What a wonderful and nostalgic reunion with Todd “American Rambo” Miller. Todd studied at the Karate Institute of America in the early 1980s when he was simultaneously studying at USC where he graduated cum laude from the Real Estate Finance Program at the Marshall School of Business. He is now the owner of Western States Technologies in Irvine, CA. Todd is also a Gold Medalist and National Champion in Adult/Senior volleyball, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees for the renowned Semester at Sea collegiate program.
Zemia “Barracuda” Garrett strikes a forward stance and punch as she prepares for her upcoming Blue belt test (TBA). She is a determined young woman with a “Never-say-die” mindset. Barracuda is also becoming a very accomplished Kiado-Ryu martial artist, brandishing excellent round house kicks and quick, studied hand movements. Her fighting spirit is nothing to challenge unless you want to find yourself looking up from a supine ground position, dazed, wondering what just hit you and how you got there!
We’re excited to have Zemia advance to the next level. Stay tuned!
PS: Notice the blue fingernail polish. She’s motivated!
What student of the Karate Institute of America does not recognize this quote from the ancient Chinese warlord Sun Tzu . . .
War is a grave concern of the state; it must be thoroughly studied.
(Sun Tzu – The Art of War, translated by Samuel B. Griffith)
This statement underscores the critical importance of not just studying martial arts but studying it thoroughly.
As KIA students also know, and as The Black Belt Book of Life teaches, “Martial arts is life.” Therefore, the admonition of Sun Tzu that “War . . . must be thoroughly studied” applies to everything we do in life if we want to succeed. Being mediocre, doing things haphazardly, not paying attention to details, not being serious about succeeding, etc., will not guarantee success. Whatever it is we choose to do, if we wish to succeed, we must not simply study it; we must study it thoroughly.
Ciaran, aka “Lightning,” moves from the Acquisition stage of his Karate Institute of America education to the Integration process – doing the practice. In the left photo he works his hand-checking skills with an overhand hook. He must be having fun if the smile on his face is any indication.
In the right photo, Lightning practices his knee strike. Notice his concentration in both pics. Given his parental heritage, Ciaran has the potential of being a great athlete. His mother and father were both athletic standouts – his mom in soccer; his dad in ice-hockey.
Lightning has already shown great promise. Right from birth he could sling a ball with either hand, swing a kid’s golf club with amazing power and strike a puck with equal intensity. And … he always loved to go fast. He really never learned to walk, he ran, everywhere. That’s how he acquired the callsign “Lightning.” He was always on the go. So … go get ‘em, Lightning! The world awaits!
Well, the circles and cycles of life keep circling ‘round. With Mr. King are his two grandsons: Ciaran, aka “Lightning,” (the elder, now 5) and Rory, aka “Thunder,” (the younger, age 1). They are the progeny of Whitefire’s younger daughter, Chandra, and her husband, Dan.
Photo #1: Lightning gets instruction in hand checking as Thunder sits and takes notes.
Photo #2: Lightning is put to the test with Thunder on deck, standing and ready to mix it up.
Photo #3: Thunder lets Lightning know it’s his turn. Time to work Bob a little.
Photo #4: Thunder gets kudos from proud Papa after his first palm strike.
Lightning and Thunder – a dynamic duo. More to come, for sure. Maybe we can even get the granddaughters, Popeye and Pipes (Christa’s and Mike’s kids – Paige and Emery) in for a photo shoot soon. They’re already pretty seasoned!
Great memories! Such a blessing to be a part of these young soul’s lives!
General George Patton is one of the greatest military generals in United States history. He was a major factor in the defeat of the Nazi regime in Europe during World War II.
Patton has many memorable quotes which resonate with of the principles of the Karate Institute of America and to life in general, one of which is this . . .
In war the only sure defense is offense.
Kiado-Ryu philosophy can testify to the veracity of this statement, not only in combat but in day-to-day living. Why? Because life is conflict, it is struggle. Life is full of adversity of all kinds. When we are confronted with any challenge, if we remain passive, there is the likelihood the problems associated with such challenges will overwhelm us. However, if we attack our problems, our challenges, we become empowered. We do so because we take charge of the situation and dominate it rather than it dominating us, overwhelming us. This is why one’s concept of defense must remain offensive. It may seem to be oxymoronic, but it is, nonetheless, a truism, not only in combat but in life itself.
Winston Churchill was one of the greatest leaders of the 20th Century. As Prime Minister of Great Britain, it was his leadership that helped win World War II. He was a smart, tough, determined, indefatigable and inspirational leader.
There is a nexus, a connection, between the philosophy and mindset of Winston Churchill and the Karate Institute of America. What is it?
First, this question. What one quality is common to every one of the current 63 Black Belts of the Kiado-Ryu and soon to be 64? By the way, the current number of KIA Black Belts represents a mere 2% of those who have studied at the KIA in its 36 year history. Thus, the quality each of them possesses is rare, indeed, but nonetheless universal among each and every one of them? Guessed it yet?
Here are three Churchill quotes exemplifying the quality that each KIA Black Belt reflects and, in fact, this quality is also common to every achievement of any individual in any field of endeavor throughout history.
You only have to endure to conquer.
Never, never, never, never give up.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
So what is the one word nexus we’re looking for? If you said Persistence you are absolutely correct. Persistence is the ability to never give up; it is that quality that defiantly and boldly states, “I’m not quitting and will never quit until I reach my goal.” Persistence is only one word, but its spirit and energy are endless, timeless, universal. To achieve anything in life, to endure any hardship, to rise to the top rung of any ladder we must persist, unrelentingly and defiantly. And if we do, if we endure to the end and never give up, a laurel wreath of triumph will surely be ours and set us apart from the “also-rans” who only wished and dreamed but never conquered simply because they did not persist, i.e., they gave up before the goal was reached.
Therefore, let Churchill’s words ring in your ears when going through tough times or when pursuing any dream or any goal . . .
Never, never, never, never give up!
Congratulations to Aidan “Smasher” Ligtvoet on the accomplishment of his Orange Belt. After a job well done, he poses with the Black Belts and his brother, Tristan, for some memorable photos.
Aidan did a wonderful job. He is a remarkable young man – very smart, very coordinated and very determined. As he learns to exhibit the mark of a master, i.e., control, he will go far in life. We look forward to watching him continue to grow and, hopefully, join his brother, Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet as a Kiado-Ryu Black Belt one day.
In fact, Tristan started his KIA training when he was eight years old, the same as Aidan. He’s now seventeen and scheduled to test for his 1st Dan Black Belt rating in October of this year, becoming the 64th Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu. Also at that time, Kim “Cultivator” Thomas will hit a milestone in Karate Institute of America history, becoming its first 5th Dan Black Belt, a remarkable accomplishment carrying a “Master” rating and title. Major history is coming soon to the KIA!
This four photo sequence features some of Aidan “Smasher” Ligtvoet’s Orange Belt test:
- instructions from Mr. King;
- bowing in with the Black Belts;
- looking determined and focused during his “burn;”
- 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.
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!