Kiado-Ryu Karate

Welcome to the Karate Institute of America

Feature of the Week: The Positive Side of Suffering

Studying martial arts certainly has its sufferings, especially if one dedicates his life to it. In this light, one would be well-served to remember the famous words of Lebanese-American author, painter and poet Khalil Gibran.

The Positive Side of Suffering

Feature of the Week: Character Must Precede Prowess

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

(Principle #9; pages 39-40)

In the wisdom of time
with its messages ageless,
the pinnacle of all is that
Character Must Precede Prowess.


The first essential step to a spiritual life is character.
One may deceive one’s friends, relatives and even
oneself, but the Power within is not deceived.

~ Saint Sawan Singh, 20th Century


For he who is honest is noble, whatever his fortunes or birth.

~ Alice Cary (Nobility)


Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.

~ Dr. Albert Einstein


An honest man’s the noblest work of God.

~ Alexander Pope


IF we are to live with a noble and elevated spirit, regardless of our personal comfort, it is axiomatic that we realize that Character Must Precede Prowess. In other words, character must come first before our martial arts rank, status, championships, name, fame, skill, billfold, bank account, titles on the door, trophies on the shelf, name plates on the desk, headlines in the local society column or records in the record book. Without a high ethical and moral character, of what true value is our life? Regardless of our achievements, if we lack a sound character, how can we be truly satisfied with ourselves as human beings and the legacy we will leave upon the earth when our last breath is expended?

Yet, how often is the great ideal of personal character sacrificed for the passing pleasures, ephemeral accomplishments and empty titles of this world? Who is there, what is there that extols the nobility of personal character? Where are the virtue schools in our society? Where are the headlines praising those whose lives are wrapped with the garments of virtue? For the most part, those who are lauded, applauded and praised in a daze are saturated with energies far from that which speaks to a noble character.

Thankfully, there are higher powers that recognize and reward higher values and virtues. As martial artists, as those individuals on a path of self-improvement and personal integration, we should be one part of society that teaches and expresses that which is noble, good, decent, kind, caring, compassionate and magnanimous. If not us, then who?

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

Photo of the Week: Striker Poised to Strike

Having been studying and working diligently, Judy “Striker” Gompf is poised to achieve her Purple Belt ranking in the near future. Her basic KIA fundamentals, fighting skills, and kata proficiency are progressing extremely well. We look forward to witnessing her next test and then on and beyond, working up the ladder to The Wall.

Striker, a mother of two children, has multiple collegiate degrees. Serving the SoCal area, she is a “Veterans Approved” agent for Keller Williams Realty (her business card is below).

Striker Poised to Strike

Feature of the Week: “Smasher” the Cowboy

Karate Institute of America Orange Belt Aidan “Smasher” Ligtvoet is expanding his wide interests to include horsemanship and settling in to the cowboy lifestyle. Here he is at the rail with his new equine buddy while he’s all duded up in boots, jeans, kerchief and riding helmet. Dig those glasses, too. Looking cool, man!

Catching a rear side look at a young man and his horse. Smasher is extremely smart, loves horses, and will make a great equestrian. He’s attentive to every little detail and has done a lot of reading and research into horses and how to care for them.

Time to get mounted!

As every good horseman knows, after every ride you’ve got to take care of your best friend—showering, brushing, grooming, cleaning those delicate feet and making sure he’s well fed.

Changing his riding helmet for a very cool looking black cowboy hat, Smasher walks off into the sunset after a great day of being a cowboy and learning about cowboy ways!

Feature of the Week: Who Can Punch Harder, Muscle Guys or Skinny Guys?

Who Can Punch Harder, Muscle Guys or Skinny Guys?

(photos courtesy of Google images)

One of the proverbial questions asked in martial arts is, “Who can punch harder, muscle guys or skinny guys?” The answer may surprise you. As in all cases, the answer rests in technique and speed. Which would you prefer to get hit with, a medicine ball or a bullet fired from a .45 caliber pistol?

On the Fight Science YouTube channel their answer is:

In reality the issue of whether bigger guys can punch harder relates more to the ability to move your body mass quickly over short distance.

The Karate Institute of America has always taught the physics of power, which are based in speed and change of momentum—physics principles known to all first rate martial artists. King’s Karate has instructional DVDs on “Power Punching,” which detail the secrets of generating dynamic power regardless of size. The DVDs can be found at the King’s Karate store and at Amazon.

King's Karate: Power Punching Series

Feature of the Week: With Your Shield or on It!

Spartan women expected their husbands and sons to be brave in war. Hence the phrase, With your shield or on it. In other words: if victorious in battle, come back with your shield; if dead, be carried back home on your shield, but don’t come back having turned your back on the enemy, thus retreating as a coward.

How many men and boys today would be benefited if their mothers had the same convictions and strength as Spartan women? Such women do exist today, of course, and the Karate Institute of America applauds their strength, courage and ability in turning young boys into strong, courageous, fearless men who would rather die with honor than slink away in cowardice.

With Your Shield Or On It!

Feature of the Week: The Secret Message of Robin Hood’s Sword

If you saw the movie Robin Hood (2010) featuring Russel Crowe and Cate Blanchett, you are quite familiar with the core message of the film, a message applicable to every human being in every age regardless of gender, culture, race, religion, language or nationality.

That message, encrypted on the hilt of Robin Hood’s sword, is: RISE & RISE AGAIN UNTIL LAMBS BECOME LIONS.

The Secret Message of Robin Hood's Sword

Such a message reminds us to never quit, never give up, ever, and if we fall down to get back up and keep going until we succeed. It is the natural order of success in any endeavor. It is a universal truth reminding us of its simple but powerful life lesson: Rise & Rise Again Until Lambs Become Lions, until we become lions. This potent life principle is the one common trait of all Karate Institute of America Black Belts. Every one of these current 64 distinguished individuals never quit. They endured the heat, pressure and time of the journey until they succeeded and in so doing became the foundational legacy of the Kiado-Ryu; truly, an inspirational group of souls who, through their own sweat, toil and desire to succeed, blazed a path for others to follow.

Feature of the Week: Hannibal the Barbarian

Hannibal Barca of Carthage was one of the greatest military commanders in history. Hannibal is famous for marching his army of men and war elephants over the Pyrenees and the Alps in an effort to conquer Rome. He won three distinct battles in Italy—Trebia, Lake Trasimene and Cannae—before being defeated by the Roman general Scipio Africanus, himself an historic general of immense stature, at the Battle of Zama.

Hannibal’s famous quote, I will either find a way or make one, is a powerful declaration of positive determination containing a lesson for us all as we struggle through the ups and downs of our destinies.

Hannibal the Barbarian

Feature of the Week: True Power Flows, Not Shows

The Black Belt Book of Life

From dusk to dawn the world goes
circling sun with highs and lows;
within this journey Greatness knows
True Power Flows Not Shows.


Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers run silently.

~ and ~

Things that are empty make a noise;
the full is always quiet.

~ Buddha

True Power Flows, Not Shows

This is a very simple truth which needs no great explanation. If we are truly powerful, our power will flow from us as easily as water down a mountain. It will not be forced. It need not be announced. It will just flow and it will flow silently as great rivers flow silently.

It’s a sure bet that those who make a great effort to be powerful, to be dominant, to be imposing are simply trying to express externally what they lack internally—a healthy, whole and integrated sense of self. To repeat Margaret Thatcher’s statement: Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. Likewise, in being a Black Belt if we have to tell people we are powerful to substantiate our confidence, or make some external show or create some “noise” to validate our achievement, we would be well-served to evaluate our substantive sense of self. In other words, true power should flow from a Black Belt naturally with neither declaration or exhibition. So should it be for all intrinsically powerful people. If they are truly powerful, their power will flow from them easily, effortlessly, quietly.

On a personal note, in my competitive days, the fighters that gave me pause and coalesced my attention to action were not the ones with the loud mouths and ostentatious displays of power, but those who were relaxed, calm, composed, quiet, confident and self-assured. They needed no show. They knew who they were and what their skills were. They were true warriors. Their power was genuine and they knew it. Subsequently, their power flowed . . . silently, and never showed until the moment of truth when the battle engaged.