Students of Sensei Peter Musacchio quickly learn that karate isn't the glamorous lifestyle portrayed by Jackie Chan and Jet Lee. "There's no modern flashy Hollywood stuff," said Musacchio. "It's all old school, about discipline and energy. It's like going to Church, but you can feel the energy. Your mind and body work together."
Mussachio's four decades of martial arts began in 1960 as a young Marine in North Carolina. "I got beat up in a fight; a Navy guy got me pretty good, but it became a lifetime thing." From there the serviceman returned to New York and found the CNY Karate Schools in 1963 to breed the region's top karate instructors and create the first karate courses for college credit at Syracuse University, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Oswego State Teachers School, Eisenhower College and Colgate University.
The Sensei's month-long training session in Okinowa, Japan in the summer of 1984 under Master Masanobu Shinjo, which he considers his greatest accomplishment, gave students in the States the privilege of learning the ancient practice of Goju Ryu with a combination of hard and soft techniques.
"He's very inspirational," explained Steve Hopkins, who earned his black belt under Musacchio's top student and has been taking lessons with him for the past 3 years. "Many schools established in the area wouldn't be here if it weren't for him. It's all because of him bringing the art back to CNY. Sensei Musacchio stayed true to traditional ways."
Earning the title "Father of Upstate Karate", Musacchio has been featured in Martial Arts publications including "Karate's Modern Masters alongside Chuck Norris, "Warrior's Magazine", 1982's "Who's Who in American Karate" and "History of American Karate". Awards like his 6 th Degree Renshi, 7 th degree black belt and 10 th Degree Hanshi Black Belt gave him a nomination for the "Hall of Fame" that's set to take place in Madison Square Garden in January 2009.
In between yoga lessons and weight training, Musacchio teaches at the "Greater Syracuse Martial Arts Center" in Sherrill with a 3-lesson introductory course deal for $29.95 and plans to work with Oneida High School students in the fall for a semester fee.