Posted On:5/08/2007 5:57pm
Tragedy strikes area martial arts pro
SCOTT FROST, Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA -- A Bucks County karate master collapsed and died at the finish line of a 10-mile run here Sunday.
Classes are canceled at the Black Belt Academy on Galloway Road this week as the Tang Soo Do community mourns the death of Robert A. Massaroni, 29, of Holland, a fourth-degree black belt in great physical condition and school teacher at Schaffer Middle School in Bensalem who mysteriously fell to the cement and died at the end of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run.
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A world-class competitor in the martial arts, who just completed his life-long goal by passing his masterís belt in Tang Soo Do (a Japanese style held in the same standings as Tae Kwon Do) Massaroni ran for 1:23.47 and ended in 3,934th-place when he fell to the asphalt, officials said.
He would have gotten his masterís belt in October.
"He was a man that loved. He loved his family, he loved Val, his wife," Master Louis Costelliís Academy Martial Arts Training web site read yesterday. "He achieved a Masterís of Education and he loved teaching."
Costelli first taught Massaroni as a young boy, said Angie Pote, a spokesperson for the schools.
Over the years Massaroni worked his way through the ranks to become a world champion as the Menís Grand Champion Cup Winner in 2002, Pote said.
Massaroni won the regional Menís Grand Champion three times from Ď97-Ď99 and remains only the second person to win three Region 8 Black Belt Menís Cups in a row.
Massaroni also led a team of young promising karate fighters at his dojo named the "Army of Little Dragons," and dedicated his life to teaching children in both sport and scholastics.
As the chief instructor in Bensalem, Massaroni developed a team of black belts that became a dominant force in Region 8 and The World Tang Soo Do Association founded by Grandmaster Jae C. Shin -- a highly-respected martial artist in the business, the web site reads.
He taught hundreds of students through the years and was a master of the styleís fluid techniques, Pote said.
"He was a school teacher also, so he dedicated his life and experience to children," she said. "They definitely looked up to him and there was a very awesome relationship between him and his students. He was a great role model. He gave his heart to people. And he gave his heart and his abilities to the students."
Pote said Massaroni ran as a hobby and, with 17 years of martial arts training, he was in terrific physical condition.
He was pronounced dead, however, Sunday at Methodist Hospital, said Jeff Moran, a spokesman for the city Medical Examiner. The cause of death was not immediately released.
When Massaroni fell to the concrete just after finishing the race medical staff rushed to his aid and put him on a gurney, according to Victor Richard, commissioner of the Department of Recreation, which oversees the run.
Pote said news of his death quickly reached the ears of Massaroniís students and friends in the martial arts community yesterday because, "when you train in martial arts for so long, you become part of the family."
"Tang Soo Do, when you get higher in the ranks, is a part of who you are," said Pote, who had been consoling Massaroniís many young students yesterday.
"He was an unbelievable technician, a martial arts technician. You donít become world champion and regional champion, not knowing what you need to know," she said. "He was a great technician and in his teaching he gave that to all his students. His family, friends and students lost somebody who was very influential in a very positive way."
So from 4th-Dan to masters eh?
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Posted On:5/08/2007 6:24pm
Style: MMA, JKD philosophy
A world-class competitor in the martial arts, who just completed his life-long goal by passing his masterís belt in Tang Soo Do (a Japanese style held in the same standings as Tae Kwon Do)
TSD is Nipponese?
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