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The Mind of Kumite

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Sensei William Viola
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With a Young Bill Jr.

 
 

visit www.williamviola.com for current info. This is a brief history of Bill Viola's vision for sport karate.  While living in Hollywood, Viola developed the groundwork for Kumite International the first non-profit karate organization in The United States based on competitive college scholarships.  KI is a non-profit partnership program with The Western PA Police Athletic Program with operations in the USA, Canada, and Europe.  The project has become a full-time job for Viola and his passion. 

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Bill Viola Jr. founded Kumite International to recognize and support underprivileged youth in martial arts. As a 9-time state champion, 6-time national champion, and 1998 World Champion, he has experienced the rigors and sacrifices associated with athletic competition.  Moreover, Viola upheld the highest level of academic excellence throughout his career.  As a 1995 Hempfield Area High School graduate, he earned membership to The National Honor Society.  Holding a national title, the #1 sport karate ranking in Pennsylvania, and superior grades, Viola Jr. sought financial aid for college.  To his dismay, there was absolutely no funding or scholarships available.  Unfortunately, this pattern has hindered millions of athletes before him, and continues to be a stumbling block for martial artists today. Viola went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude, top 1% of Political Science program, from the University of Pittsburgh.  Still, he never received an athletic scholarship for his years of dedication to the martial arts.  Its inconceivable that scholastic athletes of such caliber are not be eligible or rewarded with some type of educational scholarship. In the summer of 1999, Viola Jr. was involved in a serious automobile accident followed by surgery.  The injuries sustained ended Violas competitive karate career (1980-1999).  Unable to compete for the first time in his life, Viola sought for a way to continue involvement in the competitive karate world.  These circumstances motivated Viola to devise a plan and develop an organization to rectify the injustices endured by martial artists.  Viola began to prepare the ground work for an organization he envisioned would support scholastic champions of sport karate. A grassroots movement began by bringing leaders within the martial arts community together. Viola, along with the guidance of James Cvetic (Police Athletic League) and C. James Parks (Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot LLC) spearheaded the idea.  Viola Jr. was sponsored by PAL as a youth competitor.  Now, The Police Athletic League and KI have teamed up, forming a martial arts division to help youth in the tri-state area. 

 

 

 

The ground work for Kumite International began in 1999.  By the spring of 2000, The Kumite Classic Marital Arts Championships awarded the first scholarship in the organizations history.  The recipient was PA womens state sparring champion, Jenn Smith.   Smith a member of the BCAC Competition Team (Mon-Valley Pennsylvania) chose the University of Pittsburgh as her institution of higher learning.  The 2001 Kumite Classic Martial Arts Championships played host to sport karate history.  The event marked the public unveiling of Kumite International, a tax-exempt non-profit organization.  The Pittsburgh based sport karate charity was founded to support the education of martial artists, promote traditional values of karate-do, and ultimately set the standard for the future progress of youth in competitive karate. The foundations initial project is the development of KicKiss a rating and sanction system. Kick (Kumite International Competitive Karate) pertains to a competitive arena of sanctioned martial arts events.  Kiss (Kumite International Scholastic Scholarships) pertains to the competitive based academic scholarships for martial artists. KicKiss is the only non-profit rating system in the United States based upon competitive karate scholarships.  Kumite International harnesses an important grassroots movement.  The charity has taken the initiative to bring to a forefront a theme that has been long over due.  Martial Artists sacrifice as much, if not more than conventional athletes. Unfortunately, karate champions are not given proper respect or support at the high school or college level.   Kumite International is fighting for their future, and setting a new standard for young martial artists and their education.  The Kumite Classic stood as the first competition ever sanctioned by KicKiss.

 

 

Throughout the KicKiss season; Regional, National, and International champions have the opportunity to earn academic karate scholarships. The charity is self-funded and relies on the cooperation of the entire martial arts community.  All memberships are non-profit donations and support the foundations activities.  2002 brought forth the formation of Team Kumite sponsored co-sponsored by Macho.  As compilation of the areas top sport karate competitors and coaches, the team travels to top rated events including NASKA, NBL, KicKiss, and The USA-NKF.  Looking forward to 2003, Kumite International will continue to expand all scholarship programs and is currently developing a number of celebrity scholarships and international venues.   

Click to read what The Pittsburgh Tribune Review says about Viola...