Our Instructors have spent many years devoted to training in the art of Kenpo and other martial arts and have attained a certain level of expertise to qualify them as teachers and also mentors.
Through extensive testing, certification and on-going instruction, our staff has attained mastery in this martial art and now enjoy sharing their skill and passing it on to their students.
Mr. O. is a 4th Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo. (EPAK) He also holds a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Ryu-Kyu Kenpo, Chinese Kenpo and Okinawan Kobudo (weapons) – Odo Lineage, and Sho-Dan in the Okinawa Kobudo Doushi Rensei-kai.
Mr. O. began his training in July 1984. He enjoys continually training and sharing the knowledge with the eager and willing. However, he always values being the student as well.
In November 2003, Mr. O. took his training to the next level in Kenpo by joining the Larry Tatum Kenpo Karate Association (LTKKA). The LTKKA is one of the largest worldwide American Kenpo organizations in existence. Mr. O. is excited and proud to be a personal student of 10 th Degree Grand Master Larry Tatum, as well as, being personally mentored by 7 th Degree Senior Professor Clyde T. O’Briant.
In early 2012, the Academy took a new step forward in the training paradigm by expanding into the traditional Chinese Arts for health and wellness. Through Qigong and Sun Style Tai Chi, PKA is now able to begin to help those that are looking for other therapy options to explore other than western approaches. This began as a personal quest for Mr. O., and quickly grew into more of an adventure in physical, structural, mental and life-style changes.
This program with over 15,000 instructors world-wide is under the direction of Dr. Paul Lam through which the Academy is certified. And the PKA Karate Academy is also certified through the Arthritis Foundation. Dr. Lam’s programs have been affiliated with the Arthritis Foundation in the United States since 2000. By 2010 there were over 2 million practicing students world-wide, receiving some form of benefit. The process of becoming certified to teach the various Tai Chi for Health and Wellness curriculum is very detailed and has many parts.
The benefits of Tai Chi are boundless: from fall prevention, stress reduction, better posture, release of endorphins and lymph, increase blood circulation, increased flexibility and mobility, possible pain reduction, possible reduction in various ailment symptoms, increase in energy, increased concentration and focus, better meditation and slowing down from hectic schedules.
The program is not a medical treatment or replace any doctor / physician protocols. It is simply a traditional form of martial art that dates back hundreds of years. Over the past decades, however, there have been endless documented studies on the medical benefits in relation to increasing one’s health and wellness. And just living a better healthy lifestyle.
Mr. O. currently resides in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. In his spare time he enjoys collecting and watching DVD movies and rooting on his favorite sports team- the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Khom Long (1st Degree Black Belt)
Ms. Long began her training at PKA a little over eight years ago. Infact, her two children, were training for almost a year before she decided to get off the chairs and “give Kenpo a try.”
Of course, the rest is history.
Ms. Long is now helping out by teaching in many classes.
She is also a very valuable asset with her professional skills as a manager/trainer for a major corporation outside of PKA in meeting and talking with all of our students, parents and children at the school.
She is very focused and goal oriented when on the mat, whether it’s dealing with her children’s goals, her personal goals or helping others achieve their goals.
When not training, Ms. Long loves spending time doing just about anything with her children, especially at the library, just reading in general, time at the park, cooking and shopping at the specialty food shops at the strip district downtown.
Mr. Burns began his Kenpo training in Tennessee in 2007 before moving to Pittsburgh in 2010 and continuing at the PKA Karate Academy. Traveling back and forth to finish his training, Mr. Burns did achieve his first black belt in Kenpo through his original school in Tennessee in July 2010. The PKA Karate Academy in Pittsburgh has helped him refine his Kenpo knowledge base and become more focused on the art.
Mr. Burns is a petroleum engineering graduate from Marietta College. He also earned and MBA from West Virginia University. Jim works for an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with operations stretching from Mississippi to Pennsylvania. Two of his proudest accomplishments are his son and daughter, both of whom are professionals in the health care field. Away from the Kenpo mats, Jim enjoys working outside, reading historical novels, wood working, grilling out, and following the local college and professional sports teams.
He enjoys assisting with other classes where he learns as much, if not more than he departs, from the other students.
Brandon Law is a 2nd Degree Black Belt with over 14 years of experience. In 1998 Brandon started his martial arts adventure at the Golden Valley Dragon Kung-Fu School. (Where he holds a blue sash.) In 2005 he studied at Strike Force 2 Karate. Here Brandon was introduced to the Professional Karate Commission. In 2006 Brandon wanted to take his training to a different level and trained under Master Rycerz. During the 2006-07 Season, Brandon was rated 5th in the nation in fighting and 1st in the State of Pennsylvania in fighting for the year 2007. Over the years Brandon has actively trained and studied around 15 different styles of martial arts. He has been a very diligent student of Ed Parker’s American Kenpo for over a year now.
Besides his goals in the martial arts, he has many additional goals and hobbies. Brandon studied at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh for digital filmmaking and video production. He enjoys coming up with ideas and turning them into great stories. He also enjoys hanging out with friends and family and occasionally still has time to catch a movie at the mall. Brandon is very active in his Church, and of course enjoys spending time there where he has accepted Jesus as his personal Savior. (Wintersville Baptist Church) Brandon lives in Steubenville, OH and helps oversee and run the Burgettstown, PA satellite branch of the PKA Karate Academy.
Robert Metz (1st Degree Black)
“Sergeant Major” Metz is the former Senior TAC NCOIC of the U.S. Army Ranger School having more than 22 years military experience. SGM Metz was one of the founding fathers of the Army’s Gun Truck Alley initiative, which prepared Army reserve soldiers for Convoy Survivability Operations in light of lethal ambushes extant in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, he has been interviewed by several media sources as a Subject Matter Expert in respect to the Improvised Explosive Devices, which are so prevalent in attacks against Coalition Forces deployed in the Middle East. SGM Metz’s present duty is as the Operations Sergeant Major for a Division level Command. He is also a retired Homicide Detective with 11 years experience. As a police officer Mr. M had been certified as both a Pressure Point Control Tactics Instructor as well as a Close Quarters Combat Instructor.
Mr. M earned his Brown Belt in Ryu-Kyu Kenpo in 1993 and is a Lakan Guro (1st Degree Black Belt) in the Filipino martial art of Kali-Silat having begun this training in 1997. Mr. M. has been professionally teaching soldiers, law enforcement officers and select civilians since 1982. His current martial focus includes, but is not limited to: hostile subject control tactics, plural assailant response platforms, edged-weapon / blunt force trauma instrument neutralizations and pressure point exploitations designed to enhance strikes at a geometric rate.
Mr. M has been studying American Kenpo Karate since August 2003 and is a 1st Degree Black Belt in the art. He joins Mr. O. in taking PKA to the next level in Kenpo as a Larry Tatum Kenpo Karate Association (LTKKA) Charter School. The LTKKA is one of the largest world-wide American Kenpo organizations in existence.
Mr. M earned his BA from the University of Pittsburgh graduating Cum Laude at an accelerated time of only two and a half years. His graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University were interrupted when he was mobilized for military service in 2003. Professionally, Mr. M is a Board Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist with his own practice as well as employed by UPMC Passavant Hospital. Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy is a discipline that is a therapeutic modality used for the relief of pain and dysfunction originating in the muscles and connective tissue; “myo” means muscle and “fascial” refers to connective tissue. The goal of MTPT is recovery from, or a significant reduction in, pain and postural dysfunction. This is achieved through systematic and comprehensive use of a variety of soft tissue manipulation techniques.
Mr. M is single and has four children. In his spare time he enjoys watching his favorite sports team- the Pittsburgh Steelers, ultimately becoming convinced that the blood in his veins is colored black and gold.
Carl Rychcik (1st Degree Brown)
Mr. R first began studying martial arts at PKA in the mid 80s. After a long hiatus, he returned to the PKA family in 2004 to continue his training. He has an insatiable quest for knowledge and constantly strives to learn and improve his Kenpo. He has recently taken his training to the next level and now enjoys sharing his knowledge and love of martial arts with others as an instructor. Mr. R. is a true giver and fantastic role-model for students of all ages and ranks.
Mr. R graduated with honors from Penn State University where he received a BA in economics. He then obtained his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He currently spends the majority of his waking hours practicing law in the Pittsburgh office of a large national law firm where he specializes in business litigation.
When he is not doing Kenpo or fighting with other lawyers, Mr. R enjoys running, reading and watching DVDs. His favorite pastime, though, is spending time with his wife and two children, whom he considers to be his two greatest accomplishments in life.
The PKA family is excited and honored to have Mr. R. as part of the CORE Leadership Team.
David DeCarlucci (1st Degree Brown Belt)
Mr. DeCarlucci is an extremely talented and sought after exercise physiologist trained at both Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh. He has been working in wellness and rehabilitation for over 11 years.
His passions for health and fitness led him to PKA in 1999 and he now has yet another true passion in the martial arts and Kenpo within the LTKKA which is unlike anything being done, especially in Pittsburgh.
Mr. DeCarlucci hopes to continue to train, remain a student, improve, and share with others for years to come. You may see him running in the South Hills because that is his main form of transportation to work and sometimes to PKA.
In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons.
Mr. Gaffron began his Kenpo career when he was thirteen, immediately starting in the adult class, as opposed to the normal growth through the teen program. Since then (he’s now 16), he has continually achieved his goals all the way to the Adult Green Belt level through diligent practice and dedication. Besides continuing in his person training goals, he hopes to now help students as much as the entire leadership team that has come before him. Mr. Gaffron certainly understands the concept of a hand-up and a hand-down. It’s all about helping others reach and achieve.
In his spare time, Mr. Gaffron enjoys singing, songwriting, and jamming on the guitar. He is currently holding a 4.0 in high school and enjoys handing with his friends.
For more information about the PKA Karate Academy staff or training programs, please contact us at (412) 653-0505
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