Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Photo of the Week: Tough Dude Attitude vs. Educated Fighter

Billed with high expectations, the Ronda Rousey/Amanda Nunes fight was UFC’s 207th main event showcase. It was held on 30 December 2016, in Las Vegas.

It was Rousey’s first fight since being knocked out via the striking arsenal of Holly Holm on 15 November 2015, when Holm’s left roundhouse kick to the head topped off the final blow to “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey in the second round, leading to her devastating defeat in the octagon during UFC 193 and further leading to her loss of the women’s UFC World Bantamweight Championship title.

So much for titles. Amanda Nunes TKO’d Rousey in the first minute of their fight! The four photo collage reveals at least a minimum of one thousand words as to why Rousey lost.

Tough Dude Attitude vs. Educated Fighter

Holly Holm’s knockout of Rousey in the second round of their fight:

In watching these fights, the teachings of Sun Tzu come to mind. His opening statement in his masterpiece, The Art of War states:

War is a grave concern of the state. It must be thoroughly studied.

Notice the emphasis, not just on studied, but thoroughly studied.

Fighting is not about acting like a tough guy with a foul mouth and bad attitude, as is the modus operandi of so many fighters, including “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.

Fighting is based on thinking, first and foremost. An educated fighter of ordinary athleticism will beat an ignorant jock every time. It is not brawn that wins victories. It is brain. Yet, as old as this fact is, some fighters, in fact a lot of them, still think acting like a tough guy with an attitude will be the ticket to triumph. Instead, acting tough alone is a true ticket to the trough of the thoroughly vanquished.

Given this understanding, test your fighting knowledge. After watching the Nunes/Rousey fight video linked above, how many KIA fighting principles did Rousey violate that resulted in her devastating defeat within her “comeback” fight with Nunes?

  1. Violated distance?
  2. Never moved off line? Moved at all? Footwork?
  3. Never escaped when she could have?
  4. Never used an effective guard or cover block when in trouble?
  5. Was too passive?
  6. Let Nunes set the tempo and mood?
  7. Let Nunes control the fight?
  8. Got involved in a slug fest?
  9. No hand checking or attempt to nullify Nunes’ punches?
  10. Death steps? When was there ever not a death step?
  11. Where was Rousey’s strategy? Tactics? Skills? Fight plan?
  12. Where was Sun Tzu?

As far as “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is concerned, Sun Tzu was absent, and his vaunted teachings, which have been heralded for 2500 years and taught in major military academies around the world, were conspicuously absent. When will fighters ever learn that war is based on applied knowledge; that knowledge is based on study, study that must be thorough? Going into battle armed with only a tough dude attitude and mean facial expression is nothing more than a guaranteed formula for defeat, and it is the reason why so many so-called tough guys go down in flames, or worse.

A reflection from Dr. Samuel Johnson in his Vanity of Human Wishes warrants memorizing:

Unnumbered suppliants crowd Preferment’s Gate
Athirst for wealth and burning to be great;
Delusive Fortune hears the incessant call –
They rise, they shine, evaporate and fall!

The moral of the story: if you’re going to be a successful fighter, you’d better do your homework and prepare properly. Knowledge is power, and although some people think ignorance is bliss, it is not. Ignorance is the root cause of failure and defeat. Preparation is the key success, and if we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail. Bank on it! We must absolutely study fighting thoroughly to be a great fighter. There’s no other option.

The Black Belt Book of Life – Secrets of a Martial Arts Master by Karate Institute of America Founder and Grandmaster, Richard Andrew King, is available at in both paperback and Kindle.

Photo of the Week: Raptor vs. Raptor Dad

What better way to start off 2017 than with a Raptor vs. Raptor Dad tête-à-tête.

Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet (KIA Black Belt #64) mixes it up with his dad, Ed Ligtvoet, in a light sparring duel. Although Mr. Ligtvoet is not an official KIA student, at least not yet, he does have a military background, having served in the Royal Netherlands Army as a younger man.

Raptor’s success as a martial artist was certainly aided by his father, who would always mix in up with his elder son as he was growing up. Ed is one tough dude, and he made sure his son was equally matched.

Although his dad still has the greater physical power, Raptor has the greater martial arts technique.

Yet, as the saying goes, “Old age and trickery will beat youth and skill every time.” It’s a huge mistake to take old guys for granted, as every old guy knows. But, as every loving father also knows, he wants his sons to be better than he is.

Congratulations to the Ligtvoets. They are a wonderful family, and the parents have done an excellent job raising their two sons. Oh, and by the way, if you think these two dudes are tough, you should see the mom, Atousa! She is one formidable mama!

Photo of the Week: Return of the Hawk

The Hawk flew into the Karate Institute of America in the 1980s, developed his martial arts skills, became a champion fighting and forms competitor, and moved deeply into the Brown Belt rankings until his destiny forced him in the 1990s to spread his wings and fly to other regions. However, as destiny would also demand, he returned to his KIA home for an awesome visit and get-together with Mr. King, sharing stories of old and great events of daring-do.

Hawk, of course, is his callsign. His name is Chip Robinson, and he was, at one time, the #1 fighter at the KIA, winning his first fighting competition as an Orange Belt. He went on to garner other championships in both fighting and forms divisions proving, in fact, that relatively tall martial artists can be great forms champions as well as fighters.

Chip’s drive to be the best and maintain a high sense of ethics and standards have led him to become an extremely successful businessman. He is President of The Management Works, Inc., a Newport Beach real estate company employing 44 people. He is also the proud father of four children.

The following photo of Chip was taken in 1990 by photographer and copyright holder Genny “Cougar” Edge. Some old timers may remember the location, which was behind the old studio among the trees.

Here, Chip shares a hug with pal Genny Edge, the 13th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu.

Chip Robinson was a gifted, technical, courageous, fearsome, daunting fighter—qualities responsible for his many fighting championships. His positive presence is seen in this photo, an intimidating presence to his opponents, to be sure.

All hawks have mothers, of course. Pictured below is Chip’s mother, Mrs. Robinson—a wonderfully gracious and classy woman—with her son and some weird lookin’ dude having a bad hair day.

Pictured with Dan “Basai” Asay during a 1991 KIA showcase, Hawk observes, pondering his upcoming fight and assessing the competition. Friendly event or not, Hawk was always eyeing his prey and calculating how he would triumph over his opponent. (Photo courtesy of Genny Edge).

Ever the gracious gentleman, Hawk congratulates David “Nails” Mooney on his Black Belt coronation in the Fall of 1991.

The following photo was taken after a sparring class in 1988. Surrounding Hawk in the back row are, left to right, Craig Flemming, Dave Chrisman, Genny Edge and Dr. David Shoemaker. Front row, left to right, are Dan Asay, Rose Hoberg (then Guck), Mr. Magluyan and Chris Jenkins.

This is a proud moment. Chip shares his first tournament championship trophy with Mr. King. In fact, Hawk has this photo hanging in his office with other KIA pics!

These next photos are quite interesting. As Chip and Mr. King were having lunch, they decided to take a photo in front of the old studio located at 308 Lambert St. in Lake Forest. The first pic is as the studio frontice was in 1987. The latter two pics are of the same location, currently occupied by a different owner and business.

Bringing this pictorial essay up to date are Hawk and Mr. King at the old KIA location site. These two photos were taken on Tuesday, 12 December 2016.

It is impossible to put into words the immense, almost incalculable, feeling of reconnecting with KIA students and friends throughout these five decades. Such great memories, such great people, such awesome relationships. Thank you, Hawk, for reconnecting with us. You are, truly, a class act and extraordinary human being!


It was a very special night at Steve Vertun’s Segue office party, as four Karate Institute of America Black Belts were reunited for a wonderful Christmas reunion.

Coyote’s business, Segue, is dynamically successful due to his exceptional leadership and managerial skill. Plus, as was evident, his staff reflects qualities of excellence, loyalty, hard work and business acumen, like their boss. It was an inspiring evening to be around such a body of people.

Pictured from left to right are KIA Black Belts Steve “Coyote” Vertun (#39), Richard “Whitefire” King (Founder & Grandmaster), Jerry “Shuto” Alston (#28), and Clark “Flash” Hyman (#16).

The following photo, the better of the two pictures of course, highlights their lovely, gracious, talented and supportive wives.

From left to right are: Laura Vertun (wearing the gold dress), Dawn Alston (wearing the full body gray sweater), and Gwen Hyman (wearing the red blouse).

These moments are extremely special, and getting more special by the day. This life is not forever. Such gatherings are to be beautifully cherished for what they represent—great and loving memories and genuine, substantive, enduring relationships. This evening, thanks to Steve and Laura Vertun, was a true testament to the quality and connection of the KIA Family, its History and Legacy.

Photo of the Week: A Super Stud & Star on the Horizon!

The Karate Institute of America has a new star on the horizon, but it isn’t a martial arts star, at least not yet. Who is it?

Pictured with Mr. King is his eldest grandson, Ciaran, aka Lightning, a hockey stud and star on the horizon! This pic was taken in October at a Saturday morning practice at the local hockey rink in the Boston area.

And is this kid ever a stud! At only six years old he’s skating like a champ already. He’s fast, quick, intense and skilled. How could he not be? His dad, Dan, was a university hockey goalie who was also a semi-pro athlete, playing his hockey in the United States, France and Sweden. His mom, Chandra, not to be out done, was a star forward on her university soccer team. So…Lightning has a great lineage behind him, and it’s showing!

But every star needs fans, right? Pictured with Lightning, are his brother, Rory, aka, Thunder, his sister, Meara, aka, Stormy and Papa King. Early signs show that Ciaran’s siblings are quite talented and tough, too. Should be wonderful watching them grow and succeed. Great fun!

This photo was taken on Lightning’s first day of school. Precious. Great memories!

But, of course, up and coming studs and stars need to hit the books! Education is critical to a well-balanced and productive life.

It won’t be long before the world is hearing shouts of “Lightning strikes again!” in hockey stadiums everywhere. Go Ciaran!

Photo of the Week: In Tribute to Grandpa Shamassian

In Tribute to Grandpa Shamassian

The Karate Institute of America is deeply saddened to share the news that Grandpa Shamassian, Hannah’s paternal grandfather, has passed on.

Our entire KIA family sends its deepest and most heartfelt condolences to all of the Shamassian family, especially Grandma Shamassian and the loss of her cherished husband.

Grandpa Shamassian, pictured in the wheel chair at Hannah’s Purple Belt test in July of 2016, was a loving, kind, gentle, intelligent, supportive, impressive human being—first class all the way.

How many individuals, confined to a wheel chair, would endure the discomfort and challenge of attending their grand daughter’s outdoor karate event? Personal experience teaches that many capable individuals forego supporting others even though they have no infirmities. Yet, Grandpa Shamassian’s grace and love for his family motivated him to be at his grand daughter’s Purple Belt test. Wonderfully admirable.

Grandpa Shamassian’s passing reminds us that life is fleeting and that birth and death are the warp and woof of the circles and cycles of life, a process each of us will experience, no doubt, and one which we will endure with grace if we focus on being balanced and centered in our own lives. And, hopefully, when we pass, we will pass on to our loved ones a legacy they will appreciate, honor and respect, just as Grandpa Shamassian’s family and those of us who knew and loved him, appreciated him for the enduring legacy he created.

Photo of the Week: A KIA Black Belt’s Tennis Team Wins National Championship

Clark “Flash” Hyman, the 16th Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America, along with his over 55 tennis buddies, won the USTA National Championship in Arizona a couple weeks ago. So…Congratulations to you, Flash, and your team! National championships are hard to come by. Way to go!

In the group photo below, Clark is in the front row, third from the left, aqua tee shirt.

Here is the text from the Orange County Register:

The Orange County team representing Southern California defeated a team from Fairfax, VA, 3-0 in the championship match on Sunday, October 30. Earlier in the day, the Orange County team defeated the team from Beverly, MA, 2-1, in the semifinals. They advanced this far by going undefeated, winning their round-robin flight contested Oct. 28-29.

The team is captained by Doug Mathews (Coto de Caza) and Scott Nichols (Ladera Ranch), and features Ross Hessler (Mission Viejo), Dan Oriza, Richard Cisakowski (Coto de Caza), Clark Hyman (Coto de Caza), Glenn Petrovic (Foothill Ranch), Tom Olmstead (Laguna Niguel), Gary Salazar (Coto de Caza), Peter Margarita (San Juan Capistrano), James Snyder (Laguna Niguel) and Dave Sears (Aliso Viejo).

Photo of the Week: Strength Is the Ability to Endure

Strength is the Ability to Endure

Life is a test from birth to death; an endless struggle to maintain one’s balance, poise and grace while striving to achieve one’s personal goals. If we’re to conquer the challenges of life, we must be strong…for the long haul, not just for the passing moment or the fleeting glimpses of capricious fortune.

Strength is a virtue. Talent is a gift. One can have talent but fail to achieve great things because of a lack of strength. One can have mediocre talent but achieve wondrous things through the strength of will.

As an example, in the history of the Karate Institute of America, there have been some very noteworthy physically talented individuals who never succeeded in becoming a Black Belt because they lacked the strength [the ability to endure] to achieve the goal, some giving up the ghost just weeks before their final exam. Contrastingly, there have been many individuals who, lacking great talent, succeeded in achieving a Black Belt rating because they never quit. They fought, struggled, endured and saw the journey through to its conclusion. In fact, if there is one quality of all Kiado-Ryu Black Belts, it is that they all expressed an indomitable will and relentless spirit to succeed. Their strength exceeded the challenges and adversities they faced in their martial arts journey. Such is the truth in every discipline, in every line of work. Those who succeed never quit.

The Black Belt Book of Life – Secrets of a Martial Arts Master

Principle #15: pages 61 to 63

Photo of the Week: Rank Does Not Make the Man. The Man Makes the Rank

In the Kiado-Ryu system, rank doesn’t make the man or woman, the man or woman make the rank.

Who we are is not a matter of what we wear around our waist but what we stand for.

For example, being a so-called “Black Belt” means nothing unless the individual who wears such a rank exudes those noble virtues associated with it, including but not limited to, self-control, discipline, courage, strength, commitment, humility, kindness, grace, patience, determination, dedication, persistence, respect and honor—a virtue seemingly unknown and forgotten in today’s society.

In climbing the ladder to becoming a Black Belt at the Karate Institute of America, all students should seek to demonstrate an ever-ascending degree of virtue, just as they demonstrate increasing levels of martial arts skill, technique and artistry. To forsake developing one’s character is to go to the well and return with only a spoonful of water—a sad and tragic loss.

Photo of the Week: For Those Who Remember the King Girls…

Like everyone else, times change, and kids, well, they do grow up and have their own families and lives. Such are the circles and cycles of life.

For those of you who remember my girls—Christa and Chandra—when they were young and hanging out at the studio, here they are, all grown up with their own beautiful families.

On the bottom row (right) is Christa with her husband, Mike, just behind her. Paige, their older daughter, is sitting on the left and her younger sister, Emery, is next to Christa.

Chandra (glasses) is next to her husband, Dan (far left), and their newest child is Meara, sitting (sleeping) on mom’s lap. Their two boys are Rory (far left) and Ciaran (red shirt).

This photo was taken in the summer of 2016 at Chandra and Dan’s home in the Boston area. It is wonderful they could all get together, which they do a couple times each year. Thank God for airplanes!

I’m extremely proud of my girls, their husbands and kids. They are all exceptional individuals, talented and successful, with loving hearts and radiant spirits. I could not be more blessed.

For Those Who Remember the King Girls...