Karate Kid Crushes Competition
Charles Anthony Castellano recently returned to Rockaway from the Karate World Championships in Miskolc, Hungary where he ranked second in the world. After last year’s sixth place finish as a member of the National AAU Karate Team, Charles entered this year’s competition determined to advance his standing. He competed in a division with more than 160 other black belts and won six straight fights to send him to the finals. Charles narrowly lost the championship match to a young man from Kuwait and was awarded the Silver Medal.
Accompanying Charles to the Karate World Championships was Mark Gumpal. Mark and Charles train together at the World Champions Karate Center on Beach Channel drive under Sensei Bruce Hodes.
"It was Mark’s first trip to the championship and, although he didn’t make the finals, it was a wonderful experience for him just to be there," said Hodes.
"Charles and Mark are wonderful students both athletically and scholastically," he explained. "Charles’ medal is significant in the sense that there were only a handful of medals awarded to the Americans."
Charles is the only New York City resident to win a medal at this prestigious world tournament, and he finished higher than every other male member on the National Team.
In the last six years, this 15-year-old black belt has finished in the top three spots eight times in 17 individual events at the National AAU tournament. During the same period he dominated the seven-state Northeast regional tournament, finishing first in 14 of 17 events. This is especially noteworthy since most karate students do not compete in all three individual events: Kata (technique), Kumite (fighting), and Kobudo (weapons). Charles competes and excels in all three.