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NASKA World Championships: 2011 Season Highlights and 2012 Prospects for the Top Sport Martial Arts Circuit

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The 2011 NASKA World Grand Champions receiving their awards from NASKA President Master Larry Carnahan at the night time show of the 2012 season-opening AKA Grand Nationals.

The 2011 season of NASKA (North American Sport Karate Association) World Tour, the most prestigious sport martial arts tournament circuit, featured exciting performances by star competitors both new and old.  This article will focus on the top forms and weapons competitors of the 2011 season, rivalry of the year, notable achievements by a pair of veteran 30+ competitors, the rules changes for the 2012 season, and outlook for the 2012 season.

Star Competitors of 2011 Season
Congratulations to all competitors who contributed to a great season of performances.  A NASKA World Grand Champion is awarded to a competitor accumulating the most NASKA Ratings Points for a grand championship during the entire season.  (Note that point values in this link are for the 2012 season, which are slightly different from those for 2011.)  The following are the NASKA World Grand Champions for the 2011 season:

While there were many outstanding individual competitors, there were a handful of individuals who dominated during 2011 season.  When these five competitors competed at a given tournament, they were nearly unbeatable and almost always won the overall grand champion.  For forms, Micah Karns and Caitlin Dechelle overwhelmed their peers; for weapons, Jackson Rudolph, Micayla Johnson, Kalman Csoka, and Caitlin Dechelle were the dominant competitors.

In addition to this fearsome five were three other noteworthy youth competitors: Amanda Chen, Sammy Smith, and Stephannie Figueroa.  All three achieved the maximum point total of 12,600 in at least one division (Amanda: 12-13 girls traditional forms, traditional weapons, and sparring; Sammy: 12-13 girls extreme and musical forms, extreme and musical weapons; Stephannie: 16-17 girls traditional weapons) and dominated divisional grand championships (Amanda: 13 and under girls traditional forms and weapons; Sammy: 13 and under girls CMX forms and weapons; Stephannie: 14-17 girls traditional weapons).

1. NASKA (competitors, parents, coaches, and promoters) is very much one big extended family; 2. Girls 14-17 weapons stars (L to R: Micayla and Stephannie); 3. Boys 14-17 forms star Micah playfully posing with Mickey; 4. "3M's": The Rivalry of 2011 (L to R: Matt, Mickey, and Marc).

Rivalry of the 2011 Season: Marc vs Matt vs Mickey
RI•VAL•RY [RAI-vuhl-ree] noun: competition between individuals with comparable level of skill experiencing a comparable level of success while striving for the same goal over a sustained period of time (rather than one instance).

While there were heated battles among different age-sex divisions, the NASKA Rivalry of 2011 featured competition between not two but THREE competitors.  They were Marc Canonizado, Matt Emig, and Mickey Lee in the Men’s 18-29 Forms competitions.  The three “M”s brought distinctive sets of talents and strengths to provide a contrast in styles: Marc with his long, graceful acrobatics, and steady consistency (click here for Marc’s video); Matt with his fast, explosive, and high-risk maneuvers (click here for Matt’s video); Mickey with his unique blend of power, balance, and flexibility fluidly choreographed to inspiring music (click here for Mickey’s video).

Marc, Matt, and Mickey were by the very definition of the word “rivals,” sharing comparable levels of success as the top men’s forms competitors.  With Mickey as the sole traditional martial artist among the three, all three faced-off in the divisional round in Musical Forms—the only division open to both traditional and contemporary martial artists.  At the end of the year, Mickey, Matt, and Marc finished first, second, and third respectively in the division.

At season’s end, each earned at least two of the nine possible NASKA World Grand Champion and NASKA World Champion Titles in Men’s Forms:
– Marc won Men’s Overall Forms Grand and Men’s CMX Forms Grand
– Matt won Men’s Extreme Forms and Men’s 18-29 Creative Forms
– Mickey won Men’s Traditional Forms Grand, Men’s 18-29 Musical Forms, and Men’s Chinese Forms

Though Matt did not win a NASKA World Grand Champion Title, he won the coveted US Open’s ISKA World Championship, which open to only the most accomplished competitors for the first half of the season leading up to the US Open.  By placing first, second, and third, respectively, Matt, Mickey, and Marc were the three competitors fully featured in ESPN2 highlights of 2011 US Open’s ISKA World Championship!

Furthermore, there were 6 major (5A rating or higher) tournaments where 2 or 3 “M’s” were on stage to compete for the Men’s Overall Forms Grand Championship—each of the “3M’s” won twice.  When all three were on stage to compete for the top prize, each was victorious once: Mickey at the AKA Grand Nationals; Marc at the Gator Nationals; Matt at the ISKA!