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 Kiado-Ryu.com); 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.