Kiado-Ryu Karate

Dec 20, 2021 - Feature of the Week

Raptor Rises Again!

It was another great day for Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet, the 64th Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America, as he ascended to the rank of 4th Dan, an accomplishment few have achieved in the forty-two year history of the Kiado-Ryu.

Raptor joins Dan “Basai” Asay (KIA Black Belt #8) and Chris “Growler” Grau (KIA Black Belt #36) as the only other two KIA 4th Dan Black Belts—a remarkable feat considering that over thirty-three hundred individuals have studied at the KIA since its inception in 1979. Raptor, at age 23, is the youngest person ever in Kiado-Ryu history to rise to such an esteemed rank. Totally awesome!

Mr. King and “Mountain Man” Raptor, 16 December 2021.

Mr. King and “Mountain Man” Raptor, 16 December 2021.

Now that he’s stopped growing, he’ll be getting a gi soon!

Not to look too far ahead, but the next rung on the Black Belt “Ladder of Ascendance” is 5th Dan—an extremely prestigious rank garnering the title of “Master,” a title only currently held by Kim “Cultivator” Thomas, the 63rd Black Belt of the Karate Institute of America.

Tristan’s martial arts endeavors occupy only one aspect of his busy life schedule. He is in college, has a tech job, and loves to go rock climbing and adventure seeking with his lovely, smart and tough girlfriend, Lauren Haller, who also is working and going to college. What awesome role models Tristan and Lauren make—such a tribute to young adults everywhere! And they even dress alike!

One of Tristan’s outstanding characteristics is being an awesome big brother to Aidan, aka “Smasher,” his little brother who’s not so little any more. Aidan’s doctor says he’ll probably reach 6’ 2" in height! Translated, this means, “Watch out, big brother. I won’t be the little brother any more!” Aidan, now 15, is a KIA Blue Belt working to achieve his Green Belt ranking.

It is wonderfully fun to watch these two familial warriors go at it. They don’t pull any punches (well, sort of) and they do it with a big smile on their faces. Seeing this loving relationship between brothers is extremely heartwarming.

Two loving brothers: Tristan & Aidan

Two loving brothers: Tristan & Aidan

There was a time when Mr. King was the tallest in this triumvirate but that was fifteen years ago when Raptor began his martial arts journey when he was eight years old and Aidan was just coming into this world. How fast time flies!

One of the greatest blessings gracing Tristan and Aidan is their family—parents Atousa and Ed Ligtvoet (on the flanks) and Oma Mertens (next to her son). The Ligtvoets are one of the very finest families in KIA history. Their qualities of love, support, work ethic, respect, dignity, intelligence, responsibility and caring are exemplary. The Karate Institute of America has been truly blessed to have the Ligtvoet family in its martial arts family.

What a great evening it was—this Thursday of 16 December 2021, in which Tristan “Raptor” Ligtvoet moved a major step upward in his martial arts journey, achieving the Black Belt rank of 4th Dan and being able to share such a moment with, and because of, his family. Thank you all and congratulations Raptor!