Kiado-Ryu Karate

Apr 27, 2020 - Feature of the Week

The KIA's #1 Key to Success in Martial Arts, Life and Pandemics

Every one of the sixty-four Black Belts of the Karate Institute of America knows it. Every person who has become successful in any line of endeavor knows it, and those individuals who want to survive the coronavirus pandemic, as well as its aftermath, need to know it if they don’t already.

Do you know what “it” is? Luck? Good luck with that. Hope? A nice thought but hope is just a belief, not a characteristic. The cavalry charging to the rescue with bugles blazing the welcome refrain of “Charge!”? Maybe, if you believe that movies are real life.

There is not one Kiado-Ryu Black Belt who accomplished such an esteemed attainment without exemplifying this #1 Key to Success. Just ask them what their tests were like—a one hour “still stance,” where the slightest movement could result in a disqualification; a forty-five minute pre-test to get warmed up, then performing fifteen katas, followed by sparring; then a never-ending gauntlet of fresh fighters trying to take your head off every thirty seconds for three minutes, and of course the cherished and beloved finale of bag work with nine minutes of grueling punching, striking and kicking skills executed in a trio of three minute sessions with only one minute of rest between the first and second and second and third rounds. Lovely. Piece of cake, right? Hardly.

It’s probably fair to say that most people around the world feel they’re in a fight, literally for their lives and livelihoods, and are getting tired of this pandemic with all of its attendant manifestations—death, food lines, lockdowns, inconveniences, quarantines and assaults on their intrinsic freedoms, etc. And then there is the aftermath yet to come and managing a brand new paradigm of social and cultural behavior. How in the world will this world get back to normal, if one can define normal, that is? Truly, how will we survive and become successful in the process of regeneration and reconstruction? “I know,” said the loser. “We quit, right? We take the easy way out, right?” Wrong, totally wrong.

Life is full of hardships and tests. When we were born, where was the promise that life would be easy, always pleasurable and fun? Kiado-Ryu Black Belt tests are never fun, never easy. Just ask any of the sixty-four souls who’ve taken them, endured them, conquered them, and risen to great heights because of them. Tests are tests for a reason. That’s why they’re called “tests.” They test us—our mettle, strength, courage, will, stamina, emotional stability, guts, determination—all with the ultimate purpose of making us better.

One of the strongest and greatest individuals in human history was Helen Keller. Her entire life was a test to overcome her physical deficiencies. What a tribute to humanity she was and still is. She understood adversity more than most of us. If anyone’s spirit and resolve to be successful is to be applauded and replicated, it is hers. In the following two quotes she reminds us of what it is to be successful as a human being. She understood, nay, she lived the #1 Key to Success.

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.


Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Helen Keller’s greatness is exemplified in the following example. When she was in her eighties, this blind and deaf woman was still traveling the world and sharing her thoughts and ideas with others. When asked why she was still traveling and lecturing she said (paraphrase): Because I want to help those who are less fortunate than myself. Talk about grace, power, humility and character! She was such a great soul that the famous author, Mark Twain, stated that there were two people he would have liked to have met. The first was Helen Keller; the second was Napoleon. Let that sink in for a moment.

So, finally, what is the #1 Key to Success in martial arts, life and conquering the coronavirus pandemic? Answer: “Never Quitting.” This feature concludes with the following humble poetic sentiment …