Legendary JPM Member, Kevin Thompson, Honored Where It All Started
For Thirty-Four years the Ocean States has been harboring talent from the New England area and all over the world. This year’s event was so much more than just another karate tournament. Granted many could say every event is more than just a karate tournament and that would be true. But it is very rare that an individual such as Kevin Thompson (dubbed the 8th wonder of the world) would be recognized and in attendance for the first time since his retirement in 2010. Even more important would be the announcement just a few years later that he was diagnosed with ALS. The event promoters, Don and Christine Rodrigues, along with the supporters of such an extraordinary warrior had this vision of raising enough money to help Kevin and his family purchase a wheelchair accessible van. With the help of some of his former Paul Mitchell Teammates Kevin was escorted to the stage where he would insist on standing out of his wheel chair on his own merit thanks to the strength his brothers and sisters in the crowd gave him. Despite all the emotional, physical and metaphysical challenges that a disease such as ALS can present on anyone Kevin and his family remain resilient to the end and in true Kevin fashion, empowering of all those who come in contact with him.
Kieran Tamondong continues winning streak with another Double Grands weekend.
In just a few tournaments in 2014 Kieran Tamondong has gone from a talented runner up in his division to being THE top contender in the 13 and under Forms and Weapons Overall competition. This weekend’s Ocean State Grand Nationals was yet another stage that the California native would once again command and garner the judges vote in both Forms and Weapons with his traditional routines. Even more impressive this still growing artist is showing even the adults a thing or two about how it can be done. Well done Kieran and congrats on two more Overall titles in 2014.
GForce newcomers Cunha and Alicea wow the Crowds.
There are two names you will definitely have to look out for more in 2014. Gabrielle Cunha and Romani Alicea. Either the New England area has something special in their drinking water or Joe Greenhalgh has an eye for developing talent. These two kids, currently representing Gforce, have stormed the competition in 2014 and got their chance to shine on stage at this past weekend’s Ocean State Grand Nationals. Falling short in the overall competition this will likely not be the last time we see these incredibly talented athletes.
Jackson Rudolph dedicates his performance to the Warrior, Kevin Thompson.
Jackson Rudolph would have one of the more controversial wins on the night. Announcing at the beginning of his performance the form would be dedicated to Kevin Thompson, Rudolph would run a flawless traditional bo routine. His biggest contender, once the scores were given, would be Cole Presley. Presley and Rudolph would tie and with the high and low scores added back in would still tie. The result would have to call in the big guns to come in and take a look at the score sheet to determine the final results. When all was said and done it would be Rudolph who was awarded the Overall win and would hand his trophy over to Kevin Thompson the real Warrior of the night.
Raelynn Perkins outscores Robyn Lebuffe in an epic battle of kicking.
Raelynn Perkins and Robyn Lebuffe have now faced off against each other numerous times since both have gotten into the adult division. In the two round bout Lebuffe would be able to keep the score close before time was called in the first round. The new rules state that a competitor must win by 2 points in the Overall competition or by a 10 point spread. The second round begin and Perkins would kick, literally, herself into a higher gear. With several unanswered points Lebuffe would leave the first round down by one and would finish the match down by seven points. Perkins would secure herself the win and some Paul Mitchell products to combat the helmet hair she received while winning her Overall title.
Justin Ortiz shuts down the Hungarians to take home Overall Title.
Justin Ortiz is native to the New England area. With his family in toe it was clear he was looking to make his family proud and represent his Paul Mitchell Team. To do that he would first have to overcome some of the biggest names in the sport. In his first semi final match he would face off against Laszlo Gombos of Hungary. After two minutes the match would end in favor of Ortiz who would move on to face Moradi in the final. The match would be an exciting match between the two Paul Mitchell members. Ortiz would score first and Moradi would seem frustrated with the judges calls and his technical execution. After the two rounds Ortiz would just barely be able to hold off Moradi and take home his first Overall win of the 2014 season.
13 and Under Weapons: Kieran Tamondong
13 and Under Forms: Kieran Tamondong
14-17 Weapons: Jackson Rudolph
14-17 Forms: Jacob Pinto
Adult Women’s Weapons: Caitlin Dechelle
Adult Men’s Weapons: Tyler Weaver
Adult Women’s Forms: Caitlin Dechelle
Adult Men’s Forms: Tyler Weaver
Women’s Point Fighting: Raelynn Perkins
Men’s Point Fighting: Justin Ortiz
Team Synchronized Forms: Team Paul Mitchell (Mackensi Emory and Tyler Weaver)
Team Demonstration: KICK Team
Women’s Team Fighting: Paul Mitchell/Straight Up
Men’s Team Fighting: Team Paul Mitchell