Pineland Karate

Black Belt Profiles


Shihan U. Paul Goncalves has been the chief instructor of Pineland Karate for the past 12 years, ascending into the office after the retirement of Sensei Joe Ward. He began his martial arts training altogether at 1971 Kearny Karate School in Kearny, New Jersey in 1975 under Shihan Gossett, and achieved the rank of black belt five years later. He opened Ironbound Karate in Newark, New Jersey with Sensei Genesco Carvalhais five years after that. Since, Sensei Goncalves has accrued nine stripes on his black belt and three decades of teaching experience with children, adults and the developmentally disabled. Admired and loved by his students, respected and trusted by their parents and emulated by his instructors, Sensei Goncalves embodies the true ideal of the Goshin-Ryu Karate Instructor.

Master Stephen Maraldo started his karate instruction at Pineland in the year 1986, 5 years later, he was promoted to sho-dan (first degree black belt) and began a distinguished career of karate instruction. Now a sixth degree black belt, Master Maraldo is the supervising instructor of Pineland's adult class, where he has overseen the successful and deserved elevation of a half-dozen Sho-dan's, including his son. An unquestioned commitment to the betterment of his students has brought Sensei the universal respect of those under him, and the trust of those above.

Sensei Robert Laidlaw began his Goshin-Ryu instruction under Senseis Ward and DiToma in 1981 at Pineland, and achieved the rank of black belt about six years later. Sensei Bob has been among the most venerated of Pineland instructors ever since. An encyclopedic knowledge of kata and Japanese historical tradition makes Sensei Laidlaw an invaluable resources to students and instructors alike. His avid dedication to his art and to his students is a perfect example to which all younger instructors constantly aspire.
Sensei Alberto Del Christo , a Fifth Degree Black Belt, began his Karate instruction at Kearney under Sensei Gossett in 1975. He earned his Black Belt in 1985, and taught at Ironbound until he moved to Central Jersey and began teaching at Pineland in 2001. He is now the supervising instructor of the junior class. Sensei is especially known to expect the very best out of his students, and is exceedingly aware that the only way a student can improve is if he and she are constantly challenged to improve themselves.

Sensei Scott Maraldo a Fourth Degree Black Belt, began instruction under Sensei Ward at the age of five. He was promoted to Sho-Dan in 2003, and Ni-dan in 2005, and has since instructed students of all ages and ranks. He is a Graduate of the George Washington University, where he has studied iaido and aikido.

Sensei Patrick Bean started his Martial Arts training at Pineland in 1996 and received his Ni-Dan (second degree) in 2009. Three years later he earned his San-Dan ( Third Degree) under the tutelage of Shihan Goncalves . Sensei Bean has proven himself to be an excellent Martial Artist and an exceptional instructor. He is a Graduate of Rowan University.
Mr. Bill Abrahamsen began studying Karate in 2005 as a Community Education student. Soon after he became a full time student at Pineland Karate. Under the tutelage of Shihan Goncalves, Master Maraldo, Sensei Leviton, Sensei DuNois and Sensei Maraldo, Bill has proven his skills in Kata, Self Defense, Sparring and Weapons (Bo and Bokken). Earning his Sho-Dan(First Degree Black Belt) in 2011 and his Ni-Dan (Second Degree Black Belt) in 2013 he looks forward to sharing his skills and learning more advanced Martial Arts.
Ms. Crystal Coons started her Karate instruction at Pineland Karate in January of 2003. Initially trained by Shihan Goncalves she quickly moved up to the junior class under the instruction of Sensei Laidlaw. She achieved the rank of Junior Black Belt in 2009. Afterwards she moved up to the adult class under Master Maraldo, Sensei Leviton, and Sensei DuNois. Dedicated to her training with a love of the history behind the style as much as being instructed in it, she aspires to gain a knowledge that, she hopes, will rival even Sensei Laidlaw's expertise.
Ms. Sarah Rucki first became interested in karate in 2006, when she enrolled her two oldest sons at Pineland Karate. It took her several years to get the nerve to try classes herself. She's been hooked ever since. She loves all aspects of class instruction and makes attendance priority. Master Maraldo, Sensei Leviton, Sensei Maraldo, and Sensei DuNois have been great instructors through the years not only teaching technique but in helping her realize her strengths and potential.
Mr. Brandon Graser started Martial Arts class at the age of nine in Tang Soo Do. He received his Black Belt in that style in 2007. Moving on to Pineland Karate in 2008 he pursued his Black Belt in Goshin Ryu Karate. Brandon credits the adult class under the supervision of Master Maraldo with helping to achieve his Black Belt goals and becoming a skillful Martial Artist. Brandon will be attending Stockton College in the fall of 2012.
Ms. Catherine Kelly took her first women’s self-defense class in 1996. Bitten by the Martial Arts bug Ms. Kelly soon afterwards found herself as a full time student. After 6 years of training and a Brown Belt Ms. Kelly took a leave of absence. Returning several years later she re-joined Pineland and rather than resume from her Brown Belt she elected to start from White Belt to hone her skills even more. Working with her instructors Shihan Goncalves, Master Maraldo, Sensei Maraldo and Mr. Abrahamsen, Ms. Kelly has elevated her skills enough to earn her Sho Dan. At the young age of 50 Ms. Kelly has set herself as an example for Women and Men at any age. As she has stated, “Never give up on your dreams”.
Mr. Fowler-Umana began Karate at the young age of 5, admiring his older brother doing Kick boxing. Under the tutelage of Shihan Goncalves and Sensei Del Cristo he earned his Junior Blackbelt. Several years of study under Master Maraldo and Sensei Maraldo Mr. Fowler-Umana has earned his Black Belt. Karate has given Mr. Fowler-Umana the focus to excel in school as well as his H.S. Wrestling team. He intends on advancing his Karate Skills as well as instructing other students.

Emeritus Black Belt Profiles

Sensei David Leviton a Fifth degree black belt who began his instruction at Pineland under Sensei Goncalves 18 years ago. He was promoted to Sho-Dan by Sensei Goncalves in 2000, and has been an active instructor in the adult class ever since. Widely acknowledged as one of the most effective instructors in the school, Sensei can break down a lesson so that it can be effectively taught to a student of any level. The student he is undoubtedly most proud of is his son, who was promoted to Sho-Dan on the August 25th, 2007.


Sensei Ron DuNois a fourth degree black belt began his instruction at Ironbound Karate in Newark in the early-to-mid 90s, just as Sensei Goncalves was moving south to Pineland. He earned his black belt under Sensei Genesco before the end of the decade, and moved to central Jersey in 2002, at which time he began instructing at Pineland. Revered as perhaps the most versatile of all Pineland instructors, Sensei can most effectively teach the widest range of subjects of them all, from sparring to kata to bagwork to several different types of traditional weapons.


Mr. Cory Leviton also began his martial arts instruction in 1996, though he started at the behest of his father, Sensei Dave Leviton, who was also a student at the time. With his very recent promotion to ni-dan(second degree), Mr. Leviton seems certain to follow in his father's footsteps and become one of Pineland's most indispensable and capable instructors.
Mr. Connor Arnell is a sho-dan, who began his study of karate at the age of six under Sensei Paul at Pineland Karate in 1998. Eight years after he began his instruction, he was awarded his junior black belt, a rank he has held until he very recently earned his full black belt. As a member of the rising generation of young black belts, Mr. Arnell enjoys the full confidence of all of his instructors, and he has an undoubtedly bright future as a successful Pineland instructor.
Ms. Laura Alvarez first became interested in the Martial Arts in 2002, while researching possible instruction for her then 5-year-old son. After enrolling her son at Pineland, Mrs. Alvarez likewise enrolled herself in the community education program there. When the community education class ended, she immediately opted to continue her instruction in Karate at the Dojo. Six years later she received her Sho-Dan. She now assists the other black belts with instruction in the adult Karate classes at Pineland Karate. In November of 2011 Mrs. Alvarez will receive her Ni-Dan and continue her practice in the martial arts.
Mr. Cory Johnston is a first degree Black Belt who began Karate at Pineland in 1999 under Shihan Goncalves. He moved his way up to the junior class under Sensei Laidlaw and Sensei Del Christo. He earned his Junior Black Belt in 2006. He then moved up to the adult class under Sensei Maraldo and Sensei Leviton. He was promoted in 2010 by Shihan Goncalves. He is still a student in the adult class at Pineland karate, and still enjoys doing Kata. He looks forward to helping younger students achieve their Black Belts.
Ms. Krystal Bradley began Karate at the age of seven and was first instructed by Shihan U. Paul Goncalves. Graduating to the Jr. Karate class at the age of nine she began her instruction by Sensei Robert Laidlaw. Under Sensei Alberti Del Christo earned her Jr. Black Belt at the Age of 13. Krystal enjoys weapon self defense and sparring. Under the tutelage of Master Maraldo in the adult class Ms. Bradley earned her Black Belt on August 2012.

Junior Black Belt Profiles

Mr. Casey Bourke began his Karate instruction through the community school program at Pineland Karate in 2006 at the age of 5 under Shihan Goncalves. He enjoyed the Martial Arts and became a full time student under Sensei Del Christo and Sensei Laidlaw. Casey is very proud to achieve his Junior Black Belt and establish himself as a leader in the Pineland Karate family. In addition to being an avid Karate enthusiast, Mr. Bourke is also an excellent student, a dedicated Boy Scout and enjoys playing baseball.
Mr. Chris Lentini has studied Karate at Pineland Karate for five and a half years. As a Community School Program student his interest grew into a passion for Karate. Under Shihan Paul Goncalves and Sensei Al DelCristo, Chris has worked hard to earn his Junior Black Belt . As a 6th grade student, Chris feels Karate has helped him focus on his school work by learning discipline and self control. Karate has given him the confidence to believe in himself.
Mr. Frank Fowler became interested in Karate when his older brother was taking Kick boxing. He first tried Pineland Karate when attending the Jackson Community Education program. Afterwards he decided Karate was a path he wanted to follow. At Six years old Mr. Fowler studied under Shihan Goncalves and Sensei Del Christo. Mr. Fowler is leading by example and guiding his younger brother through the ranks of Karate. Not Limited to Karate Mr. Fowler has excelled as an Honor Student in Math and Science and also participates in Football and Basketball. Mr. Fowler looks forward continuing his Karate Studies and to earn his Black Belt.
Mr. Aveen Arya began Karate at the age of five. Working with Shihan Goncalves he earned his Junior Black Belt at 12 years old. Mr. Arya enjoys training with weapons and sparring. He is looking forward to working with the adults and earn his Black Belt. We look forward to challenging Mr. Arya and making him a better Martial Artist. In addition to his Martial Arts training Mr. Arya is active in Boy Scouts and enjoys taking care of his pet reptile.
Ms. Kirsten Worrall began Karate when she was six years old. She participated in the community program and joined the official class in 2007. Under the guidance of Shihan Paul Goncalves, Master Maraldo, Sensei Del Cristo, and Sensei Maraldo, Kristen has been well prepared for her Jr. Black Belt. Her favorite part of Karate is instructing and Kata. Outside of Karate Kirsten enjoys reading and writing short stories. Thanks to the focus and discipline she had developed through Karate she has maintained High Honor Roll in school. Kirsten is excited about moving on to the next step and earning her Black Belt.
Ms. Kristina Marotta began studying Karate at the young age of 5 under the nurturing supervision of Shihan Paul Goncalves. Kristina's determination and hard work has helped her become the excellent student she is in the dojo as well as in school. With the dedicated teachings of Shihan along with Master Maraldo, Sensei Del Cristo and Sensei Maraldo, Kristina has the confidence to challenge herself and, the discipline and drive to always do
Mr. Race Rucki began in the Martial Arts when he was 5 years old attending classes with his older brother. Thanks to Karate Race made several long lasting friendships. Beginning with Shihan Goncalves Pee Wee class Mr. Rucki learned the basics of Karate. After several years of hard work he graduated into Sensei Del Christo’s Junior class. Working hard through the line of belts and stripes with each promotion getting closer and closer to my Junior Black Belt. Mr. Rucki is looking forward to the challenge of earning his Black Belt.
Mr. Billy Worrall has worked long and hard to learn the Martial Arts. Under the guidance of Shihan Goncalves, Master Maraldo, Sensei Del Cristo, and Sensei Maraldo, Mr. Worrall has been well prepared for his Jr. Black Belt demonstration. His favorite part of Karate is sparring and Kata. Thanks to the focus and discipline he has developed through Karate Mr. Worrall has excelled in school. The next step is earning his Black Belt, Mr. Worrall is excited about moving on to the next step.

Emeritus Junior Black Belt Profiles

Mr. Armand Alvarez began his martial arts instruction at Pineland Karate School in August 2002 at the age of 5. After about 4 years of instruction Armand took some time off of karate to pursue other interests however after about a year he decided to resume his karate instruction and has been enthusiastic ever since. When asked what he enjoys most about karate, Armand responds, "self defense". Armand's other interests include playing Alto Saxophone and piano as well as being a big brother and role model to his two younger brothers, both of which also attend Pineland Karate School.
Mr. Alexander Alvarez was first exposed to the martial arts in 2002 at the age of 3 when he would sit in class and watch his older brother, Armand, receive his karate instruction. By the age of 4 Alex could count in Japanese and knew many of the commands such as some-ready, open-ready and rei. At this time Alex began his karate instruction at Pineland Karate School and has been a focused, driven student ever since. Alex excels at performing kata and will some day be an excellent instructor himself. Alex's other interests include jamming on his guitar and taking care of his pet reptiles.
Ms. Krystal Bradley began Karate at the age of seven and was first instructed by Shihan U. Paul Goncalves. Graduating to the Jr. Karate class at the age of nine she began her instruction by Sensei Robert Laidlaw. Currently her instructor is Sensei Alberti Del Christo. Krystal enjoys weapon self defense and sparring. Krystal will earn her Jr. Black Belt at the age of 13 on February 28th.
Mr. Matthew Rucki has been doing karate since the age of six.He completed the community education program and wanted to continue.His favorite part of karate is self-defense with weapons.He looks forward to becoming an adult black belt. He also looks forward to being in the future junior black belt club.
Mr. David Fox began his Karate instruction under Senseis Bob Laidlaw, Paul Goncalves and Al DelCristo in 2000 at the age of four. Ten years later David was awarded his Junior Black Belt. David is proud to be part of the Pineland Karate family and achieve this rank. David will continue his instruction and assist his brother in earning his Junior Black Belt. In Addition to Karate David also enjoys guitar and cross country/track at Goetz Middle School.
Mr. Brendan Sweet has been studying Karate for six years at Pineland Karate. His favorite activities at the Dojo are self defense and sparring. Karate has been enjoyable and he has made many friends. Under the tutelage of Shihan Paul Goncalves and Sensei Al DelCristo he has worked hard to earn his Junior Black Belt. As a basketball player and running track Karate has helped him stay in shape and give him the focus to excel in sports.
Mr. Kolton Rucki first attended Pineland Karate School through the community education class when he was four. At six, he started attending regular classes with his brother. He began to move up in the ranks under instruction from Shihan Paul Goncalves. After a few years, he moved up to the junior class and has since been taught by Sensai DelChristo, also. He is so excited about getting his junior black belt and can't wait until he gets his adult black belt like his mom.


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