MADISON, NJ - The Madison Area YMCA’s karate program is pleased to announce that Florham Park resident Konstantin Arsienko, 45, has been awarded his Black Belt.

Mr. Arsienko, who emigrated from Kyrgyzstan, central Asia, 18 years ago, had briefly taken up karate in his mid 20s, switching his study to chi-kung and aikido for several years. He rekindled his interest in the martial arts in the United States when he met Chris Goedecke (Shifu Hayashi), who has been running the Madison Area YMCA’s karate program for more than 35 years.

After 9 years of study, Mr. Arsienko was awarded his Shodan, first degree Black Belt in Isshin Kempo, a monastic-influenced, spiritual-based Okinawan karate system, in a candle-lit ceremony at the Madison Area YMCA.

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“It’s not your typical martial arts course,” Mr. Arsienko said. “The head instructor is a Buddhist monk. Our training emphasis is on personal growth, not just fighting. It’s fitness for mind, body and spirit. This ideology strongly appeals to me. I look forward to my next level of training. I understand that black belt 1st degree is just the beginning.”

As a cause-driven charitable organization, the Y is dedicated to nurturing the potential of every child and teen, improving our community’s health and well-being and giving back by providing support to our neighbors. Everything the Y does is in service of making us better.