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- Tom Levak - Martial Arts
Tom Levak – Martial Arts
Tom “Shakey” Levak, a native Oregonian, began studying karate in 1964 at the Oregon Karate Association at the age of 25 and began to compete in sparring in 1972, at which time the only adult age division was 18-and-over. From 1972 through 1974, he was undefeated in major tournament Pacific Northwest under-black belt sparring. In October 1974, Levak was promoted to black belt and from that time through 1979 was rated as the number one rated heavyweight black belt in the Northwest by all major karate publications, including Karate Illustrated Magazine. He was National Shorin-ryu Grand Champion, a three-time N.W. Champion, a three-time Western States Champion, and winner of over 20 other sparring titles. In 1980, he temporarily retired from karate competition.
In 1981 and 1982 Tom co-promoted, with his instructor, Dan Anderson, the largest karate tournament ever held in the Northwestern United States, the Portland, Oregon Pro-Am National Karate Championships.
In 1987 USA Karate (sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee) created master’s divisions for competitors ages 45 and up. Levak began competing in those divisions and continued to fight in the 18-and-over division. From that time until his retirement from competition in 2007, Tom won 18 USA Karate National Championships, two AAU National Championships, and approximately 15 international and world championships, and placed in many more. Tom s medals included the USA Karate International Championships, the Goodwill Games, the NASKA World Championships, Ed Parker s International Championships, the Funikoshi World Championships, the Shito-ryu World Championships, the NW Ryobu-kai International Championships, the USAKF International Championships, and the World Traditional Karate Championships at the Arnold Schwarzenner Martial Arts Festival.
In numerous tournaments during his 50s and 60s Tom won or placed in the 18-and-over division or the 35-and-over division. In 1996, he won the Oregon State Championships 18-and-over division. In 2004 the Multnomah Athletic Club gave Tom its highest athletic accolade, the President's Award. Tom was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.