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...