Nicole “Goldilocks” Hackler has been a staunch KIA family member since the
1980s when her husband, Warren, a United States Marine, was stationed at
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Times have changed a bit, but here is a
photo of them at a U.S. Marine Corps function looking beautiful and handsome.
Such a power couple!
Time marches on. The following photo of four lovely and talented KIA women was
taken in the 1990s. Behind a kneeling Goldilocks are (left to right:
Heather Corn (now Riggs),
Liz Eckes (now Avrams),
and Christa King (now Jacob).
Oftentimes, great friendships were forged at the Karate Institute of America.
These next photos are of the “Three Amigas”—Nicole and her twin buddies—Jenny
and Lori Brown.
And a luncheon date with Whitefire on one of Goldilock’s visits to SoCal.
Nicole “Goldilocks” Hackler is a high-level engineer living on the East Coast
with her retired Marine Corps hubby, Warren, who, having served multiple
deployments in the Middle East, returned safely, thank God.
Goldilocks was close to being a Black Belt when Warren was reassigned from the
West Coast to the East Coast. There is absolutely no doubt she would have
become a KIA Black Belt had she remained in SoCal. She is a remarkable woman,
highly intelligent, tough (she manages road crews awash in men and male
energy), talented, lovely, and just an all-around first class lady. We greatly
miss her at the KIA, but her effusive and radiant energy will always be a
viable part of the legacy and history of the Karate Institute of America.
Two of the Karate Institute of America’s loveliest students are Zemia
“Barracuda” Garrett (photo right) and Hannah “Hannibal” Shamassian (photo
left). They are dedicated, driven, talented ladies with great smiles, as we
can see from the following photo.
However, let it be known, they are developing their martial arts skills to the
point where anyone—man or woman—would be woefully unwise, i.e., foolish, to
assault them. Those beautiful smiles are real, no doubt, but so, too, are the
looks they can manifest to ward off any assailant, smiles which clearly send
the message, “Don’t tread on me!” And believe this, those more serious looks
are a harbinger of the mayhem these women can inflict on anyone seeking to
harm them. So . . . beautiful smiles, absolutely, but
beware. These women can absolutely bring down the thunder!
This story was aired on NBC on 29 April 2007. In Saratoga Springs, New York, a
high school Senior female track star named Lindsey Ferguson was going to her
car in the school parking lot. Adjacent to her car on the driver side was a
van. She saw it and thought it was a parent’s car. As she opened her car door,
the van door slid open and a man exited. He grabbed her around the waist with
one arm and attempted to cover her mouth with the other.
Miraculously, a teacher named Ray, who just happened to be in the parking lot,
saw everything, screamed out to the assailant who jumped back in his van and
drove away. Ray, using his cell phone (thank God for cell phones) called the
police as he ran after the van, giving the police the license number. He then
jumped in his car and followed the van. When the police stopped the van, the
assailant claimed he was only making phone calls and all he did was startle
the girl, nothing more.
Upon inspection, the suspect’s van was filled with a tarp, a saw, pre-tied
slip knots on a rope, a syringe pre-filled with anti-histamine to knock out
the girl and a camera. His name was John “Rocky” Regan who had a history of
stalking and abduction. He was, in fact, a predator. Interestingly, neighbors
said this ‘family man’ was a great guy! In other words, predators don’t walk
around the neighborhood wearing a red suit with pointed ears, a long tail,
carrying a pitch fork and announcing their intentions. They can be perceived
as nice guys. John Regan was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in
How lucky, though, was Lindsey Ferguson? The hand of God was certainly on her
head that day. Had it not been for Ray, she might not be alive today. What
could she have done? First, not make the assumption that a vehicle, any
vehicle, belongs to a parent. Second, and this is key, she should never have
approached her car seeing that a van was parked next to her car, a van whose
sliding door was just a couple feet from her drivers-side door – a common
kidnapping strategy. The best choice would have been to return to a safe
place, call school security or the police.
As one of the seemingly endless and escalating scenarios of stalking, assault,
abduction, rape, and possibly murder, a woman in the San Diego area was
walking innocently along a sidewalk when an older model black sedan began
following her. The driver asked for her phone number and repeatedly asked her
to get into the car. If this were to happen to you, what would you do? Here
are some positive actions:
First, this thought: Never, ever, ever get into a vehicle with anyone whom you
don’t know. Remember the Natalee Holloway incident. She got into a car with
several young men she didn’t know and never came back. Underlying her tragic
demise was the news report that she had been indulging in alcohol, possibly
drugs, and was “partying”—all behaviors which drastically inhibit a person’s
discriminatory faculties. Even though she was a Straight A student, these
substances so clouded her judgment that she made a fatal mistake. Please
remember that life doesn’t always give second chances and that this is a
predatory world. Natalee Holloway never got a second chance because, under the
influence of intoxicants and a desire to party, her judgment was egregiously
flawed, which cost her her life and untold misery and suffering to her family,
friends, and loved ones. Yet, she did have choices. She could have chosen not
to drink and party and not to get into a car with young men she didn’t know.
She chose otherwise. She lost . . . her life. This is why
one of the major principles of the Karate Institute of America is, “Your Life;
Your Responsibility.” Don’t neglect this simple and powerful truth.
Keep your distance! The first principle of security in defending yourself is
to stay away or get away from potential danger. Trust your instincts, eyes,
and mind. An unknown car following you is a danger! A person whom you don’t
know asking for your personal information is a potential danger. Certainly
anyone asking or demanding you get into their vehicle is danger incarnate. Get
away . . . as fast as you can! If a car pulls up along
side you, turn around and go the other way. Find a crowd of people if
possible. Make noise. Draw attention to yourself. Do something but keep your
If you feel you are being stalked, begin moving away, call 911 immediately and
leave your cell phone on so authorities can locate you via its GPS (global
positioning system) feature.
If you have time and presence, get the license number of the vehicle. Memorize
it, write it down, take a cell phone picture of it, scream it out loud, call
your home and leave it on your answering machine, call a friend and leave it
Don’t beware of everything, just be aware of everything.
Living in today’s world, more than ever before, demands we be constantly
vigilant in relation to self-defense on a daily basis. No excuses. This world
is not Pollyannaville. If anything, it is a Pandora’s Box full of misfortune.
One of the principle ways to protect ourselves is to be constantly aware of
our surroundings. Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Founder and Director of Frontsite.com,
shares his organization’s “Color Code of Mental Awareness.” It’s valuable
information. The Karate Institute of America suggests you check it out. It’s
divided into two parts
(here and here)
and is available through his newsletter. The image below is a brief summation
of his color code, the five parts of which are:
Within the heart emotions stir.
Failure is not what we prefer;
but yet, the victors all confer – The Road To Success Is Paved With Failure.
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Images)
We live in a dual dimension. There is positive; there is negative. There is
day; there is night. There is high; there is low; masculine and feminine; hard
and soft; hot and cold; on and off; up and down, war and peace
and . . . success and failure.
All of the components of these pairs share opposite sides of the same
energetic coin. We can’t have one and escape the other. It’s impossible. When
we hold a coin in our hand, we hold both sides simultaneously. The key to
managing opposites is to find the Golden Mean or balance point between the two
sides and not to become imbalanced by focusing on one side to the exclusion of
the other. The other is there, and as long as we’re aware of it and work with
it we can lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.
In the case of success and failure, each is part of the other as reflected in
the Yin/Yang symbol of the Chinese Tao. In this ancient pictorial motif there
exists a black dot in the white hemisphere and a white dot in the black
hemisphere representing the truth of intrinsically connected opposites.
Failure does not stand alone. Nor does success. They are two halves of the
Unfortunately, this concept is overlooked or not understood. Too often,
failure is feared, subsequently fatally wounding the aspirant in search of
success. In other words, some people quit because they think failure is
something bad or to be ashamed of when in reality it is an integral part of
the success process. To succeed, we have to expect failure so we can learn
from our mistakes and ultimately succeed. It’s just a process, and through it
we come to the unambiguous and incontrovertible conclusion that the road to
success is paved with failure.
There’s often a lot more to KIA practitioners than martial arts.
Last week we featured
Steve “Coyote” Vertun and his wonderful song
Ghost. This week we take you back to the mid 1990s with troubadours Richard
& Richard, a Karate Institute of America singer/songwriter duo who played
locally at various venues including the San Juan Capistrano Mission and The
Coach House in San Juan Capistrano where they occasionally performed as an
opening act for nationally known touring singers and bands.
At the heart of the duo is Richard Wurster, a consummate musician, guitarist,
vocalist, song writer, and music director for his church. Richard Wurster’s
KIA callsign is “Stringman,” and how he can make those guitar strings sing! He
plays lead guitar, doubling up with vocal harmonies. Tagging along is
Kiado-Ryu Founder & Grandmaster, Richard Andrew King.
Richard & Richard wrote quite a few songs together, four of which, two by each
artist, can be accessed and listened to here:
(scroll down below the R & R photo)
Steve “Coyote” Vertun, KIA Black Belt #39, has
experienced the most horrific event in a parent’s life—the passing of his
son, Alexander. In his son’s memory, Steve has written, sung, performed and
produced a music CD whose anchor song is GHOST—a must-see beautiful tribute
in word, song and production. It should also be noted that Coyote’s music
engineer is the KIA’s own Jerry “Shuto” Alston,
the 28th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu.
Below the various links to Steve’s CD is a full explanation in his own words
regarding GHOST, its purpose and backstory. Awesome work, Coyote! Enjoy
Whitefire recently became aware of a project that I was working on. He
suggested that he wanted to participate by placing it in the next addition
of his awesome KIA newsletter. And so, here we are.
Many years ago I lost my son Alexander. It was a very trying time and it
took several years for me find a pathway to acceptance. He was 4 ½ years
old. It was as indescribable time as you can imagine it would be. He was a
wonderful, kind little human being on every imaginable level and I loved him
more than I could ever fathom to articulate. As time progressed I developed
a different perspective on the matter. For a long while I could only see my
own pain and discomfort. As a life long musician, it followed that moving
through this would involve music as a natural outlet.
One of the songs, Ghost, (along with the rest of the CD Ghost, Shadow and
Sun) was written at a time of transition, when I was starting to see things
on a wider plane as while I was starting to transition towards some daylight
on the matter and my gaining of a calmer perspective. The Ghost Video
concept came few of years later as the CD was finally being mastered. (Jerry
“Shuto” Alston engineered the CD. He has been working with me for 20+ years
on my Eye Savant musical endeavors and as I transitioned into a solo artist.
His work and ear are excellent, he is very kind and patient when it comes to
my OCD perfectionist streak and he has been an incredible partner throughout
all of this, personally and professionally. Love this guy!
The inspiration and resulting purpose purpose of the video was to provide
other people a level of support while considering their own personal tragedy
and to let them know that for whatever darkness or pain they are
experiencing, at some point there will be light and a more gentle
perspective ahead. Only time and distance will be their salvation and
hopefully a spiritual path that they consider. Part Of the challenge I have
had with this video release is that a percentage of people that see it take
it that I am still in this deep grieving mode and that this is simply a
tribute Alexander and a cathartic endeavor. It goes well beyond that in that
it is primarily intended as message to help others. And additionally a
couple of worthy charities (St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Wounded
Warriors Project) from any CD sales. What I am hoping to avoid is this
misunderstanding. While I very much appreciate these responses and
condolences intended to be of comfort, it is really about the message
intended for others. I have made my peace to the best extent possible over
these many years Indeed this is a pathway for me to Alexander, however the
way of honoring him, at this point in time, is through extending a message
of hope to other grieving people and supporting organizations that are
helping people whom might be grieving. I hope this makes sense to you. That
is the message I want to bring forth.
As far as any messaging to our KIA Black Belt and all under-belt Brothers
and Sisters… I want you to know that the training, comradery, strengthening
of spirit, balance, fortitude and warrior spirit that I had the great
opportunity and blessing to develop at the KIA was a significantly large
part of what provided me the ability to weather this massive storm in the
years when I most needed it… and to this very day, every day in all of the
many challenges that life brings. I want you to know that the time and
attention that you have devoted to “The Wall”, and the sacrifices you have
made or are making to get there were worth every bit of it and if it hasn’t
already been required, if you should ever need it because your spirit is
being fully tested, call upon it, and it will be there for you.
In closing I want to express my deepest and sincerest thanks to Whitefire
who, during the turbulent years and in the aftermath, was always there and
had this exquisitely fine tuned prescient sense of when I needed support or
an alternative view that would help stabilize my walk at any and many given
moments, even if we hadn’t spoken in months. I would find myself in a deep
shadow, the phone would ring and I would answer to his voice saying, “I’ve
been thinking about you” and we would meet. That is part of the
irreplaceable leadership and brotherhood that is the KIA legacy; ever
present, ever strong, part of our shared wall DNA.
For additional information, backstory, see the video or participate with the
music/charity please visit stevenjvertun.com.
You can pre-order the CD (or wait until 3 February 2017 for the actual
release). 30% of the proceeds are going to the charities mentioned above and
the balance will be spent on producing more ways to bring these
organizations more money.
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.
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
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?
Never moved off line? Moved at all? Footwork?
Never escaped when she could have?
Never used an effective guard or cover block when in trouble?
Was too passive?
Let Nunes set the tempo and mood?
Let Nunes control the fight?
Got involved in a slug fest?
No hand checking or attempt to nullify Nunes’ punches?
Death steps? When was there ever not a death step?
Where was Rousey’s strategy? Tactics? Skills? Fight plan?
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
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.
What better way to start off 2017 than with a Raptor vs. Raptor Dad
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