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Ric Pascetta

      Shihan Ric Pascetta has been described as one of the most dynamic personalities in the martial arts community on the east coast in the United States. He has spent most of his life experiencing various aspects of the Martial Arts. This activity has given him a broad perspective and diverse wealth of experience.

      Master Pascetta began his martial arts training in 1963 when first introduced to a combat form of jiu-jitsu by a Marine Sergeant (Skip McQuen) in Melbourne, Florida. After returning to New Jersey he continued practicing and began attending classes taught by Phil Martinez. Mr. Martinez had studied in Chicago with a teacher named John Concevic. In 1968 Master Pascetta met Master Edward Verycken and was accepted as his direct student.

      Master Edward Verycken was Master Pascetta's first Master Teacher. Master Verycken was a student of GrandMaster Peter Urban, the founder of U.S.A. GoJu Karate. After returning from Japan in 1958, Peter Urban opened his first Karate DoJo and Ed Verycken was his first student. He later became Master Urban's first Black Belt. It was Master Verycken who trained Master Pascetta and taught him the KIHON, KATA, IPPON, and AIKI-JITSU of U.S.A. GoJu Karate. Later, Master Verycken introduced Mr. Pascetta to GrandMaster Urban and Pascetta began to study and train directly with both. Master Verycken retired from teaching and Master Pascetta studied solely with GrandMaster Peter Urban. Under the direct tutelage of GrandMaster Peter Urban, Pascetta was taught the advanced KATA, its application, advanced AIKI-JITSU, and PHILOSOPHY of Peter Urban's GoJu Karate.

      During the 1970's Master Pascetta had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout the United States and his skills were greatly influenced by working out and training with some of the most prominent American Karate competitors. Those champions include: PKA World Heavyweight Champion, Joe Lewis and PKA World Middleweight Champion, Bill (Superfoot) Wallace. To a lesser degree, Master Pascetta also trained briefly with PKA World Light Heavyweight Champion, Jeff Smith and PKA/WKA World Lightweight Champion, Benny (The Jet) Urquidez.

      Master Pascetta's experience also includes minor cross training in several other Martial Arts disciplines. These include Jiu-Jitsu with GrandMaster Wally Jay, Aikido with Master Robert Danza, Tuite with Master Seiyu Oyata, Kobudo with GrandMaster Sekichi Odo, and more extensively, Modern Arnis with GrandMaster Remy Presas. Master Pascetta has used the exposure to each of these other disciplines to help research and strengthen any potential weaknesses within his own American GoJu-Ryu Karate-Do system.


      Master Pascetta has successfully competed in karate championships throughout the United States, Europe, and in Canada. Having won or placed in over 100 events, he has established an INTERNATIONAL reputation as a WORLD CLASS competitor in both forms and fighting.

      Master Pascetta became the first competitor in the history of the sport over the age of forty (40) to receive a World Championship Gold Medal as a member of the WORLD CHAMPION, UNITED STATES KARATE TEAM at the 1991 WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in London, England. He repeated his performance in 1993 by winning the NATIONAL TITLE at the WAKO-USA NATIONAL TEAM TRIALS in Evansville, Indiana thereby securing a position on the UNITED STATES KARATE TEAM for the 1993 WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS. Later in 1993 Master Pascetta received his second World Championship Gold Medal in the 1993 WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS at the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey when the UNITED STATES TEAM again captured the WORLD TITLE from among a field of National Teams representing over forty (40) countries world wide.

      Some other high points of his competitive career include winning an individual SILVER MEDAL in the 1981 WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (Milan, Italy), a GOLD MEDAL in 1982 in the U.S.A. vs CANADA TEAM CHAMPIONSHIPS (Val d'Or, Quebec), as well as, an individual BRONZE MEDAL in the 1987 WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (Birmingham, England). The following is a list of some of the more prominent events in which he has won or placed in a competition career spanning over twenty (20) years.

  • Butokukai East Coast Karate Championships - N.Y., N.Y. (1971)

  • U.S. Karate Championships - Dallas, TX. (1974)

  • All-USA GoJu Karate Championships - N.Y., N.Y. (1974)

  • USKA Grand Nationals - Milwaukee, WI. (1975)

  • Northeast Tournament of Champions - Reading, Pa. (1975)

  • Baltimore Nationals Karate Championships - Balt., Md. (1974,75,76)

  • Playboy National Karate Championships - Great Gorge, N.J. (1981)

  • U.S. Open Karate Championships - St. Petersburg, Fla. (1981)

  • WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Milan, Italy (1981)

  • California State Pro-Am - Stockton, Ca. (1982)

  • U.S.A. vs CANADA Team Championships - Val d'Or, Quebec (1982)

  • U.S.A. vs GREAT BRITAIN - Maidenhead, England (1987)

  • WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Birmingham, England (1987)

  • U.S.A.-ITALY-AUSTRIA Int'l Team Challenge - Sottomarina, Italy (1990)

  • U.S.A.-ITALY-AUSTRIA Int'l Team Challenge - Jesolo, Italy (1990)

  • WAKO-USA NATIONAL Team Trials - Evansville, Indiana (1991)

  • WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - London, England (1991)

  • WAKO-USA NATIONAL Team Trials - Evansville, Indiana (1993)

  • WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Atlantic City, N.J. (1993)


      Master Pascetta is a full time professional MASTER TEACHER who has been teaching Karate in the Delaware Valley area since 1969. He began his martial arts training in 1963. He is presently the owner of the American GoJu Karate-Do International school located in Turnersville, NJ. This spacious 3,000 sq. ft. facility features a clean, modern, yet disciplined atmosphere, state of the art, as well as, traditional training equipment.

Pascetta is internationally recognized as one of the few Masters of the American GoJu style who teaches the entire system including all the Kata, the Kihon, Ippon, Aiki-jitsu, and Weapons of the American GoJu system. This system was originally developed by Peter Urban and further evolved through the efforts of his senior black belts. Master Pascetta has done extensive traveling to promote the A.G.K.A.I. organization and teach the American GoJu style. He has conducted an annual teaching tour in Italy since 1977 and conducted a seminar tour in Israel in the summer of 1997. He has traveled throughout the United States and also in Canada, Europe, and the Far East representing the American GoJu-Ryu Karate-Do System. A large concentration of A.G.K.A.I. schools exists in Northern Italy with over 30 schools under the direction of Master Walter Menghini of Sottomarina, Italy. Master Meneghini became a direct student of HeadMaster Pascetta in 1977 and is primarily responsible for the development of the A.G.K.A.I. organization in Europe.

In Israel exists another group of A.G.K.A.I. schools under the direction of Master Robeen Arkia. Master Arkia, along with his bothers, Osama, Mohamed, and sister, Anan, are direct students of HeadMaster Pascetta and have been teaching in the central region of Israel for the last fifteen years. There are presently over twelve A.G.K.A.I. schools in Israel and an additional five schools have inquired about membership in 1997.

Master Pascetta was formerly a regional director with the U.S.A.G.A. organization of Peter Urban and is one of his senior Black Belts. Pascetta was a direct student of GrandMaster Peter Urban from 1970 until 1980. In 1981, he was appointed President and HeadMaster of the A.G.K.A.I. (American GoJu Karate Association, Int'l) Organization which has schools primarily on the Atlantic Coast in the U.S., as well as, in Europe and the Middle East. The original founders of A.G.K.A.I. also include: Master Henri Shawn, Master James Chillemi, and Master Dayton Guinee. As HeadMaster and Technical Director of A.G.K.A.I., he is primarily responsible to oversee, develop and critique the curriculum used in all A.G.K.A.I. schools and to teach and develop other Master level teachers in the A.G.K.A.I. method of martial arts instruction.

A former police officer, Pascetta has taught numerous law enforcement officers in defensive tactics as well as the tactical use of the nunchaku sticks for law enforcement. His background also involves extensive training with the PR-24 side-handle baton. Pascetta, himself, is a 1975 Honors Graduate of the New Jersey State Police Academy at Sea Girt. He received his M.O.I. (Methods of Instruction) certification from the New Jersey Police training Commission at the Atlantic City Police Academy in 1976. He is also a Certified Instructor for the PR-24 side-handle baton.

Master Pascetta has developed and written a training manual for Women's Self-Defense entitled, "Street Survival - For Women Only". He was a well known lecturer in various colleges on that subject and initiated a pilot program which was taught in area high schools. This course was originally developed for the female nursing staff of a local inner-city hospital and was later taught to the female employees at the Taj Mahal Resort Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

      Master Pascetta's latest book, "American GoJu-Ryu Karate-do, The New Generation," is scheduled for publication in early 1998. This text will outline the curriculum and criteria of the A.G.K.A.I. Organization and will serve as a student handbook for those students aspiring to achieve Black Belt status in this organization.

      Pascetta's students have won or placed consistently in regional open competition and he has produced numerous Black Belts who have been regionally rated. In International competition his Black Belt students have garnered silver and bronze medals as well as several Gold Medals in World Competition. World Champion Gold Medalists from his school include Victor Castagna, (1987 WAKO World Heavyweight Champion) and Derrick Freijomil, (1991 WAKO-USA World Champion Team Member). Other World Championship medalists include: Walter Meneghini of Italy(1981 WAKO World Championship silver medalist),Alan Miller (1981 WAKO World Championship silver medalist), David Sirota (1981 WAKO World Championship bronze medalist and 1993 WAKO-USA World Champion Team Member), Victor Castagna (1987 World Championship silver medalist, semi-contact).


      In 1975, Pascetta became involved with the "Full-Contact" karate (sport) after visiting California and working out and training with PKA World Heavyweight Champion, Joe Lewis, and several other prominent Nationally known competitors including: Darnell Garcia, Howard Jackson, and Cecil Peoples. After a brief, but successful Full-Contact career, Master Pascetta became the coach for the first Philadelphia professional Karate team known as the Philadelphia Patriots, which later became known as the Philadelphia Kicks. From this team developed two PKA WORLD CHAMPIONS: Ed Andujar (welterweight) and Emilio Narvaez (middleweight), as well as numerous world rated contenders (Marty Manuel, Bill Van Cleef, Gerry Galarza, etc.).

      In 1981 Master Pascetta was approached by Ennio Falsoni and Spartico Bertoletti to organize a United States Karate Team to participate in the 1981 WAKO World Championships in Milan, Italy. This was his first successful endeavor as a player/coach. He then continued to organize and coached various teams representing the United States in international competition in both the United States and Europe. Some of those teams include:

  • WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Milan, Italy (1981)


  • U.S.A. vs GREAT BRITAIN - London, England (1986)

  • U.S.A. vs GREAT BRITAIN - Maidenhead, England (1987)

  • AMERICA CUP INTERNATIONAL Team Championships - Aston, Pa. (1986)

  • U.S.A.-ITALY-AUSTRIA Int'l Team Challenge - Sottomarina, Italy (1990)

  • U.S.A.-ITALY-AUSTRIA Int'l Team Challenge - Jesolo, Italy (1990)



      While training in California in 1975, Master Pascetta was introduced by Joe Lewis to Mike Anderson, publisher of PROFESSIONAL KARATE MAGAZINE, Don Quine, President of the newly formed PKA, and his wife, Judy Balaban Quine. It was Mike Anderson and the Quines who persuaded Master Pascetta to become the East Coast representative for the PKA and begin to promote PKA "Full-contact" Karate/ Kickboxing on the East Coast. In 1975, Pascetta was responsible for promoting the first major professional karate full-contact matches in the Philadelphia Arena, as well as, a series of smaller events which followed in the Tower Theater and various local colleges. Due to his numerous efforts and accomplishments in the full-contact aspect as a fighter, a coach, a promoter, and a referee, he became known and introduced at many Delaware Valley events as the "Father of Professional Karate" in the Philadelphia area.

      Master Pascetta is responsible for the promotion of two of the region's largest and well organized tournaments: The Atlantic Karate Championships (from 1977 to 1987), and The America Cup Karate Championships (from 1977 to 1987). In 1982, the Atlantic Karate Championships drew over 700 contestants from all over the east coast, while the America Cup drew approximately 500. In 1985 and 1986, the America Cup featured International Team competition and was aired on CTN-TV to over 1 million cable TV homes.

      Pascetta has also functioned professionally as a paid organizer and director at other prominent east coast events such as the Empire State Karate Championships in Long Island, N.Y. (1982, 1983), the World Bicentennial Karate Games in Philadelphia, Pa. (1976), the Ocean County Championships (1982), and the Eastern America Superstars Tournament (E.A.S.T.) in Clinton, Conn. (1983, '84, '85, '86, and '87).

      In 1992, Master Pascetta successfully negotiated the contract with Mr. Dennis Gomes, COO of the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, to bring the 1993 WAKO World Championships to the United States at the Mark G. Etess Arena. At that time Master Pascetta held the position of Executive Director for WAKO-USA. As the result of this contract the 9th WAKO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS was held for the first time in the United States at the Trump Taj Mahal with over forty (40) countries represented by National teams. Although Pascetta secured the venue, the actual promotion and organization of the event was done by Jim Lantrip (Kentucky), Don Rodrigez (Rhode Island), and Tom Festa (New York).


      On radio, Master Pascetta has been a featured guest on such Philadelphia talk radio shows as the Irv Homer Show (WWDB), Dr. Jim Corea (WWDB), and the Susan Bray Show (WCAU). On television, Pascetta's first appearance came on "Today in the Delaware Valley" (KYW-TV). He also appeared on "Sport Scene" and "Talk of the Town" (Cable 13).

      In 1985, he hosted a television program for local cable TV called "Ric Pascetta's Martial Arts Magazine". This program featured prominent martial arts masters from various disciplines in an interview and demonstration format aimed at entertaining and educating the audience and exposing common misconceptions and myths about the martial arts.

      In 1986, Pascetta served as expert and color commentator for six, 1 hour specials featuring the America Cup International Team Championships and again on this program in 1987 for four 1 hour specials. Both series aired on CTN-TV, a cable network with 1.2 million homes. Other championships at which he has served as either house announcer or expert/color commentator include:

  • ®America Cup Karate Championships
    Airport Hilton Phila., Pa. 1985 (CTN-TV)

  • ®Miller Lite Karate Championships
    Westerly, R.I. 1986 (Storer Cable)

  • ®Lamarr Thornton's Battle of the Dojos
    City College N.Y., N.Y. 1986

  • ®Budweiser Liberty Classic
    Madison Square Garden N.Y., N.Y. 1986 (ESPN)

  • ®Budweiser NAKC Midwest Karate Championships
    Ohio Center Columbus, Ohio 1986 (ESPN)

  • ®America Cup International Team Championships
    Sun Center Aston, Pa. 1986 (CTN-TV)

  • ®Empire State Karate Championships
    Stoneybrook College L.I., N.Y. 1986, 87 (Metro Cable)

  • ®Miller Lite Greater Metropolitan Open
    Queens College N.Y., N.Y. 1987

  • ®USA-AUSTRIA-ITALIA International Team Challenge
    Sottomarina, Italy 1990 (MSG Cable-TV)

  • ®NBL SuperGrand Nationals
    San Jose, California 1991 (MSG Cable-TV)

  • ®NBL SuperGrand Nationals
    Atlantic City, New Jersey 1992

  • ®Golden Dragon World Cup
    Rimini, Italy 1993

  • ®10th WAKO World Championships
    Stuttgart, Germany 1995 (Eurosport)

  • ®6th International TangSooDo Championships
    Penn State - Lima, PA 1995

  • ®Delaware Valley All Traditional Karate Championships
    CoreStates Center - Philadelphia, PA 1996


      Master Pascetta is prominently known for his experience and integrity as a strict, fair, and decisive referee. He served on the Board of Directors for the U.M.A.R.A. (United Martial Arts Referees Association) for ten years, from 1977 to 1987. In this capacity, along with the other directors, he was responsible for the development of trained judges and referees who officiate at regional tournaments; for the standardization of rules and procedures used in sport competition; for the supervision and execution of said procedures at various events; and for the administration of the U.M.A.R.A. organization. When Master Pascetta resigned his position is 1987, the U.M.A.R.A. Organization had over 100 trained Black Belt officials representing a broad cross section of various martial arts systems, which made it one of the largest inter-style referees associations in the history of Karate in the United States.

      In the full-contact sport, Pascetta has functioned as an official or judge in several PKA World Champion Title events (in Atlanta, Ga., Washington, D.C., and Hampton, Va.) and as a referee in more than 50 lesser events. He has been certified by the Professional Karate Association (PKA) as a referee for PKA sanctioned events. Master Pascetta's first involvement as an official in the PKA was during the early development of the sport. During the first few years of the PKA, the officials would meet for a de-briefing directly after each World Title Event to critique and discuss the details of the event. It was during these meetings that many of the finer points of the rules were developed and the sport became fine tuned. In this manner Master Pascetta participated and contributed as one of the early pioneers of the "Full-Contact" Karate/Kickboxing sport.

      In traditional Karate he has also been certified as a referee with U.S.A. Karate Federation (U.S.A.K.F.- the organization recognized by the US Olympic Committee as the sanctioning body for Olympic style Karate competition and representative of W.U.K.O. in the U.S.A.)

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