This article is about the symbols’ value of the group identity, and especially about the very disputed GoJu Fist logo. It was written by Master Ric Pascetta in 2011. It is below published without any modification.
“The significance of this history is to dispel the excuse of anyone misusing or misappropriating the use of the A.G.K.A.I. symbols presented here and/or attempting to modify them in any manner that confuses those who view their usage. Hanshi Ric Pascetta has gone even further to insure the uniqueness of his designs by including a pledge in the A.G.K.A.I. Membership Agreement where the member agrees to stop using any of these authorized symbols of AGKAI if they ever leave the organization. This is only fair and is considerate to all.”
In the mid and late 70’s GrandMaster Peter Urban complained to Hanshi Ric Pascetta on many occasions that many of his former students and associates learned not only karate from him but they also used his name and images for their own benefit without permission. Even worse, they did so without compensating him for his creations. This was a problem that followed the great founder of USA GoJu for much of his career.
The fact is that he was so passionate about his karate that he simply moved forward anyway, contributing many very unique practices, concepts, phrases, and symbols that now last well beyond his life. Unfortunately for him, he did much of this without taking formal or legal precautions to prevent unfair usage and plagiarism of his life’s work. This lack of attention to protecting his “intellectual property” contributed greatly to him suffering serious financial problems throughout his life, and even more so, after he began to lose his ability to perform physically.
It was during the mid 70’s that Hanshi Pascetta suggted that GM Urban register his logos and require membership agreements from the members of USAGA that included language that would serve to limit such abuse and the outright theft of his hard work. In the late 70’s GrandMaster Urban responded to Hanshi Pascetta’s advice and ultimately authorized Hanshi Pascetta to register the GoJu fist logo in the forms that had been in usage by GrandMaster Urban.
Without spending more time here on the legal particulars that resulted from Pascetta’s research and consultation with world class Patent and Trademark attorneys, there are several factors that are important to recognize when viewing the appropriate usage of these symbols and ideas. The first is “origin”.
According to GM Urban, the original “GoJu Fist” emblem was his idea and drawn by an artist in Yokohama, Japan at the direction of Peter Urban. It was then presented to GrandMaster Gogen Yamaguchi by Peter Urban. Urban claimed that he originated the idea of using the fist symbol and his concept was for this symbol to represent the clenched hand of Miyagi Chojun, however, Urban claimed that the actual model for this fist was his own hand. This fist appeared in the original copy of Urban’s first book, “The Karate Dojo”. Anyone who has seen Urban’s clenched fist and compared it with this symbol might find his story quite credible.
Second, the reality is that the Gosei Yamaguchi (son of GM Gogen Yamaguchi) first formally registered the same version of that original fist logo when he began teaching in the USA (after GM Urban). It is significant to note that this version included the Japanese writing that translates, “GoJu Kai” across the wrist and ribbon below. Although this protects Yamaguchi’s primary usage, the previous use by Urban and other widespread usage makes it problematic to completely control this symbol.
What Hanshi Ric Pascetta succeeded in doing at GrandMaster Urban’s direction was to register the GoJu fist emblem in 4 manners of usage, but not infringe on the rights of Yamaguchi. The first 3 registrations were of those fists symbols used by Peter Urban and his associates after his separation from the GoJu-Kai of GM Yamaguchi. These three included: one using the word “GoJu”, one using the words “USA GoJu”, and one using the words “Urban GoJu”, each example written in the English spelling across the wrist and on a ribbon below the wrist.
Shortly after founding the AMERICAN GOJU KARATE ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL (A.G.K.A.I.), and with the permission of GrandMaster Urban, Hanshi Pascetta also registered this symbol with the acronym, A.G.K.A.I. written across the wrist. What is significant here is that, although Hanshi Pascetta had formed his own association, he had the permission of GrandMaster Urban. In fact, GM Urban trusted Hanshi Pascetta’s integrity so much that he instructed him to register all these symbols in Pascetta’s name rather than Urban’s!
In further demonstration of the integrity of Hanshi Pascetta, since the formation of A.G.K.A.I, he has never again used the original logos of GM Urban, and he made specific changes to any similar logos to make sure that there was no confusion between his association and those who were part of USAGA. This behavior was a clear demonstration of the respect he held for the work and contributions of his teacher, GM Peter Urban.
Although there are many martial artists who use some version of the fist logo, they do so in manners to clearly differentiate themselves from other groups within this large “family” of martial artists. Since the AGKAI associates received the authorization from the Headmaster to use this logo, by signing a document specifically defining the terms of that agreement (refer to the A.G.K.A.I. Membership Agreement), both the Master’s Dojo and any of his students and/or associates, are restricted even more from the arbitrary usage, imitation, and/or modification of these in any manner that would confuse the public.
Further, any Master, Instructor, and/or student who has not re-associated themselves with the A.G.K.A.I. created and founded by Hanshi Pascetta would be well advised to remove such symbols from any formal usage. Hanshi Pascetta does not wish to cause any inconvenience for any innocent student, instructor, or Master, however, if they are not formally associated with the A.G.K.A.I. that originated these symbols, it is only fair and reasonable to expect then to respect the proper authorized usage of the same. Why would they wish to use these symbols? If they are proud of their chosen affiliation then they would be certain to make sure there is no confusion caused by this misrepresentation.
Hanshi Pascetta has carefully taken the time and effort to explain these matters in detail and given those involved the opportunity make their own choices regarding their own training and affiliation while allowing a reasonable time for those involved to make the changes to their uniforms, signs, and advertisements in a manner that truly reflects their own choices of affiliation. After a reasonable time, those who decide to abuse the unauthorized usage of these symbols should expect formal, legal, and social action taken on the part of the real A.G.K.A.I. and Hanshi Ric Pascetta to end this misuse.
If this matter affects you directly please consider as an individual to choose to show the same respect you would want for yourself and refrain from using these symbols unless you are properly authorized by Hanshi Pascetta’s. If your leaders instruct you to do otherwise, then perhaps it would be appropriate for you to re-consider their intentions, behavior, and lack of integrity. Hanshi Pascetta believes that each individual understands right from wrong and must make these choices within his own heart and mind. Actions speak louder than words.
On this page you will also find various versions of many of the symbols created by Hanshi Pascetta and used to represent his Karate System, and/or association. You will see some of the original artwork as well, in this manner anyone can see that the source of these symbols and ideas originated with Hanshi Ric Pascetta.
By Hanshi Ric Pascetta, July 2011
In 2010, Hanshi Ric Pascetta created a revised edition of all A.G.K.A.I. logos and he coined the term ” the Now Generation” referring to the Teachers and Leaders studying and spreading his system that is based on his complete “NOW GoJu Curriculum.”
“The double AA is a special symbol I have made to set my logo apart from all else who use the term American GoJu. For me this symbolize the rebirth of A.G.K.A.I., the “Now A.G.K.A.I.” and when others see these new patches worn by our students they will know that they are only being worn by those students dedicated to studying & following my complete Curriculum of Ric Pascetta’s American GoJu Karate-do International System of martial arts, not some mix mash of mine with other stuff arbitrarily added & subtracted.”
Hanshi Ric Pascetta, September 2011
Hanshi Ric Pascetta and his wife Amalia applied for obtain the International Copyrights of all these old and new logos, and for the last version of AA.G.K.A.I. Complete Curriculum. They obtained them on or about July 4, 2012.
Below the link to access the Consent Order released by the New Jersey Court on September 10, 2014, regarding Ric Pascetta A.G.K.A.I. Estate.
FYI. Two months after signing the “Consent Order”, Mr. Derek E. Davis has removed all references with A.G.K.A.I and Ric Pascetta name, choosing to no longer be a representative of the A.G.K.A.I. organization, even in his single location at West Atco, NJ.
Therefore: please be aware that Mr. Derek E. Davis no longer has any position under A.G.K.A.I. emblem, he is not more teaching the Ric Pascetta’s AMERICAN GOJU KARATE-DO INTERNATIONAL System, and his school is not conforming to the A.G.K.A.I Curriculum.
Consequently, everything is as it was before GMaster Pascetta passed away. Mr. Derek E. Davis‘ A.G.K.A.I. legitimate degree is 4th Dan.