Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Feature of the Week: The Karate Consciousness: Author’s Preface

The Karate Consciousness: Author's Preface

Editor’s note: The following is the author’s preface from The Karate Consciousness: From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master, available from Amazon.

I began my martial arts journey in 1967 with the Tracy Brothers Kenpo Karate organization in San Jose, California, eventually reaching a 5th Dan Black Belt rating in their system. I also achieved a 1st Dan Black Belt rating in Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate system, having studied with their organization for a time.

Having fallen in love with martial arts, I opened my own studio–The Karate Institute of America–in Mission Viejo, CA, in 1979, and began developing the Kiado-Ryu System of Martial Arts. Defined, “Kiado-Ryu” means the family (Ryu) of the KIA (Karate Institute of America) way (Do). I have been teaching professionally ever since.

Throughout my fifty years of martial arts experience as both student and teacher, I have come to realize that it is one of the greatest vehicles for integrating the body, mind and spirit. Too, it offers an incredibly powerful opportunity for elevating one’s consciousness to remarkable heights if one focuses not just on the fighting/mundane aspects of the art but also on the elevation and edification of the spirit and consciousness. Hence, the subtitle of this book: From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master.

The gifts of martial arts training are endless. As I mention in The Black Belt Book of Life–Secrets of a Martial Arts Master, “Martial arts is life.” No truer statement could be spoken. Everything in martial arts has a direct correlation with life itself. Aside from self-defense skills, here is a partial list of the life principles karate has to offer: balance, personal responsibility and accountability, reliability, individuality, humility, respect, strength, courage, confidence, will power, flexibility of body, mind and spirit; adaptability, discipline, control, concentration, creativity, patience, perseverance, persistence, determination, devotion, dedication, consistency, coordination, peace, love, practicality, movement, memorization, dignity, nobility, generosity, graciousness, gratitude, forgiveness and common sense.

Consciousness can be defined as the sum total of our knowledge, thought, understanding, awareness, perception, feeling and intuition. Basically, consciousness is the composite of who we are. Through martial arts dedication and training, we can expand our consciousness to areas never before imagined and touch levels of reality we never knew existed. The ideas, thoughts and concepts of this work are offered in the spirit of sharing what I have learned in my karate life in the hope that they may help other practitioners in advancing and expanding their consciousness of life. Verily, all of us who practice martial arts are infinitely blessed with a gift of enormous proportions. Let us not betray it but fully embrace it.

Yours in the Arts,
Richard Andrew King, Founder & Grandmaster
The Karate Institute of America & Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts | |

Feature of the Week: Semper Fi, Captain Lou. Forever True!

Captain Lou Gacs, United States Marine Corps, Retired, has been a student and dear friend of Mr. King and the Karate Institute of America for nearly forty years. As is well known, the motto for the U.S. Marine Corps is semper fi (short for semper fidelis) meaning “always faithful,” and if there is one quality describing Lou Gacs more than any other, it is “always faithful.” No doubt about it.

“Gacs” (pronounced “gotch”) is a Hungarian name, but Captain Lou is USMC red, white and blue through and through. Joining the Marine Corps in the enlisted ranks, Lou worked his way up the ladder and retired with the rank of Captain. During his service career of decades, he performed various jobs from communications to combat. At the time of his Vietnam War deployment, he served in various capacities, such as a sniper and an aerial gunner, operating a .50 Cal machine gun from a helicopter. As history has noted, in one month he actually logged 300 missions in 25 days! That’s 12 per day! The large majority of the missions involved medivac and recon, i.e., going and getting troops who needed evacuation from hostile zones and situations. In true heroic fashion, Lou Gacs, always faithful, wanted to be where the action was, regardless of the potential danger to himself. But isn’t this the USMC way?

An extremely intelligent man, Lou has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Bio Chemistry from San Jose State University. Not being satisfied educationally, Lou earned a Masters of Science (MS) degree in Systems Management (designated “MSSM”) from the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering.

Academic degrees could not satisfy Lou’s drive for excellence. A martial arts instructor in his own right, he possesses multiple Black Belts from various martial art systems such as Kang Duk Kwan, Kukkiwon, Tae Kwon Do and Chung Do Kwan. His extensive martial arts background includes, but is not limited to, Muay Thai (Thailand), Arnis, Escrima and Kalintaw (Philippines), and Pencak Silat (Indonesia), Tang Soo Do, Hwarang Do, Kung Fu while at SJSU, and Kiado Ryu. He is a Licensed 5th Dan Okinawan Kenpo Instructor, as well as a Licensed 4th Dan Korean Karate Instructor in Ji Do Kwan. A member of the Ryuku Hon Kenpo Kobujyutsu Federation, Korean Tae Kwondo Association and Muay Thai World Council, Captain Gacs is one of the most well-rounded and accomplished martial arts practitioners on the planet!

During his time at the Karate Institute of America, Lou has helped many students improve their ability. His input has always been accepted with great appreciation and respect. In the following photo, Captain Gacs is seen holding a bag for a KIA student during a testing. Looking on is Thomas “Draco” Lindsay, KIA Black Belt #52.

While stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Captain Gacs, with his friend and fellow Vietnam Vet Captain Richard Van Meter, organized, led and hosted several successful open martial arts tournaments for thousands of martial artists—tournaments which always ran smoothly, had class and dignity.

In his retirement days, Lou is anything but stagnant. He is constantly on the move doing this and that. The man never stops. Check out the canopy covered martial arts obstacle course he built in his back yard. Pretty amazing, and fun! Notice all the stations, as well as the inscriptions on the tires, reflections of the man’s character.

How about this photo. Look at that punch—on target and perfectly structured.

As Lou executes a front kick to a convenient stack of tires, look at all the hanging bags and striking structures in the background. This man is focused, creative, talented—a one-of-a-kind original!

And here’s a rhythm bag he uses to help develop his quick and deadly hands.

Lou Gacs’s demeanor is exceptional. He has proven himself to be an extremely accomplished individual, a true tried-in-the-fire friend whom you can always count on to be there and have your back, whether you’re in a hostile war zone, back alley or a back yard. He is smart, tough, strong, humble, courageous, highly educated, devoted and dedicated to the Corps, his family, friends and country.

And speaking of dedicated, check the following inscription on the baseball cap photo.

Knowing Mr. King’s history of losing his own USAF fighter pilot father in Vietnam, the ever-thoughtful Captain Lou Gacs presented him with this deeply meaningful gift. The inscription addresses the number of military personnel who never returned from Vietnam and reads:

1959 to 1975

Captain Gacs is looking “strack” in his Class A USMC uniform, flanked by his parents. Look at all that fruit salad (ribbons and medals of his left chest). Absolutely awesome, Lou! Thanks for your service to our country. You are 1st Class all the way!

If we’re very lucky in life, we have friends, true friends; not the fair-weather variety who hang around only when times are good to glean for themselves the limelight of sunny days and warm nights, but the deeply devoted type who stick with you through thick and thin, ups and downs, stormy days and more tempestuous nights, even through the fires and ashes of decline, transformation and regeneration. Lou Gacs is such an individual, and the Karate Institute of America and its Founder, Richard Andrew King, are deeply grateful for his friendship, loyalty, devotion and service to our country. Semper Fi, Captain Lou—an inspiration of what it is to be forever true!

Feature of the Week: Balance Is Primary

(Available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle)

Balance Is Primary

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

Principle #4

Pages 21-24

Of all life’s skills with which to carry, remember this … Balance is Primary!

Anyone can teeter-totter but not everyone can balance. —Anonymous

Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance. —Pope John Paul II

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. —Euripides (480–406 BC)

Arguably, the greatest of life’s skills is balance. With it, life is potentially harmonious, productive, meaningful. Without it, life is extremely challenging, bringing a torrent of angst, confusion, destruction, non-productivity and unhappiness. When the teeter-totter is constantly going up and down, how can stability be maintained? It can’t, and where there is no stability, there is, axiomatically, instability and all of its attending issues and problems.

The principle of balance is echoed in Aristotle’s Golden Mean, the desirable midpoint between two extremes. Although less clear in its understanding, Confucius expounded what he called The Doctrine of the Mean. Both of these timeless philosophers lived three hundred and two hundred years BC, Aristotle predating Confucius by approximately one hundred years.

Yet, their message rings true throughout time: balance is primary and without balance the hope for a productive, fulfilling and meaningful life is compromised, if not totally negated.

Although the physical aspect of balance is readily apparent in martial arts training, it is no less critical to develop emotional, psychological and spiritual balance as well. If any one of these facets is missing in our character make-up, there will be a chink in our armor potentially creating problems for us in life. Therefore, it is vitally important that we constantly work to achieve a state of balance in all things.

It is not easy to achieve balance. Try standing on one leg for any length of time. It’s difficult. Stand on an inflated rubber dome, disk or gymnastics balance beam and the task becomes even more difficult. Still need more challenge? Try these balance exercises with your eyes closed. As time in the balance position increases, the challenge becomes practically overwhelming, resulting in falling off the mark. If standing on one foot is not challenging enough, try a handstand on the ground. Then proceed to parallel bars, gymnastic rings or the balance beam again. Hardly an easy skill. Even the best gymnast cannot hold his balance point for more than a few minutes on any given apparatus.

It is through these exercises that we understand balance is a dynamic and active process, not a passive one. Our mind, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints are all continually moving to keep us centered. We learn from such exercises that balance is truly a difficult state to maintain, not just in a physical sense, but also in a mental, emotional and spiritual sense as well. Thus, leading a successful life becomes a continual struggle and is definitely not a passive activity but an energetic and constantly dynamic one.

One of the main ingredients of balance is concentration, a focus of our attention on the alignments that keep all of our body parts in sync in the physical realm. When standing on one foot, for example, the key to balance is to insure that our head, shoulders, hips, supporting knee, ankle, foot and our body’s center line are properly aligned. Thus, balance becomes a problem of alignment. To simply try and balance on one foot doesn’t do us much good because there’s no concrete understanding of what creates balance. But when we focus on the alignment of the parts responsible for the balance, the probability of success increases dramatically.

It is no different when we are working to keep our life in balance except that we have to expand our focus to include our mind, heart, spirit, health, finances, relationships, etc. – all aspects that are necessary to life and which, if in the proper alignment, help insure a successful life through the principle of balance. Once we lose our focus, our alignment goes and so our balance goes and with it the peace that would be generated from a life of equanimity.

It is difficult to maintain balance in this world because it is based on a bipolar structure—the interplay of opposites. The ancient Yin/Yang symbol of the Chinese Tao beautifully depicts this ebb and flow of opposite energies: positive/negative; light/dark; male/female; hard/soft; day/night; up/down; hot/cold; happy/sad; good/bad and so forth. In this world the great cosmic pendulum is forever swinging back and forth from one polarity to the other and in such a constantly changing environment it is difficult to maintain balance, which is why mystics call this earth the “plane of struggle,” and why martial arts practice focuses on teaching and learning the virtue of balance. And what is the key to balance? Concentration.

Photo of the Week: Coming Soon! The Karate Consciousness — From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master

Front Cover

Cover artist: Adam “Frog” Mahan

Back Cover

The Karate Consciousness – From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master is dedicated to the philosophy that karate is both an excellent system for the integration of body, mind and spirit as well as an excellent vehicle for the evolution of one’s consciousness of life from a mundane perspective to a more elevated and edified reality.

Just as many martial arts systems are comprised of an ascending ladder of colored belts to designate accomplishment, so life is also comprised of an ascending ladder of levels of consciousness from worldly to divine.

The Karate Consciousness – From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master shares concepts and perspectives which may help the karate practitioner in climbing the “Ladder of Consciousness.” Among such concepts are the Power in the Flock Syndrome, the Continuum, the D.C. Factor, the Great Law of Karma and much more.

Photo of the Week: Striker’s on the Move—Upward!

Judy “Striker” Gompf is back on track and on the move toward her Purple Belt and a new career. Having taken some time off, she is diligently practicing her Kiado-Ryu forms, techniques, and fighting skills, as well as cross training. She recently set a new personal best of 800 lunges! That’s right, 800! Quite a feat, especially after only being able to do 20 lunges at a time when she first started. Talk about determination! She’s got it in spades. As a result, there’s a massive amount of strength in Striker’s legs, so don’t get kicked!

Every KIA student should recognize the following pose. In which kata is it the centerpiece? Nice artistry—both in karate form and photographic composition.

Can’t forget those hard bows! What a great park to work out in!

Wouldn’t want to get hit with that knife-edge kick! Ouch! Remember the 800 lunges?

Judy is a single mom of two and a real California surfer chick (her hometown is Laguna Beach!). She has worked in the legal field for nearly two decades and is now applying her talents to the real estate business as an agent with Keller-Williams Realty out of their Mission Viejo office. Being a true SoCal/Laguna Beach resident her whole life, nobody knows the South Coast like the KIA’s own Judy “Striker” Gompf. If you need help with your real estate needs, her contact info is:; cell 949-813-9430. The Karate Institute of America wishes Striker all the best in this new phase of her life’s journey!

Photo of the Week: KIA Authoress Lands Chicken Soup for the Soul Inclusion in Its 2017 “Military Families” Edition!

Nicole “Goldilocks” Hackler—KIA Faithful and Marine Corps wife to retired husband, Warren—has added the title of “Authoress” to her many accomplishments. Congratulations, Goldilocks!

Nicole’s poem, A Knock on the Door, is included in the 2017 edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Military Families, 101 Stories about the Force Behind the Forces.

Lovely as always, and with her contagious effervescent personality, as always, Goldilocks poses with the book that has put her on the map of published authors. Her poem, A Knock on the Door, is featured on pages 116/117. It is a poignant poetic description of the fear that every military wife or spouse dreads—a knock on the door, a knock which can change one’s life in the blink of an eye, a knock whose potential message makes one’s heart stop cold. Her poem skillfully captures the haunting and frightening feeling that explodes when one hears that “knock.”

“The best thing about all this,” she states, is that “All royalties from the book are donated to the USO, an organization that is near and dear to both my heart and Warren’s.” The book is available at Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle for under $10, which can be found by following the link above.

Such a wonderful, meaningful and well-deserved contribution, Goldilocks! We are immensely proud of you, your literary skills, and being the wife of a United States Marine. The KIA knows all too well the immense sacrifices military wives, spouses, and families make which most often go unrecognized. Thanks for your creative efforts, and may this initial foray into publishing set you on the road to greater authorial accomplishments!

Photo of the Week: Last Week: One & Done. This Week: One & Dead

One & Dead

Sadly, this week’s feature reveals the power of one punch, one cowardly sucker punch which ended the life of a forty-five year old father of five children, Louie Campos.

The original story, written by Melissa MacBride:

A follow-up story by ABC News reports that the murderer, an ex-felon, has been arrested and awaits trial:

Two major lessons can be learned from this tragedy:

  1. A single punch can be lethal.
  2. Constant vigilance is critical, especially in today’s world. One can never drop his/her guard, ever. Each of us must live in a constant state of awareness. This has always been the philosophy of the KIA and the tragic murder of Louie Campos reiterates its sad but undeniable truth.

The Karate Institute of America sends its deepest sympathies to Mrs. Campos, their five children and the entire Campos family. RIP – Louie Campos. Be well, Campos family.

Photo of the Week: One & Done

Black Belt vs. Pimp (Knowledge vs. Stupidity)

Movies are filled with fight scenes that go on forever and ever, giving people the illusion that such extended engagements are the reality of street fights. Not so when a well-trained Black Belt is involved.

The following four-part screen cap (video) reveals how knowledge triumphs in many situations, and in this case it is “one and done.” As the narration of the video states, the black dude is a pimp who assaults a Black Belt named Jay Lee, who, upon assault from the pimp, preempts the attacker and knocks the dude out with one blow, in what appears to be a lead armbar to the head/neck area.

Photo #1. Pimp aggresses against the Black Belt (Jay Lee). Notice JL’s stance—sideways and relaxed.

Photos #2 & #3. Pimp continues his aggression, closes the distance, arms down—a major “No-No!”

Photo #4. Jay Lee stops the attacker with a preemptive blow to the head/neck area with what appears to be an armbar.

A “one & done” knockout occurs. Check out the video. Arrogance, ignorance and aggression are a hazardous triumvirate to be sure!

This video teaches many things, and certainly one of the most salient truths is that knowledge is power and ignorance is certainly not bliss!

Photo of the Week: Great Lady, Great Leader

Margaret Thatcher served Great Britain as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. The first woman to have held the PM position, she was not only a great lady but a great leader—tough, smart, and uncompromising, qualities which garnered her the appellation of “The Iron Lady.”

Today’s world could definitely benefit from more of Thatcher’s leadership, strength and courage. The Karate Institute of America applauds her, especially in her belief of self-responsibility and personal ownership—qualities any KIA student understands.

For example, one of her most powerful and poignant quotes is:

If you want to cut your own throat, don’t come to me for a bandage.

Many people today, especially young people, would do well to emulate this message. Too many individuals are sacrificing their individual sovereignty by abdicating their power to others, rather than embracing their own power and taking charge of their own lives, sans interference, even help, from a dependence-oriented mass mindset and governmental overreach.

People are made strong by being made to do things for themselves, to stand up and be counted, to be strong, courageous, self-reliant, resourceful, committed, determined, dedicated, resolute. Every KIA Black Belt understands this. Obviously, so does Margaret Thatcher, the great Iron Lady of Great Britain.

Margaret Thatcher

Photo of the Week: Great Words From a Great President

Perseverance and Spirit have done Wonders in all ages.

These words from George Washington inspire us all to be better, to do better, to never quit and to remember the Spirit within us.

Isn’t it interesting how all truly great leaders inspire and encourage those to whom they have been given the mantel of leadership, as opposed to those so-called leaders who try to divide men and weaken their spirits in order to control and subjugate them.

Great Words From A Great President