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Pazzaglia’s celebrates its 20th anniversary

Pazzaglia's American Kenpo & Karate recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Mary Hallett, Matt Van Nostrand, Tyler Sprague, Mia Pazzaglia and students from Pazzaglia's American Kenpo & Karate provided a Martial Arts demonstration that featured weapons defense, multiple attackers, anti-bullying scenarios and a discussion led by officer Denny of the Johnstown Police Department on children abduction prevention and anti-bullying. (Photo submitted)

JOHNSTOWN — Pazzaglia’s American Kenpo & Karate celebrated its 20th anniversary of providing quality Martial Arts locally, domestically and Internationally.

Pazzaglia’s American Kenpo & Karate first opened its doors in 1999 in Gloversville and was formerly known as Martial Arts & Me.

The name change came about nearly 10 years later with much trepidation and at the request of fellow school owners and affiliates.

Owner/Chief Instructor Joe Pazzaglia opened the school when his then instructor Steve Holden moved to Albuquerque, N.M., to operate a school for Jeff Speakman (actor/martial artist) famous for his lead role in “The Perfect Weapon.”

Pazzaglia took his first test in 1982 at the Johnstown Zen Do Kai. Pazzaglia achieved his black belt under Steve Holden and later returned to the Johnstown Zen Do Kai where he would resolidified his black belt rank with the organization and eventually go on to achieve his second-degree black belt.

Pazzaglia's American Kenpo & Karate recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Mary Hallett, Matt Van Nostrand, Tyler Sprague, Mia Pazzaglia and students from Pazzaglia's American Kenpo & Karate provided a Martial Arts demonstration that featured weapons defense, multiple attackers, anti-bullying scenarios and a discussion led by officer Denny of the Johnstown Police Department on children abduction prevention and anti-bullying. (Photo submitted)

Pazzaglia recognized the need to further his training and started to train under grand master Larry Tatum. From there, he would eventually earn his third-, fourth-, and fifth-degree Black belts in American Kenpo.

In 2013, Pazzaglia was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and 2015 was also inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Honors in Atlantic City, N.J., where he was recognized as Instructor of the Year.

Although Pazzaglia’s American Kenpo & Karate hasn’t been in existence as long as some of its local competitors we have accomplished much in 20 years.

Over the years, Pazzaglia’s Kenpo Karate has raised thousands of dollars with the help of its members and the community for organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the World Trade Center, St. Jude’s Children Research Organization, Sandy Hook Elementary, Toys for Tots, Regional Animal Shelter, the Humane Society, Wounded Warriors to name a few.

“Our school has always taken pride in helping people and our community and we continue to help where there is a need to do so,” Pazzaglia said in a news release.

Pazzaglia's American Kenpo & Karate recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Mary Hallett, Matt Van Nostrand, Tyler Sprague, Mia Pazzaglia and students from Pazzaglia's American Kenpo & Karate provided a Martial Arts demonstration that featured weapons defense, multiple attackers, anti-bullying scenarios and a discussion led by officer Denny of the Johnstown Police Department on children abduction prevention and anti-bullying. (Photo submitted)

In an effort to further help today’s youth and their parents, Pazzaglia developed developed and created programs like Courage & Compassion, an anti bullying program, Zero Tolerance a children’s abduction prevention program, and Project C.O.D.Y. Community Outreach for Disadvantaged Youth.

“Project C.O.D.Y. worked with sponsors and used the martial arts as a vehicle to helped troubled teen’s and get them on the right track so to speak,” Pazzaglia said in the release. “These programs were provided throughout New York State and the Capital region proven track record for being successful. Zero Tolerance drew national attention when it was featured in Black Belt magazine.”

Over the years, Pazzaglia has presented in South America, Ireland, Canada, Barbados and the United States and will be returning to Barbados in October and Ireland in April of next year where he will be competing and teaching.

“One of the things I’m most proud of was in 2010 when 13 of our members trained and traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to compete in an international competition which hosted 19 countries and nearly 3,000 competitors, all of our competitors placed in at least one of their events,” Pazzaglia said in the release. “I couldn’t have been more proud of them.”

“In 20 years we have had hundreds of students come through our doors, however, only two have attained the rank of black belt or higher. Mary Hallett (third-degree black belt) and Matt Van Nostrand (shodan),” Pazzaglia said in the release. “On all occasions both of these students were required to test in front of an Internationally certified panel of judges. The bar and the standards are set very high at our school, it’s not for everyone, , but this is exactly what makes it so worthwhile and rewarding for those who actually make it through.”

Two black belts in 20 years may not seem like many, but it is right on par with traditional standards.

“On average it takes about five to six years of consistent training to acquire a black belt provided there are no setbacks, injuries, jobs life and studies show more than 50 percent will quit at the green belt level,” Pazzaglia said in the release. “We had a great turn out for our 20-year anniversary celebration and I am extremely thankful for the support we received from local businesses and members of our community.”

The event featured fundraising for Johnstown High School, a professional magic show, group discussions on children abduction prevention/anti-bullying, gifts passed out by Allstate Insurance, dogs on site from the regional animal shelter and a presentation by the Johnstown Police Department.

“We would like to thank the Jackie Iannotti and Regional Animal Shelter in Gloversville, Allstate Insurance’s Cheryl Friello and Louise Ferrington-Mead, Bill ‘The Magic Man’ Bing, representatives for Johnstown High School, and officer Denny from Johnstown Police Department for their support and participation in our celebration,” Pazzaglia said in the release.

Pazzaglia’s American Kenpo & Karate has been providing beginner, intermediate and advanced classes for 20 years.

There are variety of options for training, including private lessons. Pazzaglia’s Kenpo Karate also provides an X-Treme Kardio Kickboxing & Fitness class every Tuesday and Thursday

Pazzaglia’s Kenpo Karate will be hosting its Children’s abduction prevention seminar Zero Tolerance on Sept. 19 from, 6 to 8:30 p.m. There will be guest speakers, and representatives from law enforcement on site providing children’s finger printing and safety identifications as well.

For more information about classes, private lessons, seminars, Martial Arts Demonstrations, Weapons Defense, visit 81 Briggs St. in Johnstown, check out the Facebook page (Pazzaglia’s Kenpo Karate) or call (518) 775-0695.

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