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Profiles of the Black Belts
The Ambler Area YMCA Goju-Ryu Karate dojo studies the Japanese style of Goju-Ryu Karate.
Mr. William "Bill" Kane
Mr. Kane is a Renshi (Master Instructor) and a 5th degree (Godan) black belt in Goju Ryu Karate. He has been practicing Goju for over 25 years and has been affiliated with the GKK (Goju -Ryu Karate-Do Kyokai) for nearly 15 years. He has been awarded Renshi status and has been involved in the training and development of over two dozen blackbelts at Ambler YMCA.
Sensei Kane began his early Martial Arts training in Tai kwon do in 1976. He did not get seriously involved in the martial arts until he began training in Goju Ryu in 1981 under Sensei James Hagan. Together they began the karate program at Ambler Area YMCA in 1984 and he received his Shodan (1st degree) in 1985 in New City, NY under S. Hagan.
In 1993, when S. Hagan accepted an overseas assignment, Sensei Kane assumed full responsibility for the Ambler program. It became affiliated with the GKK in October of 1994. In October of that year he received his Nidan (2nd degree) along with the "Chief Instructor " certificate from S. Rich Stamper, president GKK.
In May 1995, Sensei Kane traveled to Freemont and Toledo, Ohio and trained at two dojos and then tested Sandan (3rd degree) under a testing board led by Renshi Brad Smith at Freemont.
In April 1998, Sensei Kane was invited and tested Yondan (4th degree) under S. Motoo Yamakura at the GKK National Blackbelt promotional in Findlay, Ohio.
After a week of training in Tulsa, OK under Yamakura Shihan, Mr. Kane was promoted to Godan (5th degree) on June 30, 2001.
On June 1, 2002, after completing both oral and written exams, Sensei Kane was awarded Renshi status by the chairman of the GKK, Yamakura Shihan.
Mr. Allen "Zak" Zaklad, Senior Instructor
Zak is a 3rd degree (Sandan) black belt in Goju Ryu Karate.
Master Shintaku, Master Yamakura and Mr Zaklad are shown in the photo
He joined the program at the Ambler Area YMCA in 1984 and has been karateka since then. In 1995, he received the "most improved student" award from GKK. In August 1996, he received his shodan rank from Sensei Kane, supervised by Renshi Brad Smith. In the Fall of 1996, Zak accepted the post of Assistant Instructor. In April 1998, he attended the GKK National Blackbelt promotional in Findlay, Ohio, and participated in the black belt seminar under Shihan Yamakura in 2001. Zak was promoted to Nidan rank in August 1999, and to Sandan in February 2004 by Sensei Kane. He regularly travels with and assists Renshi Brad Smith. Zak also studies and teaches tai chi chuan.
Mr. Victor "Vic" Lim
Mr. Lim is a 4th degree black belt (Yondan) in Goju-Ryu Karate
Mr. Lim began his martial arts training in 1980 at the Shorei Kan Okinawan GoJu Ryu dojo in Peekskill, NY and received his Shodan in 1984. In 1985 Mr. Lim moved to Philadelphia and stopped formal training until January 1998 when he joined the Ambler GKK dojo. He received a GKK Shodan in August 1998 under Sensei Bill Kane and Renshi Brad Smith. In October 2000 Mr. Lim received his Nidan from Sensei Kane. Mr. Lim has attended the annual black belt seminars taught by Master Motoo Yamakura in 2000, 2001 and 2002. Mr Lim received his Sandan in October 2002 and his Yondan in June 2006 from Sensei Bill Kane.
Mr. George Connaghan
Mr. Connaghan is a 2nd degree black belt (Nidan) in Goju-Ryu Karate.
Mr. Jon Rook
Mr. Rook is a 3rd degree black belt in GoJu Ryu Karate.
Mr. Rook first began studying martial arts when he joined his college's Tai Kwon Do club. That affiliation only lasted one year and it was more than 13 years before he was able to resume his study of the martial arts.
In 1992 Mr. Rook joined the Ambler dojo. In August of 1998 Mr. Rook achieved one of his lifelong dreams by being promoted to black belt. Recognizing that he still has much to learn, he has continued his training as both a student and an instructor at the dojo. In October of 2000 he was promoted to 2nd degree black belt (nidan), and in March of 2004 he was awarded his 3rd degree black belt (Sandan). Mr. Rook looks forward to continuing his study of GoJu Ryu at the Ambler dojo.
Ms. Helen Muth
Ms. Muth is a 2nd degree black belt (Nidan) in Goju-Ryu Karate.
Ms Muth joined the Ambler program in 1996 due to the encouragement of Chuck Fischer. Over the next five years under the tutelage and guidance of Sensei Bill Kane, Zak , George, John and Victor she progressed steadily through the Kyu ranks. She received her Shodan rank in May of 2001 and Nidan in May 2003. Ms. Muth enjoys reading about Goju-Ryu, Karate and the bubishi.
Mr Howard Blum
Mr. Blum is a 2nd degree black belt (Nidan) in Goju Ryu Karate.
Howard began his training in the martial arts when still in grade-school at a YMCA sponsored judo program in New York. He later went on to study a variety of art forms including Shodokan, Tai Kwon Do, Akido, Kung Fu and Hapkido (1st degree black belt). After joining the Ambler Y in 1997, he began to study GoJu-Ryu through GKK and received his 1st degree black belt in October 2004 from Sensei Kane and Nidan in May 2008.
Mr. Paul Stetsko
Mr. Stetsko is a 2nd degree black belt (Nidan) in Goju Ryu Karate.
Paul began his martial arts training in GoJu-Ryu in 1984 under Sensei Don Warrener. In 1990 Sensei Warrener's dojo closed, and Paul decided to take a few years off. Six years later and after some prompting from his oldest son, studied Wado-Kai for two years. He then moved to the Philadelphia area in 1998 where he studied American Kenpo and received a 1st degree black belt (shodan). In 2002 he joined the Ambler GKK dojo and was awarded Shodan rank in October 2004 by Sensei Kane and Nidan in May 2008.
Mr. Tom Letizio
Mr. Letizio is a 1st degree black belt (Shodan) in Goju Ryu Karate.
Mr. John Barton
Mr. Barton is a 1st degree black belt (Shodan) in Goju Ryu Karate.
Mr. Gerry Henderson
Mr. Henderson is a 1st degree black belt (Shodan) in Goju Ryu Karate. He received his Shodan promotion in April 2009.
Mr. Steven Rusche
Mr. Rushe is a 1st degree black belt (Shodan) in Goju Ryu Karate. He received his Shodan promotion in April 2009.
Mr. Stephen Muth IV
Mr. Muth is a 1st degree black belt (Shodan) in Goju Ryu Karate. He received his Shodan promotion in April 2009.
Visiting Black Belts
- John Henderson (Yondan)
- Tom Berthoff (Shodan)
- Ric Kimball (Nidan)
- Jon Rook (Sandan)
- Mike Wert
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