-14 hard creative forms & 12-14 hard choreographed musical forms), McKenna Jolly (15-17 hard creative forms), Alex Riggs (11- hard creative forms), Andrea Tyrell (11- hard creative forms & 11- Korean forms), Brandon Aguilar (12-14 Korean forms), and Mara Hipolito (15-17 Korean forms); for point sparring: Darian Ruiz, Meghan Hamilton, Karina Perea, Victoria Gutierrez, Josue Aguilar, Rafael Garcia, Olivia Hedrick, Alberto Cardoso, Bobby Seronio, III, Scot Perkins, Joaquin De la Rosa, and Elijah Humes.


With one more day before the grand finale, even more competitors were looking to earn their 2012 title; some for the very first time, some to defend last year’s title, and some to come back and reclaim a title from years prior.  On Sunday, world titles were earned by: Tim Conkel (hard choreographed musical forms), Edwin Alejandro (hard contemporary forms), Taylor Lynch (hard creative), Julio Domingo (Chinese forms), Moriah Chatman (Kenpo), Rommel Gargoles (Japanese/Okinawan forms), Andrew Cabilan (hard traditional), Daniela Barrientos (Japanese/Okinawan), Marco Laguna (hard traditional), Darrel Lewis (hard creative), Deon Beatty (hard contemporary), Jeff Doss (hard open musical), Bear Loebe (Korean), and Moriah Chatman (Korean); for point sparring: Estefani Mejia, Ali Viola, Mike Levy, Rene Torres, Augustus “PeeWee” Blanco, Marcal Lazenby, LeAutry Bruner, Jorge Morales, and Ryan George.


This brings us to the Grand Finale – the night that Overall Grand Champions are made.  The week’s top winners take it to the stage one last time for the year, for the honor of winning it all.

Here are your 2012 NBL Super Grands Overall Champions: Adam Goldstein (Junior Contemporary Forms), Jacob Cleary (who won the Junior Traditional Forms division with his traditional self-defense), Jeff Doss (Adult Contemporary Forms), Bear Loebe (Adult Traditional Forms), Brandon Cook (11- point sparring), Alexis Bonifacio (Girls’ 12-14 point sparring), Karina Perea (Girls’ 15-17 point sparring), Bobby Seronio, III (Boys’ 12-14 point sparring), Nathan Skoufis (Boys’ 15-17 point sparring), Regena Thompson (Womens’ point sparring), and Jack Felton (Mens’ point sparring).

It was an absolutely exhilarating week of martial arts, with an abundance of skill, focus, dedication, talent, heart, determination, and fight displayed each and every day.  We congratulate all of the 2012 NBL World Champions, we wish all of you a successful and injury-free 2013 season, the best of luck in all of your tournaments throughout the year, and we cannot wait to see everyone back at the 2013 NBL Super Grands World Games!