New Paltz Karate Academy’s Shiai

New Paltz Karate Academy’s Shiai is a celebration of the karate community, and a testing for black-belt level students. Like many things, the dojo community has had to adapt to new challenges and overcome new obstacles. This Shiai was held outdoors and featured one of the largest groups of black-belt candidates ever.

The event, held on Saturday, June 5, drew over students from five locations, plus their families and friends. The event included students from New Paltz Karate and Traditional Okinawan Karate schools in Pleasant Valley, East Fishkill, Brooklyn and Kinnelon, NJ.

During the event, groups of students performed self-defense demonstrations and kata (martial arts forms consisting of striking, blocking and kicking combinations).


The final segment of the Shiai was the promotion of the students who had been tested earlier in the day. The highest promotions were those at black-belt level:

Junior black belt

Gabriella Acosta, Sean Atkins, Joanna Camacho, Jesse Dazo, Dean Krahling, Griffin Landrum, Javier Rivera, Salvatore Signorino, Victoria Urraca, Matthew Weir.

Shodan (First-degree black belt)

Cassandra Acosta, Jennifer Acosta, Michael Baldauf, Keith Brooks, Ayden Dazo, Andre Graham, Saathvik Hulgundi, Demetrios Katsaitis, Tara Keating, Traci Larson, Dylan Longbard, Angel Matias, Miles Neal, Kyle Newman, Ryan O’Shea, Thomas Ott, Phillip Ouma, Alexander Peyser, Joshua Post, Zachary Remling, Luke Riccio, Mark Sidnam, Alicia Smith, Vivian Taylor, Kaitlyn Weinerman, Elizabeth Urraca, Ek Venin.

Nidan (Second-degree black belt)

Celina Ackerman, Brianna Acosta, Eric Manlapig, Anne Pearson, Esteban Reichberg.

Sandan (Third Degree black belt)

Cathy Ballin, Alyssa Barnes, Tyler Hoag, Eric Hsu, Madison Nuccio, Ellen O’Neill.

Yodan (Fourth-Degree black belt)

Laurel Leckert, Kevin Gray.

Godan (Fifth-Degree black belt)

Patrick Canino, David Mackay, Cate Stefanik.

Ellen O’Neill was also named head instructor of Traditional Okinawan Karate of East Fishkill.

A party was held at the end of the ceremony.

New Paltz Karate Academy is located at 22 North Front Street in New Paltz. For additional information, call the school at (845) 255-4523.