Story by Boice Lydell
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Sacramento, California, USA
photos by Trevyn Jenkins & Boice Lydell

9 & Under Hard Creative Forms (N-1)
As is par for the course, the youngest of all forms divisions had a large turnover from the prior year. New this year were three Texans aged 7, 8 and 9. Nine year old Jesse Martinez from Laco Villanueva’s Alchemy Karate in El Paso, Texas ran away with the eliminations win 29.92 to 29.85 and again on the Grand Finale stage for the world title. His Finale opponent, seven year old Ronny Zapata of NCMA under Lee Orlando in Houston was runner-up despite his lackluster second place regional seeding. Nicolas Porter under Tony Lopez in San Antonio was third.

10 to 11 Hard Creative Forms (N-2)
Five time divisional champion Sage Northcutt of Texas topped newcomer Peter Timmes of California in the eliminations by three-one hundredths. But despite Northcutt’s spectacular showing of extreme techniques in the Grand Finale, the majority of the judges chose Timmes for his perfection of technique coupled with some surprising aerials from the stout player. Timmes hails from the Academy of Freestyle Martial Arts under Shane Rivera while Northcutt claims Team Schumann as his home. 2007 Amateur champion Trevor Logan of Idaho was third.

12 to 14 Hard Creative Forms (N-3)
2008 was definitely a year of changeovers. With a years break by many southeast USA players and the absence of multi-year champion Jorge Martinez of Guatemala, this division was wide open for newcomers. California’s Jacob Ellis ran away with the WestPac national seed as Isaac Padilla of El Paso, Texas reeled in both the PanAm and Mexican National Conference seeds. The pair equally impressed the eliminations judges with tied 29.92 scores. Finale 3 left a close score between the pair with five of the seven judges giving Ellis the edge for his first NBL world title after a restart by Padilla. He trains under Will Jackson in San Diego when he’s not doing his other favorite pastime, acting. He’s done numeral commercials as well as being the stunt double in the new GI Joe movie. Padilla is a protege to Jacob Tapia of the Top Team. Missing the eliminations tie by one one-hundredth was Lorenzo Silva, also of the Top Team.

15 to 17 Hard Creative Forms (N-4)
The judges couldn’t make up their mind in this division as well, as a eliminations tie left Dezmon Monroe-Robinson of the USA and Juan Gonzalez of Mexico tied at 29.94. Robinson won the run-off to gain the preferred seeding in the Grand Finale. This Super Grands rookie was to have his most rewarding competition experience at this event, starting with a narrow one one-hundredth victory over Gonzalez to win his first world title in this division. He hails from Pallen’s Martial Arts in the Bay Area while Gonzalez trains under Luis Jimenez and calls Mexico City home. Branlee Querubin of Tim Calvin’s Delta One was third.

11& Under Hard Choreographed Musical Forms (N-5)
Whatever the judges may have thought Sage Northcutt may have lacked in creative forms certainly was not the case in choreographed musical. He whizzed passed runner-up Trevor Logan of Idaho by three one-hundredths both in the eliminations and the Grand Finale. However after this debut as a blackbelt at the Super Grands, Logan appears to be a force to be reckoned with in the future. Veteran Northcutt now has 18 total world titles topped by only his sister Colbey, Adrian Ulanoff, Willie Galvan and Regena Thompson. Logan trains under Pon Inthathirath at Dragon Bushido and Northcutt with the Schumann Team. Peter Timmes of California was third.

12 to 14 Hard Choreographed Musical Forms (N-6)
There are few with the overall good luck of Jordan Simon. In his first year attempt in creative/musical forms he took a trouncing 29.97 to 29.94 by Jacob Ellis in the eliminations. However in the Grand Finale he got the favor of 6 of the 7 judges with his musical form to the music “Girls” giving him one more world title towards his career total of eight. He trains under the eccentric Butch Togisala in Malibu, California. Ellis hails from San Diego. Third place went to JD Walker of Pinnacle Martial Arts in Utah.

15 to 17 Hard Choreographed Musical Forms (N-7)
All good things come to those who wait. After multi-year Super Grands entries with no first place world title wins, Juan Gonzalez came through with flying colors this year. This player representing Luis Jimenez’ Zen Martial Arts in Mexico convincingly topped Unison’s Anthony King of Colorado in both the eliminations and in Grand Finale 3 to win one of his two titles for 2008. Jordan Lanteigne of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada was third.

Junior Hard Open Musical Forms (N-8)
Winning two national conferences, Sage Northcutt entered this division as the favored player for the second year in a row. And while winning the eliminations by three-one-hundredths over Jordan Lanteigne of Canada, for the second year in a row he bowed out in the Grand Finale. Lanteigne lacked any number one seed but still managed the daytime runner-up position to Northcutt only to run unopposed in the Finale. He trains under Don Benoit in Sudbury, Ontario. Anthony King of Steve Amaro’s Unison took third place.

Junior Soft Open Forms (N-9)
This division was all about the Magallanes family with two of the three members placing in the top two spots. Fourteen year old Jasmine Magallanes got past her brother Anthony 99.95 to 99.92 and again superseded him for the world title 49.95 to 49.90. They represent Steve Cooper’s Team International and train under Ding Wei of Omei Kung Fu. Hannah Tamura of People’s Kenpo Karate in Colorado was third.

11& Under Female Hard Creative Forms (N-10)
Last year, one one-hundredth separated the eliminations finalists in this division while four one-hundredths separated the winner in the Grand Finale. This year the spread was exactly the same as Karina Hipolito lost the eliminations both years by one one-hundredth but with different results in the Finale. While she came from behind to top ashley Middleton to win the title last year. She succumbed to this year’s multi-champion, Mackensi Emory. Emory scored 49.98 for one of the highest scores of the Finale. This little dynamo resides in Auburn, California and trains under Rudy Reynon. Hipolito is a member of Pinnacle Martial Arts with Mike Tobin and Jeff Price in Utah. Amanda Chen of New Jersey took third.

12 to 14 Female Hard Creative Forms (N-11)
It’s hard to believe Mia Caldwell is now 15 after so many years in the Super Grands as that cute shy little girl. She’s still cute but the shyness is long gone. Representing Team International and her school team, Top Team, under Jacob Tapia and Isaac Nunez, she rallied for a world title again this year beating Mara Hipolito of Pinnacle Martial Arts of Utah both in the eliminations and Grand Finale 3 for the seventh world title over six years. Stephani Rosales of Team Alchemy was third.

15 to 17 Female Hard Creative Forms (N-12)
In her rookie year with five first place national and regional conference seeds, Kelsey Spaur of Chuck Cordova’s Team People’s convincingly topped Nichole Grabe both in the eliminations and on the Grand Finale stage for her first NBL world title. She trains in Highlands Ranch, Colorado while Grabe is a student of Pon Inthathirath in Boise, Idaho.

Junior Female Hard Choreographed Musical Forms (N-13)
This division sported the best junior females of all the girls divisions combined. Amanda Chen of Team IDC took third place after a tied score with, and bow out by, Mia Caldwell. Separated by a mere one one-hundredth, eleven year old, Mackensi Emory of California and eight year old Karina Hipolito were left for the Grand Finale showdown. Personally I thought the competition between these two was some of the most exhilarating of the Finales. There was no blow-out here as Emory, performing to the music “Zombie”, only topped Hipolito 49.96 to 49.94 taking her second world title of the Games. She is trained by Rudy Reynon and Hipolito by Mike Tobin and Jeff Price.

Men’s Hard Creative Forms (N-14)
Four number one national seeded from three different countries gave this divisions’ spectators something to cheer for ending with a three way tie for second place at 29.94 each. Jerico Catura representing Steve Cooper’s Team International, far exceeded the tied player securing his spot on the Finale 4 stage with a 29.94. In the run-off Joshua Durbin of Team Pro-Rank left Felipe Alvarez of Guatemala and Jonathan Tale of El Salvador scrambling for third and fourth. As the saying goes “It’s not over till the fat lady sings”. On the Finale stage Durbin’s wild and fanatical techniques earned him the edge over the eliminations winner for one of his three world titles of the Games with a 49.94 to 49.92 score.

Adult Hard Choreographed Musical Forms (N-15)
Joshua Durbin of Parker, Colorado, USA and Jonathan Tale of San Salvador, El Salvador went head to head five times in contemporary forms and weapons sharing the wins. Durbin would wind up winning all three forms divisions and Tale the two weapons divisional titles. In this division Durbin topped Tale by two one-hundredths and in the Finale by four one-hundredths. Durbin hails from the iconic Unison School under Steve Amaro while Tale is trained by Eric Tale of Schumann’s El Salvador. Jerico Catura took third.

Adult Hard Open Musical Forms (N-16)
Joshua Durbin would become the first player in NBL history to win all three contemporary forms titles, but it wasn’t before one more tie with Jonathan Tale of El Salvador. An eliminations tie of 29.95 sent both players to Finale 4 for a final run-off after Durbin topped him in the eliminations tie breaker by one one-hundredth for the Finale preferred seeding. To the music of El Viento Remix, Durbin outscored Tale 49.96 to 49.92 for his third gold ring of the Games. He represents Team Pro-Rank under Mike Kelly while Tale is from his brother’s Schumann school in El Salvador. Felipe Alvarez, also from a Schumann’s school, took third.

Adult Soft Contemporary Forms (N-17)
Roark Hodson claims Team Independence as his affiliation. Team Independence has one team member – Roark Hodson, that’s why it’s independent as he’s all by himself, so Roark explains. They don’t come any more unique than Hodson, but unique most be ok if it can garner yourself three titles in a year. He topped last year’s champion, Ashley Artese both in the eliminations and the Grand Finale to win his first title in soft contemporary forms after a string of runner-ups over the years. He hails from Salt Lake City, Utah and Artese from her present college residency in Columbia, South Carolina.

Women’s Hard Creative Forms (N-18)
In another reversal of eliminations vs finale, Mocha Davies of Hisperia, California initially topped Ashley Artese by two one-hundredths in the eliminations. But Artese convincingly got revenge as each of the seven judges gave her the nod in the Grand Finale placing her back to the position she reigned in the three years previous. Artese trains in Shotokan Karate under Ray Owens, Davies trains at White Tiger under Brandon Hastings. Deon Beatty from All-Star Karate in Utah took third.

Senior Hard Contemporary Forms (N-19)
One more reversal was to be had in the senior division where Ervic Aquino of California topped Todd Dunphy of Hawaii by two one-hundredths in the eliminations. He succumbed to him again by the same amount in the Grand Finale for the world title. These NBL rookies left seasoned veteran David Coppock of Colorado Springs, Colorado in third.

Senior Women’s Hard Contemporary Forms (N-20)
In 1995 Camille DeLoach of Utah made NBL history being a senior competitor and winning the adult women’s contemporary forms division. There was no senior division that included women at that time. Thirteen years later DeLoach is back and she aced the eliminations topping the last two year’s champions by four one-hundredths or more. Leaving last year’s champion, Christine Fisher in third, she went to stage against Dawn Kabela. A tie on stage with Kabela forced a run-off where it was then arbitrated that she had failed to complete all the required techniques in her form leaving Kabela to reign again after her initial two year win in 2005-06. Kabela resides in Victoria, Texas.

11 & Under Japanese/Okinawan Forms (N-21)
The Japanese forms divisions were packed this year where the youngest division sported players from Canada, USA, Mexico and Guatemala. A tie for second place left Sage Northcutt and rookie Trevor Kim of British Columbia, Canada to repeat their forms with Northcutt the winner. In Finale 1, Northcutt and eliminations winner, eight year old Adryanne Angat pumped out two outstanding forms, Northcutt with Goju-shiho-dai and Angat with Kanku-sho. In the end they tied 49.94 leaving a repeat performance where Angat nudged past Northcutt by one one-hundredth to win her first world title. She represents Team Proper of the Bay Area in California.

12 to 14 Japanese/Okinawan Forms (N-22)
When it comes to Japanese forms it’s hard to top the players from Don Benoit’s school of Sudbury in Ontario, Canada. Just when Colbey Northcutt could breathe a sight of relief with Benoit’s Justin Lanteige moving into 15 to 17 year old division, Trevor Blanchard from Benoit’s is there to fill the void. Leaving Jordan Simon behind by one one-hundredth for third, Northcutt and Blanchard tied leaving a run-off for Finale placement where Northcutt was the victor by a hair. The Finale was again a close match. With Northcutt performing Go-pei-sho to Blanchard’s Ni-pai-po, the Finale left Blanchard a victor for his first world title 49.93 to 49.91.

15 to 17 Japanese/Okinawan Forms (N-23)
Three one-hundredths separated the top four players where a tied run-off left last years champion and last year’s runner-up, Mike Spizzuco and Sergio Calva with third and fourth place this year. Mexico fielded four of the top eight players this year including Damian Marquez of Team DM who placed 29.97 to 29.98 to last year’s 12-14 year old champion, Justin Lanteigne, in the eliminations. Lanteigne is a student of Don Benoit in Sudbury, Canada. He performed Chataryara Kushanku while Marquez performed Ni-pai-po in the Finale. With the nod of all seven judges, Lanteigne won the division giving him his second Japanese title in a row.

11 & Under Kenpo/Kajukenbo Forms (N-24)
This division held one of those rare occurrences where three top players tied for first place in the eliminations. Last year’s champion, Jaime Nakamura, along with Sage Northcutt and Michelle Sims all tied with 29.92 each. Nakamura and Sims won the run-off leaving Texas’ Northcutt in third place. Nakamura is a protege of adult kenpo icon, Jody Sasaki and he once again persevered in the Finale 49.95 to 49.90 to win the title two years in a row. Michelle Sims is a member of Pinnacle Martial Arts in Clearfield, Utah.

12 to 14 Kenpo/Kajukenbo Forms (N-25)
Colbey Northcutt prevented a pair of brothers from going to the stage for the first time to compete against each other for a title. She topped Jose Bettencourt by one one-hundredth and Karl Bettencourt by two one-hundredths leaving him in third place. But in another of these infamous turn-arounds, Jose Bettencourt upset Northcutt with a 49.94 to 49.91 score. Colbey hails from Team Schumann and lives in Katy, Texas. Bettencourt is a member of Uhenyo Martial Arts under Chris Eugenio in Las Vegas, Nevada.

15 to 17 Kenpo/Kajukenbo Forms (N-26)
As number one national seeds in WestPac and PanAm, Dezmond Monroe-Robinson and Juan Gonzalez headed to the Finale stage leaving Branlee Querubin of Team Pro-Rank in third. Scoring two 10’s in the eliminations and another 10 in the Finale, Monroe-Robinson won the division with flying colors little to realize that his best still lay ahead of him. He hails from Pallen’s Martial Arts in San Leandro, California. Gonzalez, who took runner-up two years in a row, trains under Luis Jimenez and the Zen Martial Arts School in Mexico City.

11& Under Korean Forms (N-27)
Three-way ties for first place don’t happen that often, but this year’s Super Grands was blessed with two of them. In this division the three players that held all the first places seeds in all five national conferences all would up with tied scores of 29.94. Veteran players Amanda Chen, Sage Northcutt and Karina Hipolito went at it a second time leaving the youngest (8 years old), Hipolito with third place with a 29.92 score. Performing Jin Do, Amanda Chen led Sage Northcutt’s rendition of Gae-Baek by one one-hundredth, 29.96 to 29.95. With a Grand Finale bow out by Northcutt this wound up the final round leaving Chen with her first world title. She hails from Amerikick Studios in New Jersey under Mark Russo. Northcutt trains Korean under Bear Loebe in Texas.

12 to 14 Korean Forms (N-28)
Gae-Baek was the form of choice in this division as a pair of nationally seeded fourteen year olds took the top spots at the end of the eliminations. Well known players, Colbey Northcutt and Jordan Simon came within one one-hundredth of a point of each other with easy comparison by the judges as they did the same form. Heading to the Grand Finale stage, Simon held the advantage as the eliminations winner but Northcutt captured the Finale judges’ appeal as she reversed the tide with a convincing win 49.94 to 49.91 returning her to the world title she has held in both 2006 and 2007. Training under Bear Loebe she resides in Katy, Texas. Simon trains at Escobar Karate in Malibu, California.

15 to 17 Korean Forms (N-29)
Once again the three players taking the five number one seeds of the national conferences rose to the top. By a mere one one-hundredth loss, multi-year veteran, Sergio Calva took third place leaving his neighbor, Damian Marquez, also of Mexico City along with last year’s runner-up, Mike Spizzuco of New Jersey, with tied 29.95 scores. Marquez ran away with the run-off 29.97 to 29.94, but in the Grand Finale the judges saw just the opposite awarding Spizzuco an overwhelming win for his first Korean world title. He trains under Juan Perez and represents Team RCU. Marquez trains under his father, Mexican national promoter David Marquez of the DM Team.

Men’s Japanese/Okinawan Forms (N-30)
Having a first place national seed is not a pre-requisite, to obtaining a world title win. “All good things come to those who wait” and despite his lack of a top seed, multi-year contender Kenny Lim of Vancouver, Canada, who had never qualified past the eliminations was headed to the Grand Finale after successfully capturing the highest eliminations’ score. At his heels were capable opponents Scott Wu and last year’s NBL overall traditional forms champion, Steve Kawamura. With tied scores and after the ensuing run-off, Wu won the second spot for the Finale against Lim. Choosing an unconventional Super Grands form, Lim performed Annan and stole the top score of every one of the Finale judges for a 49.95 to 49.90 tally over Wu for his first NBL world title. He trains under Tony Kim and Wu under Manuel Gonzalez of San Francisco, California.

Adult Kenpo/Kajukenbo Forms (N-31)
The results of this division were to be anyone’s guess with all the twists and turns along the way. Reversal of eliminations winners are not uncommon at the Super Grands where even slight differences in players’ performances from eliminations to the Grand Finale can drastically change the judges perceptions. But this year held a whopping fifteen reversals from the eliminations scoring. Standing alone in this division to qualify the top seed for the Grand Finale was Scott Wu while 2006 champion, Julio Domingo of Mexico and Jason Cortez of California battled out a tie for the other qualifying position. Tied for a second time, Cortez won a judges’ hands vote and proceeded to Finale 4 where he got also got the best of Wu 49.96 to 49.92 performing Sgrabuto Yoden to win his first NBL title. He trains under Tom Mitose and resides in Manteca. Wu is also from the Bay Area and resides in Daly City.

Men’s Korean Forms (N-32)
Three former NBL Korean forms champions rose to the top spots this year. 2000 junior world champion Dan Marshall missed a tie for first place by a mere one one-hundredth despite some impressive side kicks. Left for the Grand Finale and in a tied first place position were 1998 and 2005 world champion, Edgar Cordova of Guatemala and 2004, 2006 and 2007 world champion, Jerico Catura of San Jose, California. Cordova trounced Catura in the tied run-off for the Finale preferred seeding performing Gae-Baek. The Finale judges saw the same closeness in their first performance as they also tied the pair. With a run-off again in store, Catura slipped by Cordova 49.94 to 49.92 to capture a three year victory. Catura performed Ui-gee-young.

Adult Soft (no Wushu/Kenpo) Forms (N-33)
Roark Hodson had an excellent year stealing all three adult soft style divisions and making it three years in a row as world champion of the soft traditional forms division. Defeating Mexico’s Julio Domingo 29.95 to 29.93 in the eliminations he again proved his winning ability taking the win in the Grand Finale by four one-hundredths. Hodson resides in Salt Lake City, Utah and faithfully trains under Myong Oh. Third place was won by Jonathan Atiya, also of Utah.

Women’s Japanese/Okinawan Forms (N-34)
Daniela Barrientos remains an iconic Mexican competitor in the NBL. Having won her first title as a junior in 2000 in creative forms she has blossomed into a mainstay Japanese forms player winning that title in 2002, 2005 and 2007. With several former runner-ups in contention, Ashley Artese rose to the occasion to challenge her this year. Leaving Mocha Davies of California in third, Barrientos and Artese donned the Finale stage performing Nipaipo and Kurunfa respectively. Persevering once again Barrientos successfully won the title bringing it back to Mexico once again. She hails from the Top Team (obviously - since she married the coach). Artese trains Shotokan under Ray Owens and is presently in college in South Carolina.

Women’s Korean Forms (N-35)
Since Casey Marks’ retirement several years ago, this division has basically been ruled by Ashley Artese. That was until last year’s Super Grands in South Carolina where a tie in the eliminations and two ties in the Grand Finale with a show of hands by the judges gave the narrowest of possible wins to Mocha Davies, despite the fact that it was the state that Artese was living in. This year both players returned, this time to Davies’ home state of California where once again the home state favorite would lose, thus elevating Artese to win her fifth Korean forms world title. Topping Davies by two one-hundredths in the eliminations, Artese convincingly beat her in the Grand Finale with the nod of all the judges. Artese stills hails from Columbia, South Carolina. Davies trains under Brandon Hastings in Southern California. Shantell Dawson of Chip Wright’s school in Oregon was third.

Senior Hard Traditional Forms (N-36)
Last year broke from the long standing tradition of Americans and Canadians winning this division as Mauricio Valenzuela of Guatemala, after twelve years absence, won the division. This year two newcomers of Mexican descent topped the roster. Hernando Hidalgo of the Estado de Mexico took a narrow eliminations defeat to Armando Anselmo of San Diego. Anselmo put on a great traditional display in the Grand Finale receiving six of the seven judges favor and winning one of his two world titles for 2008. Third place was won by Canadian Sheila Grech, who won this title in 2005.

Senior 45+ Hard Traditional Forms (N-37)
With the absence of Johnnie Watkins this year, the division was wide open where two NBL rookies stepped in. Gregory Molinar of Seidokan International took a lead by one one-hundredth over Todd Dunphy of Blue Dragon in the eliminations. In Finale 4 Molinar took a convincing 29.95 to 49.90 win for his first world title. He hails from Simi Valley, California and Dunphy from Hawaii. Camille DeLoach from Pinnacle Martial Arts in Utah took third. In rare form none of he three winners had any first place national seeds.


Open Team Forms (N-38)
Attendance in this division since its creation in 2001 has been on a steady rise, with only one team claiming the win twice. The team of Ashley Artese and Dan Marshall stunned the audience with their appearance in 2006 tying and then beating the top seeded team of Corky Sikes and Edgar Cordova and then with repeated ties in 2007 they won again. They were back again this year with the brother of the 2005 champion being their biggest competition. Prithanian Bhattacharya, with synchronized traditional Japanese forms perfection came to within two one-hundredths of the D&A pair who utilized more of a Korean kicking base and open form routine. The Grand Finale produced another win for D&A and record breaking third consecutive year title. After an eliminations tie with Bhattacharya and utilizing a similar traditional performance, Balam Najera of the DM Team in Mexico, took third.