Kiado-Ryu Karate

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Feature of the Week: True Power Flows, Not Shows

The Black Belt Book of Life

From dusk to dawn the world goes
circling sun with highs and lows;
within this journey Greatness knows
True Power Flows Not Shows.

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers run silently.

~ and ~

Things that are empty make a noise;
the full is always quiet.

~ Buddha

True Power Flows, Not Shows

This is a very simple truth which needs no great explanation. If we are truly powerful, our power will flow from us as easily as water down a mountain. It will not be forced. It need not be announced. It will just flow and it will flow silently as great rivers flow silently.

It’s a sure bet that those who make a great effort to be powerful, to be dominant, to be imposing are simply trying to express externally what they lack internally—a healthy, whole and integrated sense of self. To repeat Margaret Thatcher’s statement: Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t. Likewise, in being a Black Belt if we have to tell people we are powerful to substantiate our confidence, or make some external show or create some “noise” to validate our achievement, we would be well-served to evaluate our substantive sense of self. In other words, true power should flow from a Black Belt naturally with neither declaration or exhibition. So should it be for all intrinsically powerful people. If they are truly powerful, their power will flow from them easily, effortlessly, quietly.

On a personal note, in my competitive days, the fighters that gave me pause and coalesced my attention to action were not the ones with the loud mouths and ostentatious displays of power, but those who were relaxed, calm, composed, quiet, confident and self-assured. They needed no show. They knew who they were and what their skills were. They were true warriors. Their power was genuine and they knew it. Subsequently, their power flowed . . . silently, and never showed until the moment of truth when the battle engaged.

Feature of the Week: Mayweather/McGregor & Sun Tzu

Brain vs. Brawn — Savvy vs. Swagger

Mayweather/McGregor & Sun Tzu

Saturday night, 26 August 2017, witnessed the most hyped fighting event since The Rumble in the Jungle between boxing’s then Heavyweight Champion George Foreman and former Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali on 30 October 1974. Ali won that contest, regaining his World Heavyweight Championship title.

Mayweather vs. McGregor was different, sort of. Floyd Mayweather, 49 and O in his stellar boxing career, was being challenged by the bad boy champion of the mixed martial arts world, Conor McGregor. It was a pugilistic clash between seasoned championship boxing savvy and MMA swagger. Boxing experience won . . . by a knockout.

So where does Sun Tzu come in? Everywhere. Unfortunately, the brevity of this article does not permit an elaboration on the teachings of Sun Tzu from his iconic classic book The Art of War, but, undoubtedly, a book could easily be written. The clash between Mayweather and McGregor was a stark manifestation of the principles of war espoused by Sun Tzu, or not, at least in McGregor’s case.

As all Karate Institute of America martial artists know, the first line of The Art of War—the very first line, depending on the translated version—is, War is a grave concern of the state. It must be thoroughly studied. Note the phrase “thoroughly studied” with emphasis on “studied.”

In the post fight interviews after his 10th Round TKO (technical knockout), McGregor said he was a student of all marital arts. Yet, over and over again, he stated that when Mayweather advanced at him in a covered block position (crouched, arms blocking head posture) with Mayweather’s head in his chest (McGregor’s) he had no answer as to how to counter such a tactic. Really? An attacking cover block tactic is as common to boxing as syrup is to pancakes. If McGregor was as keen a student of fighting as he claims, how could he have missed such a basic pugilistic assault? Answer, and this is critical, Sun Tzu’s opening line—the thesis statement of his entire vaunted, classic work—places the emphasis on thoroughly studying war, not just studying war. Obviously, McGregor missed the word “thoroughly.” After all, this was the most globally hyped, advertised, promoted fight of this young century, touted in some circles as the MMA vs. Boxing disciplines.

Well, it was a boxing match; not a mixed martial arts contest. Boxing is its own discipline. It contains features, tactics and strategies all its own. Mayweather was a decades old, seasoned, experienced, savvy, wise, educated Boxing World Champion with a stellar record of 49 and O! Undefeated! And McGregor thought he was going to knock Mayweather out in the first couple rounds leading with his bad boy attitude and circus-hype bravado? Really?

The Karate Institute of America fighting strategy begins with thoroughly understanding Sun Tzu’s primal premise of war: War is a grave concern of the state. It must be thoroughly studied. Not just studied, but “thoroughly” studied. Not “may be” but “must be.” Great fighters are great thinkers. Brain trumps brawn. Savvy trumps swagger. Floyd Mayweather proved Sun Tzu’s most fundamental principle and defeated Conor McGregor, not with brawn, but brain . . . and savvy experience.

Feature of the Week: Terence Crawford Knockout of Julius Indongo

Perfect Form – Perfect Body Knockout!

Saturday night, 19 August 2017, Terence Crawford met Julius Indongo in the boxing ring to settle it all. Both were undefeated champions. Only one would prevail as still undefeated. That one was Terence Crawford.

It was 1:34 to 1:38 left in the 3rd round when Crawford ducked an Indongo left roundhouse punch and then counter-punched Indongo with a devastating left punch to the body, a knockout punch.

Most knockouts occur to the head in boxing. Not this punch. It was a perfectly formed and delivered blow. In the first photo (top left), Crawford rotates his hips from a balanced position to land a body blow to Indongo. Photo two (top right) shows Indongo going to the mat. Photo three (bottom) shows a reverse angle of the knockout punch to Indongo’s midsection, and that’s all she wrote!

Besides being delivered with perfect form, when one watches the knockout footage of the fight, it is obvious that Crawford “popped his punch.” It is this “popping action” which generates devastating power due to a change in momentum. “Popping punches” don’t allow the body time to absorb the blow by disbursing its power. This “Popping Action” of karate strikes is a fundamental teaching technique at the Karate Institute of America.

Terence Crawford Knockout of Julius Indongo offers a Power Punching DVD series of three videos which teach:

  1. Secrets of Dynamic Power
  2. Power Punches
  3. Power Punching Combos

Each DVD is available separately for $19.97 through Amazon. Check them out on

Feature of the Week: The Irrefutable Reason and Reality for Persistence

One of the standard principles of the Karate Institute of America is persistence. What KIA student has never heard these powerful words from the 30th President of the United States, Calvin Coolidge.

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

Case in point courtesy of the men’s 100 meter final at the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federation) World Championships in London, England, on 5 August 2017. Justin Gatlin, a former 100 meters champion had never beaten his nemesis, Usain Bolt—the world’s undisputed king of speed, until Bolt’s final solo race of his career. In the epic showdown Gatlin, who had lost to Bolt every time the two raced since 2013, won the Gold medal during the 100 meters premier event in 9.92 seconds. The Silver Medal went to fellow American Christian Coleman with a time of 9.94. The legendary phenom Usain Bolt finished 3rd, taking the Bronze Medal, in 9.95 seconds.

The Irrefutable Reason and Reality for Persistence

Gatlin’s performance was pure testimony of the power of persistence and determination. It would have been easy for Gatlin simply to hang up his track spikes, having never beaten the iconic Usain Bolt, but Gatlin never gave up. He kept training, honing his skills, mind and spirit, and in a flash of 9.92 seconds he gained the title the “Fastest Man Alive.” Gatlin returned, once again, to his former championship self. And how did he do it? Persistence and determination. That’s the key. That’s always the key. If you have a dream, never give up. Never. Justin Gatlin never gave up his dream to beat Usain Bolt and he did so at the IAAF World Championships in London, England, on 5 August 2017. Congratulations to Justin Gatlin, not only for his Gold Medal at the World Championships, but more importantly for being an example of never, never, never, quitting.

The KIA extends its gratitude for, once again, a human being driving the point home that in life, to be successful in any endeavor, persistence and determination are omnipotent!

Feature of the Week: Napoleon: The First Virtue in a Soldier

Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the world’s most memorable military and political leaders. His experience taught him that . . .

The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue; courage is only the second virtue.

Napoleon: The First Virtue in a Soldier

“Endurance of Fatigue.” Excellent food for thought. For example, what Karate Institute of America Black Belt does not understand this worthy insight? None. To get through not one but two days of grueling testing after years of arduous effort and struggle and emerge as a Kiado-Ryu Black Belt is a most notable accomplishment, to be sure. Only sixty-four of three thousand three hundred students in the KIA’s thirty-eight year history have succeeded in reaching the coveted Black Belt level. They are certainly the ones who can sincerely acknowledge Napoleon’s words: The first virtue in a soldier is endurance of fatigue.

The same is true for any athlete who has endured fatigue and triumphed in the struggle to succeed. Championship teams will also corroborate this simple truth. The challenger who can endure fatigue the longest, who can physically outlast his adversary, will emerge from the contest victorious.

And so it is in life. Those who conquer are those who never quit, who never give up or give in. There are millions of talented individuals in the world in all aspects of society, but the ones who endure, who gut it out, who remain steadfast to their dreams and goals and endure the seemingly endless fatigue of the struggle will be the ones who stand alone at the top of the mountain and proclaim victory.

Feature of the Week: The Karate Consciousness: Author’s Preface

The Karate Consciousness: Author's Preface

Editor’s note: The following is the author’s preface from The Karate Consciousness: From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master, available from Amazon.

I began my martial arts journey in 1967 with the Tracy Brothers Kenpo Karate organization in San Jose, California, eventually reaching a 5th Dan Black Belt rating in their system. I also achieved a 1st Dan Black Belt rating in Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate system, having studied with their organization for a time.

Having fallen in love with martial arts, I opened my own studio–The Karate Institute of America–in Mission Viejo, CA, in 1979, and began developing the Kiado-Ryu System of Martial Arts. Defined, “Kiado-Ryu” means the family (Ryu) of the KIA (Karate Institute of America) way (Do). I have been teaching professionally ever since.

Throughout my fifty years of martial arts experience as both student and teacher, I have come to realize that it is one of the greatest vehicles for integrating the body, mind and spirit. Too, it offers an incredibly powerful opportunity for elevating one’s consciousness to remarkable heights if one focuses not just on the fighting/mundane aspects of the art but also on the elevation and edification of the spirit and consciousness. Hence, the subtitle of this book: From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master.

The gifts of martial arts training are endless. As I mention in The Black Belt Book of Life–Secrets of a Martial Arts Master, “Martial arts is life.” No truer statement could be spoken. Everything in martial arts has a direct correlation with life itself. Aside from self-defense skills, here is a partial list of the life principles karate has to offer: balance, personal responsibility and accountability, reliability, individuality, humility, respect, strength, courage, confidence, will power, flexibility of body, mind and spirit; adaptability, discipline, control, concentration, creativity, patience, perseverance, persistence, determination, devotion, dedication, consistency, coordination, peace, love, practicality, movement, memorization, dignity, nobility, generosity, graciousness, gratitude, forgiveness and common sense.

Consciousness can be defined as the sum total of our knowledge, thought, understanding, awareness, perception, feeling and intuition. Basically, consciousness is the composite of who we are. Through martial arts dedication and training, we can expand our consciousness to areas never before imagined and touch levels of reality we never knew existed. The ideas, thoughts and concepts of this work are offered in the spirit of sharing what I have learned in my karate life in the hope that they may help other practitioners in advancing and expanding their consciousness of life. Verily, all of us who practice martial arts are infinitely blessed with a gift of enormous proportions. Let us not betray it but fully embrace it.

Yours in the Arts,
Richard Andrew King, Founder & Grandmaster
The Karate Institute of America & Kiado-Ryu Martial Arts | |

Feature of the Week: Semper Fi, Captain Lou. Forever True!

Captain Lou Gacs, United States Marine Corps, Retired, has been a student and dear friend of Mr. King and the Karate Institute of America for nearly forty years. As is well known, the motto for the U.S. Marine Corps is semper fi (short for semper fidelis) meaning “always faithful,” and if there is one quality describing Lou Gacs more than any other, it is “always faithful.” No doubt about it.

“Gacs” (pronounced “gotch”) is a Hungarian name, but Captain Lou is USMC red, white and blue through and through. Joining the Marine Corps in the enlisted ranks, Lou worked his way up the ladder and retired with the rank of Captain. During his service career of decades, he performed various jobs from communications to combat. At the time of his Vietnam War deployment, he served in various capacities, such as a sniper and an aerial gunner, operating a .50 Cal machine gun from a helicopter. As history has noted, in one month he actually logged 300 missions in 25 days! That’s 12 per day! The large majority of the missions involved medivac and recon, i.e., going and getting troops who needed evacuation from hostile zones and situations. In true heroic fashion, Lou Gacs, always faithful, wanted to be where the action was, regardless of the potential danger to himself. But isn’t this the USMC way?

An extremely intelligent man, Lou has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Bio Chemistry from San Jose State University. Not being satisfied educationally, Lou earned a Masters of Science (MS) degree in Systems Management (designated “MSSM”) from the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering.

Academic degrees could not satisfy Lou’s drive for excellence. A martial arts instructor in his own right, he possesses multiple Black Belts from various martial art systems such as Kang Duk Kwan, Kukkiwon, Tae Kwon Do and Chung Do Kwan. His extensive martial arts background includes, but is not limited to, Muay Thai (Thailand), Arnis, Escrima and Kalintaw (Philippines), and Pencak Silat (Indonesia), Tang Soo Do, Hwarang Do, Kung Fu while at SJSU, and Kiado Ryu. He is a Licensed 5th Dan Okinawan Kenpo Instructor, as well as a Licensed 4th Dan Korean Karate Instructor in Ji Do Kwan. A member of the Ryuku Hon Kenpo Kobujyutsu Federation, Korean Tae Kwondo Association and Muay Thai World Council, Captain Gacs is one of the most well-rounded and accomplished martial arts practitioners on the planet!

During his time at the Karate Institute of America, Lou has helped many students improve their ability. His input has always been accepted with great appreciation and respect. In the following photo, Captain Gacs is seen holding a bag for a KIA student during a testing. Looking on is Thomas “Draco” Lindsay, KIA Black Belt #52.

While stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Captain Gacs, with his friend and fellow Vietnam Vet Captain Richard Van Meter, organized, led and hosted several successful open martial arts tournaments for thousands of martial artists—tournaments which always ran smoothly, had class and dignity.

In his retirement days, Lou is anything but stagnant. He is constantly on the move doing this and that. The man never stops. Check out the canopy covered martial arts obstacle course he built in his back yard. Pretty amazing, and fun! Notice all the stations, as well as the inscriptions on the tires, reflections of the man’s character.

How about this photo. Look at that punch—on target and perfectly structured.

As Lou executes a front kick to a convenient stack of tires, look at all the hanging bags and striking structures in the background. This man is focused, creative, talented—a one-of-a-kind original!

And here’s a rhythm bag he uses to help develop his quick and deadly hands.

Lou Gacs’s demeanor is exceptional. He has proven himself to be an extremely accomplished individual, a true tried-in-the-fire friend whom you can always count on to be there and have your back, whether you’re in a hostile war zone, back alley or a back yard. He is smart, tough, strong, humble, courageous, highly educated, devoted and dedicated to the Corps, his family, friends and country.

And speaking of dedicated, check the following inscription on the baseball cap photo.

Knowing Mr. King’s history of losing his own USAF fighter pilot father in Vietnam, the ever-thoughtful Captain Lou Gacs presented him with this deeply meaningful gift. The inscription addresses the number of military personnel who never returned from Vietnam and reads:

1959 to 1975

Captain Gacs is looking “strack” in his Class A USMC uniform, flanked by his parents. Look at all that fruit salad (ribbons and medals of his left chest). Absolutely awesome, Lou! Thanks for your service to our country. You are 1st Class all the way!

If we’re very lucky in life, we have friends, true friends; not the fair-weather variety who hang around only when times are good to glean for themselves the limelight of sunny days and warm nights, but the deeply devoted type who stick with you through thick and thin, ups and downs, stormy days and more tempestuous nights, even through the fires and ashes of decline, transformation and regeneration. Lou Gacs is such an individual, and the Karate Institute of America and its Founder, Richard Andrew King, are deeply grateful for his friendship, loyalty, devotion and service to our country. Semper Fi, Captain Lou—an inspiration of what it is to be forever true!

Feature of the Week: Balance Is Primary

(Available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle)

Balance Is Primary

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

Principle #4

Pages 21-24

Of all life’s skills with which to carry, remember this … Balance is Primary!

Anyone can teeter-totter but not everyone can balance. —Anonymous

Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance. —Pope John Paul II

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. —Euripides (480–406 BC)

Arguably, the greatest of life’s skills is balance. With it, life is potentially harmonious, productive, meaningful. Without it, life is extremely challenging, bringing a torrent of angst, confusion, destruction, non-productivity and unhappiness. When the teeter-totter is constantly going up and down, how can stability be maintained? It can’t, and where there is no stability, there is, axiomatically, instability and all of its attending issues and problems.

The principle of balance is echoed in Aristotle’s Golden Mean, the desirable midpoint between two extremes. Although less clear in its understanding, Confucius expounded what he called The Doctrine of the Mean. Both of these timeless philosophers lived three hundred and two hundred years BC, Aristotle predating Confucius by approximately one hundred years.

Yet, their message rings true throughout time: balance is primary and without balance the hope for a productive, fulfilling and meaningful life is compromised, if not totally negated.

Although the physical aspect of balance is readily apparent in martial arts training, it is no less critical to develop emotional, psychological and spiritual balance as well. If any one of these facets is missing in our character make-up, there will be a chink in our armor potentially creating problems for us in life. Therefore, it is vitally important that we constantly work to achieve a state of balance in all things.

It is not easy to achieve balance. Try standing on one leg for any length of time. It’s difficult. Stand on an inflated rubber dome, disk or gymnastics balance beam and the task becomes even more difficult. Still need more challenge? Try these balance exercises with your eyes closed. As time in the balance position increases, the challenge becomes practically overwhelming, resulting in falling off the mark. If standing on one foot is not challenging enough, try a handstand on the ground. Then proceed to parallel bars, gymnastic rings or the balance beam again. Hardly an easy skill. Even the best gymnast cannot hold his balance point for more than a few minutes on any given apparatus.

It is through these exercises that we understand balance is a dynamic and active process, not a passive one. Our mind, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints are all continually moving to keep us centered. We learn from such exercises that balance is truly a difficult state to maintain, not just in a physical sense, but also in a mental, emotional and spiritual sense as well. Thus, leading a successful life becomes a continual struggle and is definitely not a passive activity but an energetic and constantly dynamic one.

One of the main ingredients of balance is concentration, a focus of our attention on the alignments that keep all of our body parts in sync in the physical realm. When standing on one foot, for example, the key to balance is to insure that our head, shoulders, hips, supporting knee, ankle, foot and our body’s center line are properly aligned. Thus, balance becomes a problem of alignment. To simply try and balance on one foot doesn’t do us much good because there’s no concrete understanding of what creates balance. But when we focus on the alignment of the parts responsible for the balance, the probability of success increases dramatically.

It is no different when we are working to keep our life in balance except that we have to expand our focus to include our mind, heart, spirit, health, finances, relationships, etc. – all aspects that are necessary to life and which, if in the proper alignment, help insure a successful life through the principle of balance. Once we lose our focus, our alignment goes and so our balance goes and with it the peace that would be generated from a life of equanimity.

It is difficult to maintain balance in this world because it is based on a bipolar structure—the interplay of opposites. The ancient Yin/Yang symbol of the Chinese Tao beautifully depicts this ebb and flow of opposite energies: positive/negative; light/dark; male/female; hard/soft; day/night; up/down; hot/cold; happy/sad; good/bad and so forth. In this world the great cosmic pendulum is forever swinging back and forth from one polarity to the other and in such a constantly changing environment it is difficult to maintain balance, which is why mystics call this earth the “plane of struggle,” and why martial arts practice focuses on teaching and learning the virtue of balance. And what is the key to balance? Concentration.

Photo of the Week: Coming Soon! The Karate Consciousness — From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master

Front Cover

Cover artist: Adam “Frog” Mahan

Back Cover

The Karate Consciousness – From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master is dedicated to the philosophy that karate is both an excellent system for the integration of body, mind and spirit as well as an excellent vehicle for the evolution of one’s consciousness of life from a mundane perspective to a more elevated and edified reality.

Just as many martial arts systems are comprised of an ascending ladder of colored belts to designate accomplishment, so life is also comprised of an ascending ladder of levels of consciousness from worldly to divine.

The Karate Consciousness – From Worldly Warrior to Mystic Master shares concepts and perspectives which may help the karate practitioner in climbing the “Ladder of Consciousness.” Among such concepts are the Power in the Flock Syndrome, the Continuum, the D.C. Factor, the Great Law of Karma and much more.

Photo of the Week: Striker’s on the Move—Upward!

Judy “Striker” Gompf is back on track and on the move toward her Purple Belt and a new career. Having taken some time off, she is diligently practicing her Kiado-Ryu forms, techniques, and fighting skills, as well as cross training. She recently set a new personal best of 800 lunges! That’s right, 800! Quite a feat, especially after only being able to do 20 lunges at a time when she first started. Talk about determination! She’s got it in spades. As a result, there’s a massive amount of strength in Striker’s legs, so don’t get kicked!

Every KIA student should recognize the following pose. In which kata is it the centerpiece? Nice artistry—both in karate form and photographic composition.

Can’t forget those hard bows! What a great park to work out in!

Wouldn’t want to get hit with that knife-edge kick! Ouch! Remember the 800 lunges?

Judy is a single mom of two and a real California surfer chick (her hometown is Laguna Beach!). She has worked in the legal field for nearly two decades and is now applying her talents to the real estate business as an agent with Keller-Williams Realty out of their Mission Viejo office. Being a true SoCal/Laguna Beach resident her whole life, nobody knows the South Coast like the KIA’s own Judy “Striker” Gompf. If you need help with your real estate needs, her contact info is:; cell 949-813-9430. The Karate Institute of America wishes Striker all the best in this new phase of her life’s journey!