Although not in name at the time, NASKA’s seed was planted in 1977 when the executive editor of “Karate Illustrated” Magazine…, Renardo Barden, started publishing competitor regional ratings in an attempt to create some order in the world of tournament karate around the United States. KI rated competitors in 12 regions across the US. From these regional ratings, KI, through various subjective methods, rated 36 men fighters in 3 categories, Top Twelve Overall, 12-1st Honorable Mention, and 12-2nd Honorable Mention. KI’s ratings system went through many changes in the early years and progressed soon into rating black belt men, women and children in form, weapons, and fighting. A few years later, KI began rating tournaments as well, awarding them ratings of A, B or C according to 11 set criteria. These criteria were: 1) Level of Fighting Competition; 2) Level of Form Competition; 3) Level of Organization; 4) Level of Hospitality; 5) Quality of Hotel accommodations; 6) Style Prejudice; 7) Regional Shaft Factor; 8) Punctuality; 9) Tournament Venue; 10) Transportation to Tournament Site; 11) Overall Size of Event. Although Karate Illustrated Magazine did exceptional work in their achievement of organizing and rating tournament karate, in 1986 they decided that 9 years were enough and discontinued the tournament/competitor ratings service. By 1986, most of the current World NASKA tournaments had become part of the KI nucleus of “A” rated tournaments. Not wanting to see the ratings system end, the promoters of the “A” rated tournaments at that time agreed to stay together and keep the rating system alive. The promoters of the AKA Grand Nationals, Battle of Atlanta, Diamond Nationals, New England Open, Ocean State Grand Nationals, US Capitol Classics, US Open, and a few other tournaments that no longer exist, all joined forces and created, “NASKA” (North American Sport Karate Association). NASKA has added additional world class tournaments throughout the years and has had as many as 15 World tour tournaments along with National and State tournaments as well. From 1986 to today, NASKA continues to be the leader in “Open Tournament Sport Karate”, in sanctioning North America’s most prestigious karate tournaments and in giving the world’s greatest karate athletics a forum to display, innovate and develop their talents. To acknowledge our tremendous admiration to all the NASKA Champions over the past 30 plus years a special tribute of the “NASKA Champions Hall of Fame” will soon be introduced.
Stephen Oliver began martial arts training in 1970 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with Bob Olinghous and Gran Moulder – Black Belts teaching for the Jhoon Rhee Institute based In Washington, DC. He began actively teaching 1974 and founded his first school in 1975. In 1976 traveled to Washington, DC to train at the Jhoon Rhee Institute Headquarters. In 1978, he returned to Washington, DC to complete his training to Black Belt, tested for and received his First Degree Black Belt with one of the highest scores ever given on the Black Belt Exam. While in Tulsa, he also trained in Kenpo Karate, Goju Ryu, and Judo. In 1980, he moved to Washington, DC and worked first as a head instructor then as a branch manager while attending school at Georgetown University. He has continued to train and contribute to the Martial Arts and was promoted to 6 th Degree Black Belt in 1994 by Jhoon Rhee (Father of American Tae Kwon Do) and, then in 2001 was promoted to 7 th Degree Black Belt and in 2006 to 8th Degree Black Belt by former World Champion Jeff Smith. Stephen Oliver’s Mile High Karate ® In 1983, Stephen Oliver moved to Denver, Colorado and founded Mile High Karate. Upon opening the Lakewood school immediately grew to over 150 students within the first 90 days. In the many years since additional Mile High Karate locations have been opened throughout the Denver-Boulder area. (Mile High Karate has been the #1 martial arts school in this region of the country since 1983) and has promoted well over 1,000 Black Belts ranging in age from 5 to 76. The Mile High Karate Classic and The North American Sport Karate Association In 1989, he began the Mile High Karate Classic international martial arts competition which merited the highest rating possible – NASKA’s World Tour designation from 1989 until 1999. The event drew competitors to Denver from all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and Haiti and was widely recognized as one of the best martial arts competition events in the World. Through his work in Sport Karate, he has was appointed to the Board of Director’s for the North American Sport Karate Association and served on that Board and as that organization’s national sanction director from 1989 until 1999. International Speaking, Consulting and Writing Since opening Mile High Karate, Stephen Oliver has been a sought after consultant for marital arts schools internationally first as Board of Director’s member of Educational Funding Company (serving on that Board from inception until 2001) then as the lead developer of the NAPMA Squared program for the National Association of Professional Martial Artists. He is the author of 3 books on professional martial arts school management as well as being a columnist for the Martial Arts Professional Magazine which is distributed to 23,000 professionals in the Martial Arts Industry. Additionally, he hosts “Bootcamps” and “Mini-Bootcamps” for instructors and school owners throughout the world to teach them professional teaching and management skills for martial arts schools. He also served on the Entrepreneurship and Venture Management Board for the University of Denver. He has been recognized as the U.S. Martial Arts Association’s #1 multi-school operator, and has led seminars throughout the United States and he is a key-note speaker at a variety of Martial Arts conventions and seminars throughout the world. Additionally, he was recognized as one of the top 200 school operators by Andrews International and was inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Association Hall of Fame in 2000. He has been featured on the Cover of “Martial Arts Business Magazine,” “Martial Arts Professional Magazine,” “The Eagle Express,” “the EFC All Stars,” and “Martial Arts Business” among others.
It is hard to believe that it has been 44 years since the first Battle of Columbus (1976). It has been my privilege and honor to be your host, and I sincerely appreciate your support and encouragement. Founding a multidisciplinary championship to embrace the diversity of all martial arts in the most positive way has been one of my most treasured achievements. I could not have done it without you. The Arnold Battle of Columbus was created to offer an opportunity for all martial arts practitioners around the world to compete in a variety of martial arts events to explore, test, and share the skills that they diligently and patiently developed. The Arnold Battle of Columbus also offers a chance to meet martial arts leaders from many styles who share common goals in martial arts philosophy, principles, and traditions. The Arnold Battle of Columbus at its pinnacle grew to more than 4,000 competitors, 10,000 spectators, and over 50 martial arts related vendors and sponsors. Now, in this 44th rendition of The Arnold Battle of Columbus Martial Arts World Games 2020, my passion for this pioneering event in the celebration of martial arts diversity is rejuvenated. I am more committed than ever to restore The Arnold Battle of Columbus to its former prominence and to raise it to even greater heights. As is our custom, we will be recognizing the great martial arts pioneers and their successors for their contributions to the development of the world of Martial Arts for Truth, Goodness, Fun and Beauty with the 5th Annual Arnold Battle of Columbus Martial Arts Hall of Honor and 2020 Bruce Lee and Legends of Martial Arts Hall of Honor. The recognition ceremony will take place on March 6th, 2020 at the Hall of Honor Banquet. The Arnold Battle of Columbus has experienced an extraordinary past and I anticipate that it will have an even more extraordinary future. Neither past nor future would be possible without enthusiastic support from martial artists like you. In the spirit of coming together as a martial arts community, I encourage you to be a part of the movement towards creating a worldwide martial arts community – come to Columbus, Ohio on March 6th through 8th, 2020, and participate in The Arnold Battle of Columbus Martial Arts World Games 2020. Become a part of living history. Sincerely in the spirit of martial arts, SGM Joon P. Choi, 10th Dan Black Belt Founder/President, Oriental Martial Arts College 1349 Brice Rd. Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 614.864.4000, ArnoldBOC@gmail.com | http://www.ArnoldBOC.com