Kiado-Ryu Karate

Welcome to the Karate Institute of America

Photo of the Week: Eight Great Words

Great Britain’s Sir Winston Churchill is, arguably, one of the greatest leaders of the 20th Century. The following quote contains eight of the most powerful words when any of us is going through hard times, sort of like climbing up the ladder from white belt to black belt. Basically, the tongue-in-cheek translation of these powerful eight words is, “Don’t stop here!”

Eight Great Words

Photo of the Week: Hannibal’s Father-Daughter Moments: Priceless!

The KIA’s own Hannah “Hannibal” has some fun with her dad, driving him backward on multiple occasions with powerful kicks.

In this first pic, Hannah drives her Pops back with a front kick. Nice extension, too!

Next, she pummels him with a roundhouse kick. Oh, my! Who knew such a diminutive young woman could deliver such power! Notice how she knocked her father off balance? Very cool!

And then—here comes the thunder! Hannah delivers a cross-over back kick. Dad’s comment: “Ouch! That’s a rib!”

Our sweet Hannah is really getting strong, too. Just take a look at the perfect form on her push-ups. Check out that straight back! Beautiful! She’s knocked off twenty, yes twenty, of these perfect push-ups at one time! Awesome! Okay, guys. Your turn. Let’s see if can you compete with Hannibal for form! She’s turning into quite a dynamo! Her number one asset—determination! This young woman just never quits. She is indefatigable, tenacious, courageous, and unyielding! She is definitely KIA true – through and through! We are so very proud of Hannah and her drive. If only all young people had her character! How awesome would that be?! Luckily, she’s one of our own. Priceless!

Photo of the Week: Fixed Fortifications

General George Patton stated a maxim of war:

Fixed fortifications are monuments to man’s stupidity.

Patton knew, as all great warriors know, to stand still in a fight and refuse to move is a fool’s strategy. It’s common sense that a moving target is much harder to hit than a stationary one. So why do many fighters refuse to incorporate movement and motion in their fighting strategies and styles?

The Karate Institute of America’s fighting strategy is founded on movement. As one of our maxims states: The mover controls the fight. Why? Because the opponent must keep adjusting to the mover’s movement and, therefore, he becomes reactive rather than proactive—a failing strategy. Movement will also confuse and frustrate the opponent, keeping him imbalanced and brain-locked.

In life, when confronted with challenges, we must be mentally adroit and proactive, not reactive. We must not become fixed fortifications when problems arise or assailants threaten. We must attack them. Don’t let them control us. Waiting around for problems to fix themselves or assailants to attack is a failed tactic. We must move, adjust, adapt, attack, doing whatever it takes to beat the opponent, i.e., the problem. We must avoid becoming a “fixed fortification” and be smart, movement-oriented, and attacking the problem/assailant until victory is attained.

Fixed Fortifications

The Black Belt Book of Life—Secrets of a Martial Arts Master

Available in paperback and Kindle.

Photo of the Week: A Walk Down Goldilocks Lane

Nicole “Goldilocks” Hackler has been a staunch KIA family member since the 1980s when her husband, Warren, a United States Marine, was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro. Times have changed a bit, but here is a photo of them at a U.S. Marine Corps function looking beautiful and handsome. Such a power couple!

Time marches on. The following photo of four lovely and talented KIA women was taken in the 1990s. Behind a kneeling Goldilocks are (left to right: Heather Corn (now Riggs), Liz Eckes (now Avrams), and Christa King (now Jacob).

Oftentimes, great friendships were forged at the Karate Institute of America. These next photos are of the “Three Amigas”—Nicole and her twin buddies—Jenny and Lori Brown.

And a luncheon date with Whitefire on one of Goldilock’s visits to SoCal.

Nicole “Goldilocks” Hackler is a high-level engineer living on the East Coast with her retired Marine Corps hubby, Warren, who, having served multiple deployments in the Middle East, returned safely, thank God.

Goldilocks was close to being a Black Belt when Warren was reassigned from the West Coast to the East Coast. There is absolutely no doubt she would have become a KIA Black Belt had she remained in SoCal. She is a remarkable woman, highly intelligent, tough (she manages road crews awash in men and male energy), talented, lovely, and just an all-around first class lady. We greatly miss her at the KIA, but her effusive and radiant energy will always be a viable part of the legacy and history of the Karate Institute of America.

Photo of the Week: Beautiful KIA Smiles but … Beware!

Two of the Karate Institute of America’s loveliest students are Zemia “Barracuda” Garrett (photo right) and Hannah “Hannibal” Shamassian (photo left). They are dedicated, driven, talented ladies with great smiles, as we can see from the following photo.

Hannah and Zemia

However, let it be known, they are developing their martial arts skills to the point where anyone—man or woman—would be woefully unwise, i.e., foolish, to assault them. Those beautiful smiles are real, no doubt, but so, too, are the looks they can manifest to ward off any assailant, smiles which clearly send the message, “Don’t tread on me!” And believe this, those more serious looks are a harbinger of the mayhem these women can inflict on anyone seeking to harm them. So . . . beautiful smiles, absolutely, but beware. These women can absolutely bring down the thunder!

Hannah and Zemia

Photo of the Week: The Near Abduction That Failed

Beware of This Tactic!

The Near Abduction That Failed

This story was aired on NBC on 29 April 2007. In Saratoga Springs, New York, a high school Senior female track star named Lindsey Ferguson was going to her car in the school parking lot. Adjacent to her car on the driver side was a van. She saw it and thought it was a parent’s car. As she opened her car door, the van door slid open and a man exited. He grabbed her around the waist with one arm and attempted to cover her mouth with the other.

Miraculously, a teacher named Ray, who just happened to be in the parking lot, saw everything, screamed out to the assailant who jumped back in his van and drove away. Ray, using his cell phone (thank God for cell phones) called the police as he ran after the van, giving the police the license number. He then jumped in his car and followed the van. When the police stopped the van, the assailant claimed he was only making phone calls and all he did was startle the girl, nothing more.

Upon inspection, the suspect’s van was filled with a tarp, a saw, pre-tied slip knots on a rope, a syringe pre-filled with anti-histamine to knock out the girl and a camera. His name was John “Rocky” Regan who had a history of stalking and abduction. He was, in fact, a predator. Interestingly, neighbors said this ‘family man’ was a great guy! In other words, predators don’t walk around the neighborhood wearing a red suit with pointed ears, a long tail, carrying a pitch fork and announcing their intentions. They can be perceived as nice guys. John Regan was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison.

How lucky, though, was Lindsey Ferguson? The hand of God was certainly on her head that day. Had it not been for Ray, she might not be alive today. What could she have done? First, not make the assumption that a vehicle, any vehicle, belongs to a parent. Second, and this is key, she should never have approached her car seeing that a van was parked next to her car, a van whose sliding door was just a couple feet from her drivers-side door – a common kidnapping strategy. The best choice would have been to return to a safe place, call school security or the police.

Photo of the Week: On Being Stalked

Richard Andrew King

Grandmaster—Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts

On Being Stalked

As one of the seemingly endless and escalating scenarios of stalking, assault, abduction, rape, and possibly murder, a woman in the San Diego area was walking innocently along a sidewalk when an older model black sedan began following her. The driver asked for her phone number and repeatedly asked her to get into the car. If this were to happen to you, what would you do? Here are some positive actions:

First, this thought: Never, ever, ever get into a vehicle with anyone whom you don’t know. Remember the Natalee Holloway incident. She got into a car with several young men she didn’t know and never came back. Underlying her tragic demise was the news report that she had been indulging in alcohol, possibly drugs, and was “partying”—all behaviors which drastically inhibit a person’s discriminatory faculties. Even though she was a Straight A student, these substances so clouded her judgment that she made a fatal mistake. Please remember that life doesn’t always give second chances and that this is a predatory world. Natalee Holloway never got a second chance because, under the influence of intoxicants and a desire to party, her judgment was egregiously flawed, which cost her her life and untold misery and suffering to her family, friends, and loved ones. Yet, she did have choices. She could have chosen not to drink and party and not to get into a car with young men she didn’t know. She chose otherwise. She lost . . . her life. This is why one of the major principles of the Karate Institute of America is, “Your Life; Your Responsibility.” Don’t neglect this simple and powerful truth.

Keep your distance! The first principle of security in defending yourself is to stay away or get away from potential danger. Trust your instincts, eyes, and mind. An unknown car following you is a danger! A person whom you don’t know asking for your personal information is a potential danger. Certainly anyone asking or demanding you get into their vehicle is danger incarnate. Get away . . . as fast as you can! If a car pulls up along side you, turn around and go the other way. Find a crowd of people if possible. Make noise. Draw attention to yourself. Do something but keep your distance.

If you feel you are being stalked, begin moving away, call 911 immediately and leave your cell phone on so authorities can locate you via its GPS (global positioning system) feature.

If you have time and presence, get the license number of the vehicle. Memorize it, write it down, take a cell phone picture of it, scream it out loud, call your home and leave it on your answering machine, call a friend and leave it with them.

Don’t beware of everything, just be aware of everything.


The Black Belt Book of Life—Secrets of a Martial Arts Master

The Black Belt Book of Life—Secrets of a Martial Arts Master

Photo of the Week: Color Code of Mental Awareness

Living in today’s world, more than ever before, demands we be constantly vigilant in relation to self-defense on a daily basis. No excuses. This world is not Pollyannaville. If anything, it is a Pandora’s Box full of misfortune.

One of the principle ways to protect ourselves is to be constantly aware of our surroundings. Dr. Ignatius Piazza, Founder and Director of, shares his organization’s “Color Code of Mental Awareness.” It’s valuable information. The Karate Institute of America suggests you check it out. It’s divided into two parts (here and here) and is available through his newsletter. The image below is a brief summation of his color code, the five parts of which are:

  1. white
  2. yellow
  3. orange
  4. red
  5. black

Color Code of Mental Awareness

Photo of the Week: The Road to Success Is Paved With Failure

Within the heart emotions stir.
Failure is not what we prefer;
but yet, the victors all confer –
The Road To Success Is Paved With Failure.

The Road to Success Is Paved With Failure

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Images)

We live in a dual dimension. There is positive; there is negative. There is day; there is night. There is high; there is low; masculine and feminine; hard and soft; hot and cold; on and off; up and down, war and peace and . . . success and failure.

All of the components of these pairs share opposite sides of the same energetic coin. We can’t have one and escape the other. It’s impossible. When we hold a coin in our hand, we hold both sides simultaneously. The key to managing opposites is to find the Golden Mean or balance point between the two sides and not to become imbalanced by focusing on one side to the exclusion of the other. The other is there, and as long as we’re aware of it and work with it we can lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.

In the case of success and failure, each is part of the other as reflected in the Yin/Yang symbol of the Chinese Tao. In this ancient pictorial motif there exists a black dot in the white hemisphere and a white dot in the black hemisphere representing the truth of intrinsically connected opposites. Failure does not stand alone. Nor does success. They are two halves of the same whole.

Unfortunately, this concept is overlooked or not understood. Too often, failure is feared, subsequently fatally wounding the aspirant in search of success. In other words, some people quit because they think failure is something bad or to be ashamed of when in reality it is an integral part of the success process. To succeed, we have to expect failure so we can learn from our mistakes and ultimately succeed. It’s just a process, and through it we come to the unambiguous and incontrovertible conclusion that the road to success is paved with failure.

From The Black Belt Book of Life – Secrets of a Martial Arts Master, Principle #14

Kiado-Ryu Grandmaster Richard Andrew King

Available in paperback and Kindle formats.

Photo of the Week: KIA Troubadours - Richard & Richard Circa 1995

KIA Troubadours - Richard & Richard circa 1995

There’s often a lot more to KIA practitioners than martial arts. Last week we featured Steve “Coyote” Vertun and his wonderful song Ghost. This week we take you back to the mid 1990s with troubadours Richard & Richard, a Karate Institute of America singer/songwriter duo who played locally at various venues including the San Juan Capistrano Mission and The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano where they occasionally performed as an opening act for nationally known touring singers and bands.

At the heart of the duo is Richard Wurster, a consummate musician, guitarist, vocalist, song writer, and music director for his church. Richard Wurster’s KIA callsign is “Stringman,” and how he can make those guitar strings sing! He plays lead guitar, doubling up with vocal harmonies. Tagging along is Kiado-Ryu Founder & Grandmaster, Richard Andrew King.

Richard & Richard wrote quite a few songs together, four of which, two by each artist, can be accessed and listened to here: (scroll down below the R & R photo)

King’s CDs (one original music CD and three spoken word CDs) are here: