Kiado-Ryu Karate

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May 24, 2021 - Feature of the Week

Ramjet's Wisdom

Kenneth “Ramjet” Anderson is the 11th Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America. He was awarded his 1st Dan ranking on 9 June 1990. It’s hard to believe that was 31 years ago! Seems like yesterday.

And, yes, Ramjet was that Black Belt who requested, on his Black Belt test, to do a second hour of the “still stance” requirement—a feat that has never been duplicated, and most likely never will be.

Ramjet, a former Marine, is obviously one tough dude you’d never want to mess with. After all, how much strength, courage, and discipline does it take to stand perfectly still for two hours? You get the message.

Oh, yes. Ramjet was also that individual who went through his entire 3rd Degree Brown Belt test with a broken rib and never said a word about it—before or after! He knew that Mr. King would not have allowed him to test had such a medical condition been made known. He was right, too.

Needless to say, Ramjet is and was special—a top tier Kiado-Ryu Black Belt. What is also impressive is that Ken has both a Masters Degree and PhD in Biomedical Engineering. Obviously, the man is not just tough, he is really smart.

After reading the KIA feature of 10 May 2021—KIA Principle #18: There Can Be No Excellence Without Effort, Ramjet sent Whitefire the following remembrance of why he wanted to become a Kiado-Ryu Black Belt. It is very enlightening and worthy of being shared, with his permission, of course. Following is his entire email.

Sharing this principle returned to me a great memory I have of when we first met…

I remember coming into your studio as an aspiring student seeking a place to further my study of the martial arts, continuing from my prior experience in the Marine Corps at my last duty station. I will never forget what “sold” me on your teaching being that which I sought. It was your Black Belt Wall. To many, seeing a wall that, at the time, had only 7-8 Black Belt students recognized in the history of your school would have been discouraging. To me, and likely to other students who had/have that “something” within them that is at the core of every KIA Black Belt, it was incredibly invigorating, challenging, and convincing. I remember you telling me how many hundreds of students had walked through your doors over the years, stating their desire to train and reach the esteemed Black Belt level of accomplishment, only to fall short when it did not come easily. You promised me that day that it would not be easy, and that very few are capable or willing to do what is required. A KIA Black Belt would be hard won only through years of effort. I knew it was EXACTLY where I wanted to be.

This wonderful email is extremely profound and speaks to the depth and essence of Ramjet and his character. Too, his sentiments are powerful because very few individuals—then and now—have what it takes to be a Kiado-Ryu Black Belt and become canonized on the Black Belt Wall. After all, 42 years later (as of today, 24 May 2021), over 3,300 hundred students have passed through the doors of the KIA but only 64 have earned the right to be a Kiado-Ryu Black Belt.

Dr. Kenneth “Ramjet” Anderson, like his 63 KIA Black Belt brethren, did not want a hand out or an easy journey to become special. He, and they, wanted excellence and a curriculum worthy of one’s character and ethos. In a time in America when so many people want a quick fix and a handout, it is heart-warming and refreshing to know how appreciative Dr. Anderson and other individuals are of their Karate Institute of America martial arts education, a system of study exemplifying the tried and true qualities of hard work, relentless effort,and undying determination.

Thank you, Ramjet, for your letter! It is inspirational and serves as a template of what it is to be excellent in one’s life and endeavors!

Semper Fi!

© 2021 Richard Andrew King & Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts