passingthetorchOn February 4th, 85+ people gathered to celebrate and thank Grandmaster Paul Munchbach for his nearly 34 years of service as the head instructor of the Galway Karate Club. In December he stepped down as the head instructor and turned over those responsibilities to Shihan Chris Malley, Grandmaster Munchbach's first black belt.

Besides students from the Galway Karate Club and Golden Eagle martial arts, we were joined by family and friends of Grandmaster Munchbach and Shihan Malley and some past students. We were also pleased to host some black belts from the area. Master Michael Campos and Sensei Tom Grecco from Zen Do Kai, Sensei Roland Lavigne from Eight Star Martial Arts/Red Dragon Karate, and Tony Collins from Pil-Sung Martial Arts were there to congratulate both men. Our own black belts in attendance included: Master Joe Sagarese (founder of the Galway Karate Club), Master Al Blakely (Galway), Sensei Theresa Sagarese (Galway) Sensei Steve Hull (Galway), Sensei Matt McSain (Webster), Sensei Guy Sowle (Galway) Sensei Dean Guenther (Galway), Sensei Beth Malley (Webster), Sensei Mike Lilley (Webster), and Sensei Caelynn Prylo (Galway).

Several of the black belts presented Grandmaster Munchbach with gifts of recognition and shared some memories of Grandmaster Munchbach. Sensei Theresa Sagarese decorated a cake for the event that included the original logo of the Galway Karate Club. Shihan Malley presented him with a card from the students that included several gift cards, thanks to the donations from the two schools. He was presented with framed pictures of the Galway and Webster class that were surrounded with congratulations from the students and families. The final gift was a signed certificate from all thirteen Galway Karate Club/Golden Eagle Martial Arts black belts that are under Grandmaster Munchbach. The certificate is surrounded by some of the patches used over the years by the two schools. The outer frame has the kanji characters for honor, integrety, humility, and warrior burned into its face. Shihan Malley then shared his comments which were followed by Grandmaster Munchbach's comments. He expressed his surprise at the many people that came and his gratitude for everyone. After that we all enjoyed the cake.

ptt2Grandmaster Munchbach was one of the original students of the Galway Karate Club when it started in 1972. Ten years later he became the head instructor when The Sagarese's relocated to California. He was a top black belt competitor in kata, weapons, point sparring, and breaking in the late 1970's and through out the 1980's and into the 1990's. He has continued to compete. He has amazed tournament attendees with his broom kata and dazzled them with his creativity in breaking. Besides his competing throughout New York and much of the Northeast he has taught hundreds of students in Galway and many more at seminars at other schools. Where ever he has competed or taught he has left a lasting memory with many and made many friends.

Shihan Malley began his training with the Galway Karate Club in 1974 and was one of the first kids in the program. He to has competed in point sparring, weapons, kata, and breaking at tournement throughout the Northeast since 1975. He earned his black belt under Grandmaster Munchbach in 1988 and has the honor of being his first black belt. In 1996 he started Golden Eagle Martial Arts in Webster as a program for the Webster Parks and Recreation Department. In 2014 he returned to Galway and immediatly began helping Grandmaster Munchbach with teaching at the Galway Karate Club.

Please watch the videos below of the many recognitions of Grandmaster Munchbach. Check back to see photos from the evening.

{youtubegallery=GM Munchbach Retirement,Simple Grid 2.3}


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