Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Photo of the Week: Eric “EV” Vind, KIA Black Belt #10: Fallen but Not Forgotten

Eric "EV" Vind, KIA Black Belt #10: Fallen But Not Forgotten

Every structure needs a foundation, and one of the corner stones of the KIA’s legacy is Eric “EV” Vind, the 10th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu.

In his mid teens at the time, Eric was one of four brothers who studied at the Karate Institute of America in its infancy. Beginning at our first studio on Via Fabricante in Mission Viejo in 1979, Eric became the first leader to emerge and set the mark for others to follow. He was the only Vind brother to rise to the Black Belt level.

Highly creative, respectful, intelligent, skillful, humble and artistic, EV’s persona was magnetic, energetic, dynamic, enthusiastic. He was also the first assistant teacher at the KIA, and an extremely good one at that. He was always the first one to assist others in learning and in passing on technical information. He loved kata (martial arts choreographed routines), and was engaging and innovative in creating self-defense techniques.

One memorable story regarding Eric was when he was practicing with double nunchucks one night. Since the early studio had no mirrors, Eric was using the windows as a reflective device. Mr. King was standing behind his back watching as Eric whirled and twirled the chucks. All of a sudden, Eric stopped and turned around to face Mr. King. Blood was streaming down his face. Eric had cut his face open with the end of one of the chucks and the amazing thing of note is that the chucks never wavered in their trajectory, underscoring their ever-present danger! Eric recovered and will always be remembered as a respectful, creative and talented martial artist.

Eric is the 10th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu, achieving his 1st Dan rating in 1990. Sadly, EV died on 25 January 2005 from kidney failure as a result of Type 2 diabetes. Although fallen, Eric “EV” Vind will never be forgotten. He was an extraordinary human being, and we are deeply grateful he was one of the gifted inspirational leaders of the Karate Institute of America. May he always rest in peace.

The 1st Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu

The 1st Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu

© Genny “Cougar” Edge

Steven “Widi” Ho began his karate experience at the Karate Institute of America with Kiado-Ryu Grandmaster, Richard Andrew King, in 1979 at the age of twelve in Mission Viejo, CA, at the original Via Fabricante studio.

Gifted and eager to learn, Steven applied his talents and studies diligently and became the first Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu in 1984 when he was seventeen.

Ho competed extensively for the KIA in both open hand kata and weapons forms. In 1989 at the age of twenty-two, he became the #1 Black Belt American Forms competitor in the United States in the North American Sports Karate Association (NASKA).

With accomplishments in hand and a diversity of talent, training, and skill, Ho was noticed by movie producers and went on to do stunt work in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series as Donatello, after which he continued to earn his living in the entertainment business.

Photo of the Week: A Living “Flash” From the Past

He began his KIA journey in 1985 after graduating from the University of California Irvine with a degree in Philosophy, a minor in Classics, and a tennis forehand that would make Roger Federer cower. Well, maybe. Who is he? “He” is Clark Hyman, the 16th Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America; callsign, “Flash.” 1st Dan ranking, 1991.

A Living "Flash" from the Past

Regarding his Karate Institute of America training, Flash says,

The intense work ethic and “There can be no excellence without effort” became a part of my core values at the KIA.

Clark also comments,

Besides my own training, I enjoyed the opportunity to help teach the Saturday morning kid’s class. Saturday afternoons became a relaxing time at the KIA with the formation of the OCCA (members Kurt and Rose Hoberg, myself, not sure if Genny Edge was part of that). It was a funny group because we would spend hours perfecting our art, conditioning (I think that is where the “Hyman Hook” came to be) while bonding with each other. Oh yes, the acronym OCCA stands for Orange County Candy Asses. Not representative of us but what most people thought of the OC lifestyle.

As time rolled on, Clark met his lovely wife to be, Gwen. Their marriage has lasted nearly 30 years and they have two terrific sons—Brandon (now 28) and Sheldon (now 24). Brandon owns “Nicholas Ross Salon” in Laguna Niguel with his also lovely wife, Nicole. Sheldon is an avid pilot of both fixed wing and rotary, as well as being a surfer and fisherman. Gwen, who is pursuing her Master Gardener designation, is an active running coach. She and her group compete in half-marathons and 10K races.

Brandon and Nicole on their wedding day.

Gwen—the superstar runner in the Hyman family.

Flash’s personal narrative continues . . .

Since achieving the rank of Black Belt (#16) on August 10, 1991, I have volunteered in an area that has always been near and dear to my heart. I played tennis through high school and some college, and began a 12 year journey as the Associate Head Tennis Coach at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. That journey resulted last season (2015) in a CIF Team Title and as the DecoTurf National High School Champions (small school division) played in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This season I have opted to set my coaching cap to the side but will continue as the High School Director of the Michael Chang Tennis Classic (MCTC), which is held each summer in Orange County to benefit HomeAid Orange County. Their vision to end homelessness starts with “where does someone go when they suddenly find themselves without a home.” The MCTC donates the majority of the proceeds to HomeAid Orange County.

Oh, and about that forehand. The knowledge behind it certainly helped his Santa Margarita Catholic High School tennis team accrue their championship laurels, which Clark still uses, competing at a national level in his age group.

Clark recently celebrated 30 years in the Employee Benefits industry with his company Pacific Financial Group. As he notes: It never hurts to have a fellow KIA Black Belt as one of your best clients (Steve “Coyote” Vertun of Segue Corp.).

It certainly is wonderful and warming to see our Karate Institute of America family grow and maintain many of its decades-long relationships. Clark “Flash” Hyman, his wonderful wife Gwen, and their family have been a substantive anchor in our KIA history. Such a blessing!

Photo of the Week: Who’s Watching You?

Who's Watching You?

Being aware of your surroundings is one of the first lines of self-defense. Yet, many women go through their days not really paying attention to who’s watching them. Remember, this is a predatory world, and although most people are decent there are those who are not, who have nefarious agendas of molestation, kidnapping, rape and more. Being responsible for one’s safety means surveying your environment to assess any potential threats. Therefore, it is critical to know Who’s Watching You?

Read the full article.

3 KIA Dudes and a Chick Under Cover

3 KIA Dudes and a Chick Under Cover

This is a fun photo. Four of the Karate Institute of America’s “Tried & True” don the new Kiado-Ryu baseball caps during class on 21 April 2016.

Front row (all by his lonesome): 5th Dan Master, Kim “Cultivator” Thomas

Second row (left to right): Blue belt Zemia “Barracuda” Garrett. 1st Dan Black Belt James “Psycho” Griffin.

Back row (standing tall): 1st Dan Black Belt Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet.

Black Belt Benefactor

The Karate Institute of America has been extremely blessed throughout its thirty-seven year history with wonderfully generous people who have given their time, energy, skill, and support to ensure its success. Without question, the one individual whose generous endowment blessed the KIA with its own studio in the early 2000s is 2nd Dan Black Belt, Jeff “Boa” Norman — the 61st Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu.

In 2001, the KIA was without an indoor facility. Jeff’s brother, Todd — also a 2nd Dan (Black Belt #51), invited us to hold classes at his Cutting Edge sports facility in Lake Forest, for which all the students were extremely grateful. Next, Jeff offered to pay for a “build out” of a room on the second story to house the KIA, stating that it was his gift based on all the KIA had done for him and his business. That wonderful facility lasted until November 2010 when it finally fell victim to the global financial crisis of 2008. There was simply not enough business to keep it or the Cutting Edge afloat. Yet, that studio, made possible by Jeff Norman’s generosity, was a great home for the KIA during those years. Jeff Norman was recognized and honored for his exceedingly generous gift on 28 August 2006.

Boa-Thank you plaque

Boa received his 1st Dan rating on 25 October 2003. In the photo below from his Black Belt test, he is parrying a kick from KIA 2nd Dan Black Belt, Dr. Tim “Odin” McCord.

Boa & Odin, sparring

Boa poses with Mr. King after his test and coronation.

Boa & Whitefire

And here’s a nice shot of Boa prior to competing with a bo in the Black Belt weapons division.

Boa with bo

Life, of course, is never static. Boa and his family moved to Queen Creek, Arizona, approximately twenty-five miles Southeast of downtown Phoenix.

Jeff is now the Managing Director of the National Association of Family Services, which provides families access to legal services at greatly reduced prices with an emphasis on estate planning benefits. His website is Boa travels a great deal in his business giving free seminars and, regarding his work, states:

I can’t tell you how much I have incorporated KIA principles and concepts into my daily business dealings.

When he’s not busy with his work, Boa loves spending time with his lovely wife Michelle, his son and two twin daughters. In fact, Jeff took his son to his first NBA game this month. Two weeks earlier he and Michelle took their daughters to a Justin Bieber concert.

Boa with Michelle & Justin

Oh, and by the way, Boa claims to be the biggest Rams fan on earth and is glad they’re now back in L.A.

Boa in Rams helmet

Thanks for everything you’ve done for the Karate Institute of America, Boa. We’re deeply grateful and miss you and your family! All the best!

Wolverine of the Highest Order

Wolverines are powerful, solitary, tenacious predators. Highly aggressive and fearless, they’re blessed with such great fighting skills that bears, big cats and wolves avoid confrontations with them.

The Karate Institute of America has its own Wolverine, Tejas Maniar, the 57th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu. Wolverine earned his 1st Dan rating on the 23rd of January 1998, eighteen long (or is that short?) years ago. How fast time flies!

Tejas' Black Belt Ceremony

Pictured with Tejas in this photo of his Black Belt ceremony is Mr. Dave “Rugman” Sampson, the 42nd Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu, a KIA instructor and great mentor to Wolverine. Other visible individuals in the photo are, from left to right: Taka “Wadachild” Wada (Black Belt #43) seated in the black gi on the wall; Mr. Vince “Sly” Weber (Black Belt #41) seated on the floor behind Mr. Sampson; Heather “Burner” Corn (Black Belt #37, now Riggs) seated to Mr. Weber’s left; Anna “Wildcat” Griffin (Black Belt #55) in the white gi.

Tejas was always the epitome of a great young man and great student. Respectful, honorable, smart, disciplined, controlled, good-natured and humorous, Wolverine was one of those young men you just liked to be around. Such an instructor’s dream!

And, true to his nature, he has continued living his life in the same manner, but why would he not? After attending UC San Diego, where he met his future wife, Shweta, Tejas joined a small start-up company that successfully grew and was eventually sold. He moved to Cleveland, Ohio, becoming a Midwest sports fan. The Cavaliers are his favorite basketball team.

In 2013, he moved back to California, joined Google, and continued learning and honing his business skills. Moving up the ladder, he joined Mayfield Fund, a venture capital firm. He is now Vice-President and enjoys his job working closely with entrepreneurs in growing their businesses.

Tejas and Shweta welcomed their first son, Taavish, in December of 2015, and are now experiencing the joy of parenting, inclusive of all its demands, responsibilities and sleepless nights. Ah! The joys of parenthood. But not to worry. The Maniar family is wonderful. Their second son, Soham, achieved a 2nd Degree Brown Belt before he went off to college. Great memories. Great family. We wish them all well in their future endeavors.

Tejas and Family

Robert Barnhart Accounting

Robert Barnhart Accounting

Need a good accountant? Robert “Bob” Barnhart, owner of Barnhart Accounting in San Clemente, has been the official accountant of the Karate Institute of America for over thirty years. The reason? Bob is an excellent accountant, honest and personable. He does great work at a reasonable fee. If you need or are looking for a competent person to handle your tax needs, Bob Barnhart is a great choice. He’s easy to talk to and will give you excellent service. The KIA recommends him, so give him a call.

1810 South El Camino Real # F
San Clemente, CA 92672
(949) 498-2710

KIA National Forms Champion, CEO & Successful Entrepreneur

Our KIA feature of the week highlights another National Forms Champion who is also Founder and CEO of a very successful business enterprise.

Steve “Coyote” Vertun, Kiado-Ryu Black Belt #39, received his 1st Dan rating in December of 1995.

With a determined, relentless, never-give-up mindset, Coyote won the Brown Belt Forms Championship in 1993, a competitive circuit of thirteen major United States cities. Steve is one of four Karate Institute of America students to win a coveted national martial arts championship hosted by the North American Sports Karate Association (NASKA). The other three are Doug Krause, Steven Ho and Steve Maynock.

Magazine Cover of Coyote

Steve Vertun’s success in life is not restricted to the world of martial arts. He is the Founder and CEO of Segue, a Lake Forest–based company which “designs, implements and executes cutting-edge Reverse Logistics strategies and processes” for businesses, a company which Steve is proud to say is now in its twenty-eighth year! Quite an accomplishment, indeed.

Coyote Segue

Segue is not a small company either. It’s huge and befits a man whose spirit, courage, business acumen and success are worthy of its size and stature.

Coyote Segue Full

Steve “Coyote” Vertun’s accomplishments are not limited to business and martial arts. He is also an accomplished guitarist and lead singer for his own band, a “hot yoga” instructor, long-distance runner, husband and father—quite a lot of talent for one man, for one extremely accomplished and successful man. We’re deeply grateful that Coyote is one of our very own Kiado-Ryu Black Belts!

Photo of the Week: KIA Karate Kids - Early 1980s

KIA Karate Kids - Early 1980s

Here’s a wonderful flashback to the early 1980s and a Saturday morning KIA kids class with instructors Greg “Maddog” Bendel and Rose “Renegade” Hoberg. Rose became the 12th KIA Black Belt; Greg the 14th.

How cute these kids were! And they could never be tired out! The ages of these children were 5 to 7. Simply adorable.

A couple things of note:

  1. This photo was taken at the main studio on the corner of Lambert and Aspen streets in Lake Forest.
  2. Notice the blue bags on the floor. We still have them, although they’re quite worn. Real troopers.
  3. The only Black Belts at the time were Steven “Widi” Ho and Jerry “Bones” Gentry, both 2nd Dans as is noticeable by the two red stripes on their Black Belts hanging above the mirror (Ho’s is the grey gi top in the foreground; Gentry’s the black gi top with the red bandana he used to wear). The KIA now has 64 Black Belts on its distinguished Wall. With an average of six years training time from white belt to Black Belt, one can appreciate how challenging it was and still is to ascend to the Black Belt level. It is an elite group, to be sure, representing 2% of all Karate Institute of America students throughout its continuing journey to date (March, 2016).

Photo owned and copyrighted by Genny “Cougar” Edge, KIA Black Belt #13; published with permission.