Team Paul Mitchell


Twenty-four years is a long time for any competition team to be around. This longevity would only be possible for a team that has always consisted of some of the best talent in the world. But twenty-four years is only part of the story. There are hundreds of NASKA world titles, countless Black Belt Hall of Fame inductees, numerous WAKO world titles, dozens of Diamond National Rings and at least one ISKA title every year since 1998. The real story is not just how one of longest and greatest teams to ever compete on the NASKA circuit came about but more importantly, the history of the people associated with the team over the last twenty-four years. This is the story behind Team Paul Mitchell.

Team Paul Mitchell 20th Anniversary

The team was not always known as Team Paul Mitchell. The original team started out with a group of fighters and kata competitors from New England. The Team represented a company called Spider Brand which at the time sold heavy bags, equipment bags and a variety of other supplies. Spider Brand was around for only a short period and the team would eventually have to start looking for a new sponsor. Don Rodrigues, promoter of the Ocean State Grand Nationals and coach of Team Paul Mitchell, said “We were in a position where we needed a new sponsor and we sat around the table talking. Two of our players knew companies that might be interested in getting involved with our team.” It was through a relationship Steve Babcock had that the team would get the support they were looking for. Don Rodrigues added, “Little did I know than that a phone call would change all our lives.” That phone call was from John Paul DeJoria, CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems; titan of the hair care product industry. It was a conversation that not only changed the lives of Don Rodrigues and the Spider Brand team but also the future of Sport Karate.

Prior to the emergence of Team Paul Mitchell and even in the earliest days there were a number of top ranked teams such as Trans World Oil and Metro All Stars, to name a few. All had great talent but only Team Paul Mitchell was successful enough to defy the odds and stick around for so many years. Perhaps even more profound is the talent that has been a part of the team over the last twenty-four years. When recalling the best in the industry and some of the biggest the innovators in sport karate, most where a part of Team Paul Mitchell. Team Paul Mitchell’s standard is not just for talented martial artists but truly amazing people. This is unique for sport karate and one of the most important reasons the team has survived all these years.

Team Paul Mitchell in Malibu with John Paul DeJoria and FamilyThe team started at a time when things were simpler than today. There were only three categories to compete in; forms, weapons and fighting. Don Rodrigues said, “The who’s who of martial arts has been a part of Team Paul Mitchell. They are talented people but more importantly they are amazing people. I’m very proud of to be a part of this family and I look forward to what the future will bring.” Team Paul Mitchell will celebrate their 25th Anniversary in 2012 and continues to foster some of the World’s Top athletes.

Team Paul Mitchell Members (Just to name a few)

Steve Babcock 

Christine Bannon-Rodrigues

David Collins

Mike Conroy

Pedro Xavier

Chris Rappold

Jeff Gears

John Payton

Alberto Montrond

Richard Plowden

Derek Panza

Roderick Covington

Ernest Miller

Richard Barefield

Paul Garcia

Terry Creamer

Mike Pombiero

Anthony Price

Kevin Thompson

Brian Ruth

DeDe Baptisa

Jadi Tention

Reggie Perry

Christopher Rodrigues

Raymond Daniels

Preston Clements 

Gerald Dawson

Dean Fuerstenburg

Brian Plemple

Trevor Nash

Damon Gilbert

Elias Lemon

Jesse Goldberg

Alex Lane

Greg Betlach

Joey Greenhalgh

Deandre Walker

Travis Plowden

Chelsey Nash

Richard Brandon

Larry Lamb

Gabe Reynaga

Rocky DiRico

Cheech Luzzi

Mike Chat

Jon Valera

Carmichael Simon

Ming Liu

Jason Gabriel

David Douglas

Gasper Cantazaro 

Vanessa Allure

Tina Travis

Casey Marks-Nash

Butch Marks

Jimmy Pham

Adam Paolino

Anthony DeMarco

Wayne Dalglish

Steve Terada

Anthony Gallo

Nick Begley

Daniel Sterling

John Su

Lauren Kearney

Matt Emig


Caitlin Dechelle

Rudy Reynon

Marc Canonizado

Kalman Csoka

Austin Crain

Ryan Wells

Dayna Huor