Carfagno enters hall of fame

"This alone will probably avoid any conflict as most assailants don't want to deal with someone who is confident and thinking. They are looking for someone cowering and fearful."

Life Skills also includes respect, a good attitude, cooperation, discipline and self-defense.

"Our youth can learn better ways to deal with the problems that confront them, and what life has for they're future. Life Skills gives them the tools to go through life with self-esteem and honor," he said.

This program, in coordination with the Syracuse City Schools, offers affordable after school childcare with free bussing from the schools.

Carfagno's motivation

As a small child he was a witness to domestic violence.

"My mother divorced when I was small," he said. "When I was seven or eight, she married a man who intimidated me and battered my mother. Mom did not stay with him long, but that experience planted within me a deep fear. That fear soon transcended every area of my life. One day, I observed a neighbor practicing karate in his yard. I longed to develop his lack of fear and toughness. I received my opportunity a few years later when we opened a business near the neighbor's karate school and I was able to begin training in martial arts. As my self-confidence and ability increased, I was no longer afraid. I eventually began teaching martial arts."

He said that when he began learning martial arts as an older child, his self-confidence grew and the fears of the past receded.

"My goals in martial arts," Carfago said, "are to help those who need the art: children, women, peace officers, military and anyone needing self-defense. I want to help eliminate fear and show our youth they do in fact have choices. Conflict comes from fear and those that feel they have no other choice, whether that conflict be between two kids on a playground or two countries."

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