Meet Westchester’s Own ‘Karate Kid’

Remember 1980s hit movie “The Karate Kid”? A Rocky for the adolescent set (the same filmmaker directed both movies), it starred Ralph Macchio (and Jaden Smith in the 2010 remake) as a high school senior who, through force of will and discipline, surmounts physical adversity to triumph against the odds.

Hollywood’s Karate Kid is, of course, make believe. Westchester’s Karate Kid is not. He’s as real as you or me.

Meet Adam McCauley. Adam’s not a kid anymore, but he once was a bullied kid. Today, he holds two black belts in two different forms of karate, Ryu Te (sixth degree) and Shotokan (fourth degree).

Sign Up for E-News

Adam owns and operates Go No Sen Karate. His school’s flagship location, in Blue Mountain Plaza on Welcher Avenue in Peekskill, was joined in early January by a second dojo in Parkside Corner on Route 202 (Crompond Road), bordering Yorktown and Cortlandt Manor.

“Our program focuses on building confidence in children,” says its website (GoNoSen.com). “Along with programs in bully prevention, stranger danger and health/nutrition, we teach martial arts fitness for men, women and children.”

“Building Better Bodies and Stronger Minds!”—the school’s motto—is something Adam had to learn the hard way. He was the proverbial scrawny kid who got picked on in his Mount Vernon high school.

“‘The Karate Kid’ was my story,” says Mr. McCauley. “I didn’t like school because I was beat up. I saved lunch money so I could avoid taking the bus home, and used the money to take cabs home instead. I was a skinny kid with acne, long hair, braces and lived in a rough neighborhood where my friends didn’t want to visit me.”

As Adam underwent an often-agonizing adolescence, he also would binge-watch Bruce Lee martial arts movies. “There was something always in me. ‘The Karate Kid’ inspired me to find an instructor to teach me to stand up for myself. My sensei [like Mr. Miyagi in the movie] gave me the ambition and tools to stand up for myself.”

He calls his sensei, the late William Richardson, “truly one person who made a difference in this person, who has made a difference in thousands. My goal is to carry his legacy, build a legacy through our teachers, and pass that knowledge on.”

He adds that “I had no confidence growing up as a teenager, but when I put on my uniform, I was invincible. I was really into karate. I would go every day, and I would just love it. At the time, my parents bought a deli next to the local karate school. I would work at the deli, then go to karate school, so it was very convenient.”

Adam was in 10th grade at the time, so he had a relatively late start compared with some of the youngsters he and his staff now teach at Go No Sen, where most students, he says, are 5-13 years old. There’s even been a 2-and-a-half-year-old getting in his kicks.

His school days were notable also for academic challenges. “I had learning disabilities. Educators told my parents I would never pass the fourth-grade reading level, even in adulthood.” He said the malady was the result of an allergic reaction to medication that he suffered as a newborn twin.

But none of that stopped Adam “The Karate Kid” McCauley from earning an associate degree in graphic design from Westchester Community College. He also was bestowed an honorary Ph.D. in Martial Arts Sciences by the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

He’s been at it now for more than a quarter-century. While in his late 20s, living in Verplanck, he started teaching martial arts to three teenagers in his living room. “Word got out that I was teaching, I promoted myself more, and I got more clients.”

Yet there still were hurdles. Working part-time as a cable TV installer, he was in an accident that resulted in his termination. In addition to his karate students, he took on several part-time jobs, working at UPS mornings and other times as a receptionist. “I built myself back up. It was a slow and steady pace as I went from part-time instructor to full-time. I turned lemons into lemonade.”

Adam credits his mother Marianne with his positive outlook and his work ethic. She was commissioner of human rights in Mount Vernon. “She never labeled anybody, so we grew up without any prejudices. She always would fight for me, always saw the glass as half-full.

“It’s because of her that whenever a parent who comes through my door says, ‘My kid has a problem,’ I correct them and say, ‘No. He has a challenge.’”

Bruce Apar is chief content officer of Google Partner Agency, Pinpoint Marketing & Design, as well as an actor and a regular contributor to several periodicals. Follow him as Bruce the Blog on social media. Reach him at bapar@pinpointmarketingdesign.com or 914-275-6887.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

Here's What You Missed Last Week

Last week, the Daily News ran a headline, “When is our father coming home?” This dealt with a person here illegally, married to an American woman with a family, who was arrested at an Army base while delivering pizza. You are supposed to think that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), under Trump, is tearing families apart. As usual, it was a crock of cow pies. It was ...

Watergate Analogies Apply to Obama, Not Trump

My liberal counterpart in this publication is about my age. Maybe I am the baby of the group, but we all have had the same seminal experiences of our youth: Vietnam, the civil rights movement and Watergate. These are what shaped our political perspectives.

Looking back, maybe, just maybe those who thought Nixon was really deserving of his fate cannot be faulted for thinking so. It was once ...

Reagan on Trump

The party of “Honest Abe” has now become the party of Dishonest Don, and what follows are some disturbing displays of a Republican Party that has become devoid of conscience:

• More than 4,600 American citizens dead in Puerto Rico—a postscript to the government’s abysmal response to the widespread devastation of Hurricane Maria; 
• The underhanded ...

The Rich Get Richer, and We’re Paying For It

According to a Harvard University study published late last year, most Americans believe that the richest 20 percent of Americans own just half of the nation’s wealth. Wrong! The top 20 percent own 93 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the top 1 percent own 40 percent of that wealth. Additionally, the top 10 percent of earners in 2017 took home more than half the nation’s ...

Competing—Against Yourself

This is the time of year when students are recognized at public ceremonies for notable achievements in their studies, their sports and in their extracurricular pursuits.

Where we live, there are awards in various sports that are named for our son, who also is memorialized by town ballfield Harrison Apar Field of Dreams and a charitable foundation of the same name.

Due to a rare dwarfism, ...

Honoring Our Veterans’ Freedom of Speech

Memorial Day is over, but writing about America’s veterans doesn’t have an expiration date.

My dad, George, was as proud a veteran as you’d meet. He served in the Army in World War II and loved our country no less than the next veteran. I am proud of him, as is my brother, Robert, who served in the Air Force.

Growing up, the one vacation we took each year was spent with ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Mouthing Off

When I went for oral surgery last spring, the doctor told me he could only do one half of my mouth that day or I wouldn’t be able to eat for two weeks. Considering it was almost bathing suit season, I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing. But he convinced me otherwise, and told me if I was really gung ho about getting it all done, I could come back in a month or so to have ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b4cc78dd32adbbf57c97_2018_hiv_testing_day_eng

Wed, June 27, 9:00 AM

Putnam County Department of Health, Brewster

PCDOH Free HIV Testing Day

Health & Wellness