Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Photo of the Week: Goldilocks & the Brown Bears

One of the wonderful aspects of the Karate Institute of America is the number of enduring relationships created over the years. One of the most precious is that of “Goldilocks and the Brown Bears,” i.e., Nicole Hackler, Lori and Jenny Brown.

Goldilocks & The Brown Bears

From left to right: Jenny, Nicole, Lorie. Summer, 2016, SoCal

This summer Nicole had a chance to visit SoCal and she was able to connect with her KIA buddies, Lori and Jenny. Of their relationships, Goldilocks writes:

A true example of a friendship borne of the KIA, and one that is still very much alive and kicking after 21+ years! Can you believe it’s been that long? There wouldn’t BE this incredible friendship without the catalyst of the KIA!

How sweet their relationship is! And how grateful we are to have these terrific ladies as part of our ever-enduring Karate Institute of America legacy.

Photo of the Week: Just Call Her “Nuke”

She’s known to her friends as Lauren; to her former AP teachers as Ms. Haller; to her boyfriend, Kiado-Ryu Black Belt #64, Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet, as his gorgeous girlfriend. However, to the Karate Institute of America she’s known by her callsign, “Nuke.”

Why “Nuke?” Just take a couple of her back kicks to any part of your body and you’ll know why, painfully, if not worse! That is if you’re still standing . . . and conscious.

Lauren “Nuke” Haller was an athlete and honor student in high school; now off to college. She’s an excellent example of what it is to be a self-motivated, responsible, respectful, intelligent, mature, hard working and optimistic young woman. Always manifesting an embracing smile, Nuke is a tribute to those of her generation.

Nuke learning the basics of punching.

Raptor and Nuke—a well-suited and gorgeous couple. Having met in high school, they are now off to college!

How beautiful is this couple! Here they are on prom night. Those smiles are truly genuine. No false posing here.

And another one just for fun. So purely innocent.

These two young people—Lauren Haller and Tristan Ligtvoet—are the kind of individuals that give hope to humanity. They are both highly intelligent, kind, caring, respectful, responsible, honest, hard-working, and loyal. Both of them are 1st Class all the way.

The KIA has been extremely blessed to have Raptor and his family as part of our family for a decade. Now, his loving girlfriend, Lauren, is joining him at the KIA.

Nuke did not get her callsign for being wimpish. And she didn’t name herself. She earned that moniker as a result of the immense raw power she generates. And don’t be fooled by that beautiful smile. Lauren “Nuke” Haller is one tough chick you definitely want on your side! We at the KIA are grateful to have her join our martial arts family and look forward to sharing in her Kiado-Ryu progress.

Photo of the Week: A Touch of Picasso at the KIA

This is fun. Mike Shamassian, Hannibal’s father, applied a little Picasso artistry to several photos of his daughter’s Purple Belt test. They’re very unique! Enjoy.

Hannah and her father, Mike

Hannah’s brother, Josh; Mrs. Shamassian; Mr. King

Hannah, Master Thomas, Tristan Ligtvoet, Mr. King

Hannah and Mr. King

Photo of the Week: Hannibal’s Purple Horizon

Hannah “Hannibal” Shamassian has been spying a Purple Horizon for some time now. On 21 July 2016, she crossed that horizon through great determination, persistence and an undying will—all met to the thunderous applause and approval of those who witnessed her accomplishment. Way to go, Hannah! Great job! You are truly an inspiration, the epitome of persistence and the manifestation of the great British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s eternal words: Never, never, never, never give up!

These first few photos show Hannah prepping for her test. She’s not a little girl any more. She’s grown into a lovely young woman, who now has acquired her driving permit!

Unfortunately, no photos were taken during Hannah’s test. People were fixated on watching her multi-layer performance of kata, basic fundamentals, kicks, fighting skills and 360 drills. Following are photos of her large family support base, many of whom dressed with purple accoutrements to support her in her quest for a Purple Belt. What a great family and one with such a great collective, supportive, nurturing HEART!

Hannah’s extended family. Such sincere and generous support.

Hannah’s immediate family. Mr. Shamassian, Hannah, Mrs. Shamassian and brother Josh.

Proud moment! Mr. Shamassian, Mr. King, Hannah, Mrs. Shamassian, brother Josh

Hannah with the three attending Black Belts: Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet, Mr. King, Hannah, Master Kim “Cultivator” Thomas.

You’re awesome, Hannah, and a true inspiration! Keep up the great work. We all benefit from your determination to achieve by never, ever quitting! You are a great tribute to the Karate Institute of America and the Kiado-Ryu system of martial arts.

Photo of the Week: Wildcat on the Move

As nature has her wildcats, so does the Karate Institute of America, and our Wildcat, like Nature’s, is on the move!

Anna “Wildcat” Griffin is the 55th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu. She began her KIA journey at age 11. In 1998 she earned her 1st Dan Black Belt rating. True to her callsign, Wildcat is as tough as they come and a true legend in KIA history.

Anna, a former United States Army veteran of eight years, relocated from the central plains of the U.S. to the Northwest where she is now working in the insurance field. Last week she paid us a visit when she traveled to SoCal to help her parents relocate to her neck of the woods, where much of her family is now living.

We were really happy to share a moment together for a mid-morning brew.

Here is a photo of Anna’s always smiling face and sunny disposition. She credits her success in life to the strong and loving support of her entire family, supported by a devout and uncompromising belief in God—wonderful qualities in an age that is doing its best to deny the natural connections we all have to the Divine.

And a selfie with Mr. King

Wildcat even took the time to join our Black Belt class. Her brother, James “Psycho” Griffin (KIA Black Belt #60), also stopped in to work out. It is so fun to work with Kiado-Ryu Black Belts. Wildcat’s and Psycho’s skills are still sharp and deadly, and my-o-my how fast they pick things up. It’s awesome.

After a light workout, Cultivator had an opportunity to pose with the two Griffins.

Then it was Mr. King’s privilege and honor to share a photo of these two wonderfully gifted, humble, courageous, honorable and, frankly, lovely individuals and KIA Black Belts through and through.

We wish all of the Griffins a prosperous and healthy life as they join together in their new environs in the Northwest. God Speed and blessings to you all, and thank you so very much for being such a dynamic and edifying presence to the Karate Institute of America throughout the last three decades!

Photo of the Week: KIA Principle #13: Substance Before Symbol

KIA Principle #13: Substance Before Symbol

In so many ways the civilization of the 21st Century lives in the delusion that symbol is more important than substance; that the character of who we are has been turned inside-out and upside-down to where it’s more important to be superficially adorned with the trappings of celebrity, fame, name, power, wealth, status, popularity and gamesmanship than it is to be anchored in principles of character, humility, honesty, honor, dignity, purity and substance.

When we sacrifice substance for symbol, we destroy the nobility inherent in our spirit and play the role of clown while foregoing the crown of all that is decent, whole and noble.

The full article is featured in: The Black Belt Book of Life, Secrets of a Martial Arts Master, Principle #13, page 51, available at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle.

The Black Belt Book of Life

Photo of the Week: Black Belt in Blue

Always with a smiling, optimistic, positive attitude is Terry “Slider” Bass, the 50th Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America, pictured here in his ubiquitous blue gi. Slider achieved his 1st Dan on 13 December 1997.

Black Belt in Blue

Possessing a strong, noble and generous character, Slider has been a staunch supporter of the KIA and other students, often attending the Black Belt tests of prospective candidates.

As a fighter, Terry is very crafty, skilled, determined. He also loves to mix it up when he can, having sparred often with fellow KIA Black Belt, Dan “Basai” Asay during a fifteen year period, which unfortunately terminated due to their personal injuries.

Terry and his lovely wife Liz recently visited Istanbul, Turkey, in August of 2015 while on a Mediterranean Cruise. It was Slider’s first time visiting that part of the world.

Two of Slider’s current passions are mountain biking and tennis, which he played in high school. He also loves taking his biking to multiple levels—for exercise and socializing and also, as he says, for the “crazy downhill stuff for thrills, chills and fun.” The following two photos are of his jaunts to Mammoth Mountain in Northern California..

Hey, Slider! You should get together with Mike “Shooter” Benedict. He also loves mountain biking. You two can form a professional team, “Slider & Shooter”—Black Belt Bikers!

Oh, and for the public, here’s a story from one of Terry’s Brown Belt tests. It was late in the test, well past midnight, a test which had begun at 6:00pm. Terry and the other candidates were totally exhausted at the end of the test, as well they should be. Thinking the exam was over, Whitefire requested Slider to come to the center of the testing floor. Slider seemed puzzled. Once there, Whitefire asked him to do Institute Form #4, one of the KIA’s most difficult katas, again! When asked, the expression on Slider’s face was priceless. OMG, if looks could kill! Obviously, he did not appreciate being requested to do Institute Form #4 yet another time, especially after midnight, more especially after being extremely tuckered out. Yet, true to his character, Slider executed the kata, and you know what? It was an awesome performance, the best of the evening, creating a KIA memory of dedication, devotion and excellence that will live in the annuals of the KIA forever! Way to go, Slider!

Terry has been working for First American Title as a Software developer for the past nine years.

Stay well, Slider. All the best to you and Liz, and thanks for your positive, undying and unyielding spirit, which has had a marvelously positive effect on all of us.

Photo of the Week: Shuto of the “Hand Sword”

Swords are sharp…and cutting. The word “Shuto” is defined as a hand used like a sword in striking. Jerry “Shuto” Alston, the 28th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu (1994), not only used his hands as cutting implements on his opponents but he also used his mind as a cutting instrument to whittle his adversaries down to size.

In fact, one of Shuto’s greatest assets, if not his greatest asset, is his mind. Jerry Alston is smart, sneaky smart, and he has won many competitions and matches using his number one weapon—his intellect.

In this pictorial collage we get a glimpse of Jerry’s prowess, skill which led him to many competitive championships in martial arts kata, group performance, and self-defense events. He, no doubt, would have had more championships if Whitefire, lacking control, had not knocked him out a couple times during practice and even bounced his (Shuto’s) head off the floor during a self-defense competition, which they won no less! I guess bouncing heads off the floor influenced the judges enough to give Shuto and Whitefire the championship!

Shuto of the "Hand Sword"

Posing with Jerry in this 1987 photo taken at the Karate Institute of America in Lake Forest, CA, are Genny “Cougar” Edge (blue belt) and Rose “Renegade” Hoberg (then Guck; green belt). (Photo is owned and copyrighted by Genny Edge)

Jerry and his wife, Dawn, have been married for 19 years. Dawn is multifaceted, her interests centering around art in its many forms. She has run a small antique business and is currently studying fashion design.

Jerry is now Senior V.P. of Central Engineering at QLogic Corp where he has worked for 30 years. QLogic makes high speed networking infrastructure products for fibre channel and Ethernet, with a focus on host adapters, switches, ASICs and boards.

One of Jerry’s hobbies is music engineering. In fact, he and fellow Black Belt Steve Vertun (KIA Black Belt #39) will be publishing a music CD soon, so be looking for it. Pretty creative these KIA Black Belts!

For fun, Shuto has taken up golf and plays every Saturday and Sunday! He belongs to the local Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club. His favorite golf courses are Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.

And get this…Jerry “Shuto” Alston is such an accomplished golfer (thanks to his KIA martial arts training, of course), that he has a “Hole-in-1” to his credit! Well, maybe not because of his martial arts training, but maybe a just a little. His fabulous “Hole-in-1” serendipitously occurred on his 54th birthday (5 March 2011)! Need proof? Check out the following photos, the second of which is Jerry picking up his now famous “Hole-in-1” golf ball from its cup.

How sweet it is and&hellp;how very rare! Great job, Shuto!

As you can see, Shuto is still looking very young while the old guy in the red shirt is aging quite rapidly. Yet, we can still walk, laugh, and enjoy memorable times together.

As always, it is absolutely wonderful to reconnect with Karate Institute of America students. We were all such a dynamic part of everyone’s life during that time of our lives, and it was, indeed, a memorable, positive and worthy time.