The most rewarding part of running the Asian World of Martial Arts blog, by far, is getting to check in with AWMA’s brilliant group of sponsored athletes. Whether they’re telling us about their latest tournament victories, their new movie roles, their Olympic goals, or just sharing their fantastic videos of their favorite ProForce products, these young martial artists never fail to inspire us with their dedication, commitment, and talent.
So what better way to wrap up our year of blogging than to celebrate the long list of accomplishments from one our own? Let’s take a look back at the Year of Kieran!
We first interviewed Kieran Tamondong in late January, 2016. At the time, the black belt and multiple time world champion had just competed at the 2016 AKA Warrior Cup, and had walked away with the top honors for Team Sync Forms and Weapons Overall along with his partner, AWMA-sponsored athlete Emma Teo. And those victories at the first big competition of the season were only the beginning.
In total, Kieran won 24 Division Championships in Black Belt Forms and Weapons, 8 Grand Championships in Forms and Weapons and 2 Overall Grand Championships in Forms and Weapons on the NASKA Tournament Circuit this year. He was also a USANKF (USA National Karate-Do Federation) and AAU Gold Medalist Champion at the Junior International Cup and the USA Open in Las Vegas, the Punok Open in Indianapolis, the Fonseca Cup in Chicago, the West Coast Open in Seattle, and the USA Nationals in Pittsburgh.
His success in the Nationals and team trials in Pittsburgh also landed Kieran a spot on the USA National Karate Team for the second year in a row. He went on to travel Guayaquil, Ecuador with the team to compete in the Jr Pan American Karate Championships. And his Olympic dreams took one very important step closer to reality when the IOC unanimously voted to include Karate in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. “I was so happy,” he told us after the August vote. “Not just for me but for everyone who loves Karate and has been waiting such a long time for this moment to happen. There have been so many people have worked so hard and for so many years to make this dream come true. This makes us all proud that karate will now be included in the Olympics for everyone to appreciate and enjoy. I’m also really excited to see the Olympic rings in my dojo and in dojos all over the world.”
Kieran also used his martial arts skills to pursue his acting and dancing dreams this year. In April, he was featured as “The Karate Kid” on the sixth episode of the NBC show Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey. That appearance landed him a profile on the Southern California news – and another AWMA blog post, where he told us all about his incredible experience.
Kieran was such a hit on the American edition of the show that he was invited to travel to Bogata, Colombia to appear on the South American version of the program, Grandes Chicos. Again, he knocked it out of the park!
¿Cuál será el talento de Kieran? pic.twitter.com/4m796vlIig
— Grandes Chicos RCN (@GrandesChicosCO) August 17, 2016
Beyond ruling the Little Big Shots universe, Kieran also showed off his skills in a national ad for Skechers that has aired over 700 times:
And a spot for AWMA:
He was also a principal performer in the video for Beyonce’s “Hold Up.” See if you can spot Kieran behind Queen Bey’s shoulder around the 3:30 mark:
If Kieran’s plans for the next few weeks are any indication, 2017 might be an ever better year for the young Karate star. In January, he’ll be traveling to Chicago for the NASKA Banquet and the 2017 AKA Warrior Cup. In February, he’s off to Germany to film an episode of Little Big Shots Germany. He’s also just landed another very exciting new gig. We can’t announce any of the details just yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as we can!
Have you been following Kieran’s career this year? Are you excited to see what he’ll do next? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to check out his recommendations for his favorite ProForce products in our recent gift guide!