The National Karate Schools have had a thirty five year history of producing world class sport karate athletes among their students. World and US champions in competitive forms, weapons and sparring have trained and taught in NK schools.
As a result of their success in national competitions, the following NK black belt competitors have been recruited to compete as members of nationally-sponsored professional teams. As national team members, they will travel to the most competitive events throughout the US and in other countries representing their sponsors and the National Karate Schools.
No other single martial arts school in America has produced as many world rated competitors as the National Karate Schools.
Alex Dingmann – Team National Karate
Mr. Dingmann has been rated the #2 light weight fighter in the world, the #2 middle weight fighter, and most recently the #2 light heavy weight fighter in the country. He is also one of the few martial arts athletes who is able to compete at the world level in both fighting and form – as he has also won numerous championships as a forms competitor.
He has always chosen to decline offers from other national competition teams to fight with the National Karate uniform. Fighting alongside fellow NK teammates Hamed Firouzi, BJ Carnahan, & Jamie Cravens Team NK has won multiple team fighting championships beating teams like Team Paul Mitchell, CJB, Straight UP and many more. Throughout his competition career, Alex Dingmann has won over 40 Grand Championship awards.
Alex still competes at a national level and most recently won his division in “Super Fights” and then fought against fellow teammate BJ Carnahan in the finals of the Diamond Nationals. Although, he still loves training and competing, he has found a new passion for coaching other National Karate martial artists in high level competition.
Mr. Dingmann says, “At National Karate I have been blessed to have some of the best martial artists in the world as mentors and friends. The skills that I have developed, and the relationships that I have made over the years have molded me into the man I am today. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to do what I love and for my accomplishments.”
Greg Betlach-Team Paul Mitchell
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mr. Betlach started karate in 1988. A gift from his mother of Karate classes for his birthday began his passion for the sport of Karate. Mr. Betlach has competed for Team Paul Mitchell since 2005. Among his many achievements, he is most proud of winning the Men's OVerall Sparring Grand Championship at the Compete Nationals in 2008 and the Capitol Classics in 2010.
Mr. Betlach credits National Karate with building his strong karate skills and competitive spirit, saying, "National Karate has helped me throughout all aspects of my martial arts training. From working out with some of the best competitors in the world like Elias Lemon and Hamed Firouzi to getting training from some of the best instructors around like Scott Masterton. It has been a true blessing to be able continue to train at National Karate."
Joe Boone-Team Straight Up
Joe Boone teaches at the Brooklyn Park National Karate School. Currently a fourth degree black belt, he began his martial arts training in 1998 and started competing on the NASKA circuit in 2004.
Formerly a top ranked Bo form competitor, Mr. Boone changed gears and has been enjoying success as a point fighter. Early in the 2011 NASKA season, he was asked to join team "Straight Up." He won the lightweight division in Compete Nationals two years in a row, and won the Middleweight Grand Championship in Philadelphia earlier this year.
Mr. Boone says, "My first instructor, Mr. William Hill, really pushed me to be my best, both in competition and as a person. I owe much of who I am to him."
Ross Cooke-Team AKA
Ross Cooke has been a student of National Karate Schools (NK) of Chicago since 2002. He is a second-degree black belt, teaching and training at the NK Roselle location.
Ross joined Team AKA in 2011, and competes nationally in point, continuous and team sparring. Prior to joining Team AKA, Ross competed in the NASKA circuit in 2010 under National Karate and was the 2010 number one world ranked fighter in the “boys 12-13 years of age black belt” category for point sparring. Ross’s victories include first-place wins at Diamond Nationals, US Capitol Classic, Pan American and many others within the NASKA circuit. His favorite win was this year’s AKA team fighting victory on stage at the Lone Star Open.
Little did Ross know that his first class at age six would so significantly impact his future and chart a course for his success in karate today. Through his classes at NK, Ross has learned critical lessons in discipline, perseverance, integrity and honor. And he’s been given tremendous opportunities to learn and grow under the leadership of Cardal Price, Jennifer Tohtz, John Mazzola and Cris Nelson. It’s through his classes and mentoring that Ross has found the drive and skills to compete at a national level. NK has fostered in Ross a balance between excellence in competition and excellence in sportsmanship.
Ashley Dahlquist-Team Straight Up
Ashley Dahlquist is 15 years old and trains at the Elk Grove and South Elgin schools in Illinois. She is currently on Team Straight Up and has been for two years. Some of her top tournaments this year are the AKA Grands in Chicago, Ocean States in Rhode Island, and Battle of Atlanta in Georgia, where she has received first place in each. Ashley began her training at National Karate at the age of four and is now currently up for her third degree in January.
She began training at the Bartlett school under the instruction of Master Nelson. His dedication to the sport has molded her into the person she is today, striving towards success, but always knowing that with loosing comes more knowledge and a greater hunger. Ashley has also trained with Lauren Kosrow and Grant Pollack. Lauren introduced her to NASKA and the sport of karate. Her instruction did not stop with karate; she has also taught Ashley many valuable life lessons. Mr. Pollack is currently working on turning her into a smarter fighter.
Hamed Firouzi-Team Full Circle
Hamed currently is the director of the Hopkins National Karate location. He is also the #1 rated lightweight fighter on NASKA and has been with the #1 Team, “Full Circle” since 2007. He has competed all over the world and is a 3 time Diamonds Superfights Champion.
Hamed’s success can be attributed to the great training he has had with National Karate since 1990. Having had instructors who were top National Competitors, he learned the skills, work ethic and consistency that it takes to be a top competitor. Hamed also believes that having a network of great athletes to train with and help him push himself is vital to his success as a tournament competitor.
Elias Lemon-Team Paul Mitchell
Mr.Lemon is the Director of the Plymouth National Karate school. Currently he is the #2 ranked light heavy weight in NASKA and is the former #1 rated NASKA middle weight. He has been a member of Team Paul Mitchell since 2004 and has traveled all over the world to compete. In 2008 he won the heavy weight super fights at the New England Open and the light weight super fights at the Diamond Nationals.
Mr. Lemon started his training in 1992. He believes it was a combination of his masters' help and guidance in his early years and his dedication to training now that has helped him get to where he is today. Mr. Lemon says, “If you look at the top fighters in every weight class you will find someone from National Karate, no other organization can even come close to saying that.”
Brendan Rasinksi-Team One Hundred Percent Performance
Mr. Rasinski teaches at the National Karate Rochester. He currently is a 3rd degree black belt. He began his martial arts training in 2002 at the age of 7 and began competing on the NASKA circuit in 2009.
In February 2011, Mr. Rasinski was asked to join Team 100 Percent Performance. Currently, he is ranked 4th in Team Form, 2nd in Traditional Form, 2nd in Traditional Weapons, and 1st in Point Sparring. Some of his major accomplishments include Grand Championships in Traditional Form at the Dixieland Nationals, Gator Nationals, and Battle of Atlanta and a Grand Championship in Traditional Weapons at the Lone Star Open. He is also proud of his Point Sparring victories at the Diamond Nationals as well as team fighting victories at the Compete Nationals, Lone Star Open, and Battle of Atlanta.
Mr. Rasinski credits much of his success to his instructor Mr. Bruce Nelson. “Mr.Nelson has always pushed me to do my very best and achieve my goals. He has always been one of the many people in my life that have always said I could do it.” Brendan is also very grateful for National Karate's amazing talent who helped lead him to where he is today.