Linda Pugliese was born on June, 27th 1962 in Newark Ohio.She began training in karate in 1976 in George Annarino’s Ko-Sutemi Karate Dojo under Soke Don Madden. She was the first female of the organization to win All American at the AAU Nationals in 1979.
In 1980 Linda Pugliese was invited by Katsumi Nikuru to compete at the All Japan Karate Championships held annually in Japan but had to decline due the lack of funding. While Linda was seeking sponsorship, it was mentioned to her by a Marine Corps recruiter that she could become part of the USMC Karate Team. In 1981 Linda enlisted into the United States Marine Corps, her MOS was Military Police. After completing Boot Camp and MP school she discovered that there was no USMC Karate Team; however she did receive sponsorship for some tournaments at Edwards Air force Base in California. While stationed in Barstow, California, Linda Pugliese continued to train with the military in martial arts. After marrying she left the Marines and became the mother of 3 children.
In 1988 Linda had the opportunity to train under Jerry Piddington in Barstow, California for several months. It was Jerry Piddington that inspired her to become an instructor. It was also Jerry Piddington who would later asked her to take on a role in the movie Night Realm (1994) where she did a bo staff fight scene.
In 1992 Linda Pugliese received a call from Soke Don Madden asking her to compete on the USA Karate Team (WUKO rules) at the Mexican Olympic Festival in Mexico City, Mexico after one of the team members was injured. With only 1 week to prepare, Linda won a Gold medal in Kumite, a Silver medal in Team Sparring and a Bronze medal in Kata. A moment she will ever forget was standing on the platform and receiving her gold medal as they raised the United States flag and played our National Anthem.
In 1994 Linda had the opportunity to compete in Fukuoka, Japan at the Woman’s World Cup as part of the USA team coached by Tokey Hill. After months of training and a week of acclimatizing it was only seconds into her match that she dislocated her toe and when her foot hit caught the mat the rest of her foot separated. She was rushed to a Japanese emergency room for stitches, painkillers and antibiotics.
While competing at a tournament in Irvine California, she was approached by Alyxzander Bear from the Kaito Gakko Organization and asked to become a member of the National Karate Team ”Team Full Contact”. Alyxzander Bear sponsored and coached Linda from 1992 through 1997 and she competed in the National Black Belt League winning 5 NBL World Champions in kata and 1 World Champion in team sparring.
In the early 2000’s Bob Mitchell, founder of United Martial Artists for Christ, asked Linda to become part of the demonstration team where she graciously performed at outreach events for several years.
Over the past 32 years Linda has received countless awards for her contribution to karate. She was promoted to 8th degree Black Belt by her first Sensei George Annarino only days before his passing and she also received her 5th degree honorary promotion from the Kaito Gakko Organization in 2018.
Linda has been teaching Japanese/Okinawan karate and cardio kickboxing at various venues since 1989 and continues to teach children and adults through her organization the American Karate Associations of Champions. She also conducts Fight Back Women’s Self Defense Courses to empower women mentally, physically and spiritually. Linda is also the Coordinator for the Accessibility Coordination Center and Education Support Services at Barstow Community College.
Linda Pugliese has her BA in Social Psychology and her second attunement in Reiki healing. She is a practitioner of NLP and transcendental mediation.