Some of the finest martial arts fighters and practitioners will be arriving in Revere next week for the second time in 10 years â€“ as the city welcomes the 49th Annual International Karate Championships.
The tournament came to Revere for the first time in 2003 via Doreen DiRienzoâ€™s Revere Karate Academy at 144 Broadway. Now, due to DiRienzoâ€™s status in the martial arts world and the success of the 2003 tournament, some 300 to 500 people have agreed to return.
The tournament brings together martial artists from all over the world who adhere to the late Sr. Grand Master Ed Parkerâ€™s Kenpo system â€“ a system that he started in Long Beach and spread around the world. Itâ€™s also a system that DiRienzo has practiced and taught for decades.
â€œThe tournament has been in Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Mexico, Holland and now in Revere twice,â€ she said. â€œPeople do come from all over the world for the event because Mr. Parker had Kenpo studios all over the world and people still adhere to his system. I came to host the tournament because after he passed away, I became the event coordinator. I had the experience to do it and helped other locations host. Because of that, they wanted me to host one in Boston. We did that in 2003 and it was such a large success that they wanted to come back again.â€
The three-day event will start on Aug. 1st with international black belt testing at the Revere Karate Academy â€“ with an international panel of experts evaluating those seeking grades 1 through 4.
In fact, DiRienzo said her son Anthony Cogliandro, who is her studioâ€™s lead instructor, will be testing for his 4th degree black belt on that day.
â€œIâ€™m excited about that because weâ€™ll have 12 black belts from our studio testing for higher degrees,â€ she said. â€œWhat makes this harder than usual is there is an international testing board at this event. The examiners are from all over the world and the standard is really high.â€
The second day of the event, Friday, Aug. 2nd, will feature guest instructors from all over the world teaching seminars in Kenpo and other forms. There will also be team events for the tournament in the newly-renovated Revere High School (RHS) Fieldhouse, with kids starting at 3 p.m. and adults at 6 p.m.
The biggest event, however, will be the actual tournament on Saturday, Aug. 3rd, in the RHS Fieldhouse.
Things will kick off (no pun intended) on Saturday with an opening ceremonies Parade of Nations at 8 a.m. DiRienzo said 36 different countries will be represented in the event, and each country will have its flag displayed.
That will be followed by a traditional Lion Dance to bless the tournament, and then the action begins.
DiRienzo said all competitors would engage in point fighting, much like in wrestling, where fighters compete for points and the match is stopped when a point is scored. Once the point is logged, the match continues.
â€œThey will be practicing mostly traditional Kenpo forms,â€ she said. â€œThe most exciting part is when they do the sparring. There are events for children as young as 5 and under and for adults up to age 50-plus. There are 188 different events to compete in. There will be a variety of competitors from all levels from all over the world visiting and competing. Anyone coming to watch the tournament will see some great practitioners of the martial arts.â€
Additionally, DiRienzo said she has decided to keep most everything local in order to spur on businesses in the slow summer months.
â€œOne of our goals is we have pretty much kept all the tournament-related business in Revere,â€ she said. â€œWe used the Comfort Inn and different restaurants in Revere. We also used the taxi companies and bus companies here. Margaritaâ€™s Restaurant has been a huge supporter of ours at the Comfort Inn. We really want to make this a positive event for all of Revere.â€
Spectators are encouraged to attend the tournament and can buy tickets for $15 (adults) and $10 (kids) that are good for entrance on Friday and Saturday. Tickets at the door will cost more. Tickets can be obtained at the Revere Karate Academy, 144 Broadway, or by calling (781) 289-9535.
Look for more information on the tournament in the coming weeks of the Journal.
Doreen DiRienzo, owner of the Revere Karate Academy and a 9th degree black belt master instructor, will bring the 49th Annual International Karate Championships to Revere for the second time in 10 years this August.