Mike “Shooter” Benedict is a wonderful testimony to the character, determination and resilience of a true martial artist. His own journey in becoming the 62nd Black Belt of the Kiado-Ryu has been long and inspirational, setting a standard for others to follow, a standard of deep commitment and true understanding of what a Black Belt is.
Shooter followed his son, Greg (Black Belt #59) into the halls of KIA excellence. With undying resolve, he conquered The Wall in eight years. In that time, his philosophy was to keep pressing on, not so much for the love of a black belt but for the love of the art. He knew, quite wisely, that if he kept putting one step in front of the other he would eventually make it, and so he did.
Mike’s first attempt at his black belt was unsuccessful. After thirty minutes into the burn (the initial phase of the exam), he began to have tunnel vision. He could hardly stand, let alone continue in the grueling grind of a Kiado-Ryu Black Belt testing. His exam had to be terminated. But there’s a silver lining in every dark cloud, and his failure was that he sought medical advice to determine what went wrong. It was determined that Shooter had the onset of type II diabetes. Through proper nutrition—especially the elimination of sugars from his diet—he lost thirty pounds, regained his health and gave an excellent performance on his Black Belt test nine months later. The moral of this story is that failure has its blessings. Had Shooter passed his test the first time, he never would have gone to the doctor and possibly discovered too late that he had diabetes. There is a reason for everything in life, and this is just one case of how the “road to success is paved with failure.”
Shooter is a great supporter of the KIA. His heart’s vision is to see the Karate Institute of America expand to serve more people, and his energy and commitment are doing just that.
An interesting note: Mike Benedict’s Black Belt testing, on 28 August 2006, fell during the week of the KIA’s 27th Anniversary which was founded on 31 August 1979 in Mission Viejo, CA.