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Hellertown Karate Instructor Awarded ‘2019 Master of the Year’ Title

SVKA 2019 WTSDA Karate
Written by Josh Popichak

Saucon Valley Karate Academy, which is located in Hellertown, had 44 competitors who collectively took home 56 medals participate in a recent multi-state championship in the Poconos. Academy owner Master Philip J. Geiter was promoted to 5th degree Master at the championship.

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SVKA 2019 WTSDA Karate

Master Philip Geiter (left), owner of Saucon Valley Karate Academy, with some of his many students at the championship held recently in the Poconos.

Members of more than 60 martial arts studios including Saucon Valley Karate Academy competed at a multi-state championship held at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in the Poconos Oct. 18-20. Saucon Valley Karate Academy, which is located in Hellertown, had 44 competitors in the championship who collectively took home 56 medals.

Saucon Valley Karate Academy is owned and operated by Master Philip J. Geiter, who was promoted to 5th degree Master at the championship. He was also awarded the 2019 Master of the Year for Region 8 of the World Tang Soo Association. SVKA also promoted Shawn Barger to 2nd degree Black Belt and Chloe J. to 1st degree Black Belt.

The championship is a traditional event for members conducted annually for the past 36 years by Region 8 of the World Tang Soo Do Association. Region 8 includes studios in eastern and central Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and northern Virginia.

The competition drew 742 participants from Region 8 and beyond this year, and both World Tang Soo Do Grandmaster Robert Beaudoin and Grandmaster William Strong were in attendance.

Master Geiter holds the international rank of Master, 5th degree in Tang Soo Do, which is a traditional form of Korean martial arts. He founded Saucon Valley Karate Academy in 2013, and with determination, persistence, positive word-of-mouth and community support has since steadily increased enrollment to 150 students.

The studio and its students are active in community events and local charities, supporting Relay for Life, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Hellertown-Lower Saucon Community Day and the Saucon Valley Spirit Parade. For the past five years, Saucon Valley Karate Academy has also conducted on-field demonstrations at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs’ (Philadelphia Phillies’ AAA baseball team) Martial Arts night.

Master Geiter has held women’s self-defense classes and taught local Girl Scout troops karate and self-defense techniques to help them earn their fitness badges. He also volunteers by teaching karate and self-defense classes in area elementary schools, and he has run multiple week-long summer camps as well as established a Junior Instructor’s program, which trains advanced students to help in teaching less-experienced students.

The program benefits all students by promoting self-confidence and leadership abilities in the junior instructors and by allowing newer students to see how assisting and giving back helps one move forward toward their goal of becoming a Black Belt.

Note: The information in this story comes from a Saucon Valley Karate Academy news release.

About the author

Josh Popichak

Josh Popichak is the owner, publisher and editor of Saucon Source. A Lehigh Valley native, he's covered local news since 2005 and previously worked for Berks-Mont News and AOL/Patch. Contact him at

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