July 11

Ty Campos Teaching Kali Seminar in Moline

A multi-faceted martial artist will teach a seminar on single- and double-stick weaponry Saturday, July 19, 2014.

Ty Campos of the Minnesota Kali Group is featured the day as the guest instructor during a seminar taking place from 1-4 p.m.

The cost of the event is $35.

For more information, contact Morrow’s Academy of Martial Arts at 309-764-1929.

Mr. Morrow invites only the best martial artists to his school, so I expect attendees at this event will learn many things from Ty Campos. Campos’ resume includes training in at least six martial arts.

September 16

Morrow’s 40th Semi-Annual Karate & Kung Fu Tournament Oct. 12

Mr. John Morrow is hosting his 40th semi-annual martial arts tournament on Saturday, Oct. 12, in Davenport, Iowa, at St. Ambrose University’s Lee Lohman Arena.

This is a tournament I highly recommend for martial artists in the Peoria/Quad Cities areas due to the level of competition, the fairness of the judges, and the great attitude displayed by everyone. Faith and I attended the spring version of this tournament earlier this year and we did well.

Events include Forms, Sparring, Weapons, and the unique horse-riding stance competition.

Competitors pay $35 for all events. Spectators are $5, and kids 5 and under are free.

Sparring competitors must wear dip-foam gloves and boots, a groin cup, head gear and a mouth guard.

Registration begins at 9, and the tournament begins at 10.

For more information, contact Mr. Morrow directly at 309-764-1929.

May 13

Results from Morrow’s 39th Semi-Annual Tournament in Davenport

I always tell my martial arts students that a tournament only represents how you performed that day, at that time, in front of  a set of judges, in a division with a set of people. In other words, you can almost never predict how you’ll be scored by the judges.

After coming up short at the 20th annual North American Grand Nationals last week, two of us placed in four different divisions at Morrow’s 39th semi-annual tournament in Davenport at St. Ambrose University.

Faith Robertson and Mr. Bockler

I’m very proud of Faith Robertson’s 3rd-place victory in her division with green and blue belts. I judged her division last week, but got to watch her as a spectator. I could tell she’s been fine-turning her performance, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she does in the future. She received what I always consider to be the best compliment you can get at a martial arts tournament: a judge from her division came up to her at the end of the day, gave her some tips about how to improve, and told her she thought Faith should have won first place.

I placed first in three black belt divisions – forms, sparring and…horse-riding stance.

That’s right – horse-riding stance. Mr. Morrow is the only person I know to have a horse-riding stance competition at his tournament. The goal is simple. Sink into a horse stance so that your legs are parallel to the ground and can balance a bo. When your legs give out, the bo falls. The last person to remain in the stance wins. After what was probably about 2 minutes, I managed to outlast five others.

My forms division was tough.

One competitor was in his first black belt division after being promoted earlier this spring. I know it’s recent because I worked with him at a seminar in February and he was still a brown belt.

Another pair of competitors were a husband-and-wife combo, who I first noticed at this event last year for their internal martial arts. While I’ve been trained for most of my martial arts career in the hard style of karate, seeing a Chinese style such as tai chi chuan in this type of environment is great.

The other competitor was a karate stylist who, I discovered after talking to later, seemed to be a Japanese or Okinawan stylist. We talked for a bit, and I could tell he respected Shuri-ryu.


My sparring division was even tougher. I don’t often spar in tournaments since my emphasis is typically on kata. But, after five years of coming to this tournament, I thought it was finally time I strap on the gear.

One competitor drew blood in the first match, cutting his opponent right under the eye. These accidents happen. He lost the match, and I assume left the building. He didn’t even stick around to watch the rest of the matches. I can only suspect why he left, so I can’t say with certainty what happened. If he left because he was upset about not winning the match, I hope that in the future, he represents himself and his school in a better manner.

I defeated two competitors, including the fresh black belt I mentioned earlier, as well as the brown belt who received the cut. (Due to lack of competitors in his division, or his age – I’m not exactly sure – this individual was placed with the black belts.)

Fasting to End Hunger

Every year in time for his tournament, Mr. Morrow fasts. He does this for a number of reasons: to show discipline, to demonstrate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and to show that the martial arts can help you persevere. But mostly, Mr. Morrow was doing this as a means to eradicate world hunger. He says of the 7 billion people in this world, so many are obese and so many go hungry. “Let’s balance that out,” he told the crowd.

Mr. Morrow, 61, then proceeded to do 130 pushups on the backs of his hands in 60 seconds, unofficially breaking his Guinness World Record of 123. An article that appears to be from 2006 discusses this feat.

Overall, this is a great martial arts tournament to attend. Quick divisions. Fair judges. Great competitors.

What more do you need? 

April 17

39th Semi-Annual Karate & Kung Fu Tournament in Davenport

For the first time in more than five years – maybe ever – Mr. John Morrow and Morrow’s Academy of Martial Arts is hosting the 39th Semi-Annual Karate & Kung Fu Tournament and Black Belt Championships in a location other than his own school.

This event will be held instead at the Lee Lohman Arena at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, on Saturday, May 11, 2013.

Events include Forms, Weapons, Sparring and the unique Horse Riding Stance competition, in which the winner outlasts all others will maintaining a horse stance. Divisions are broken up by age and gender.

The grand champion in black belt sparring receives a 4-foot trophy.

Head gear for sparring is mandatory.

Fees are $35 for all events or $5 per spectators.

Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the competition begins at 10 a.m.

This is a tournament we’ve been to numerous times in the past. I have attended several events promoted by Mr. Morrow, including tournaments since 2008, and a seminar that he hosted as his school’s new location in February of this year.

For Metamora Martial Arts students – I understand this is six days after the North American Grand Nationals, but I would highly recommend this tournament if you’re interested in competing.

Lee Lohman Arena
518 W. Locust Street
Davenport, Iowa 52803

If you would like any more information on this event, please contact John Morrow at 309-764-1929.

April 15

Competitors Do Well at Morrow’s Tournament in Moline

We had a great time yesterday at John Morrow’s tournament in Moline. Not only did our competitors do well, but we got to see a few old friends, too.

I should mention that “well” isn’t necessarily measured in trophy count. Neither Joshu Adair Rodriguez nor Jake Potter were able to bring home hardware. However, I feel based on their kata performances and their sparring matches, both represented Metamora Martial Arts with pride and dignity. Joshu Adair especially showed he could get vicious during the game of tag that is a sparring match by forcing his opponent to lose his balance and fall over several times. I’m not trying to take anything away from his opponent (whose name I didn’t catch and who was very, very good), but I think there is something to be said for that.

Jake Potter, Deshi Adam Bockler and Joshu Adair Rodriguez at Morrow's Academy of Martial Arts

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I was stunned to hear that I’d won first place in black belt forms – and by one-tenth of a point, at that. There were so many other great forms competitors in both the men’s and women’s divisions. I saw Tomari Bassai, which I learned from the black belt who performed it that the kata is just one of the many variations of Bassai Dai. I saw an Empi Sho performed with kamas, which was very cool. And I was very excited to see a couple who practiced tai chi chuan perform and place highly. It’s an honor to be able to show my art – our art – with people who are so similar but so different at the same time.

One of my favorite parts about Morrow’s tournament is that one Metamora Martial Arts alumnus, Joe Maubach, lives in the Quad Cities area. Every time we travel to this event, I’m grateful that Joe always shows up to support our team. After the tournament, we had a good mid-afternoon dinner at River House.

All in all, I’m very happy with our experience at Mr. Morrow’s. We’d love to go back next year.