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Photo of the Week: Smasher Tests for Orange Belt

Smasher Tests for Orange Belt

This four photo sequence features some of Aidan “Smasher” Ligtvoet’s Orange Belt test:

  1. instructions from Mr. King;
  2. bowing in with the Black Belts;
  3. looking determined and focused during his “burn;”
  4. fighting with 4th Dan Black Belt, Kim “Cultivator” Thomas.

Aidan has come a long way since he began his Kiado-Ryu journey, growing from a boy to a young man. We are extremely proud of what he has accomplished and how he has matured. Ask him what “Your Life, Your Responsibility” means and he can give you an excellent explanation. Why? Because he’s lived it through his quest for Orange Belt, as all Karate Institute of America students themselves learn.

More pics next week. Stay tuned.

Note: photos owned and copyrighted by Ed Ligtvoet. All rights reserved. Published with permission.

Photo of the Week: Before Cell Phones & Computers

Before Cell Phones & Computers

It may seem inconceivable but there was a time before cell phones and computers, a time when people were engaged in actively pursuing meaningful goals and achievements.

This dual photo (courtesy of and copyright by Genny “Cougar” Edge) was such a time. The year was 1986. The event – a group testing at the Karate Institute of America. It seems like yesterday, but at the time of this publication that was a mere 29 years ago!

In this tandem snapshot of that event, there are 15 individuals who were either Black Belts or who would become Black Belts. For those of you who remember, can you find these people …

Steven Ho, Gerry Gentry, Dr. Jacobson, Colin Lee, Bob Schreck, Don Quinn, Danny Asay, Rose Hoberg, Genny Edge, Clark Hyman, Jerry Alston, Terry Bass, Bob MacFarlane, Larry Vetter, Mr. King? Enjoy the hunt!

Photo of the Week: Black Belt Master Artisan

Black Belt Master Artisan

Looking like the iconic true artiste, Dave “Rugman” Sampson allows us a look into his everyday life as a custom carpet artisan and part owner of MH Custom Carpets in Laguna Hills, CA.

Rugman is the 42nd Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America, receiving his 1st Dan rank on 24 February 1996. His elder son, Phillip, aka, “Ringer,” is the 33rd Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu, receiving his 1st Dan ranking on 20 August 1994.

Dave is one of the finest gentlemen you will ever meet – gracious, humble, kind, extremely generous and . . . hysterically funny. His wit is so sharp, his mind so fast that he could be a stand-up comedian if he chose to be so.

In reference to his artistic talents, Rugman is also a voice-over specialist, working for major companies in his part time. Too, he is a great cameraman, videographer, and director. With his vast experience in the Marine Corps as a newsman, Rugman was the dynamic core of public access TV shows such as Black Belt Masters Showcase, Horizons 2000 and The Mane Stage.

But all artists usually need a consistent day job, hence his involvement in MH Custom Carpets. In fact, it was Dave Sampson who designed and crafted the KIA’s carpeting in its last studio, as the following photos reveal.

Here is of the KIA’s logo which Rugman sewed into the actual carpet.

Circle Logo

And here is a close up of the Black Belt at its center. Awesome!

Belt Logo

We are so blessed to have Dave Sampson as one of the outstanding individuals enriching our Karate Institute of America legacy. Thank you, Rugman, for all you have done for us, for your exquisite talent, generosity, irrepressible personality, faithful and devoted friendship throughout these many decades.

Photo of the Week: The Giant of the Kiado-Ryu

The Giant of the Kiado-Ryu

Thomas Lindsey, aka “Draco,” is truly the giant of the Karate Institute of America. He hooked-up with Mr. King to say his farewell last week. He, his wife Michele and family, will be leaving the West Coast to establish a new life on the East Coast this month.

Draco is the 52nd Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu, earning his 1st Dan ranking on 13 December 1997. Although projecting a fearsome presence, Thomas is a gentle giant. Never once in his entire martial arts journey to Black Belt did he ever hurt anyone sparring. As a fighter, he had great control.

Thomas Lindsey is also an extremely smart, dignified, respectful human being…and classy—setting up a luncheon appointment to say his good-byes. Albeit short, it was a wonderful time of getting caught up and sharing old stories of the glory days of the Kiado-Ryu—days before cell phones and computers were commonplace; days where people spent time developing their marital arts skills in pursuit of a KIA Black Belt and its significance as a most noteworthy accomplishment.

Draco will be missed, no doubt. Luckily and thankfully, technology brings people together instantly at the click of a mouse or the touch of a keypad – a long distance from the time people actually had to write letters and send them by snail mail, often waiting weeks, if not months, for a return response; a time of which the young ones in today’s world have no experience. Truly, life changes and time marches on, waiting for no man.

Speaking for the entire Karate Institute of America, we want to say, “Thanks for the great and memorable times, Draco! We will miss you but wish you and your family all the best as you begin a new and adventurous phase of your life.”

Note: Draco’s email will remain the same. For those of you who would like his contact information, connect with Mr. King.

Photo of the Week: Smasher OB Prep

Smasher OB Prep

Aiden “Smasher” Ligtvoet, lookin’ pretty spiffy in his grey and red stripped pants, prepares for his Orange Belt test as he plants one of his powerful right punches squarely on Bob’s chin. Smasher, a very smart and talented young man, has been working very hard lately, and we look forward to witnessing him move to the next level very soon!

Photo of the Week: Don’t Forget the Heroes

Don't Forget the Heroes

Although written for Vietnam era military service personnel at the time, Don’t Forget the Heroes is a patriotic, passionate and moving tribute to all American men and women who serve, are serving and will serve the “Flag of the Free,” especially those who have paid, and will pay, the ultimate price in defense of liberty.

Endorsed by General Norman Schwarzkopf and Ross Perot …

“Don’t Forget the Heroes” is a wonderful tribute to all of us who served in Vietnam, both the living and the dead, and the families at home who also paid a price for loving a service member.

~ H. Norman Schwarzkopf-General, U.S. Army, Ret.

This CD will mean a great deal to everyone who lost a loved one in Vietnam, and will serve as a poignant reminder to every American that we should never forget those who sacrifice their lives for our country.

~ Ross Perot

Download the Full Song for free.

Photo of the Week: Beauty & the Bob

Beauty & The Bob

Hannah “Hannibal” Shamassian delivers, joyfully, a palm thrust to Bob during her workout. Notice the bend in Bob’s neck. Ouch! And Hannah’s eyes—totally focused. Too, check out her right hand. It’s perfectly placed and ready to deliver its own strike. Poor Bob. At least his pain is at the hand of one of the sweetest martial artists in KIA history. And don’t think this chick can’t hit. Believe me, she can…and does. I have the bruises to prove it!

Photo of the Week: Major Martial Arts & Life Principle

Major Martial Arts & Life Principle

Balance is Primary. This is one of the most critical principles in martial arts and life. When things are out of balance—physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually—complications ensue. We simply cannot have a substantive, healthy, harmonious life if we are out of balance.

As Euripides (480 to 406 BCE) stated …

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life.

Pope John Paul II observed …

Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance.


The Black Belt Book of Life – Secrets of a Martial Arts Master Section #4, pages 21 to 24.

Photo of the Week: Diamond Casting

Diamond Casting

This is one of the fundamental principles of the Karate Institute of America. Do you want to be a diamond or a chunk of coal? If you choose to be a diamond, you must be willing to embrace the heat, pressure and time necessary to be a gem of immense value. If you choose to be an ordinary chunk of coal, well, you’ll have lots of company.

Photo of the Week: Striker Strikes Orange!

Striker Strikes Orange!

With a beaming and relieved smile, Judy “Striker” Gompf poses with Mr. King after her successful Orange Belt test. Having moved out of the area, Striker was able to return and finish her goal. By the way, her basics were just as good as they were when she moved over a year ago. She didn’t skip a beat. This is such a great testimony to her persistence and determination, which her following inspirational quote corroborates:

No matter where life leads you or how long it takes you to get to your goal, don’t give up, even if you want to throw up during your karate test, fight through it and get it done.

— Judy “Striker” Gompf

As a side note, Striker is seeking employment in the legal field in Orange County. She has extensive experience, so if any law firms or associated companies are looking for an excellent addition to their organization, contact Mr. King (King @ Kiado-Ryu.com) and he’ll get you connected.