Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Black Belt #17: David Shoemaker

Dave “Rhino” Shoemaker was taken from this life in his early fifties—complications from a brain tumor. Yet, his life was rich and accomplished and his memory will always endure at the KIA.

Dave Shoemaker had a Ph.D. in industrial psychology, was a track star in college and CEO of two companies. He was a bright man, a driven man, strong-willed but respectful and extremely wise. Once Mr. King asked him what his goal was in regard to his martial art endeavors. Rhino’s answer was profound: “Sir,” he said respectfully, “my goal is simply to show up and present myself for instruction.” One would normally think that such an achiever would have had a black belt rating as his goal. But no. Rhino’s goal was simply to show up and present himself for instruction. Obviously, the wisdom in this is multifold. By continuing to “show up,” he would eventually reach the coveted Kiado-Ryu Black Belt status. Additionally, by living in the present, he was able to focus on the subject matter at hand and master it.

One of Rhino’s skills often baffled other fighters. He had a weird but effective slanted left lead leg which often penetrated the guards of his opponents, giving them fits. Too, he would always come to class with his pant legs rolled up to his calves, a very unique habit but one which garnered him acclaim, for Rhino was honored by having his red gi pants (which he always wore) placed above his Black Belt on The Wall rather than the normal custom of placing a gi top above the belt.

Rhino’s determination and consistency are two of his memorable character traits which will endure as long as the KIA lives.