US Championships 1973 in Karate

Jeff Smith vs. Demetrius Havanas Jeff Smith scores with a jumping punch on Demetrius Havanas. It was the first time Jhoon Rhee Safe-T equipment was used in a public event.

DALLAS, TEXAS: Some 9.000 spectator s flocked to the Dallas Memorial Auditorium to witness ALLEN STEEN’S 10th ANNUAL U.S. KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS. America’s second largest Karate tournament. The U.S. is a tournament with tradition and prestige as there is always an abundance of tough competition from all over the nation. Some 41 states were represented in Black Belt competition alone. Steen’s tourney always fields the best in the U.S.

Some of America’s top coaches were on play to insure fair and organizational proficiency: Joe Alvarado, Steve Armstrong, Pat Burleson, Ed Daniels, Bob Halliburton, Jim Harrison, Thomas La Puppet, Lou Lizette, Chuck Leven, George Menshew, Skipper Mullins, George Pesare, Takayuki Mikami, Jhoon Rhee, Kang Rhee, Mike Stone, Fred Wren, and Bob Yarnall, just to mention a few. One reads a lot about poor sportsmanship at Karate tournaments. This is unheard of in the Southwest. A Karateka displaying poor sportsmanship at a Dallas tournament would be considered a poor insurance risk. After the preliminary smoke had cleared, 12 contestants had earned their way to a Semi-Final berth and an eventual chance to meet Los Angeles’ BOB DUNEK. the defending Grand Champion.

Anderson vs. Harkins The first match of the evening featured Jim Harkins of Denver, a man who has really been hot on the National tournament scene, and Portland. Oregon’s Dan Anderson. Anderson’s presence created a lot of comment amongst the competitors on hand. It seemed the general consensus that Anderson was overrated because he came from an area that does not provide that much competition. Many of the Black Belts were of the opinion that Anderson was weak and flippy in the execution of his technique. They found out quickly and some painfully that they could not have been more wrong as Anderson plowed through the eliminations with the power and cool of a real champion. Anderson went on the offensive in this opening semi-final bout and gained an early two point lead. Harkins came back with a ridge hand to the throat, then tied it up 2-2 with a reverse punch to Anderson’s rib cage. Cautious flurries of kicks followed, but neither player could score. Then, in the closing seconds. Anderson countered a Harkins kick with a head punch to win the match 3-2. Havanas vs. Dacascos: The next Lightweight semi-final bout pitted the “Golden Greek”. Demetrius Havanas of Dallas against Denver’s Al Dacascos. The crowd went wild as their hero Havanas was introduced. There was more cheering than at a Dallas Cowboy football game. Havanas began pouring it on, but was checked as the lightning fast Kung-Fu specialist scored with a defensive head punch. The Greek quickly evened it up with a back fist making the score 1-1. Decascos received several flags in the ensuing moments, but could not get Sufficient verification for a point. In overtime, Havanas leaped high in the air with a jumping backfist to score the winning point.

Bill Wallace scores the final point to win the Grand Championship title.

Uselton vs. Kurban Dallas’ Roy Kurban, a man with a winning streak that is second only to Bill Wallace, really had his work cut out for him as he faced Austin’s Mike Uselton, a good fighter with superb technique. Uselton has not fought in many tournaments in the last two years, but is a consistent winner when he does. The match was played very cautiously with Kurban taking a narrow 1-0 victory. Kijewski vs. McCoy One of Chicago’s super stars, Steve Kijewski, then took on newcomer Billy McCoy of Kingsville, Texas. The experienced, national star Kijewski was heavily favored. McCoy, however, had other ideas and pulled out a 2-1 victory. Kijewski was suffering from an injury and had to forfeit his next match and settle for fourth place.

Wallace vs. Fugate America’s number one competitor, Bill Wallace, was now ready to take on Kirby Fugate, another Dallas giant. Fugate took the initiative but severely underestimated the speed of Bill Wallace’s legs and lost 3-0 as Wallace scored heavily with defensive kicks to the head. Fugate, however, is a big, tough fighter and we expect to see him in the winner’s circle with consistency in the near future. Butin vs. Gotcher In a hard-fought battle the veteran champion James Butin of Denton, Texas bested one of the Southwest’s top new stars, Dennis “Sugar Bear” Gotcher, 2-1. Gotcher is another consistent winner who should be making a big splash amongst the nation’s top guns in the very near future. Gotcher fights often and everywhere and has seven Grand Championships to his credit this year alone.

Allen Steen provided the audience with his usual power packed half time show. Thomas La Puppet and Owen Wat son of New York City demonstrated self-defense from sitting positions on a chair. They displayed the clean, disciplined Shotokan style. The techniques displayed were excellent and very instructional to many of the Karateka present. The two New Yorkers impressed the locals and nationals all day with their ability as officials and bearing as true Karate leaders. One began to wonder why, with officials like these, the East Coast has so many disciplinary problems. PROFESSIONAL KARATE confidently endorses these officials and suggests they be notified and listened to if anyone on the East Coast decides to hold a legitimate, disciplined tournament. Bob Campbell of Boston was next and performed his Weapon’s Kata winning form with a sword. Darnell Craig of Houston then gave an impressive Kendo demonstration. Then, the great TAKAYUKI MIKAMI of New Orleans, three time winner of the All Japan Karate Championships in Kumite and Kata, performed an advanced Shotokan Kata to the pleasure of the crowd. Sensei Mikami is one of the most respected instructors in the Southwest. Everyone has nothing but praise for this man’s ability and he always gathers a crowd of top-rated Black Belts in his room, all seeking to gather some of his vast knowledge. This is truly a high compliment as an estimated 85 per cent of all Southwest Karate is composed of Korean ‘tae Kwon Do. The demos ended with a self defense skit by the Simpson family; Jack, Candy, Bill, and Paul, a family of Black Belts from Steen’s Arlington club. Jack, the father, is in his 40’s and still competes more than his children.

Anderson vs. Havanas These two fast and superb technicians won the crowd’s immediate enthusiasm. They began the match by displaying a flashy exchange of kicking and counter-kicking techniques. Anderson scored the first two points by countering Havanas’ attacks with perfectly timed and ‘well-controlled spinning back kicks to the Greek’s head. Havanas, behind 2-0, began to pour it on and finally scored with a reverse punch, but lost 2-1 as time ran out. DAN ANDERSON (Portland, Oregon)- U.S. LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION.

Kurban vs. McCoy The Middleweight finals got off to a slow start with the experienced Roy Kurban more or less observing the surprise finalist Billy McCoy. McCoy proved he was no slouch by taking a late 1-0 lead by countering a Kurban roundhouse with a reverse punch. Kurban had to hurry to tie the score with a jumping lunge punch in the closing seconds. In overtime McCoy took the offensive. He grabbed Kurban’s gi and received a reverse punch to the rib cage as payment. ROY KURBAN (Dallas, Texas)- U.S. MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION.

Butin vs. Wallace Next came the match that many of the coaches felt would determine the ultimate outcome. Butin was out to avenge his loss to Wallace in 1971. The coaches present were giving Butin the edge because he was fighting in his region and had a strong desire to win this particular match. Butin took the lead early with a reverse punch, but’, Fast Billy” Wallace evened it up shortly with a roundhouse to Butin’s head. Butin, however, continued to press. He attempted a foot sweep which Wallace took and pivoted back with heel kick with the same leg Butin swept. The heel kick landed squarely and well-controlled on Butin’s head to make the score 2-1 with 5 seconds left. Just as time was called, Butin struck Wallace with a roundhouse of his own to tie the score 2-2. Another overtime. Butin charged fiercely as the suddendeath overtime began and Wallace placed another roundhouse kick squarely on his head. Butin, knowing he had blown it, smiled in acknowledgment, thus ending the match between two of Karate’s real greats. BILL WALLACE (Memphis, Tenn.)- U.S. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

Dunek vs. Wallace- Los Angeles Bob Dunek was seeded in the Grand Championship finals automatically since he was the defending champion. Dunek started the action by hitting Wallace twice with reverse upset punches to the rib cage, but did not receive a point either time. The punches were either covered where a majority of the judges could not see them, or the officials felt they did not have sufficient power. He finally scored with a backfist to Wallace’s head.

Wallace then kicked Dunek in the back of the head with a roundhouse but received no point. Uh-oh! Dallas fans were suddmy having visions of the sixties when at least 50% of your opponent’s brains had to be openly exposed before you could get a point. Coach’s concensus had it that this was not just :mother tournament, but the U.S. Grand Championship, and any points awarded would have to be unquestionable target-wise, focus-wise. and power-wise. The five officials judging the ma” were amongst America’s, best. Wallace finally tied it up with a backfist. In the closing seconds. Wallace hit Dunek in the chest with a side kick that knocked him out of the ring to win the match. Anderson vs. Kurban – Roy Kurban of Dallas opened the scoring with a foot sweep-reverse punch combination. Portland’s young Dan Anderson tied it up with a counter spinning, back kick to Kimball’s chest. Anderson executed his defensive kicking movements with precision and excellent tinting all day. Anderson tried a drop kick, but could only get two flags. Again Anderson attacked and stunned Kurban with a heel kick to the face. Two officials called face con-tact. and two called point. Result— nothing. Time ran out with the score tied 1-1. In overtime Kurban quickly scored with a head punch to give him the victory and the right to meet Bill Wallace for the title.

The crowd went wild as Pro team matches were announced and the players entered the arena. The power-packed Texas team was heavily favored as it was composed of five of the toughest. most experienced players – Butin. Gotcher, Havanas, and Billy Watson who, after being dormant for over a year. has been trying, to make a comeback. This group of talent was coached by their instructors Allen Steen and Pat Burleson. The Jhoon Rhee coached D.C. experienced in team competition, looked cool and confident as they faced their formidable opponents. The team members were Gordon Franks. Wayne Booth. Wayne Van Buren. the highly rated Pat Worley. and the D.C. Powerhouse Jeff Smith. Smith is one of the country’s new stars and strong contender for National Top 10 honors. The matches were unique because of the use of Jhoon Rhee’s new invention SAFE-T PUNCH and SAFE-T KICK. This is protective equipment made of puffed foam that may well revolutionize sport Karate. The hand and feet protectors are as light as a feather and do not impair one’s normal movement (see article about Safe-T gear here). They make cutting the face next to impossible. Face contact was allowed in the matches. but it was not to be too excessive. Round 1 (Worley vs. Kurban) – This match, featuring mo of America s top guns provided a lot of action with a lot kicking and counter-kicking, but neither could score a clear point. Score 0-0. Round 2 ( Franks vs. Butin) – Eighteen year old Gordon Franks of D.C. proved that size and age meat) nothing in a Kzirate match. James Rutin being at least a head taller and 50 pounds heavier. Franks scored first with a jump punch to the head. main then followed up with a lunge punch to Frank’s head that knocked him to the canvass. After several flurries and exchanges where no blows met their target, the match ended. Score I-1. Round 4 (Van Buren vs. Watson). D.0 .’s Wayne Van Buren is seldom heard of because he does not compete very often in open competition. He does, however, fight quite often in Pro Team competition. He has size and strength and is a strong kicker and puncher. He would definitely be one to reckon with on the national circuit if he would compete other than on the East Coast. Van Buren took the lead early with a roundhouse kick to Watson’s head. Watson then retaliated w ith a head punch to tie the score. This match really had some power-packed action with neither player giving an inch. Then, Van Buren executed a beautiful spinning hack wheel kick followed immediately by a reverse punch to take a 2-1 lead. Now the slugfest really began with both fighters pounding each other solidly about the head. No clear points could he determined. Finally, Watson landed a solid head punch to tie the score. Score: Texas 4- D.C. 3. Round 5 (Smith vs. Havanas)- This was the match everyone had anxiously anticipated as two of America’s most experienced and versatile fighters began the final round. D.0 .’s Jeff Smith really began to pour it on. He never ceased his powerful barrage of kicks and punches from start to finish. Smith scored first with a hard punch to Havanas’ head, then with a roundhouse to the head as Havanas was attempting a (believe it or not) flying spinning hack drop kick that barely, but costfully, missed its mark. This made the score 2-0 and put D.C. hack in the lead 5-4. Rather than sitting back and coasting to victory. Smith continued to apply the pressure and scored again with a roundhouse to win 3-0. FINAL SCORE- D.C. 6, Texas 4.

Jeff Smith vs. Demetrius Havanas
Jeff Smith scores with a jumping punch on Demetrius Havanas. It was the first time Jhoon Rhee Safe-T equipment was used in a public event.

Havanas was not his aggressive sell through the whole match. He was obviously favoring his injury. He had several stitches put in his mouth earlier which was the result of an uncontrolled punch he received in the preliminaries. This statement should in no way sell Jeff Smith short. It would have been a miracle if anyone could have beaten him that night. The polls are not in yet at the writing of this article, but Smith should easily make the National Top Five.

Kurban vs. Wallace This was the big one. Both real pros and nationally rated fighters. Nearly 200 of America’s Black Belts had fallen before them. Wallace was looking for revenge from the year before and Kurban, who has won at least 10 Grand Championship titles this year, wanted to win this one more than all the others put together. ROUND 1: Both players threw alot of kicks and counter kicks, but neither could score. ROUND 2: Each fighter scored with roundhouse kicks to the head. Score 1-1. ROUND 3: Both men were cautious, but did exchange a lot of kicks. No score. OVERTIME – This was the big moment. The next point would tell the tale. The second the referee gave the beginning command, Wallace lunged forward with a clear, well-controlled heel kick to Kurban’s face to win the match and very prestigious title.

Bill Wallace vs. Roy Kurban
Wallace jams Kurban’s backkick


Team competition was held Ike following day, but only four teams showed up to compete. Two of the teams were com-posed of players from different areas of the country. The New England and Washington, D.C. teams were in tact. Many of the scheduled teams failed to show due to the aches and pains of Saturday’s National competition. The George Pesare Coached New England team of Paul Graves, Dennis Passeretti, Roger Carpenter, Ralph Bomba, and Bob Campbell beat the D.C. Team in a super exciting match that was determined in an overtime sudden death play-off. New England, an area that gets little publicity, proved that their players rate with the nation’s best. Rhode Island’s Paul Graves is a tough and skilled fighter who deserves mention. Graves is another “Silent Player” who could make a lot of noise on the national scene if he would compete more often. Bob Campbell is another New Englander who could make the big time if he made more of the bigger tournaments. Pesare and his Italian Army proudly took the “Eagle Cup”, the team championship’s coveted award, back to New England, thus ending a weekend which saw some of the nation’s top fighters make Allen Steen’s U.S. Championships a tremendous success for the tenth year in a row.



GRAND CHAMPION: Bill Wallace of Memphis, Tenn.

1st Bill Wallace, Memphis, Tenn.
2nd James Butin, Ft. Worth, Texas
3rd Dennis Gotcher, Waco, Texas
4th Kirby Fugate, Dallas, Texas

1st Roy Kurban, Dallas, Texas
2nd Billy McCoy, Texas City, Texas
3rd Mike Usleton, Austin, Texas
4th Steve Kijewski, Chicago, Illinois

1st Dan Anderson, Portland, Oregon
2nd Demetrius Havanas, Dallas, Texas
3rd Al Dacascos, Denver, Colorado
4th Jim Harkins, Denver, Colorado

Texas Karate Institute, Dallas, Texas

Washington, D.C. Team

1st Louis Arnold, Austin, Texas
2nd E. Williams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3rd John Dellitt, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
4th Mr. McKeathan

1st Kidd Beard, Lake Charles, La.
2nd David McMurray, Ft. Worth, Texas
3rd Larry Irwinsky, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
4th Bob Beasley, East Texas State

1st Pam Watson, Ft. Worth, Texas
2nd Phillis Evetts, Ft. Worth, Texas
3rd Cunningham, Ft. Worth, Texas
4th Malia Dacascos, Denver, Colorado

1st Lynn Cagle, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2nd Marion Bermudez, Tempe, Arizona
3rd Cindi Peterson, Denver, Colorado
4th Rosalee Morris, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

1st Glen Dicus, Waco, Texas
2nd Ken Caberly, Dallas, Texas
3rd Leon Davis, Wichita, Kansas
4th Mike Phillips, Dallas, Texas

1st D. Oliver, Houston, Texas
2nd Bruce Robbins, Ft. Worth, Texas
3rd R. Grant, Wichita Falls, Texas
4th R. Cook, Dallas, Texas

1st Ricky Berlin, Louisiana
2nd Steve Cromeens, Tyler Jr. College
3rd Ray Odom, Dallas, Texas
4th Andy Wendell, Waco, Texas

1st Don Anglin, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2nd Orvill Davis, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3rd Ricky Henderson, Louisiana
4th Darrell Van Noy, Bedford, Texas

1st Earl Gilkey, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2nd Mike Nelson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
3rd Mike Gassawciy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
4th Bob Appleby, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

1st Eural Hill, Austin, Texas
2nd David Vasburg, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
3rd Kenneth Shivley, Orange, Texas
4th Robert Rosner, Waco, Texas

1st Edward Bonilla, Austin, Texas
3rd Raymond McCallum, Dallas, Texas
4th Gus Manley, Dallas, Texas

1st Tibor Biczo, Dallas, Texas
2nd David Bourdeaux, New Orleans, La.
3rd John Benites, Austin, Texas
4th Kenneth Reed, Los Angeles, Calif.

1st Billy Wainscott, Stevenville, Texas
2nd Jeff Spradling, Dallas, Texas
3rd Alan Bankston, New Orleans, La.
4th Andy Billups, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

1st Murk Maher, New Orleans, La.
2nd Cynthia Benovides, Galveston, Texas
3rd Eric Biczo, Dallas, Texas
4th D. Mojica


1st Bob Campbell, Boston, Mass.
2nd Walt Bone, Seminole, Fla.
3rd Mike Gassaway, Oklahoma City, Okla.
4th Darrell Craig, Houston, Texas

1st Demetrius Havanas, Dallas, Texas
2nd Walt Bone, Seminole, Fla.
3rd Bob Campbell, Boston, Mass.
4th Hank Farrah, St. Louis, Mo.

1st Larry Irwinsky, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
2nd Iggy Gray, St. Louis, Mo.
3rd Jerry lrwinsky, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
4th Kevin Maher, Louisiana

1st Ruby Lozano, Garden Grove, Calif.
2nd Debbie Bone, Seminole, Flo.
3rd Cynthia Violet, St. Louis, Mo.
4th Joy Turberville, Dallas, Texas

1st Alfred Mora
2nd Gary Downing
3rd J. Tabares
4th Raymond McCallum



Professional Karate
This is a reproduction of the summer 1973 edition of Professional Karate Magazine, authorized by publisher Mike Anderson.