- Posted July 2, 2014 by
Jersey City, New Jersey
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
- Bruce Lee Foundation Celebrates Self-Expression for Martial Arts Icon's 75th - Gallery Five
- Bruce Lee Foundation Celebrates Self-Expression for Martial Arts Icon's 75th - Gallery Four
- Bruce Lee Foundation Celebrates Self-Expression for Martial Arts Icon's 75th - Gallery Three
- Bruce Lee Foundation Celebrates Self-Expression for Martial Arts Icon's 75th - Gallery Two
- Bruce Lee Foundation Celebrates Self-Expression for Martial Arts Icon's 75th - Article & Gallery One
Punches, Kicks, Blood, Sweat and Tears for a Good Cause - Gallery 4 of 7
These posts contain some of my photos and video clips from a Boys & Girls Club martial arts tournament that took place this past Saturday. The event featured exhibition bouts between traditional martial arts students of various ages, as part of the “Stop Bullying Now!” campaign sponsored by Jersey City native & master breaker Dennis “Supe” Burgess, the City of Jersey City, the Boys & Girls Club and the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery.
Burgess, who trained under Grandmaster DK Parks - the first American Tae Kwon Do Team Olympic coach - and Grandmaster Ron Jeter - a legendary brick breaker and founder of the Go-Kai-Ju Karate system, considered the event a labor of love. The tournament was also dedicated to the memories of Jeter, along with the late Grandmaster Aaron Banks, a legend in the American martial arts world whom Burgess considers a mentor, and the manager of the Tilted Kilt (a sponsor of the event).
A number of martial artists lent their support to the event, such as Budo Magazine publisher Maurice Elmalem, personal fitness trainer Larry “Thunderfoot” Cureton, Grandmaster Elba “Cookie” Melendez, celebrity photographer Ronnie Wright, Mary Bethune Life Center director & fine artist Alvin Pettit, Grandmaster Harvey Little and many others. Elmalem, Cureton and Melendez handled officiating duties for the night, while stage performer Larry Legend announced each match and its competitors.
The special guest of honor was actor, filmmaker, martial artist and former pro football player Fred Williamson, who I’ve seen at a number of community-oriented events recently, showing the dedication he has to positive social change that lies beneath his classic swagger. Williamson, who starred with Jim Brown and the late Master Jim Kelly in the cult classic “Three the Hard Way,” shared an instructor with Burgess, the late Grandmaster Banks, albeit at different eras. The iconic star shared his time with the competitors and fans, took a tour of Jersey City and even acted as corner man for Burgess during the main event of the evening.
That main event was a title rematch between “Supe” Burgess and Master Mark Stanberry, a long time fighter that trains at the Heavy Hitters Boxers Gym in Jersey City & the Chiba Karate System in Irvington. The hard-fought battle - sanctioned by Jonas Nunez Jr.’s Professional Kickboxing Federation (PKF) - was won by Master “Supe” after the elimination of Stanberry because of a direct punch to the head. As you’ll see from the video interviews I conducted after the bout, there seems to be a difference of opinion between the two fighters as to what the rules of the match were. It remains to be seen whether this could lead to another rematch between the two men.
I want to give a special thanks to my wife Tess and attendees & Jersey City residents Alita Carter & Alvin Pettit, they all helped me capture some exciting video footage to help document the event.