For over 30 years Master Pascetta functioned as a full time professional MASTER TEACHER who began teaching Karate in the Delaware Valley area part time, beginning in 1969. He began his martial arts training in 1963.
He was the owner and operator of the American GoJu Karate-Do International school located in Turnersville, NJ. This spacious 3,000 sq. ft. facility featured a clean, modern, yet disciplined atmosphere, state of the art, as well as, traditional training equipment.
Shihan Pascetta has owned and operated martial arts schools plus a separate fitness center in 12 locations in southern New Jersey since 1969. He has also mentored, advised, and assisted numerous of his Black Belt students in opening and operating MA facilities in multiple locations in the US and overseas since 1974. He presently attends primarily to private students and teaches various scheduled seminars.
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 to teach his personal and unique version of the American GoJu style.
Pascetta also has extensive experience and background in the application of sport karate including Traditional “point” competition, Semi-contact, Light Contact, and Full Contact Kickboxing. Master Pascetta was instrumental in the early development of Professional Kickboxing in the United States and has taken his unique approach overseas, teaching well attended Seminars and conducting training camps internationally. These training methods, theories, principles, strategies of competition have been further propagated by his advanced students who were advanced instructors and members of AGKAI.
His unique system and training methods are primarily at the root of the transformation and success of the Italian National Team in World competition. It was the application of these methods that was implemented by his student, Walter Meneghini, who coached the Italian National team for 10 years with progressive success, winning numerous national, international, and World titles . His current “Standing to Ground/Ground to Standing” tactics and training methods are directly applicable to the currently popular sport of MMA.
The original foundation of his system was the unique style of Peter Urban (USA GoJu) that could easily be described as one of the first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) systems in existence long before it became popular to use such a term. Grand Master Peter Urban had studied three separate systems of martial arts and combined elements of all three while building on the foundational theories and practices of the GoJu system of Grand Master Gogen Yamaguchi. GM Urban was an innovator and over many years modified his training methods and teaching approach. Ultimately he was able to produce some of the strongest martial arts fighters on the East Coast of the US and throughout the world.
Master Pascetta has continued in this USA GoJu “tradition” of “keep the good and discard the bad”. Pascetta’s version of “American GoJu Karate-Do, Aiki-Jitsu, and Kickboxing” is, in many ways distinctively different than the older version of GM Urban. He has distinctly referred to his school and martial arts system as “Ric Pascetta’s American GoJu Karate” even when GM Master Peter Urban commonly and primarily referred to his own system as “USA GoJu”. In recent the years, however, it had become more common practice for GM Urban (before his death) and some other USA GoJu practitioners and instructors to use the term “American GoJu” interchangeably with “USA GoJu”.
The A.G.K.A.I. label has served to distinguish this unique version developed and established by Master Pascetta and that is continuing to evolve today known as “The Now Generation” of American GoJu.
Shihan Pascetta has conducted numerous teaching tours in Italy beginning in 1977 and later in Slovenia. He conducted similar seminar tours in Israel beginning in the summer of 1997. He has traveled throughout the United States and also in Canada, Europe, Middle East, and the Far East teaching and representing the American GoJu-Ryu Karate-Do System.
A large concentration of A.G.K.A.I. schools exists in Northern Italy with as many as 30 schools previously under the direction of Master Walter Meneghini of Sottomarina, Italy and now in the process of reorganization. Master Meneghini became a direct student of HeadMaster Pascetta in 1977 and was primarily responsible for assisting Master Pascetta with the earlier development of the A.G.K.A.I. organization in Italy.
Another group of A.G.K.A.I. schools is present in Israel under the leadership 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 twenty years.
The Arkia brothers were former students of Hani Sakas. Sakas trained briefly with Shihan Pascetta in the mid 80’s and represented AGKAI in Israel for a brief time before changing his affiliation to USAGA. He had also previously trained briefly with Duke Kasten and Al Gotay, Black Belt students of Peter Urban.
The Arkia brothers began direct training with Master Pascetta in the mid 90’s and were instrumental in assisting Shihan Pascetta with the further development of AGKAI in Israel. There are presently over twelve A.G.K.A.I. schools in Israel and additional schools have inquired about membership.
In 1987 Master Pascetta was invited to Okinawa to visit, observe, and train in some of the traditional dojo of Okinawan GoJu and Okinawan kobudo. It was there that he was able to directly compare his modernized American GoJu Karate system with the varied versions of traditional Okinawa GoJu-ryu. During his extended visit to Okinawa he taught a series of seminars on his fighting method to a variety of instructors from various martial arts systems there.
Master Pascetta had formerly been appointed as a Director of the U.S.A.G.A. organization of Peter Urban, was one of his senior Black Belt students, and one of the Senior Shihan of U.S.A.G.A.. In the entire history of U.S.A. GoJu and U.S.A.G.A. only two Shihan were ever appointed by GrandMaster Peter Urban to Director positions, the second was Master William Liquori of Florida. Pascetta was a direct student of GrandMaster Peter Urban from 1970 until 1980.
In 1977 he was commissioned by GM Urban to write the standard curriculum for the U.S.A.G.A. and this process was supervised directly by GM Urban. For a period this began to be implemented as a standard curriculum for U.S.A.G.A.. However, after a brief time GM Urban decided on a simpler and less complicated version of his own design that would vary multiple times and significantly over subsequent years.
Resisting all attempts to formally structure U.S.A.G.A., GM Urban had decided in favor of U.S.A.G.A. functioning as an unstructured Social Network for his many students, associates, affiliates, and friends, rather than a typical martial arts “organization”. U.S.A.G.A. has continued in this format throughout the years leading to GM Urban’s passing. The experience provided to Shihan Pascetta by these exercises of executive leadership while under the direct supervision and input of the founder was to prove invaluable when later developing and writing the curriculum, establishing consistent standards, standardizing teaching methods, along with Rules, Regulations, Protocol, and Procedures for his own A.G.K.A.I.
In 1979 there occurred a serious disagreement with GM Urban over policy and principle concerning certain U.S.A.G.A. schools and instructors in Italy. Subsequently, GM Urban granted Master Pascetta an “Honorable Discharge” allowing Pascetta a sabbatical, releasing him from his regular responsibilities as a Director in U.S.A.G.A. in 1980. At this time Master Pascetta was encouraged by GM Urban to develop his own system and organization. Although Master Pascetta was no longer in the same leadership role in U.S.A.G.A., as a certified, “Lifetime Franchise Member” of U.S.A.G.A., he continued to support GM Master Urban and provide assistance and/or counsel whenever needed. His loyalty and appreciation for what he had learned from his teacher, GM Master Urban, has never lapsed nor been forgotten.
During the period between 1979 and 1981 Master Pascetta founded and 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 Mid-Atlantic Region in the U.S., as well as, in Europe and the Middle East. The original Masters Council of A.G.K.A.I who assisted Master Pascetta in developing the organizational structure also included: Master Henri Shawn (FL), Master James Chillemi (NY), and Master Dayton Guinee (NY). As HeadMaster and Technical Director of A.G.K.A.I., he has primarily responsibility to oversee, develop and critique the curriculum used in all A.G.K.A.I. schools, appoint and supervise all regional and national directors, and to teach, develop, and mentor other Master level teachers in the A.G.K.A.I. method of martial arts instruction.
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).
Master Pascetta also played pivotal roles in the Professional Kickboxing careers of PKA World Champion Eddie Andujar, PKA World Champion, Emilio Narvaez, and World rated, Marty Manuel (deceased). These young athletes were members of the early kickboxing teams founded, organized and coached by Master Pascetta in the mid 70’s and he was instrumental in opening further opportunities for these athletes to compete in matches on a World class level. These coaching and mentoring roles, along with organizing and promoting the 1st Professional Kickboxing Events in the Philadelphia Area earned him the title of “Father of Professional Karate” in the Delaware Valley area.