Kim Thomas began his Kiado-Ryu experience the first week of August, 2001, one month before 911 and the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. With a fervent desire for martial arts and a character built for dedication, determination, discipline and achievement, Kim, who achieved his 1st Dan Black Belt rating on 23 July 2007, unrelentingly pursued his martial arts studies and made Karate Institute of America history on Tuesday, 15 December 2015, when he accomplished what no other student had done in the KIA’s thirty-six year history—achieve a 5th Dan Black Belt rating, which carries with it the title “Master Black Belt.” What is more remarkable is that Master Thomas (his official Kiado-Ryu designation) attained such a distinguished rank at the age of 59!
Master Thomas’ call sign, “Cultivator,” is derived from his vocation as a professional landscaper. He also goes by the handle, “KC.” His most dramatic physical feature are his hands. They’re massive for his size. Just looking at them automatically elicits concern from his adversaries. He has enormous power in his fists and his blocking and checking skills are second to none.
Master Thomas is an inspiration to everyone, quietly broadcasting the universal message that you’re never too old to begin something new and excel at it. His youthful energy, character, humor, dedication, loyalty and generosity are deeply appreciated. An unassuming man, he is, indeed, a sage Black Belt of enormous degree.
Cultivator, as he is lovingly referred to by his peers, is a true gem of an individual. He is devoted, loyal, genuine, humble and … funny! He has a sense of humor that has kept KIA students laughing since he first stepped into the Karate Institute of America. His dummying for Mike “Shooter” Benedict on his Black Belt test, as well as his own comedic rendition of Technique Set during his own Black Belt Test, are perfect examples of the hysterical comedy flowing from his ever-fertile natural wit and charm.
Cultivator’s devotion is manifested in many ways, one of which has been his selfless generosity as an assistant instructor in the undergraduate classes for many years. His desire to learn and perfect his art and help others along the way is a reflection of his extraordinary character and compassionate heart. Without a doubt, Kim Thomas, Kiado-Ryu Black Belt #63, is a tribute not only to the Karate Institute of America but the human race as well. It’s unfortunate there aren’t more like him for he is, indeed, a jewel in the sun!