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A Very Special Recognition
As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, Grandmaster DeMasco announced the promotions of Senior Masters Steve and Lisa to 7th and 8th Degree Black Belt, respectively. Grandmaster reflected on Senior Master Steve's decision to leave his high profile corporate banking career 20 years ago to open the dojo in 2004, and the impact that he has made on the Pittsburgh community. As Senior Master Steve said, "I have never once regretted leaving corporate life to follow my dream and passion of helping people. We are so proud to be leaving the dojo in such good hands with Sensei Michele and Sensei Joe as we start this next chapter".
Grandmaster DeMasco also reflected on Senior Master Lisa's 42 years of training directly with him — the longest of any student in our system — and awarded her the honorific title of Go Inkyo Sama. This title is a traditional term used for a high ranking individual who is a source of advice and help. Much like the elders in indigenous cultures, Go Inkyo Sama serve an important role in their community by carrying forward the stories and traditions, allowing the next generation to take their place and mature, and developing the characteristics of future leaders. Grandmaster DeMasco explained that Senior Master Lisa holds this unique role to ensure that his knowledge and traditions are carried forward, and that she will serve as a bridge to preserve the system through advising the next generation of Masters and instructors.
Thank you to all of our community for helping to celebrate these incredible achievements. We are honored to carry on this martial arts lineage and tradition, and we are grateful to our Grandmaster and our Senior Masters for their ongoing commitment to, and active involvement in, our dynamic community.