THE 16th Annual Twin Towers Classic took place on Friday August 25th, 2006 at the New Yorker Hotel, and continued until Saturday August 26th at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City.


Each year the Twin Towers Classic brings together martial artists representing their schools from across the country, to the capital of the world, New York City.


An excellent review of the tournament can be read on  www.sportmartialarts.com a phenomenal online magazine and the premiere site for coverage of sports martial arts.


Each year, The Twin Towers Classic presents the spectrum of what the martial arts offers: extreme, musical and traditional kata, team and individual sparring, weapons, self-defense, it is all here. The event drew quite a number in attendance from schools in and around the tri-state area, to as far away as Massachusetts and Puerto Rico.


The masters in attendance were inspirational as referees, coaches and as spectators: Larry Carnahan, John Chung, Don Rodrigues, Dave Thomas, Al Hinds, to name just a few. Just like the competitors, parents, family and friends were caught up in the excitement and energy of the event.



The Twin Towers Classic is a participant in the NASKA (North American Karate Association) World Tour Tournaments, and as such, competitors travel throughout the country to compete and acquire rating points in what is considered the martial arts tournament circuit.


Ok, so there may be those that say sport karate or sport martial arts is not really martial arts. Well think on this you have Jell-O mixed with fruit, and some like whip cream on it, and it comes in different flavors or colors. In the end, it is still Jell-O.


The martial arts is certainly about combat, yes, as well as self confidence and having a foundation of the basics that is continually built upon. The competitors we spoke to discussed their training, and regardless of their style or school, their common denominator is they are all trained in a martial art.


The Twins Towers Classic is a premier event, different than a shiai or many of the closed traditional tournaments; nonetheless, it is an opportunity to compete and see another part of that spectrum that is the martial arts.


For many of our youth, it is a chance to be a part of a much larger picture. It is like standing on a Broadway stage if not for that one moment of excitement that they will remember the rest of their lives. With parents going crazy and seeing the pride in their eyes, it is wonderful. Regardless of how they got there, a flight into JFK, or the 6 subway, the bottom line is that it is great to see martial artists together, supporting an event that continues to be a success.


Thank you to Mike Conroy as chief arbitrator of the event. Outstanding job and confirmed his reputation as one of the best.


Most importantly, a heartfelt “OSU” and a bow to Master Lee Ireland for successfully hosting yet another exciting and much anticipated tournament.


A major purpose in attending such an event is to learn about some of artists and get a sense of what their stuff is about. To this end, we spoke to many and were impressed.


                                   Master Kevin Thompson



Dignity - Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.



“I just do Karate.” A quote by Kevin Thompson on being inducted into the Black Belt Hall Of Fame and what he continued to do at The Twin Towers Classic.



“The Total Package” as he is referred to in the world of martial arts placed first in his division in sparring, kata and weapons.


Kevin Thompson also won the Grand Champion sparring title in his division with a win over one of the greats Jerry Fontanez. The match was classic, hard-core sparring between 2 of the best there is in the world of martial arts competition.


Rated first by N.A.S.K.A. in his division (again sparring, kata and weapons) Kevin was also inducted into the Harlem Goju Association Hall Of Fame this year. Kevin has been the recipient of many honors in his life and I am sure their will be many more to come, Kevin Thompson Sensei deserves them.


In closing the quality of he teacher can be seen by watching his students and Shakil’s Warriors (Kevin Thompson students), from black to white belt spoke volumes. They are all champions and have the essence of Budo.


                            Introducing Shihan Luis Cruz



We were taken by a young man who has “the magic; the heart” of what the martial arts is all about. Confidence, honor and respect to the art. Accompanied by 3 of his students Marvel, Carlos, and Josue all garnered trophies in sparring. His students also won trophies in the weapons, and creative kata divisions.


Luis has a school in Humacao, Puerto Rico with 100+ students. He is founder; coach and instructor of “The Fast Guy Team” who at the US Open in Orlando Florida won over 69 trophies 25 that were for championship of their divisions.





We will bring you more on Luis Cruz who is 26 years old and has been training in the martial arts since the age of 5. His performance and character show you the quality of his art. The pride in his voice when he speaks on the status of the martial arts in Puerto Rico creates an excitement (you want to hear more.)


The aspects associated with the martial arts: integrity, loyalty, honor, humility and so much more that is what the people we talked to think of when Luis Cruz is mentioned.


To Luis Cruz those aspects are what the martial arts in Puerto Rico are all about.