Elephant Dojo’s story – Goju Hall # 002
(Posted January 29, 2006)

The Elephant Dojo was founded in the year 1972. At the beginning there were four classes per day three times a week: on Monday, on Wednesday and on Friday. The first class was Ju Jutsu for kinder. The experience was really nice because the kinder showed interest and enthusiasm. Some of them are still with me. The second class was Karate for about thirty children. The usual topics were kihon, kata and kumite. Some of them are still with me. The third class was self defence for women. Some of them were pretty aggressive and this was a cause for some problems and conflicts. The fourth class was still JuJutsu for about twenty-five adults. The class was really special because there was a real friendship between them. Some of these guys are still under my guide.

As far I am concerned, I took classes two times a week on Tuesday and on Saturday.

In the year 1974 Maestro came to Italy for the first time and he took the occasion to visit my Dojo. The Dojo was big, about 900 sq. meters. During Maestro’s visit, people were training in order to prepare an international competition that would have taken place one week after in Milan. Maestro Urban spent time walking and watching the training while handling his curved staff (like a pastoral staff).

At the end of the training I was introduced to Maestro Urban, and he told me:

“Elephant, this is the name of this Dojo, Elephant’s Dojo”. Elephant was the name that he assigned me.

Maestro came to Italy others time. In the year 1977 he stayed in Italy for about six months. We often spent time together talking in Spanish. After training we discussed about Karate, philosophy and played chess.

Since I was a child I was really interested in the stories of “American Indians”. This was a topic that Maestro and I discussed a lot having very similar thoughts.

Maestro Urban also talked with pleasure, with my wife. She was nicknamed the “Shark”. Once he told me that it would have been interesting to watch a fight between a shark and an elephant!

During these six months, Maestro gave a lot of classes. After each class I used to take some notes in a small book about the lessons that Maestro gave us. He was so happy and would agree with this, my habit. On these books I wrote all of the programs the Maestro showed: karate, kata, jujutsu kata, and kihon (they are 108!). Maestro Urban was used to saying that the 108 kihon are the technical core of the Urban Goju.

A day before his departure, Maestro wanted to have a look at my books [notes]. He examined them very carefully and asked me [for]some explanations. After that, Maestro Urban assigned me the Urban Goju Hall number: GH#002.

I visited Maestro Urban several times in the USA and many others book were filled.

Hanshi-Executive 10th Dan ~ USA Goju

Fight Schools Network


Trainers at Elephant Dojo, GH# 002 - ITALY 
 (L-R) Sensei Mattia Maritan, Hanshi-Executive G. Giacometti,  Daniele Simionato,
Giampietro Zanon, Aldo De Rossi, Lucio Patron,
​Edda Nicoliti, Vinicio Sconcerle

Added May 1, 2017. Note received April 24, 2017 From Hanshi Giacometti;

Dear Dayton, your email is interesting.  I'm still an active member. I teach and do myself karate two times at week : monday and friday. Always with entusiasm. It has been 38 years That i teach. I have a program done Together with the great Peter Urban : 108 kihon taught directly By Urban. He used to say that this was the heart and soul of Usa Goju  (they comprehend karate,jujutsu, kobudo )                           5 kata of jujutso                                          5 kata goshindo                                      5 kata of aikijutsu                                    7 kata of gojudo                                      5 kata of kihon kumite                              10 of interNational karate                       23 of traditional karate                                                                                                                                                                                                   believe me in order to learn well and master this,  a lifetime is not enough. That's why i'm still working on it.            This program was written by me in paper with details and descriptions tecniques. This first book was handed personally by me to Peter Urban. All my pupils have my book. Recently i made a DVD of all The program written above. Alla my pupils have this DVD also. I do not teach martial arts for business but for passion , because i think that it is a Way of life, in order to live in peace With others. The most important things for me are the loving ones and the love of those who are close to me.   King regards.                     Ps : it would be amazing if this email could be published on The site.      

Thanks again                                      

 Gianfranco Giacometti 

"The years teach/show things that days do not know"
Gianfranco Giacometti Sensei was born in Padua, Italy, on 14 February, 1943.
He started with Karate (Wado Ryu) when he was 19 at Samurai dojo of G. Rossato, in Padua.
In 1972, Giacometti Sensei founded his first dojo, "Elephant Dojo", in Mirano, Venice. Since then, many of his students have received awards in national and international competitions, and some of them now are instructors in their own schools.
In 1974 he met Maestro Peter Urban at Samurai Dojo, in Padua. This meeting was dazzling for Giacometti Sensei,  and since 1977 he has been a direct student of Maestro Urban. The relationship between Giacometti Sensei and Maestro Urban has always been based on friendship and mutual esteem and respect.
Maestro Urban fondly calls Giacometti Sensei as "Brother", and Giacometti Sensei is indeed proud to belong to Maestro Urban’s Family!
Giacometti Sensei is recognized as Chief Instructor of URBAN GOJU in Italy.
Since the founding of Elephant Dojo, Giacometti Sensei was charged with developing an understanding and appreciation of the URBAN GOJU Style in Italy and in Europe, and since that time,  he and his students have presented many demonstrations and seminars in  several European countries.

Maestro Urban commenting on Giacometti, Hanshi:
Very rare collector's item: Circa yr. 2000 photograph of: M.0 GIANFRANCO GIACOMETTI, THE "ELEPHANT OF PADOVA, ITALY", GOJU HALL #002. He is my younger brother, and the most versatile Sensei in my Goju Halls Fight Schools Network. Oh, by the way, he has absolutely no equal in classical "Ju-Jitsu", even though he is a "Lifer Gojudo Karateka Sensei" second to none in my philosophy, psychology, and chess master par excellence. He will be the distinguished guest of honor at Shihan Gotay's 14th Annual Great World Class Tournament event at the John Jay College Gym in Mid-Manhattan on the very last Sunday of the month of April in the year 2003. "Urban"

 GOJU HALL No. 002

Via Collalto, 14
I-35126 Padova
Phone: 0039-049-756347