The Official Publication of the International Kokondo Association (IKA)
Upcoming IKA Events: May 18: BEMA Seminar June 3: Kid’s Special Event (Honbu Dojo, CT) June 2-3: Jukido Academy (FL) Demonstrations at Int’l Festival June 6: Jukido Self-Defense seminar at NASCAR HQ in Daytona, FL June 8-10: Bakersfield, CA Seminar June 9: Women’s Self-Defense seminar at Boise Kokondo Academy June 18-22: Jukido Academy (FL): Jukido Summer Camp July 8: Honbu Yudanshakai July 26-28: IKA National Seminar – Seattle University
Kaicho’s Korner Inside Budo News:
Kaicho’s Korner Gasshuku Reflections IKA Event Pictures Kaicho’s Banquet Reflections IKA Member uses Jukido in Self-Defense Mid-West Seminar Report Sam Strait Retires from IKA My Start in Kokondo Kokondo Family Widens Kokondo Martial Arts Humor
2012 is proving to be a great Kokondo year. I want you to see this year through my eyes. I recall enjoying the February Northeast Randori. The event stands out as the most organized and well attended competition in years. Credit goes to everyone who provided registration and attendance figures in advance. This policy change ensures future success. I am grateful to the board of Masters, Directors, Sensei and Students for all their help and spirit. I remember how awkward my shoulder felt in the sling after surgery. However, the skill level of all the participants is an even clearer memory. The amazing speed, control and technique of the blue belts are so vivid. Shortly after the Randori, my sling comes off and I travel to Seattle. The Kokondoka there continue to lift my spirits. These times are precious to me. They give me an opportunity to train and watch the Masters and senior Sensei of the northwest teach. The level of consistency between northeast and northwest is brilliant to see. Mr. Mikasa, as always, does a great job hosting. As I watch everyone practice I realize how proud the association is of its great participants. Then Master Robert and I host the Gasshuku, a day of specialized training at the Hartford Windsor Marriott (the location for the 2013
Nationals.) Though improving, my shoulder is unable to give 100%. The students are a different story giving more than 100%. They throw and fall with such enthusiasm on a padded floor that I can’t help but smile. I enjoy traveling to new dojos. Therefore, flying to the Midwest Seminar in Arkansas is exciting. Thanks to my hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Hea, all the attendees and Mr. Martin, I look forward to seeing you again. Once home, I drive to area dojos. This year I enjoy testing more than usual. I have fun! The students do great! The candidates for higher rank clearly understand bunkai. They know their kata and self-defense. The Jukido is equally good. Every April, northeast Kokondoka attend an awards ceremony to celebrate new rank advancement. On June 3rd we have a similar event for the younger students. Each year takes hours to plan, to train, to teach, and to organize. Work doesn’t begin to describe this process. Joy is a much more accurate word.
Personal Gasshuku Reflections By Sensei George Rego (Jukido Academy, Palm Coast, FL)
In January my wife, daughter, and I enjoyed an evening dinner at a local restaurant with one of my best students (and friends), Brian Wilson, with his daughter and wife. We both have young girls under age 2 and our wives get along as well as we do. Over dinner I mentioned to Brian that in March I was heading to Connecticut for a special IKA event being hosted by Kaicho Howard and Master Robert. I explained to him that the Gasshuku was to be unique event that was akin to a one day extensive training camp with the variety and intensity of the “old days.” Halfjokingly, I asked him, “You want to join me?” The expression on his face was golden! It was a unique mixture of honor and excitement. He looked over at this wife and mine – they are deep conversation and (as usual) ignoring us. He looked back at me and says something to the effect of, “Let me get approval from the boss (wife) and I’ll let you know. But I would REALLY like to make it. Thanks offering!” Thankfully, he got approval needed from the Sensei of the Wilson home. For the next two months he was excited to be attending the Gasshuku. As much as I was excited to attend for my own personal training, I began to feel more and more excited for Brian. I could tell that this unique experience was going
to special for him. Mainly as a result of it being a short 24-hour trip to Connecticut with me and early the following month he was heading off to Army boot camp to begin his service with the US National Guard. The Gasshuku would have to “hold him over” until he returned to the dojo in 6-10 months (upon the completion of his initial military training). Brian is as dedicated a student, family man, and friend as I ever known. His dedication to country compelled him to do what he could to serve his nation as well. This dedication lead him to decide that service as a citizen-solider for the US Army National Guard was the right path for him. I know that somewhere Shihan Arel was proud of Brian’s commitment to family, dojo, Kokondo, and country. Knowing this in my heart and knowing that I only had a few weeks left with Brian before the beginning of his service – this one-on-one time with one of my most senior kyus and undoubtedly future dans at the Gasshuku took on a particularly special importance to me. The Gasshuku did not disappoint! The training intensity was matched only by its fun and variety. The short 24 hour trip that Brian and I took for the Gasshuku is something that we would both do again in a heartbeat!
Throughout the course of the Gasshuku I watched Brian frequently. Although I had my own training and teaching obligations assigned to me by Kaicho Howard – I couldn’t help watching Brian from time-to-time. He was intense, focused, and clearly a strong demonstration of what it means to be a Kokondo-ka. He studied not only the techniques of Kokondo seriously but the path of Kokondo seriously. He was a strong representative for not only our dojo but much more importantly – Kokondo as a whole. I was quite proud of him. The Gasshuku had many high points but for me the best part was watching Brian with pride.
pride as I reflected on how far Brian had come from his days as a white belt. Losing over 70lbs and going from a dedicated but rough martial artist to someone who was clearly developing into a clean and technical jujitsu-ka who was beginning to draw from the versatility of Jukido to make it his own as a martial artist. From the non-budo perspective I watched Brian and was simply honored to know that this incredibly honorable and dedicated individual was someone that I called a friend.
The plane ride back with Brian was a great experience. We reflected quite positively on the Gasshuku and talked at length about the role of Kokondo as not only an incredibly effective system of self-defense but as an art that can (and should) be applied to our daily lives. Two weeks later during Brian’s last class before heading off to bootcamp – he was tested for the rank of ikkyu in Jukido Jujitsu. Brian, along with another awesome brown belt from our dojo (Hugo), attacked their rank evaluation with incredible technique and fighting spirit. After class both were promoted to ikkyu and we celebrated with a (surprise) party for Brian. We wished him well during his time away from the dojo for bootcamp and extended military training. The Gasshuku was a special training camp. For me, it was not only a beneficial training experience but it reinforced to me the “special” relationships and very real family bonds that are developed by those who take the study of Kokondo to heart. From the perspective of the quintessential budo bond between sensei and student – I couldn’t be prouder of Brian before, during, and after the Gasshuku. I watched with
Select Photos from Recent IKA Events Gasshuku (March 2012):
IKA Northeast Annual Awards Banquet (March 2012):
Kaicho Howard Reflects on IKA N.E. Banquets Remarks made by Kaicho on past events at the Northeast IKA Awards Banquet at Adams Mill Restaurant 4/28/2012.
I love numbers but as a child I could not relate to math, until my father pointed out that numbers represent things which are important. This realization came to mind as I crossed 40 years in Kokondo. Master Wood, Richard Webster (his first stretch in Kokondo) and I joined Master Fearns already training in these great arts in 1972. Additional to the memories of class that flood through my mind, a pinnacle each year was the Northeast Regional Banquet. These events were the highlights of the Kokondo year not spent in the training hall. So many banquets with memories of rubber chicken one year and great omelettes another. We remember a few notorious flops and many more amazing flips. The vast flow of shows, meals, awards, and certificates, each takes its turn on the wheel of memory. I close my eyes and see; my first student getting his certificate, the bag lady demo with Mrs. Phelps and Master Fearns. I recall the comic antics of Usually Wong by Master Wood. I can still feel the solidity and steadfastness of any Master Longo demo and the quick light power of a Shihan Arel demo which, acting as the bad guy, I normally saw from an upside down and seemingly inside out perspective. Tonight we gather again to honor the hard work and powerful training of our members. We celebrate the timeless bond of student to sensei, student to art and student to system. The certificate you receive is a tangible connection to the association at large. It is signed by the directors of the art you train in. The Board of Masters, Directors, Sensei and I want to thank you so much for your dedication. Shihan Arel said, "Nothing good comes easy." His words are as true now as in 1972. Kokondo is not easy, but it is very good.
Florida IKA Member Forced to Protect Himself By David Petkovsek (Jukido Academy, Palm Coast, FL)
Borrowed with permission from a post by David Petkovsek on the Facebook page of the Jukido Academy dojo.
After talking to Sensei Rego I just wanted to let all Kokondo-ka know about a situation upon which I had to utilize Jukido Jujitsu in order to defend myself. I was playing a game of basketball and through a series of events one of the players began antagonizing people and becoming overly rough. In an attempt to calm him down I “called a time-out” in order to give him time to calm down. Upon this he further escalated the situation and went to push me. Thankfully, I was able to grab his hands before he pushed me (in an attempt to use a Yubiwaza/finger-lock). However, I was not able to hold on to him as either he pulled away quickly or I let him go due to the surprise of the situation. Unfortunately, he wanted to further the situation and threw a punch at me. I was, thankfully, able to use tai-sabaki (body movement/evasion) and evade the punch, utilizing his kuzushi. Thankfully there were plenty of people around to help deescalate the situation and help contain him. All in all the situation went as well as it could of, no one was hurt and everyone was able to walk away. However, this might not have happened if I was not able to draw upon the knowledge that Sense Rego, among others have taught me. I would like to thank him for being such a great teacher and friend to everyone at Jukido Academy. I hope this encourages people to train at their hardest, as even in the unlikeliest situations
there is always the chance that you will be forced to defend yourself. It could range from a push to a gun attack. However, without training your hardest and having the proper spirit in class, it is possible that any situation could escalate into something life threatening. This should motivate you to always train your hardest, because if you don’t one day it could cost you.
IKA’s Newest Dojo Visited by Kaicho Howard By Sensei Sensei David Hea (Twin Lakes Kokondo, Mountain Home, Arkansas & St. Louis Kokondo)
Mr. David Hea, gifted student of Sensei Chuck Martin of St Louis, moved and is teaching at Twin Lakes Kokondo in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Our Dojo opened on January 4th, 2011 with 2 students. We currently have anywhere from 7-10 students depending school schedules. As you would expect from any Kokondo dojo the students are fun dedicated characters.
Dessa “Sassy” Blackthorn was our very first student. She is by all accounts a renaissance woman. In addition to being a mother of three as well as a grandmother, she is the sole proprietor of Tattooz by Sassy, an accomplished author of three novels, body builder and motorcycle enthusiast. I think you could say her plate is full. I have to admit it was a little intimidating to have our first student actually fill in the name “Sassy” on the sign-up sheet. It almost caused me to question what I'd gotten myself into. From day one, however, Dessa has been someone I could count on to not only be in class, but to set an example of hard work and dedication. I cannot begin to say how much I appreciate having her as a student and a friend. Ben Reynolds started almost a year ago. He is concert pianist with a very rare gift. Ben is almost completely deaf. Why is that a gift you ask? Because Ben's “gift” allows him to focus intensely on the task at hand. He is not subject to many of the distractions that could cause someone else to lose focus. One of the obvious challenges that we faced when Ben started was communication. I had never learned sign language so I was relying on Ben's ability to lip read. The problem was that lip reading doesn't work when many of the terms are in Japanese. Over the last year my sign language has gotten much better and Ben and I have developed abbreviated signs for kata and many of the most common commands given in any Kokondo class. The process wasn't without some funny mistakes however. The first time I attempted to give the sign for water break, I ended up saying “I love you” to the entire class. Ben's response was classic. He said “I love you to, but can we take a water break?” When talking with Ben about the upcoming Midwest Seminar I was explaining to him that we were going to have a seminar with Kaicho. Unfortunately I was sitting a little too far away from him which prompted the response “A Seminar with nachos?” Sensei Martin didn't miss a beat in his retort. “Well you can't have a seminar without nachos.” Patrick Kelso has been with me almost from the beginning. Although his new job keeps him out of the dojo and out of town more often than not now he still finds time to practice. His commitment to practice outside of class shows when he gets back into the dojo. He is a wonderful student and a good friend. We all look forward to the time we spend with him. Gary Konklin and Tina White are our newest adult students. They are both hard workers and are not afraid to push themselves beyond what they think their capabilities are. I look forward to watching them grow in the system. Dakota Sandoval and Alex White are our youngest students at 9 and 8 years of age. They are an absolute joy to teach. I wish I had half of their discipline at that age. Dakota has been with us for a year now and is our newest yellow belt. Both of them have a great attitude and willingness to learn. Their greatest strength however is their ability to focus. One of the challenges with teaching kids is avoiding the “boring” factor. Repetitive practice may be what is needed but can turn a child off very quickly. Both of them poses the discipline not only to focus when something is new and interesting, but to stay focused when practicing something they have done many times. That is a rare gift for any child.
2012 Midwest Kokondo Seminar Report April 4th-5th, 2012 Lake View Community Center Lake View, Arkansas The 2012 Midwest Kokondo seminar is something I will never forget. A lot of work occurs in the months, weeks, and days leading up to seminar. I have to admit I was nervous about being a host for the first time, but those nerves faded away quickly once we finally bowed in. Some of my fondest memories from that seminar were watching Dessa practice shuto mawashi uke holding Diet Coke bottles in her hands, or seeing her do Konsho in 4” heels in the parking lot of a restaurant. Seeing the reaction on Tina's face when she broke a board for the first time…that was priceless. I would call it a “Holy Cow, I can do this!” moment. Watching Sensei Martin work with Gary on his kata was real flashback. That one moment more than any made me realize how lucky I am to have Mr. Martin as my Sensei. As I mentioned before it is
easy for younger students to get bored or lose focus over the course of a two hour class. I was so proud of both Dakota and Alex. They never got bored, complained or lost focus on what they were doing. In looking back I think that is not only a credit to them but a credit to Kaicho Howard's ability as a teacher. They learned a lot and never lost the smile on their face. Again I would like to say thank you to Kaicho for putting on such a great seminar, Sensei Charles Martin for his continued support and encouragement, all the members of St. Louis Kokondo who made the trip to Arkansas and to our own Twin Lakes Kokondo students. I'm proud and humbled by your dedication. Finally I would like to thank my wife Tracey not only for helping so much with the seminar, but for being so understanding of the role Kokondo plays in my life. Ossu!
Pictures from the IKA Mid-West Seminar hosted by Twin Lakes Kokondo
General Admission â€“ Adults $13.00 - Children (7-15) $7.00 - Children (6 and under) FREE! Participation Fee -$15.00 See your Sensei for the registration and waiver form! Must be returned to Sensei before Feb, 3rd 2012 1ST THROUGH 3rd PLACE AWARDED TROPHY OR MEDAL ALL PARTICIPANTS RECEIVE A CERTIFICATE or Check made payable to IKA LLC FORM WAIVERCash AND REGISTRATION
Sam Strait: Retires from IKA Email exchange between Mr. Strait & Kaicho Howard
On Apr 27, 2012, at 8:35 PM Mr. Straight Resignation Letter to Honbu/Kaicho: Dear Kaicho, I regret to inform you that I am planning to retire from our Kokondo organization. On the strong advice of three different physicians I have been advised to discontinue the activity of Kokondo due to the possibility of serious consequences such as paralysis. After considerable thinking I have come to the decision to retire. I had joined this organization some forty years ago in my youth and progressed from beginner to nidan. I have learned much from this organization and feel it is the best martial arts program available. We have had and continue to produce the best of the best Kokondoka. I know how much I will miss being a part of IKA but this is the time in my life to respect the potential consequences. I no longer feel I can give my physical best to Kokondo and therefore shall retire. Thank you for all you have done and for continuing a great organization. Shihan would be so proud. Sincerely, Sam Strait Kaicho Greg Howard responds: Sam , Thank you for your classy and heartfelt note. I understand that your health must come first. I accept your retirement from active Kokondo. You will always be a part of Kokondo for you helped forge who we are and who we strive to be. Your loyalty to Shihan which you extended to me is a gift I can only honor and respect and strive to be worthy of. I hope to see you at breakfast soon to share in the camaraderie and comedy. Thank you for your years of service and Kokondo Spirit. Sincerely, Greg P Howard Kaicho IKA
My Start in Kokondo
By Mr. Lowell Yeager (Griswold Kokondo Dojo, CT) My experience with Kokondo started with my son. He found the class and started on his adventure with the Griswold Dojo and Sensei Phelps. My wife and I were taking turns bringing him to classes. My wife would bring him on the days I was working and I got the duty on my days off. When I would drop him off the adults in the class would all ask me when I was going to start to go to classes myself. My standard answer was when I retire. You see I worked a swing shift for 30 years in a Fire Department and did not like the idea of missing classes due to my work schedule. So I kept taking my son for a couple of years and then I retired. My last shift was 5PM to 7AM, Sunday night into Monday morning. Monday evening I was at class, true to my word, I would start when I retire. I walked into class more of the age of the Instructor’s then the students. I was a white belt where all students start, which is how it must be. Around a year after I started my son found other interests in high school and dropped out of Karate. Karate was easy for my son; he was sort of a natural at it and a lot more flexible than me. I found a lot of the moves hard to do and still do 8 years later. I remember when I went to the banquet and got my yellow 1 belt. The “Kids” who I would practice with in class all got their yellow 2, I was crushed, I knew I was as good as them. Could this really be happening to me? Was I that bad? I had some soul searching to do. As I sat and thought about my yellow 1, I asked myself, why was I taking karate? My answer was that I enjoyed learning in the dojo and in this system. That the belt was only secondary to the knowledge that I learned and the great people I met along the way. Don’t get me wrong no one wants to be a white belt forever, although there are some benefits to being in the back of the room when you are unsure of things. But as I looked inside myself it didn’t matter if I was only yellow 1 or 2 or even green belt. What really mattered was that I enjoyed what I was learning and that I was happy with myself. The next year Shihan Arel saw fit to make me a green belt, so I caught up with the
kids in the class, but it didn’t matter if I had stayed yellow 1, I was happy with myself and done chasing belts. The belt would come as my progress indicated. If I deserved it, I would go up, if not I would stay the same and I was fine with that. As I think back on things. I should not have worried about missing classes and should have started 20 years earlier because the aches and pains that I could shake off in a day or two now take me a week or two, if not longer to recover from. I should practice more at home and learn terminology better. I should have better stances. I also learned that the perfect kata you do as a yellow belt does not make the grade as a brown belt. And I also learned that it is a very personal journey we are on and some are just better than others. But most of all I learned that you have to be happy with yourself. In closing I would like to thank all the people who helped me along the way, whether it is by actual instructions or by example, because a lot can be said by saying nothing. Editor’s note: Budo News has held this article until after Mr. Yeager received his black belt. We are so happy to announce his elevation to probationary black belt 04/28/2012.
Kokondo Family Widens
By Mr. Joe Duffy (House of Kokondo, Newington, CT) Shortly after becoming a pro-shodan at 59 in 2003, I published an article in the WESTHERSFIELD LIFE detailing the excitement and satisfaction of my Kokondo experience. Shihan Arel had told me early on that “Kokondo is a family” and those words became increasingly clear to me throughout my training. Over the years, Shihan and I often laughed at the irony of my “accidental” Kokondo beginnings. I had originally gone over to the old Honbu dojo at the Newington American Legion Hall for the sole purpose of writing an article on black belt Sandy Nukis. That night, Shihan persuaded me to “stay for just one lesson.” I’ve proudly stayed on with the Kokondo family ever since!
Not long after my article appeared locally, I got a call from Sal Conte, the owner of a real estate business in town. Having seen the article, he asked me if he was “too old” for karate and mentioned that he had been a US Marine serving at Guantanamo during the Cuban missile crisis. “Shihan would love you!” I said and Sal was in! From the start, his integrity was a standout. “A person like Sal comes along once in a hundred years” observes Sensei Peter Dylag of the South Windsor dojo.
At the recent awards banquet, Kaicho Howard was happy to award Mr. Conte his probationary shodan in Kokondo karate, an accomplishment that also coincided with Mr. Conte’s 70th birthday! He is a student of Master Robert at House of Kokondo (HOK) in Newington, CT. Throughout the last decade of his training, I have watched Mr. Conte demonstrate a quality of perseverance and courage which can only be described as the Seven Codes of Bushido at their best!
Despite challenges to his focus which would have depleted as lesser spirit, Mr. Conte has always prevailed. Displayed prominently on his car is the decal: “Once a Marine Always a Marine.” All at HOK view Mr. Conte as an engine that knows no rest. Some years back, he finished a lesson while enduring an undetected cardiac problem! He is a Kokondo-ka who especially delights to see Master Robert pull bunkai from kata. To him it’s simply “beautiful!” As Master Robert himself describes his student, “When I think of Sal Conte, I see a man who approaches his training with a steely grit and intense intellect. These attributes are, in my opinion, applicable only to a handful of accomplished men. I am honored to call Sal my student and friend.”
Mr. Conte also belongs to a hiking club whose members marvel that he is always first and fastest bounding up those trials. “He never takes water!” says one hiker. These happenings come as no surprise to Mr. Conte’s admiring HOK family. There is no lesson where he does not live up to Kokondo’s uncompromising mantra, “DO YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST!” I am glad my friend, Sal Conte, a modest gentlemen of wit and wisdom in his own right, made that phone call to me a decade past and so is his whole Kokondo family.
KOKONDO MARTIAL ARTS HUMOR By Dr. Judy Molin (Seattle, Washington)
You know you are addicted to karate when… 1. You brush your teeth in karate stances 2. You practice punching a sticky note on a wall to perfect technique. 3. You don‘t mind calluses on your feet, and in fact you WANT them. 4. You love your Gi (outfit) so much you want to wear it to work. 5. You count everything you can up to 10 in Japanese. 6. Your dogs are no longer scared by you performing kata moves in the living room. 7. You think about if you could stop in mid-stride and be balanced everywhere you walk 8. Sensei is on speed dial for questions about Karate. 9. You dream about it--in Japanese. 10. You wear more makeup on your arms to cover bruises than you wear on your face.
You might be a Jukido-ka if… (Borrowed from JudoInfo.com) 1. You see someone taking a bad fall off his bike, and the first word that pops into your head is "Ippon!" 2. Every time you see a big open space you have to restrain yourself from doing ukemi for no apparent reason. 3. When you see some big guy walking down the street you plan how to throw him on his back and then arm-lock him. 4. You’re teaching your kid to ride a bike and start off with ukemi drills! 5. You get into bed with a forward roll. 6. You say "you should see this new technique I learned" and all of a sudden you're the only one in the room. 7. You keep having this dream about your mother-in-law reversing your best shimewaza (choke). 8. Your dog shakes hands with everyone but you.
International Kokondo Association
Active Dojo Websites IKA Honbu Website: www.kokondo.org House of Kokondo (Newington, CT): www.hokllc.com Florida Jukido Jujitsu Academy (Palm Coast, FL): www.floridajukido.com BEMA Kokondo (Seattle, WA): www.kokondobema.com Boise Kokondo Martial Arts Academy (Boise, ID): www.boisekokondo.com Monson Kokondo Dojo (Monson, MA) www.kokondokarate.com Pullman Kokondo Academy (Pullman, WA): www.kokondomartialarts.com Simsbury Jukido Jujitsu Academy (Simsbury, CT): www.simsburyjukido.com Southwest Kokondo Academy (Centralia, WA): www.swwkokondo.com Tri-Cities Kokondo Academy (Richland, WA): http://tricitiesika.freeservers.com/location.html
IKA Seminar 2012 Haven’t registered for the most prestigious annual IKA event of the year? What are you waiting for? It isn’t too late! Don’t miss the unique, special, and intensive opportunity to learn from and work with Kaicho Howard, IKA’s Masters and Senior Sensei, and fellow IKA members from across the nation. The unique experience that is the National Seminar only happens once a year. Join us at the beautiful campus of Seattle University for the most exciting and challenging Jukido Jujitsu & Kokondo Karate event of the year!
You can download your copy of the IKA Seminar Registration Form at www.KOKONDO.org
Budo News Interested in submitting an article or an article idea? Submissions can be made to the following email address: email@example.com Budo News Staff: George M. Rego Robert E. Robert Greg P. Howard May 2012 Budo News is distributed to all registered members of the International Kokondo Association (IKA) within the United States and internationally. Budo News, Kokondo, and Jukido are registered trademarks of IKA, LLC. Any duplication or reproduction of this publication without the signed written permission of Budo News is strictly prohibited.
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