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Si-gung helps pupils bring home trophies

Darin Olde, Tribune staff writer

Grand master Ralph Castellanos and two of his students impressed judges at the Golden State Karate Association World Championships Aug. 10 in Stockton. They brought home championship trophies, and a few bruises, to prove it.

Castellanos, 66, a ninth-degree black belt, won first place in open weapons form and fighting in the 50-plus master division. He took third place in open form.

“He did a really good job … and he had different movements, almost like an animal, and that’s why he won,” said Robin Taberna President of the Golden State Karate Association.



Castellanos used a new weapon, shaped like a claw, that he developed with a friend in the weapons form category.

While he normally takes first place in open form, Castellanos, a “si-gung” or “grand master,” took first in fighting, which he said bodes well for future fighting competitions. He works security at Lakeside Inn & Casino.



Daniel Mitchell, 16, Castellanos’ student of the last four months, took first place with a perfect score in form in the 16-17-year-old division in his first-ever competition. Mitchell is a green belt in tae kwon do.

“I’ve worked so many years toward doing this,” Mitchell said, referring to the last seven years that he has studied martial arts. “Getting first in this tournament really broke the ice for me.”

Mitchell also takes boxing lessons and tae kwon do.

Another of Castellanos students, Joe Stanton, 11, took second place in the black belt division for his age.

— Darin Olde —


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