Bill Viola Jr

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Bill Viola Jr.
William "Bill" Viola III

(1977-04-09) April 9, 1977 (age 47)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Pittsburgh
Occupation(s)Martial artist, author
Organization(s)President: Kumite Classic Entertainment, Owner: Allegheny Shotokan Karate[2][3]
Notable workTough Guys,[1][4] Showtime film Tough Guys[5]
ParentBill Viola Sr.

William "Bill" Viola Jr. (born April 9, 1977) is an international martial arts champion, promoter and author.[4] He is the producer and founder of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Kumite Classic.[6][7]

Early life[edit]

Bill Viola Jr. was born in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to the art of Shotokan Karate by his father Bill Viola Sr. who is the founder of Allegheny Shotokan Karate and co-creator of the modern sport of MMA.[2][8][9] Viola Jr. followed in his father's footsteps beginning martial arts lessons at the age of 3.[10]


In 2019, the city of Pittsburgh named September 23 as "Sensei Viola Day" recognizing the Viola Family for their 50-year dojo anniversary. The date was symbolic as it was Viola Jr.’s son's William Viola IV's birthday.[11][12]

Competition retirement[edit]

In the summer of 1999, Viola was involved in an automobile accident on US Route 30 in North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. He sustained a serious cervical neck fracture injury that effectively ended his competitive karate career (1981–1999).[13][1]


Viola has remained active in martial arts serving as head coach of "Team Kumite," an all-star karate team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team is noted as the most successful sport karate competition team in the Pittsburgh region, winning 12 National Black Belt League (NBL) World titles in 2013.[9][14][15][16]

Kumite Classic Entertainment[edit]

Viola graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999 and moved to Hollywood, California, to work in the entertainment industry. He earned acceptance into the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio (AFTRA). After working with top industry professionals he established his own production company, Kumite Classic Entertainment in 1999.[17][18] The company's signature event is the annual self-titled Kumite Classic, a multi-sport and fitness expo in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[19][6]

Viola has worked as a consultant for a number of major motion pictures, including Warrior (2011). He is credited as an associate producer for the mixed martial arts-inspired film Tapped Out (2014).[20]


Viola is the co-author of the mixed martial arts-inspired Tough Guys.[4][1][18][21][22] The book chronicles CV Productions, Inc., the first mixed martial arts league in America[22] and the introduction of the Tough Guy Contest.[10][23][24]

Godfathers of MMA is the subject of the documentary film Tough Guys (2016) produced by MinusL Inc.[24][25][26]

He established Kumite Quarterly Magazine in 2003. It was published until 2007. As a freelance journalist, he was contracted by Sport Karate Magazine to cover The National Black Belt League World Games on location in Canada, Mexico and across the United States.[23]

The commemorative release of Tough Guys (2017) peaked at No. 1 on Amazon sports category coinciding with the Showtime film Tough Guys debut.[27][28]

In 2016, Viola created the Sensei Says educational curriculum and was awarded a Federal Trademark for the courses.[29]


Viola Jr. was an associate producer of the documentary film Tough Guys. It was broadcast on Showtime in 2017. Viola made a cameo in Tough Guys playing his father.[30][31]

He has co-produced and worked as a consultant on several films: Warrior (2011), Tapped Out (2014), Gridlocked (2015), and The Sound (2017).[30]


Year Film Notes
2011 Warrior Consultant       
2014 Tapped Out  Associate Producer
2015 Gridlocked  Associate Producer
2015 The Sound Producer       
2017 Tough Guys  Associate Producer


  • Viola Jr., Bill (2014). Godfathers of MMA: The Birth of an American Sport. Kumite Classic Entertainment.ISBN 978-0-9961633-0-9[32]
  • Viola Jr., Bill (2016). Go Ask Your Dad: Questions, Answers, and Stories about Fathers, Fatherhood, and Being a Parent (Volume 1). Kumite Classic Entertainment. ISBN 978-0996163316[33]
  • Viola Jr., Bill (2017). Tough Guys. Kumite Classic Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-9961633-3-0[34]
  • Viola Jr., Bill (2020). CommonSensei: Sensei Says. Kumite Classic Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-9961633-4-7[35]
  • Viola Jr., Bill (2020). CommonSensei: Goal Pagoda. Kumite Classic Entertainment. ISBN 978-0-9961633-5-4[36]


  1. ^ a b c d Pickels, Mary (February 8, 2015). “Martial arts are a family affair”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B3.
  2. ^ a b Hunger, Brian (July 22, 2001). “Viola poised to provide karate scholarships for youth”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B3.
  3. ^ Kelly, Jack (April 16, 2007). “Festival puts emphasis on physical fitness”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  4. ^ a b c Latest, MMA. "A Review of Godfathers of MMA: The Birth of An American Sport". MMA Latest. Archived from the original on February 16, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  5. ^ "Forging a Path for Half a Century". September 12, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Kelly, Jack (April 16, 2007). “Festival puts emphasis on physical fitness”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  7. ^ MacGregor, Adam (March 4, 1998).“Fivesome may kick its way to a title”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  8. ^ Cartey, Richard (November 2012). “Tough guy Contest: The Real Beginnings of MMA in America”. Fighters Only. 3: 72.
  9. ^ a b Jones, Rachel (March 2015) "Family Traditions". WHIRL Magazine, p.38.
  10. ^ a b Dopirak, Dustin (June 16, 2002). “Karate instructor passionate about foundation”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B7.
  11. ^ "Allegheny County recognizes 'Sensei' Viola for devotion to karate".
  12. ^ "Governments, students honor North Huntingdon karate instructor Bill Viola". September 22, 2019.
  13. ^ Iovino, Jim (August 15, 1999). “Karate duo’s dreams crash before nationals”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, page 6. Westmoreland Sports
  14. ^ "Norwin junior claims a sport karate world title". (January 14, 2011). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
  15. ^ Gulasy, Doug (January 16, 2014). “Team Kumite has ‘unprecedented’ success”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,. p. 28.
  16. ^ Adamski, Chris (January 25, 2013). “Leader earns top karate honor”. Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
  17. ^ Schofield, Melissa (November 1, 2000). “Former karate champion makes transition to music video”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p. E5.
  18. ^ a b Zuchowski, Dave (February 12, 2015). “Karate kids: Viola family keeps kicking at World Games”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette p.EZ-4
  19. ^ Schrecengost, Dave "Kumite Classic kicks it up a notch" Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 23, 2013
  20. ^ "Bill Viola Jr". IMDb.
  21. ^ Panian, A.J. (January 23, 2014). “Mt. Pleasant Author helps examine mixed martial arts”. Mount Pleasant Journal Archived February 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, p. 1.
  22. ^ a b "Who really invented MMA in America mixed martial arts history". MMA History – Mixed Martial Arts. December 12, 2013.
  23. ^ a b Solomon, Marlena (December 23, 2003 ). "Bill Viola Jr. named ‘NBL Promoter of the Year’". The Advisor, p. 1. Volume 27 No. 13
  24. ^ a b Kanew, Jeff (October 3, 1986), Tough Guys, retrieved February 24, 2016
  25. ^ "From Pittsburgh roots, MMA, UFC have grown to staggering heights". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  26. ^ Steele, Jerin. "Before MMA, Tough Guys wowed fans in A-K Valley, throughout state". Retrieved February 24, 2016.
  27. ^ "Showtime's 'Tough Guys' documentary explores MMA's early roots in 1980s Pittsburgh". September 13, 2017.
  28. ^ "Tough Guys MMA Book reaches #1 on Amazon best sellers list". September 19, 2017.
  29. ^ "TESS – Error".
  30. ^ a b "Tough Guys (2017) – IMDb". IMDb.
  31. ^ "Welcome".
  32. ^ Bill Viola, Jr; Adams, Fred (November 5, 2014). Godfathers of MMA: The Birth of an American Sport. ISBN 9780996163309.
  33. ^ Go Ask Your Dad: Questions, Answers and Stories about Fathers, Fatherhood and Parenting. CV Productions. May 5, 2016. ISBN 9780996163316.
  34. ^ Bill Viola, Jr (August 2017). Tough Guys. ISBN 9780996163323.
  35. ^ CommonSensei: Sensei Says. Kumite Classic Entertainment. July 28, 2020. ISBN 9780996163347.
  36. ^ Bill Viola, Jr (July 28, 2020). CommonSensei: Goal Pagoda. ISBN 9780996163354.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allegheny Shotokan Karate Club Excels". (April 26, 1998). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, p. B6.
  • Harvath, Les (December 19, 2008). "An athlete for all seasons". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (Ali, 1969).
  • Organopoulos, Mike (September 3, 1996). "Irwin karate club wins national title". Tribune-Review.
  • "Sport Karate International Rankings" (Nov–Feb 1992/1993). Sport Karate International, p. 53. Issue 38/39
  • “1997 Sports Champions List”. (December 26, 1997). Slam Sports.
  • Cloonan, Patrick (May 25, 2005). "North Huntingdon Twp. Promoter heads Pittsburgh Sports and Fitness Festival". The Daily News, p. 11.
  • Gordon, Diane (March 19, 1998). "Karate athletes still dreaming". Standard Observer, p. 1.ion)
  • Gordon, Diane (March 4, 1998). "Karate team is hopeful". Standard Observer, p. 1.
  • Love, Mike (May 20, 2012). "Fitness and martial-arts enthusiasts pack Monroeville Convention Center for Kumite Classic". Tribune-Review.

External links[edit]