Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Photo of the Week: Congratulations, Growler!

Chris Grau Achieves Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Black Belt

Chris “Growler” Grau, a 4th Dan Karate Institute of America Black Belt, accomplished another martial arts milestone on Sunday, 4 March 2018, by achieving his 1st Dan Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate Black Belt.

Growler (back row, foreground) preparing for a bo kata

Growler, the 36th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu, who achieved his 1st Dan KIA ranking on 26 August 1995 at age 18, continued his martial arts journey via the interest of his elder daughter Kaylee when she started studying at age 4. She’s now 9.

Growler receiving his 1st Dan ranking in Okinawan Shorin Ryu Karate

The ceremonial tying of Growler’s Black Belt

In reflection of the 3 years and 9 months of his Okinawan Shorin Ryu karate studies, Grower states:

As one would expect, I’ve developed a strong bond with those I train with. I’ve attended training camps where I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from masters of different martial arts. Even before earning my black belt, I rose to a leadership position in the dojo, always helping to run classes and occasionally teaching classes myself.

I was remarking to Christa [his wife] the other day how I’ve convinced others to join the dojo, not through any deliberate advertising, but just by being myself. They have seen how I carry myself and how I train and have wanted that for themselves or their children.

My black belt test was about nine and a half hours, starting at six in the morning. The test encompasses calisthenics, combination drills, bag work, self-defense drills, sparring, weapons, and finally kata. It is an understatement to say that it is exhausting. It pushes you past your limits.

Chris poses with Mr. and Mrs. Grau, his wife Christa and daughters Kaylee and Brenna. Nice family photo in a happy moment!

How proud all of us at the KIA are of you, Growler, and your newest accomplishment. I’m sure there will be many more milestones for you in this life.

Photo of the Week: Sun Tzu and Ice Hockey Gold!

What in the world does Sun Tzu have to do with an ice hockey Gold Medal? Everything.

It was an Olympic Gold Medal ice hockey game for the ages! The USA and archrival Canada squared off and played through a full three periods, an overtime, and then to a shoot out with the winning USA goal scored by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson who, although she may not know it, demonstrated one of Sun Tzu’s preeminent maxims: All warfare is based on deception.

Click on the first link to watch Lamoureux-Davidson execute one of the greatest shots-on-goal you’ll ever see. It was simply electrifying; her use of deception, golden. Sun Tzu would be proud!

Watch the winning goal.

Watch the full shootout.

Sun Tzu and Ice Hockey Gold!

Photo of the Week: The Wise General

In any combat situation, the master fighter, the master general, the master tactician, always attempts to manipulate and control his adversary. Its inverse is critical to survival: one must not allow himself to be manipulated by an adversary. This simple truth is echoed in Sun Tzu’s terse but definitive maxim: The wise general cannot be manipulated.

In life we seldom face actual physical combat. However, daily we are assaulted by the very exigencies and challenges of life. They become our adversaries. Disallowing them from manipulating us is critical to living a successful life. As wise generals of our own army of one, ourselves, we must so center ourselves in wisdom and power that we cannot be manipulated by such challenges, whether those challenges arrive in the form of people, events, circumstances or problems. As wise generals we cannot afford to be manipulated by any force—internal or external—if we are to maintain our individual sovereignty as human beings.

The Wise General

Photo of the Week: Raptor’s 2nd Dan

2nd Dan Kiado-Ryu Black Belt

Congratulations to Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet on the accomplishment of his Karate Institute of America 2nd Dan Black Belt rating.

Raptor, the 64th Black Belt of the KIA, is one of the finest human beings you could ever know. An exceptional young man, he has also become an exceptional martial artist. The KIA is very lucky to have Tristan, his talent, character, and skill in our family. Thanks, too, to his parents, Atousa and Ed, for raising such an exemplary young man!

Remember these photos when Tristan was a young boy and beginning his Kiado-Ryu journey? Cute kid, eh?

Lots of focus that really paid off!

That was then, and now, just eight weeks away from being twenty years old, Raptor has become a handsome young man and a stud 2nd Dan Kiado-Ryu Black Belt! How the children do grow up!

Raptor proudly poses with our old buddy, Bob. Remember the photo above when he was striking Bob’s throat? Such a change, and a wonderful one at that.

No. That’s really not a black eye! It’s just a shadow.

Pretty cool juxtaposition. It puts the long journey from White to Black in perspective.

Nice looking tabs, Raptor. Next stop, 3rd Dan!

Photo of the Week: The Family Vail - Then and Now: Part 2

What’s in a Callsign?

As is Karate Institute of America protocol, everyone has a callsign. Once in a while, one may query how an individual got his/her callsign in the first place. Sometimes, this can be a mystery. Not so with Jon “Stretch” Vail. In the following pictorial catalogue, can you guess why Jon got his callsign? If you can’t get this, you fail the test!

From the early days of the KIA and its studio at 308 Lambert Street, Lake Forest, CA.

From his collage days in the mountains.

Getting nasty with an axe kick! Remember, Jon is around 6’3” or so. That’s a high kick.

Nice air! And power!

Version #2.

A nice news articles from his college days in Arizona.

On the rocks with Stretch and his nephew.

Just hangin’ out in the hallway. Not lookin’ quite as young, though, but still s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g!

This has to be the only photo of its kind in the world—doing splits on your wedding day! Priceless! Janice is a beautiful bride!

And with Jenny and Ryan at home. Not quite as youthful but still, and forever, the STRETCH!

Now, if you didn’t guess how Jon “Stretch” Vail got his callsign, you flunk the test! You must go back and re-take the test.

Thanks for the memories, Stretch. Lots of fun, and congrats for staying so flexible for so long. You’re an inspiration, indeed!

Photo of the Week: The Family Vail - Then and Now: Part 1

This is too much fun! Jon, “Stretch” Vail studied at the Karate Institute of America way back in his teen years. As destiny commanded, when he graduated from high school he went to college in Arizona, received a degree in geology, married his lovely girlfriend Janice, got a job, settled down and started a family.

Jon has been wonderfully connected to the KIA and, lucky for us, keeps us updated with his life. Following are a half dozen photos of the Vail family from 2008 and 2017. The changes are beautifully dramatic and so much fun to enjoy. So, enjoy them! And thanks, Stretch, for sending them to us to share with other KIA family members. What awesome memories! We all wish you, Janice, Jenny and Ryan a healthy, balanced, harmonious and successful 2018!

Photo #1: The Vail family visits the KIA in 2008 on their vacation. Now prepare yourself for a jump forward in time! Wow!

Photo #2: The Vail Family in Fall/Winter-2017. Is this a cool selfie or what?! It gets even better.

Photo #3: Son Ryan and daughter Jenny in a ballet duo photo. This next photo is absolutely stunning of Jenny.

Photo #4: A truly gorgeous photo of Jenny the ballerina. Beautiful. Graceful. Amazing! Remember photo #1? How the children grow up!

Photo #5: Dad, Daughter, Son (Jon, Jenny, Ryan)

Photo #6: Dad and Son

Thanks, guys. Awesome shots! Next week we’ll have Part 2 of this series. Stay tuned!

Photo of the Week: The King Family

The King Family

To all of our KIA Family, the King Family wishes you all a healthy, balanced and centered 2018!

Those of you who are long-standing Karate Institute of America members might remember Christa and Chandra when they were very little girls. Now they’re all grown up, pictured here with their awesome husbands and beautiful children. What a thrill for the “Old Man” to have the family together!

God Bless you all from all of us to you and yours.

Photo of the Week: Daunting & Dangerous KIA Damsels

Honing their hand-checking skills are Blue Belt Zemia “Barracuda” Garrett (right) and Purple Belt Judy “Striker” Gompf (left).

These two professional ladies are, to be sure, daunting, dangerous damsels. They have power, skill and intent. Athletically, Barracuda has a softball background; Striker a surfer and tennis background. They know how to use their bodies to deliver maximum damage to a target, and if their lives and/or well-beings are threatened they would have no compunction about using maximum force on their assailants to protect themselves.

No sloppy guards here, nor wandering eyes. Their fighting focus is scope-locked and on target.

Those knee strikes would not be welcomed by any assailant, not to mention the follow-up palm, fist, elbow and armbar strikes!

Barracuda and Striker are making excellent progress in their martial arts training. As mature, professional, accomplished women they understand the value of patience, determination and persistence. Believe me, if you were ever in a fight you’d definitely want them on your side! They are truly daunting and dangerous damsels of the Karate Institute of America!

Photo of the Week: Our KIA Hannah Signs “Praise You in This Storm”

Our KIA Hannah Signs "Praise You In This Storm"

How beautiful is this . . . on many levels! Hannah, a KIA martial arts Purple Belt, is also a proficient artist in American Sign Language (ASL). She has been studying Signing in high school for two and a half years. In her own YouTube video, she beautifully performs “Praise You In This Storm” by Castings Crowns. Her performance is highly artistic, emotionally moving and dramatically inspirational. Thank you, Hannah, for this wonderful performance of “Signing!” You are one awesome talented young woman! We are all so extremely proud of you!