The 14th Annual

Twin Towers Classic International Karate Championships


By Shihan William Rivera


Edited by Lydia Alicea


The inspiration to write this article came from a recent conversation with a fellow martial artist. Knowing that I am a writer for MARTIALFORCE.COM, he suggested that I join him and his family and attend a tournament at the Jacob Javits Center on Saturday August 7. Approach it, by writing not about who won or who placed first or second, (as everyone else does) but as a short article, which should capture the essence of the tournament. (Short Article, oh! oh!)


“Martial artists, parents and friends spend a great deal of their time and money travelling to competitions throughout the country. The expectation of an adherence to the rules, fair judging, and attending a well run tournament is what is expected (comfort runs high on the list).”


As it exists, the Karate Circuit can be compared to sports circuits such as tennis, golf, or even auto racing. People go as spectators, others to compete and further their standings in the rating system put forward by various organizations. Some go to test their skills or just to watch the talent and rub elbows with fellow martial artists.


On August 7 2004, The Twin Towers Classic International Karate Championships was held in New York City. Its promoters were Lee Ireland, recognized as a premier Shotokan practitioner and instructor as well as a three time National Champion, and Geoffrey Canada, author, renowned speaker and President/CEO of Harlem Children's Zone, Inc. in New York City. Together, these two extraordinary forces brought their vast experience and talents together and put forward a tremendous event whose attendants will talk about for a very long time to come. Its success can only assure us that this tournament will continue to get better with each coming year. How they will surpass great and sensational (and believe me, they will) is a problem most promoters would love to have!


It was about 12:30 p.m. as I started walking toward the Jacob Javits Center on 34th street. Yes running late from a previous commitment. My cell phone was flooded with calls coming in. They were updates on the progress of the elimination’s taking place inside, along with, “This is great, awesome, hurry up and get here!”


I started my interviews on my way there, yes, I was that person stopping the groups carrying trophies. The recognizable logos on their equipment bags were beacons for my trusty tape recorder and me. I introduced myself after bombarding them with questions and absorbing their responses. I did not want any comments biased with the knowledge that I was writing an article.


In my favorite role, as “Devils Advocate”, I wanted the truth, with the complaints and the accolades. I succeeded and when all was said and done the overwhelming sentiment expressed was that the tournament was held to a higher standard consistently, fair, just, and totally professional.


Oh sure, the abundance of talent was definitely off the charts. Awesome! “GREAT” was heard repeatedly, along with the usual “I scored a point and they did not call it”, “I blocked the kick “. The difference here was that the participants’ comments would end with “I had fun!” “I will definitely come back next year!” and the constant, “It was great!”


Lee Ireland and Geoffrey Canada left nothing to chance for this tournament. The center referees were experienced professionals who controlled the rings and the surrounding areas. The arbitrator if needed, was quick and fair in his decisions. Absent was the bickering and chaos too often seen at many tournaments.


The announcers Ingrid (Chief Coordinator) and Glenn Martin were exceptional in their abilities. Rated by NASKA, WOMAA and the PKC, The Twin Towers Classic with more than 270 divisions brought together some of the top competitors in the country.


The evening show began promptly at 7:00 p.m. as scheduled and was an extravaganza enjoyed by all attending. Yes, there is so much more that I could write about the event. The trophies, cash awards, pictures missed (so enthralled in talking to Master Rico Guy I neglected to take his picture) of the masters and the families who were willing to answer my questions, and share their insights.


Bottom line: The Twin Towers Classic was successful because it was truly enjoyed by the family, friends, spectators, performers, competitors who embrace the martial arts. As far as the essence of the tournament, “A True Martial Arts Event.”


Thank-you Lee Ireland and Geoffrey Canada for welcoming me

Thank-you Sensei Glenn Martin, (I appreciate your hospitality and professionalism).

Thank-you Brenda Rivera for answering my questions and pointing me in the right direction.


Some Comments:


A great tournament, it opens up kids minds, shows sportsmanship, builds self-esteem. It helps kids who may not be able to travel interact with competitors from throughout the country.

Rick Diaz Hanshi Goju-Ryu


“Lee Ireland and Geoffrey Canada have done a great job. By bringing the tournament to the Jacob Javits Center and presenting a first class event, they have brought it to a new level”.

Jonas Nunez Shihan, Okinawan Shindo Ryu Karatedo


“I come because of the competition and to meet other martial artist, it is fun”.

“I enjoy it and the air conditioner is great”.

Lisa and Bill Lattimer, Goju-Te


“I come every year, it is well run, the rules are adhered to and I like that chest protectors are used by the kids. Everything is cool.”

Shihan Jimenez, Shotokan


“I have come to this tournament for 11 years, I usually compete myself this year I decided to watch and coach my students. It is well organized.”

Sensei Chris Scura, Tae Kwon Do/Jujitsu


Usually I come to a tournament and get handed a trophy for lack of competitors in my division.

Not here the competition is great.”

Marie, Tae Kwon Do/Jujitsu


“Great tournament, it is safe and well run. A great event for all.”

                                                           Master Gregory Jackson, Ji Do Kwan – Tae Kwon Do


“ I have loved watching the way it has grown, from Queens College to the Javits Center. It is accommodating and comfortable. A clean tournament with strong competitors.”

                                                         Sensei Glenn Watts (Instructor, student and announcer)







         Click Pictures To enlarge







SPECIAL NOTE  To Promoters Geoffrey Canada And Lee Ireland - We at Thank you for allowing us to cover your tournament ,It was an HONOR.


                                                                                              Shihan Eddie Morales





          William Rivera East Coast Rep. (Executive)