Story by Emily Cooper
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Sacramento, California, USA
photos by Trevyn Jenkins & Brandon Bertsch
(Overall World Grandchampionships)
Jordan Simon vs Mackensi Emory (Junior Contemporary)
It was a battle between junior’s best. Simon won last year’s junior contemporary forms and weapons overall world grandchampionship and this was Emory’s NBL rookie year scoring numerous world title divisional belts. Simon and Emory both shut out all of their competition in contemporary forms and weapons divisions during previous competition and both had to perform twice on stage which gave them two chances to win the prestigious overall title. Simon was first up to perform musical weapons. Then came Emory with her musical open hand form. Unfortunately, she had to go back up on stage right away again to perform her creative form, but it didn’t slow her down. Lastly, Simon finished off the grand championship with his creative bo routine. In the end, the judges picked Simon as the winner. This will make him a two-time Super Grands junior contemporary overall grand championship winner.

Josh Durbin vs. Roark Hodson
(Adult Contemporary)
Josh Durbin drew first to perform. Like usual he awed the crowd with his high flips and hyperhooks in his form. Hodson exhibited a shiner on his left eye that he got in a fighting division earlier in the week, but that didn’t keep him from performing on stage in the adult contemporary forms grand championship. Hodson used soothing and calm music in contrast to Durbin’s techno. Hodson’s music astonishingly touched Damon Gilbert’s heart. Gilbert ended up tearing and contemplating the bad things he had done when he was young. However, the performance was not able to defeat Durbin’s hype. Durbin became $1,000 richer.

Kenny Lim vs. Jason Cortez vs. Cody Hackman vs. Ashley Artese
(Adult Traditional)
This grand championship was intense for competitors Kenny Lim, Jason Cortez, Cody Hackman, and Ashley Artese. Both Lim and Cortez won their very first titles and were new to the Super grands’ stage. They were up against NBL’s best – veterans Hackman and Artese. This would make the battle very interesting. Lim was the first player to perform executing clean and precise techniques to his Japanese form. Cortez performed his quick kenpo hands and low stances. Hackman dished out a strong traditional self-defense bunkai of Unsu. And lastly, Artese performed a high energy Korean form with straight-up sidekicks. In the end, it was the underdog Kenny Lim who won the prestigious adult traditional forms title. Lim also made an announcement of his retirement from competition.

Adryanne Angat vs. Nick Cain vs. Dezmon Monroe-Robinson vs Mike Spizzuco
(Junior Traditional)
Angat was the first to perform. Despite her half-pint size she had a lot of energy inside to shake up the competition. Furthermore, don’t be deceived by her cute looks because she was out to demolish her competition with her Japanese form. Cain was up after Angat. Cain was on a killing spree as he demonstrated his self-defense on Dan Marshall. Robinson was the crowd’s favorite as he performed his kajukenbo form with intense kiai and fast fluid hand techniques. As well, Spizzuco performed an intense and inspiring Korean form. The scores were very close but the judges picked Dezmon Monroe-Robinson’s kajukenbo form as the winner for junior traditional forms grand championship which sent him into a complete emotional shock of disbelief and elation.

Mick Jower vs Sean Arceo
Jower advanced to the semi-finals due to Arceo having to leave to attend prior New Year’s Eve commitments.

Willie Hicks vs. Jason Holmes
Hicks and Holmes weren’t strangers to each other in the ring - especially at Super grands. Hicks was more focused than ever. He delivered numerous blitz and reverse punch counters against Holmes. Holmes tried some of his kicking techniques and fakes, but it was not enough to get him to advance to the semifinals. Hicks was the winner 6 to 1.

Jamal Albini vs. Dan Marshall
This was a battle between an up and coming Middleweight world champion versus NBL’s light heavy veteran. The match was pretty much in the air as to who would advance to the semifinals as the score went back and forth. Marshall was having a hard time scoring with his arsenal of kicks on Albini, but Albini threw in some of his own kicking techniques to score some two point head shots. Finally, Albini advanced ahead enough that Marshall couldn’t catch up. Albini advanced to the semifinals winning 8 to 4.

Michael Jefferson vs. Charlie Davidson
Michael Jefferson advanced to the semifinals due to Davidson having left earlier in the day.

Mick Jower vs. Willie Hicks
Jower advanced to the semifinals against Hicks, but was outmatched by Hicks’ experience. Hicks advanced to to final round with a 10 to 2 score.

Jamal Albini vs Michael Jefferson
Two fellow Bay Area competitors and world champions in their first adult year faced each other head to head. They were no strangers to each other as it appeared as if Jefferson had studied some of Albini’s techniques, but Albini had the most tricks up his sleeve. The local crowd in attendance was certainly into the match as a ton of blitzes, counters and head shots were thrown. It all came down to an Albini’s victory which advanced him to the finals against Hicks with a 8 to 1 victory.

Willie Hicks vs. Jamal Albini
This could be considered the dream match of Super Grands’ history. The men’s sparring grand championship prize was $2,000. Jamal Albini became a world champion in his first adult year. He had surprised everyone out of nowhere by defeating veteran NBL competitors. Willie Hicks became the eye of attention all week after finishing this year as world champion in men’s team sparring and the light weight division. Hicks was also the 2007 runner-up to the overall grand championship. Could Hicks finish off 2008 with a grand champion title?! The match was intense from the start of two minutes. Both competitors testing each other out, but Hicks knew what he was doing and kept his distance from Albini’s kicks. Hicks would deliver his reverse punch before Albini could counter with his sidekick. The match was back and forth until Albini delivered a hook kick counter to Hicks’ head to tie the score with 5 seconds left in the match. Without hesitation in the last few seconds, Hicks worked his way around an Albini sidekick to deliver a clean reverse punch to Albini’s chest. In the end, Albini couldn’t deliver any offensive attacks to Hicks in the last second of the match. Hicks was crowned the Men’s Point Sparring Grand Champion. The final score was 6 to 5 in favor of Hicks.

Mercy Tom vs. Chelsey Nash
This match would be an interesting one for the books. Mercy Tom came through with a surprising win against Camille DeLoach for the title in previous competition. On the other hand, Chelsey Nash shut her opponent out in the eliminations. Everyone would think that Tom would give Nash a run for her money. But at the same time, Nash had a legacy to fulfill in her family tree. Nash said she didn’t have a problem during the battle since she picked up a McDonald’s chicken sandwich and fries a few hours before the match. The grease of the sandwich gave her the energy for the blitzing needed win to the finals so she said? Nash won 5 to 2.

Tracey Martinez vs Kris Pilgrim
Two NBL favorites were on hand for the battle to the final match. Martinez executed some repetitive clean reverse counters and blitzes over Pilgrim’s long legs. The match was all Martinez which advanced her to the finals against Nash with an 8 to 2 score.

Tracey Martinez vs. Chelsey Nash
$1000 was at stake for these two females. Martinez showed some fatigue during the match due to the previous match she had against Pilgrim. Nash, on the other hand, was relaxed throughout the whole match. She executed her amazingly fast blitzes on Martinez. As a result, Nash became the victor of her first adult grand championship win, now alongside her brother Trevor Nash who won last year’s men’s sparring grand championship - a sibling duo who has made Super Grands’ history. Nash won 10 to 5.
With the conclusion of the grand championships the week of Super Grands was finally over. Everyone prepared to ring in the New Year a half an hour later and get ready for 2009’s competition!