Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Photo of the Week: Awesome Twin Kids and Their Selfless Acts of Generosity

Awesome Twin Kids and Their Selfless Acts of Generosity

This is an inspirational story, the kind that warms your heart, the kind we need more of, the kind that all parents should share with their children.

Selfless Acts of Generosity

Jon “Stretch” Vail studied at the Karate Institute of America back in the 80s before he headed off to college. He and his lovely wife, Janice, have twin children—Jenny and Ryan. They’re cool kids, really cool kids. After looking at these photos, check out their amazing story of entrepreneurialism and generosity at this link. You’ll stand up and cheer!

Selfless Acts of Generosity

Photo of the Week: A Blast From the Past - Maddog on a Mission

A Blast From The Past - Maddog On A Mission

Greg “Maddog” Bendel executes a pose during his Green belt test in 1987 at the KIA. He attained his 1st Dan Black Belt on 15 December 1990, becoming the 14th Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America. Greg continued his studies and earned his 2nd Dan Black Belt degree.

Maddog was an instructor at the KIA, as well as being a martial arts open tournament champion. He was a stickler for detail and precision, which no doubt assisted him in his professional career.

Now the father of two young boys, Maddog resides in South Orange County and is a management professional.

Photo owned and copyrighted by Genny “Cougar” Edge. Published with permission.

Photo of the Week: Are You Prepared Yet?

Are You Prepared Yet?

These times we live in are getting scarier and scarier by the day.

Are you prepared to defend yourself or your loved ones?

Would you know what to do and how to do it?

Are you simply living in hope that you’ll always be safe?

Are you prepared to be in the “I-wish-I had-taken-a-self-defense-class” category?

One of the mottos taught at the Karate Institute of America is, If you fail to prepare you prepare to fail. If you don’t prepare, you will fail. As we’re seeing day-by-day, attacks on regular people at common shopping places and social gathering sites are no longer a rarity.

Many of you receiving this KIA photo of the week are martial artists, but not all of you. Perhaps it’s time to take a few self-defense lessons either by yourself, with your children or with a friend.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Do yourself and your kids a favor. Contact Mr. King today and schedule a few lessons. As the old maxim goes, It’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t be sorry. Email: King @

Photo of the Week: A Psycho With a Heart

A Psycho With A Heart

This week’s photo features not just any psycho, but the KIA’s own Psycho, which is the callsign for James Griffin, the 60th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu. James’ sister is Anna “Wildcat” Griffin, the 55th Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America.

Pictured with Psycho and Mr. King is Mr. Griffin, the patriarch of the wonderful Griffin family, and partner with Mrs. Griffin, its matriarch. The Griffins have been stalwart supporters of the KIA for decades, and we are eternally grateful they have shared their hearts, minds, spirits, character and lives with us. This photo was taken after the latest Black Belt coronation of Messrs. Thomas and Ligtvoet.

James began his KIA journey back in the 1980s when he was in high school. He is the middle child of five in, as he would say, an energetic and loud-voiced family! In the 4th grade he won an award for his perseverance, which has obviously helped him greatly in his life.

Psycho’s perseverance has certainly paid off for him. Not only did he achieve a KIA Black Belt, which is no small achievement, but he has also been working in the banking business for fifteen years and is currently the Operations Supervisor at his bank. With his dedication, perseverance, intelligence and exemplary character, James will go very far in life, indeed. We are so very proud of him and his entire family, all of whom are truly remarkable individuals.

Photo of the Week: KIA History - 15 December 2015!

Congratulations to Kim “Cultivator” Thomas and Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet for their extremely noteworthy accomplishments on 15 December 2015, Tuesday.

Kim Thomas has now earned the distinguished title, “Master Thomas” for achieving the rank of 5th Dan Black Belt. He is the first student in the history of the Karate Institute of America since its founding in 1979 to achieve such an enormous goal. Kim began his KIA journey in August of 2001 at the age of 45, received is 1st Dan Black Belt rating in July of 2007, and has not let up since, finalizing the “Master Dan” phrase of his journey at age 59. Remarkable!

Master Thomas, 15 Dec 2015

Tristan Ligtvoet started studying at the KIA in the same year Mr. Thomas achieved his 1st Dan Black Belt in July of 2007. Thus, it has been eight years since the last Black Belt. Tristan, aka, Raptor, is the 64th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu. He started at the age of 8 and is now 17 and in his Senior year of High School. He is a remarkable young man, and we are extremely pleased to induct him into the KIA Black Belt Brotherhood.

T. Ligtvoet, 15 Dec 2015

Congratulating Messrs. Master Thomas and Mr. Ligtvoet on their achievements are James “Psycho” Griffin (KIA Black Belt #60) and Mr. King.

Black Belts

Not only was it an historic evening for the Karate Institute of America, but the event was a publicly memorable one. What a great group of family, friends and KIA faithfuls were in attendance. Their presence and support of Messrs. Thomas and Ligtvoet created a wonderful environment for the occasion. Thank you all!

Group Shot

Photo of the Week: KIA History — on the Verge

KIA History — On The Verge

Tuesday, 8 December 2015, was the first day of KIA impending history in two parts. First, Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet (top picture, center), soon to be KIA Black Belt #64, completed day one of his Black Belt test. His smile offers a stark contrast to his tattered gi and sweaty head—a common visual after such an ordeal, as the attending Black Belts will concur. They are, from left to right, Mike “Shooter” Benedict (2nd Dan KIA Black Belt #62), James “Psycho” Griffin (1st Dan KIA Black Belt #60), Chris “Growler” Grau (4th Dan KIA Black Belt #36 and web master for; and Kim “Cultivator” Thomas (4th Dan KIA Black Belt #63).

In the bottom photo, Mr. King joins the Black Belts as Kim Thomas playfully winks at the world, letting it know that his road to becoming the first 5th Dan Black Belt in KIA history will be finalized on Tuesday the 15th. On that day, Mr. Thomas will henceforth be referred to as “Master Thomas”—a truly remarkable achievement.

Congratulations to Messrs Thomas and Ligtvoet for completing the first phase of their testing. Extreme respect and gratitude are also offered to Karate Institute of America Black Belts Grau, Benedict and Griffin for honoring the testing candidates with their attendance and participation. A very selfless and classy move, gentlemen.

The final day of testing, and subsequent Black Belt coronations for Cultivator and Raptor, will be on Tuesday, 15 December 2015, 6:00pm to 9:00pm, Santa Vittoria Park, Laguna Hills. Family, friends and the public are invited. Dress warmly, bring a chair, perhaps a thermos of cocoa, coffee or tea and enjoy the event. It will truly be a great day in the history of the Karate Institute of America’s 36 year legacy.

Photo of the Week: See Something, Say Something

See Something, Say Something

Self-defense demands awareness, and make no mistake about it, the world is under assault from radical Islamic terrorists and the decent people in the world must be aware and take positive action to thwart terrorist activity and prevent the loss of life. The incidents in Paris and San Bernardino of late are just two of the latest examples.

Therefore, if you See Something, Say Something, meaning something suspicious. Forget about being politically correct. This is no time to be concerned about hurting people’s feelings. Call local law enforcement if you have any concerns or worries. The United States Department of Homeland Security encourages such action. Contact numbers and links follow. Keep them handy, be vigilant, and use them if necessary.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security:

DHS Hotline and FBI

1.800.CALL.FBI, option #4

1.800.225.5324, option #4

See Something, Say Something

Photo of the Week: General Douglas MacArthur Famous Quotes

General Douglas MacArthur Famous Quotes

General Douglas MacArthur was one of America’s greatest military commanders. As all great warriors, his words are a treasure trove of inspiration and power. Following are four of MacArthur’s famous quotations.

  1. There is no security in life. There is only opportunity.
  2. Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.
  3. No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation.
  4. Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

Photo of the Week: How to Survive a Terrorist Attack

How to Survive a Terrorist Attack

Following is great advice on dealing with a terrorist attack from former Navy Seal, Brandon Webb, and Army Ranger, Jack Murphy, authors of The Isis Solution.

Information courtesy of an interview with Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy with host Megyn Kelly on the FOX News network.

How to survive a terrorist attack

  1. RUN for COVER. “Get off the X” as they say in the Special Ops community. The “X” is the Point of Impact. Get away from there and create DISTANCE.
  2. Make a DECISION. Do not just sit there.
  3. Usually gunman are inexperienced. Often they don’t know how to change their magazines efficiently. Listen for the lull in fire, then run and create that space, which is very important. The odds are heavily in your favor if you run. Terrorists are usually amateurs, not very well trained, they’re just out there free-lancing doing their own thing, and their odds of actually hitting you with un-aimed fire is pretty low. The odds of hitting a moving target are tremendously small. It’s very challenging for a sniper to hit a moving target, let alone an amateur.
  4. If you have no other option when confronted with a terrorist, you have to fight. Grab the barrel of the gun, get out of the way. If you can’t or choose not to carry a firearm, consider a high lumen flash light which will flash blind someone and create enough distance to get away.
  5. Surviving a grenade. Grenades tend to explode upward with fragmentation going upward in a “V” pattern generally from chest level up. Therefore, get low and roll away if possible.
  6. Making any decision is better than making no decision. Run left, run right, run forward, run back, run in zig-zag pattern but DON’T FREEZE UP.
  7. Mentally rehearse. See yourself in a particular situation and how you would successfully react to it given the info above. Close your eyes and imagine yourselves in a given scenario. Rehearse it a few times so you’ve already practiced in your mind.
  8. When getting behind cover, get behind something that is solid and which a bullet will not penetrate, i.e., trash cans do not make good cover.