The 'Legit' Rank B.S.

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by KGS BBS, Jul 26, 2006.

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  1. KGS BBS

    KGS BBS Valued Member

    I haven't been on-line for a while but just tuned in and saw your 'debate' ( Dan & Jim), lol, about all this ranking thing. Now, this is just my opinion BUT I will produce the FACTS my opinion is founded on. Okay, all is explained below. One is an e-mail from a correspondence with Sonny Gascon through Mike Rash, a second from Rob Rouuselot who lives in Japan and is an extremely knowledgable individual who leaves his full name and phone number to privately answer any of the information he has provided and the third is a good solid article on 'Rank' I found on the net a while ago.

    First let me say this. In the beginning someone had to give themselves rank OR some organization/association/club/government or whatever had to give out rank, regardless, it started as either a self promotion or some organization who technically has 'no legitimate right to award such rank outside of political motivation as in the example of Funakoshi. His student, yes, student was the driving force on the organization to award him the 5th dan, the rank he died with. Later, the pinacle of karate was upped to 7th and finally 10th. The organization that ranked Funakoshi had NO Okinawan martial arts people/styles involved, purely Japaneses arts, kendo, jiu jitsu and the like of which one of Funakoshi's student's had previously trained in.

    So the FOUNDER of Rank in Karate received such rank from a tainted well which makes all this traditonal B.S. of legitmate rankings over the Hawaiian-derived Kempo/Kenpo lineages just a lot more B.S. None is no better than the other. Please wake up and smell the coffee and I don't mean this condescendingly, I'm just tired of hearing it debated. Rank only counts for the position it holds in the organization or school you belong to and that's it. No Japanese, Okinawan, Korean or Chinese ranking system is not any more legitimate than the Japanese/Filipino/Hawaiians who founded the modern Kempo/Kempo systems we have today and if you think there is a difference you're just fooling yourself.

    The informtion on Leoning's status was brought up by Gary Brewer who was a very early Leoning student (1960's). He was debating John Bishop on this issue and swore Leoning was a Black Belt when he came to the mainland. So Mike Rash and I asked Sonny Gascon and the response is below, he was. Also in my research it clearly stated that Leoning was one of Emperado's 5 most seniors that he sent from the Palama Settlement to Central Housing Authority Unit #3 which is what C.H.A. 3 Kenpo orginally stood for to help Emperado's first black belt Marino Tiwanak start his school. Leoning spent a couple of weeks there and then went back to Palama.

    Sonny Gascon was a Leoning Black Belt and was further recognized as the founder of his system KGS (10th dan) in 1971 by John C. Leoning and Sifu Share K. Lew who founded the North American Karate Kung Fu Club/Association. Leoning passed away in 1977 and out of respect and a courtesy to Gascon, Sijo Emperado put him directly under him in his family tree. In 1999 at the Gathering of the Eagles in Las Vegas Gascon was recognized further by all his peers and Adirano D. Emperado as such. Emperado was over heard by several people I know as saying to Sonny Gascon "You know you were always my #1 boy". Gascon was a guest instructor at Ed Parker's Pasadena Studio. Gascon was also a head referee at the infamous Ed Parker's Long Beach Internationals. He did many televison appearances including a kenpo demonstation w/breaking on Dick Clark's American Bandstand t.v. show back in the early 60's. Kempo icons Bill Ryusaki and Dan Guzman speak very highly of Sonny Gascon's abilities, very highly and stated he was a much better martial artist than John leoning. Yes, the same John Leoning who portrayed Master Teh in the original Kung Fu T.V series and pilot movie and he was damn good!

    Professor Nick Cerio had mentioned in my presense that George Pesare was a Black Belt in Kenpo in the 60's when he made his black belt but because the conversation going back over 15 years ago was of no relevance to me at the time, I don't remember the details but it was from the west coast and Cerio saw the certificate and knew the instructor. I had assumed if not from Gascon it was from someone in the Gascon group. Cerio had no reason to protect Pesare at the time. They were not speaking and Cerio had made two other shodans in 1966 and 1967 under Master Bill Chun Sr. and Professor William K. S. Chow. He made hs shodan under Pesare in 1965. So it had nothing to to do with Cerio's legitmacy. Fortunately Mr. Pesare and Mr. Cerio made ammends and were good friends at the time of Prof. Cerio's passing. Sonny Gascon awarded Geroge Pesare the Grandmaster's Belt in 2000 in Rhode Island. Gascon told me himself that Pesare was a really good fighter who could hold his own against anyone he threw against him and he threw some bad ass dudes his way!

    Getting back the these 'legit' rankings of Japanese masters and so forth. Let me bring up some history. In the late 70's the great Japanese stylist Hidy Ochai, 7th time traditonal Japanese kata champion wanted to make his debut in the P.K.A. (Professional Karate Association) in what was called then Full Contact Karate. In 1974 the PKA debuted on t.v. with the infamous Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace & Joe Corely fight. SGM. S. George Pesare was Region 12 (New Engalnd) Representative. The match was set in Providence, R.I. for Pesare BROWN BELT, yes, brown belt, John Levesque to meet Ochai. This is no b.s., I was training at Pesare's school, I know John to this day, a gentleman and the real deal and I was there at ring side. John and I just spoke about this recently. John kicked his ass with a T.K.O. Later, it was said the fight tapes were reviewed and John had head butted Ochai and the decision was reversed. Bet you'll never see those tapes again! Hey, how can an unknown George Pesare BROWN BELT beat this LEGITMATELTY RANKED CHAMPION TRADTIONAL FIGHTER. What a crock of sh_t. John hit with a hand combination and when his head went down kicked him in the face and broke his nose and his corner literally threw in the towel. However, that wouldn't set to well with these legitmately ranked Japanese MA Masters' after all, John is from the '******* lineage', LOL.

    Next we have Dan Macaruso who became the PKA's Light Heavyweight World Champ just about all wins by K.O., beating Spain's best and America's best for the title. America's being the highly talented Jeff Smith. These were all traditional fighters from non-Hawaiian lineages, you know, not of 'legit' Japanese, Okinawan...whatever, lol.

    Last but not least we have Pesare's first degree black belt, just a 'kid' at the time Bobby Ryan, beating everyone in sight in the PKA for the World Welterweight title. When he pummeled the great tradtionalist Ernest Hart Jr., it was announced that Ernie was sufferring from the flu at the time.... LAME....funny, he never asked for a rematch,lol.

    Sent : Wednesday, March 15, 2006 1:23 PM
    To : "Joseph Shuras" <>
    Subject : Re: Sifu Leoning

    | | | joes docum... | Inbox

    According to GM Sonny Gascon, 3-15-06 @10:15 PST
    I called him this morning and asked for you.
    John "Johnny" Leoning was a full blackbelt before he came to the mainland.
    One of about 1/2 dozen at the time.
    Prof. Mike

    From: "Joseph Shuras" <>
    Date: 2006/03/15 Wed AM 10:18:37 EST
    Subject: Sifu Leoning

    Martial Talk
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    Re: Pinan/Pinion and Katas


    Funakoshi’s 5th dan came from the Butokukai in Kyoto, one of his students named Konishi was a ranked member of that organization through some sword art and did some lobbying to get him a 5th dan. I have never seen Funakoshi was given any rank by the Japanese Gov. . Prior to his rank from the Butokukai Funakoshi had no rank.

    Robert Rousselot
    Japan Tel: 090-4717-8418
    Int. Tel: 81+90-4717-8418
    (if anyone is in Japan or coming to Japan feel free to call

    What is Rank?

    Before discussing rank and belts we must understand their purpose and place in the martial arts. Until the 1900's, rank did not exist in any visible form beyond the skill of the karateka. The novices, disciples, sempai, kohai, sensei, renshi and shihan (both words indicate "Master", which we will discuss later, or "Teacher's teacher") were distinguishable only by their level of proficiency, both in the dojo and out. Belts were not needed except to hold the kimono or gi closed, and most training (at least in warm weather) was done shirtless, anyway.

    Shoshin Nagamine, founder of Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu - 1952

    An'ichi Miyagi blocks punch in garden dojo.

    Young Myagi Chojun (left) and Kyoda training.

    In the early 1900's, Kano Jigoro (pictured at right) of Japan began a form of jiu-jitsu suitable for competition and randori (free fighting). In order to organize his teaching approach and to more evenly match the competitors, the white, brown, and black belts were introduced to denote the skill and knowledge of the jujitsuka. He named his art JUDO, exchanging the "jitsu", referring to techniques and the art, for the "do", meaning a way or a path.

    This change of suffix indicated a shift in the purpose of the training, from fighting methods to a system designed to build character and enlighten the practitioner.
    So when Funakoshi Gichin (pictured at left) came from Okinawa to Japan to represent Okinawan karate, he eventually adopted a belt system similar to the one used by his friend and erstwhile sponsor, Jigoro Kano. After the Meiji restoration, it was prudent for Okinawan people to adapt to Japanese culture as a matter of survival. It was under the new name of "karate" and with the new belt system that Okinawa's To-de was introduced into Japan's public schools and universities. Since that time, as various arts have evolved so have the belt rankings of the arts.

    On Okinawa, though, it was not until the mid to late 1950's that any belts were used as a ranking structure, as they preserved their To-De (China hand), or Uchinadi (Okinawa hand) in its original form, rather than the forms altered for public instruction through the educational system.

    Finally, as the arts came to America the belt rankings began to change. Americans, as a culture, lack the inherent patience and introspection of the Asian cultures. As a result, more and more belts and levels were added to satisfy the American desire for rapid recognition and immediate results. While there really are no shortcuts to skill in karate, the numerous belts serve to motivate the short attention-spanned Americans. There are now typically seven to ten "kyu" or beginner levels of belts. Following are some examples of the numerous belt systems. (I use here as examples the ones with which I am familiar through my own training, though there are countless variations):

    TAE KWON DO- white, yellow, green, blue, purple, red and/or brown, black.
    KENPO- white, yellow, orange, purple, blue, green, brown, black.
    SHOTOKAN- white, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black.
    SEIDOKAN - white, green, brown, black

    Most of these and other systems have intermediate levels marked by stripes on the different colored belts, (i.e. green belt followed by green belt with a stripe), and three degrees of brown belt; 3rd degree brown, 2nd degree, and 1st degree, then black belt. This makes ten levels of "kyu" before black in many modern karate systems. The 10 kyu levels balance against the commonly accepted ten "dan" levels or grades of black belt.

    Even in the black belt ranks there has been an evolution. Funakoshi himself only held a fifth dan, and that was rather arbitrarily awarded in order for him to have a teaching level rank that would be comprehended by the Japan Martial arts commission, the Nihon Butokukai. It is through politics and propaganda that the current 10th dan rank evolved. Even now, skill alone is only the prime factor up to the 4th or 5th degree black belt levels. Skill, while still a factor in ranking, is combined with politics and age for most promotions from 6th to 7th degree. Politics and age alone are generally the only factors in promotions from 8th to 10th degree. The highest-ranking Shotokan man in America before his death, Ozawa Shihan, received his 8th dan from the uncle of the Emperor of Japan, not from a karate board or organization. Now granted, it is a prestigious source for promotion, but there was no testing board or martial arts examination involved. It was based on Ozawa's immense contribution to karate and his longevity in the art. Professor Cerio received his Soke (founder) rank of 10th degree from a board of founders, the American Board of Soke. (This board is just one of many such organizations set up for the express purpose of granting rank recognition to advanced Martial Artists, or those who wish to proclaim new and individual styles.)

    Granted, all of these men needed to possess legitimate and tremendous skill and knowledge, but a promotion from 7th to 10th degree has less to do with that ability than with time and political recognition. Many, indeed most, judan in America are self-proclaimed as such or else are elevated through time by their own students or peers, and by their achievements rather than by any governing board or body. Such is less frequently the case in Asia where direct appointments are the norm. All of this is intended to put into perspective what rank is and what rank is not.

    Rank, as we have seen, is not consistent from style to style, nor even within styles often times. As a result, many false presumptions are made about a karateka because of the belt he wears. Many yellow belts even get an inflated sense of ability. Why? When one is praised and recognized he feels good. He should feel good, but how good? With only one to six months of training at yellow belt, or even a black belt with two to four years in a discipline that can take a lifetime to learn, how should one act? Should he not be more humble than proud at the realization of all there is yet to learn? This is why in Shaolin there are no belts. The only levels are student, disciple, and master. No awards of ranks or belts. They simply are what they are. Within the Buddhist community there is a ceremony for becoming a disciple or a master, but it is more a religious ceremony of commitment than anything martial arts related. (See Shi De Cheng.)

    The belts cater to the ego. Yet they can also serve a functional purpose. Just like being a freshman, sophomore, and so on in school, colored belts are stepping stones toward a graduation of sorts, or the black belt. But when one leaves high school, life has just begun. College is a must in today's world. Four more years, then a master's program and a doctorate perhaps. Even the Ph.D. must continue to research, publish, and instruct in order to keep up in a changing world and indeed to maintain the credibility of his credentials. The belts are, or should be, a reflection of this educational model, to some degree.

    The benefits of using belt rankings are that it provides a tangible goal for students to work toward, as well as establishing a reference point for hierarchy within a system. It also simplifies the teacher's job to be able to look at a belt color and know that student's grade and what to expect or what to teach that student that might be commensurate with his level.

    The negatives are the multitude of abuses that belts open up. Many instructors use the belt systems as money making scams, selling "Black Belt Programs" locking students in to a financial commitment of thousands of dollars, or simply charging outrageous fees for each little step up the ladder of rank. Picture $40 or more per test for 10 kyu levels, plus the $100 to $500 dollar black belt fees, and the financial incentive becomes apparent. The power trip that senior students or instructors often engage in are facilitated by belt ranks. The ego boosting instead of humility development that often occurs is encouraged with the injudicious use of the belt ranking structure. As a student progresses, he should be more humble, but wearing a higher belt color, such as the black belt, often has the opposite effect. Brown and black belts often feel they know everything (like teenagers talking to their parents), when in reality, the journey to mastery and beyond is lifelong in the martial arts.

    Rank is nothing neither more nor less than a step in the training. Whatever level you attain, it is a mere checkpoint on the never ending quest for self-discovery, self-improvement and martial skill. If ever one becomes a "master", to claim that title is contradictory to possessing the title. To say, "I am a martial arts Master" flies in the face of the humility and true sense of one's station in relation to all of humankind that the rank of master should imply.

    Not all black belts are equal. Not all karate is equal. Not all masters are equal. The only real test is how one lives his life and seeks to improve himself and his world with the knowledge he has gained. Belt colors and titles and all the rest are just trappings and adornments, useful within their sphere, but meaningless at the same time, since everything is relative. Judge by the individual, not the belt color or the name of his style, and you'll avoid the pitfalls and reap the benefits of the true martial arts.

    Respectfully submitted, Prof. Joe Shuras
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2006
  2. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    Well, since you brought my name into this, and you are discussing Kajukenbo history, I have to make some corrections.
    Tiwanak was Emperado's 2nd black belt, 1955. Joe Emperado was the first, 1952.
    Yes, Leoning was one of the 5 senior students (color belts, not black belts) at the Palama school in the late 50's. The five senior black belts were Joe Emperado, Marino Tiwanak, Vernon Chong, Walter Lee, Benny Mediro. Closely followed by George Seronio, and Sid Asuncion.
    In 1957 John Leoning was a brown belt and running the small Kajukenbo club in Kalihi, Hi. He went from there to Los Angeles, Ca. that same year.
    Instead of asking for second hand information from GM Gascon, why don't you ask the man who actually promoted him, Emperado? Or ask John Leoning Jr. what the date on his fathers black belt certificate is.

    Having talked to Sijo Emperado a few times about GM Gascon, I find that hard to believe, since GM Gascon was never a student of his. In fact when GM Gascon decided to open a Kajukenbo school in California, Emperado sent two of the local Kajukenbo black belts to inform him that he needed to register his school and pay his association dues if he was going to teach Kajukenbo (a trademarked name and registered organization owned by Emperado). Gascon's response was to invent his own style, Karazenpo Goshinjitsu.
    In the many, many conversations I've had with Sijo Emperado over the years, Gascon's name has never once came up when he talks about top students, or practitioners. And as the historian for Kajukenbo, I've asked a lot of questions about a lot of people.
    And again, this is something that you could write to Emperado about and get a answer from the source.

    Actually, the head referee of the IKC from the year it started, until his death in the late 70's, was Aleju Reyes. Their's still plenty of people around who remember this.

    Pretty easy to prove. Produce the certificate, and the question will go away forever.
  3. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Hey Joe, been a while.

    Well, I agree with you about the rank issue in the sense of it having been originally self-awarded back when the Masters originally started to propagate their art to the masses of people. Hell, they needed some way of keeping track when their students no longer numbered in the tens, but rather in the hundreds and thousands. But, I don't think that justifies what we see now-a-days. If someone says, "I practice my own eclectic system and teach it to others." I have no problem with them. They may be talented or not, but that's not the issue. However, when they say, "I have a 5th degree black belt in .... from so-and-so." then they are trying to say something specific with that. They are trying to convince others of their prowess and knowledge based on their rank that they are displaying. In fact, they are trying to use the legitimacy and reputation of the one that promoted them as a sort of shorthand to tell others about themselves and how skilled they are. When this happens, it is fair game to question things. The facts then either bear them out, or else show them to be a fraud.

    These days, when someone says, "I'm a USSD black belt, or a Villari black belt", people roll their eyes and shake their heads. Why? Not because Villari sucked personally, but because he and the USSD developed a reputation for promoting a lot of people to that rank that had little or no skill compared to other known black belts in other organizations. If they then asked some questions and found out that you were promoted before 1980, they would possibly understand that you had to have more skill than if you had been promoted in 2000 etc. It didn't mean tht all Villari black belts sucked that were promoted in 2000, but it was hardly a guarantee that they didn't suck either. Why? because the Villari black belt stopped meaning excellence adn rather meant that one had paid enough money to get one.

    Apparently, that is the same for many other organizations these days. With the internet and distance promotions, things are only getting worse and worse and these things are meaning less and less.

    Hey, you know that I've always been up front about my training, rank and experience. I've always acknowledged where my rank came from and understood the opinions of others concerning it. But, you sure as hell would not see me coming to the defense of someone claiming to be a Villari black belt that put out a tape of themselves sucking simply because I had also been given rank by him at some point. If the guy sucked, I'd simply say, "Yep, he sucks. I guess there's no quality control in the organization that promoted the two of us." I wouldn't say, "Hey, this guy must be good because the same guy promoted me!" I'd say, "Well, I'm good despite the fact that the same guy promoted both of us." In other words: I'd admit it, and move on, and not get bogged down trying to defend the indefensible. At least that's how I see it. If one doesn't want one's rank scrutinized, or if it means nothing, then one shouldn't put it out there.
  4. KGS BBS

    KGS BBS Valued Member

    Hi John, hope all is well. First of all, in all due respect, in researching the history I have found Kajukenbo's is like most others, including Chow and Mitose's. It's all in who tells the story and it's all full of twists and turns with many myths. John, we went through this before At one time and probably still to this day many were told five martial arts masters behind locked doors from 1947-49 created Kajukenbo from Korean Tang Soo Do, SeKeino Jiu Juijitsu (which was actually Danzan ryu), Kodaakn Judo, Sil Lum Pai Kung Fu w/ Escrima as it's hidden art along with western boxing. Man, that's a big mission in just two years not to mention there has been much discussion on the net lately about 'young' masters. Didn't Emperado start under Chow in 1946? and then founded his own system in 1947-49? Hell, these guys were in their early 20's if that! None of the Kajukenbo original history time-line matches up, it's all been fabricated in typical martial arts tradition to fit the story BUT I really don't feel like getting into a ****'n contest over it again for the 100th time. If anyone doubts me, go do a search and you'll see this history I speak of.

    As far as Sijo Emperado goes, well, I don't know but I seem to think he gives a different answer to fit the situation or person who asks the question. Hell, Prof. Gerry Scott asked him some questions for me about Mitose and he stated Mitose was the real deal or more accurately 'had the abilities of a master instructor' and did not learn from a book or just have a basic understanding of the surface arts. This info. was put right on the Kajukenbo Cafe by Prof. Scott so I'm not blowing smoke up anyone's butt on this....YET, you have an entirely different and negative viewpoint and info. on Mitose that is the direct opposite of Emperado's and HIS IS FIRST HAND, YOURS IS SECOND HAND! so, whom am I to believe, you or Emperado? See John, this is what I mean in all the b.s. in all the styles and systems, no one and no system is exempt and if you or anyone else thinks you are...well...dream on. John, for someone Emperado doesn't really know or speak of, well, he did extend respect and a courtesy to him by placing him directly under himself on the Kajukenbo tree after Leoning's untimely death and I get that from an excellent source, YOU. I asked you about and you asked Sijo Emperado and I still have the e-mail in my archives! Emperado at GOE also extended an open door to Gascon to come back under the Kajukenbo umbrella and I got that straight from the horse's mouth! Gascon said nay, nay.

    Some say Joe Emperado was a blue belt.....let's see his cetificate and clear this one up once and for all. Some say Tiwanak was the first and Mike Tiwanak had some pretty interesting 'stuff' to say about what his father told him and what he experienced first hand himself of Kajukenbo's inception and Adriano D. Emperado. Now, should he be discredited just because he has a different version of the 'truth', NO, not by me anyway because I don't know anymore who the hell is telling the truth. John, I'm well aware of the feud with the Tiwanaks and Kajukenbo so nothing that I bring up to you that the Tiwanaks have to say will matter because you will just put it down so let's not even go there please.

    However, the sources at GOE that related the story to me about Emperado's comments are guys who have always been upfront and honest with me so until they prove me different, I will have to lean toward what they told me as fact. They heard it, YOU DIDN'T, I didn't so let's just leave it at that.

    Now, here's where the myths and the b.s. really starts. Sonny Gascon just leaves this one alone and doesn't really care if this is the story that is passed around, so he rarely comments on it and just let's it go and it took on a life of its own. Ya, three big guys came to visit him and one was Tony Ramos and Gascon did invite them in for a locked door workout and they did renege with something like 'don't shoot the messenger' BUT it wasn't over any money issues and the b.s. you wrote Gascon's response was to invent his own style (but why not? Emperado did it, what's he God?), NO, the visit was made because Gascon and Leoning were going into San Francisco's Chinatown and seeking out Chinese that would be willing to trade Kajukenbo techniques for Chinese Kung Fu. If you recall, back then, very few would teach outside their race. This is where Leoning got hooked up with Sifu Share K. Lew. The Kajukenbo 'bigwigs' were upset over this and Gascon & Leoning were to be given a message to knock it off SO Gascon's response was to take your patch, name and system and place it where the sun don't shine.......I notice Emperado or any others for that matter ever visited him again, lol. See, not everyone knows what they think they know and that is why I stay open minded and listen to what everyone has to say in an attempt to sift out the truth, sometimes this is impossible so when asked I just give the different accounts I hear and let the person who asks the question decide what they want to believe.

    Okay, 'head referee', I think I said 'A' head referee meaning a center judge or whatever but I did not infer he was THE head referee of the entire tournament, as a matter of point I really don't care period for just being 'a' referee at that event would be something to hang your hat on, wouldn't you agree?

    Now as far as your comment on Mr. Pesare goes: "Pretty easy to prove. Produce the certificate, and the question will go away forever"....John, it's not my question, I could care less, there is no question he's the real deal. Ya, lately it comes up here and there just like Joe Emperado, lol, if you're that interested call him up and ask him, you've called him before on things, give him a buzz. I've seen his Grandmaster's certificate from Gascon and I also know now the name on the certificate in question because one of the same signatures on that one is also on Nick Cerio's shodan cert. along with Pesare's and I'm satisfied with it's authenticity and that is something that will stay in my close circle while we watch everyone else typing b.s. on these forums thinking they've got something on him. If you want to question something on SGM. Pesare and my last post then question this excerpt below. I noticed your guns were silent on that one. I know you feel KGS and all the New England lineages is what you call a watered down style as compared to the holy grail of Kajukenbo,lol:

    Getting back the these 'legit' rankings of Japanese masters and so forth. Let me bring up some history. In the late 70's the great Japanese stylist Hidy Ochai, 7th time traditonal Japanese kata champion wanted to make his debut in the P.K.A. (Professional Karate Association) in what was called then Full Contact Karate. In 1974 the PKA debuted on t.v. with the infamous Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace & Joe Corely fight. SGM. S. George Pesare was Region 12 (New Engalnd) Representative. The match was set in Providence, R.I. for Pesare BROWN BELT, yes, brown belt, John Levesque to meet Ochai. This is no b.s., I was training at Pesare's school, I know John to this day, a gentleman and the real deal and I was there at ring side. John and I just spoke about this recently. John kicked his ass with a T.K.O. Later, it was said the fight tapes were reviewed and John had head butted Ochai and the decision was reversed. Bet you'll never see those tapes again! Hey, how can an unknown George Pesare BROWN BELT beat this LEGITMATELTY RANKED CHAMPION TRADTIONAL FIGHTER. What a crock of sh_t. John hit with a hand combination and when his head went down kicked him in the face and broke his nose and his corner literally threw in the towel. However, that wouldn't set to well with these legitmately ranked Japanese MA Masters' after all, John is from the '******* lineage', LOL.

    Next we have Dan Macaruso who became the PKA's Light Heavyweight World Champ just about all wins by K.O., beating Spain's best and America's best for the title. America's being the highly talented Jeff Smith. These were all traditional fighters from non-Hawaiian lineages, you know, not of 'legit' Japanese, Okinawan...whatever, lol.

    I don't remember any KAJUKENBO guys from that era and I'm not saying at all that they don't have some bad ass fighters BUT Pesare did what many don''s called; 'Put up or shut up" and he certainly put up. Ya, he talked the talk BUT he 'walked the walk'. John, I do respect you but you come off at myself and others every once in a while in a condecending fashion saying your style is the best, the one and only and you guys are all of loser styles, Emperado is God and can do or say no wrong and every other martial artist is inferior. C'ome on now, that's juvenile. John, you do come off like that to people and by the same token you can be very helpful and informative and an overall helluva nice guy. So, I apologize if I came off a little harsh but I sensed that condescending side of you toward my post. We New Englanders are extremely proud of our Kempo/Kenpo heritage and when someone attempts to degrade it we come out fighting,lol, nothing personal. Take care and be safe, "Joe"
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  5. KGS BBS

    KGS BBS Valued Member

    Hi Dan, yep, I agree with you, what you are describing is what are called 'paper tigers'. In the earlier era, you had had to put it on the line. People would come looking for you. Guys who had beefs actually mixed it up. Sometimes they became friends, other times remained enemies but the sure thing was that if you talked the talk then you sure as hell better walk the walk.

    I know what you mean about what the competition will say about each other, one of the examples you gave was Mr. Villari. It's funny, even back in the 70's we would hear **** about Fred's schools as they began to blanket New England then we'd go to check out schools of different styles or actually hook up with students of the so-called tradtional arts and we would kick ass and come back saying; 'What the f....? I mean, we did meet some really good fighters too but it seemed that more, not all but more of the early Villari guys were better street brawlers and contact fighters. Now, just about all the commerical schools of all arts have adopted Villari's original business practices, the same guys and systems who scoffed at them now live by them, what a joke! Hey, that's why I don't let it get ot me anymore. Such hypocrisy out there, unbelievable. Take care & be safe, "Joe
  6. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    Now that's real classy. Throw out a bunch of accusations, and then say don't even go there.

    There are two video taped interviews of Sijo Emperado discussing James Mitose, and a few written interviews. So, yes I would say I have first hand information, especially since I conducted two of the interviews.

    Here we go again, "some say". That's just idiotic. Sijo says he promoted his brother to black belt in 1952. Joe is pictured in all the pictures of the first 3 black belt instructors (Sijo, Joe, Woodrow McCandless). And there are still 50-60 people alive today who trained under black belt Joe Emperado.

    The whole story about the non-existance of the other 4 founders is also based on "some say". Talk about timelines? This account is based on the statements of Marino Tiwanak that "after he retired from boxing in 1947, he started training with Joe and Adriano Emperado. And that during that time, he never saw the other 4 founders.
    Only problem with this time line is that independant records from the Hawaii Boxing Commission and the WBC state that Marino Tiwanak fought Dado Marino for the world bantomweight championship in June of 1948. After losing this bout, he fought 1 more bout before retiring from boxing. So the earliest he could have retired from boxing is late 1948. So obviously he wasn't retired and training in Kajukenbo in 1947.
    Just one of many sources:

    Yea, 3 big guys. Tony Ramos around 5'4" and 135lbs soaking wet. And Richard Tokomoto, and John Ramos, all about the same size.
    Since we were not privy to the conversation, you can believe the version you heard, and I'll believe the one I was told.
    About the Share Lew connection. Lew had already moved to Los Angeles in 1959, and that's where John Leoning met him and collaborated with him.

    Nope. I don't know how many times you were at the internationals, but I was there, competed, and worked it several times.
    In it's heyday the IKC was the biggest karate tournament in the world. Because it was so big, Mr. Parker did something that was uncommon in any of the California tournament circuits. He let brown belts referee. So basically, anyone who was a brown belt or black belt, who went to the pre-tournament officials meeting could referee. And there are thousands of people who can attest to this.

    Actually, if you look at your post, I was responding to your statement. That the simplist way to dispell this rumor forever is to produce a certificate.

    Originally Posted by KGS BBS
    Professor Nick Cerio had mentioned in my presense that George Pesare was a Black Belt in Kenpo in the 60's when he made his black belt but because the conversation going back over 15 years ago was of no relevance to me at the time, I don't remember the details but it was from the west coast and Cerio saw the certificate and knew the instructor. I had assumed if not from Gascon it was from someone in the Gascon group.

    Don't recall ever saying that. I have said that the east coast kenpo lineages do not teach Kajukenbo techniques. And I have said that some of the chain schools teaching SKK on the west coast teach a watered down version that allows people to become black belts in 12-18 months.

    When was I talking about all the legitimate Japanese and Okinawan masters?

    OK, I don't know what kickboxing era your referring to. But some of the Kajukenbo people who have held national and world PKA or WKA championships are; Benny Urquidez, Lily Urquidez, Blinky Rodriguez, Cecil Peoples, Dennis Alexio, and a few more I can't remember right now.

    OK, now go ahead and remind me of when and where I've said that east coast kempo is inferior to Kajukenbo. You've thrown out a whole bunch of statements here, with no sources. If I've been saying this on "forums", then feel free to cut and paste my previous comments here.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2006
  7. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich RENEGADE

    I'm not trying to stirr anything up here.
    The bottom line. Some beleive that to be a black belt we must only train day in and day out witht he same instructor and wait until they gives all the technical info for our rank. They are justified in their beleifs.

    While others out there are teaching for many years on their own and do what they need to do to progress. We feel justified especcially since their is a ton of proof that "we can" show the dirt of any lineage we choose. I feel it hypocritical to bash a lineage when ones own lineage is not clean. We just agree to not agree.

    Sometimes as in the case of my Kaju instructor. Even though he put the time in, he knew the material, and was very proficient. His famous instructor (Charlie) would not let him test. He went and tested somewhere else and today is an 8th degree Professor in Kajukenbo.

    So, my instructor went to another "branch" of Kajukenbo. We are told we can't test and promote from "others" outside our instructors. Now to take this even farther. This same instructor of Tony Ramos lineage has promoted others besides Sigi. I don't have the info but why did they go to him?

    I just don't beleive the caca and the talk went to far and I haven't even attemted to level the playing field. I prefer to let it go but it sucks that stuff like that fake certificate with my name on it was posted on this forum. Thats a new low.
  8. KGS BBS

    KGS BBS Valued Member

    John, I was a little hesitant to to mention Share Lew w/ San Francisco I will admit, so IF and I say IF you are correct, I stand corrected only on the city, big deal, he still seeked out Lew and traded knowledge as I stated. However, I stand by Leoning and Gascon going to San Francisco's Chinatown to swap Kajukenbo for Chinese Kung Fu and that is what brought on the visit to Gascon. Furthermore, I use the term Kajukenbo 'big'wigs and also mentioned three big guys from Kajukenbo that you brought to my attention, did you ever stop to think I was referring to their status in the organization when I stated three 'big' guys from Kajukenbo paid Gascon the visit??? Next time I will be clearer.

    John, wasn't Benny Urquidez more from the KGS lineage or should I say Leoning?? AND if you re-read my post, I'm also inferring George Pesare BROWN BELTS were making a helluva a name for themselves against BLACK BELTS, some of high rank, beating them at there own game and one Pesare black belt who was just a kid. I didn't thow out world reknowned names, I wanted to get across that the 'typical' New England brown & black belts wewre kicking ass out of their so-called league. You have also stated on several occassions on various forums that the New England Kempo/Kenpo is a watered down version of Kajukenbo, yeah, right! I don't recall you using 'some' but 'all' and you said it about SKK in general on other forums, maybe even this one if I did a search. I'm sure Danjo recalls this because we have discussed it in the past via land line. As far as USSD goes w/ Materra you have said this numerous times and NEVER said 'some'. I think you said you haven't seen a school yet that was worthy (I'm paraphrasing). By, the way, I'm not saying you're wrong as far as how the operation is run BUT that should not reflect on the style which has its roots in New Engalnd. Perhaps, they have watered it down by strong commericaliztion of the art but don't lump everyone into one big bunch. You seem to have the attitude if it's not Kajukenbo under emperado it's inferior.

    So who gives a rat's ass if Parker let some good brown belts referee also, it was still an honor wasn't it? You wouldn't consider it an honor to referee there? Remember again, Pesare's brown belt, Dan Macaruso made mince meat out of many PKA black belt fighters not to mention brown belt John Levesque and Hidy Ochiai.

    Did you say 'classy'? Do you know what class is John? Class is saying " I stand corrected when you are wrong about something". Class is not viewing your own martial art as the end all of all arts and thumbing your nose at other hard working individuals and styles. Class is not picking apart other peoples lineages when there are many skeletons in your own. Class is knowing that you and your people can make mistakes, admit it, try to correct it and move on rather than to constantly spin it in a feeble attempt to come out on top all the time.

    As far as Okinawan & Japanese masters, I wasn't referring to anything you said but in past posts on this forum there were comparisons made of the Hawaiian-derived kenpo/kempo lineages and the Okinawan/Japanese lineage, that's all I meant. Again, if I wasn't clear enough, I apologize.

    John, do you really think I'm going to run around on the net and make my life's work to cut & paste your comments for you??? LOL, John, I'm a very busy person right now, I decided to take a break after teaching at our annual summer Kempo Camp since Monday and check Martial Arts Planet for the hellluva it. I saw a thread I felt like responding too. I don't wish to make my life's work on this forums, now I going back to teach. I had come to realize I had spent and at times wasted too much valuble time on the net in the past and that's why I only visit occassionaly. I have no clue how you can find the time to go on just about every forum on the net and still do other things. You're a better man than me because I can't work my cop job, work out everyday, teach, find time for social activities and live on the net at the same time. So, hell no, I'm not going to find you comments and cut and paste, if you think I'm blowing smoke, so be it, I could care less.

    Emperado stated Mitose had the abilities of a master instructor and not just a handle on the surface arts. Now, if you didn't delete it then it should still be on the Kajukenbo Cafe and furthermore, if you doubt Emperado said this then you are calling Professor Gerry Scott a liar, clear and simple. I choose to believe Prof. Scott. Still, Emperado starts with Chow in 1946 and develops his own system in 1947-49? Again, do I care? No, God bless him if he could do it in that time. Obviously it eventually got done and the b.s. history does not detract at all form the system of Kajukenbo or the great accomplishments Sijo Emperado has made. Believe me, I respect that it's just that you are so ready to go after others when the same sh_t went on in your own back yard, that's what presses my buttons.

    I know I related this to you before so you can not believe me if you wish BUT do you remember when I told you after Sijo's sister was appointed inheritor-to-be that a number of Kajukenbo veterans seeked out Sonny Gascon and asked if they could go under his umbrella? Sonny Gas told them in all due respect to Emperado, no, not while he is alive but Sonny Gas left his door open to them in the future should something happen. Now, you can refute it if you want, you can call Prof. Mike Rash and verify this. I don't know that Mike is willing to share the names with you, it may be confidential, but he can vouch for what I just said.

    I know a black belt named Marc Ayotte, he lives in my town not too far from me. He is a George Pesare black belt and former U.S. Army Airborn Ranger and veteran of Desert Storm. He is of excellent character, truthful and sincere. He is my friend. He was with SGM. Pesare when a gentleman on the east coast (you know the story and it is not neccessary to mention his name to throw anymore dirt then has aleady been thrown) wrote a very, very BIG check for a very high black belt rank to Mr. Pesare. SGM. Pesare was handed the check, took it in hand and with a hint of a smile, RIPPED THE FREAK'N THING UP AND LET IT FALL TO THE FLOOR at the man's feet, TURNED HIS BACK AND WALKED AWAY. This gentlemen went on to seek another and finally later seeked even higher rank which he found in Kajukenbo through, I believe, the inheritor-to-be. Now, you will probably tell me he went through this and that and busted his balls and worked hard for his rank, blah, blah, blah...hey, maybe he did, I don't know, I wasn't there but I would be interested in knowing what the check was made out for?, lol... You can say what youwant about my lineage but here's what my high degrees cost me. In 1992 I was tested by Prof. Cerio for my 6th dan in American (Shaolin) Kenpo and also for the title of Shihan and for my 3rd dan in Nick Cerio's Kenpo-test fee was $75. My 7th and 8th from SGM. Pesare cost me nothing and my 7th from GGM. Gascon cost me nothing. Say what you want about the east coast but it is not all motivated by money. GM. Villari has taken a lot of heat from many individuals over bad business deals in the past. I do not know or care of the cirumstances, it's none of my business anyway but I can relate that I bought the Milford school that I have now when I was affiliated with him in 1978 for $1000, lock, stock and barrel. Black belt tests were $50 up until around 1977 then they doubled to $100. Don't get me wrong, I know things have changed but I'm just pointing out things in New England were pretty good in the early Villari years. I left and went independant in 1981 because I didn't like the changes nor the direction the organization was going in when he began his super expansion plans and wished to be responsible to only myself as far as what and how I teach and how I promote. In retrospect, some of Villari's changes are now used by evey commerical school in the martial arts world. I was under a contract that could have kept me from teaching 5 years within a 15 mile radius as the crow flies. The agreement was legal and would hold up but he let me out of it and weent our seperate ways. Like I said, things were pretty good back then......I have no gripes or regrets.

    Take care & be safe, Prof. Joe
  9. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich RENEGADE

    Joe, I hope you're not confusing my posts to be Johns because I was definately in attack mode for a while. I know some of the things you accused John of I did post. I've been attacked in a major way, it's all fair game to attack the lineage of the attacker.

    Also, I find it funny that Gascon does not claim on his site to have been a black belt before creating his own system in 1958. He is said to be a black belt under John leoning but we know that Leonings first black belts were in the early '60's. But here is another twist.

    Gascon lists Joe Black as one of his first black belts and one of his assisstants but Emperado said in 1987 that in his 2nd and 3rd schools he made instructors and that his first 4 black belts were from the 2nd school and they were Tony Ramos, Jerry Martin, Richie Takamoto(sp) and Joe Black. I think that could of made him higher rank than Gascon.
  10. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    You keep making comments about what I've said here and there. And when I ask you where, when, you say your too busy to look? Then you take the time to write a couple more pages of accusations, again without any proof, because your too busy? Not to busy to make the accusations, but too busy to produce supporting evidence.
    And now you start talking about promotions? So soon after the Geary fiasco? You really want to talk about ranks and promotions? Since your making accusaions about peopes rank, please explain how you got three 7th degree promotions from 3 instructors, 5000 miles from you, who you never trained under, and have never even met in person?
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2006
  11. Pacificshore

    Pacificshore Hit n RUN!

    Really now.......

    Is there an end to this repeating argument between camps :confused:
    Is it necessary to air out your laundry here on the forum :confused:

    I mean really will it win over more students from one camp to another :confused:

    Will it change the past of the Hawaiian Kempo arts :confused:

  12. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    I don't know why Joe chose to start this thread, but once he injected my name into it and started the same old attacks again, I had to response.
    I am through with this, because it will just end up like his other threads about Christopher Geary.
    So before I'm forced to respond to any of his other rants, please delete my membership here, so he can argue with himself.
  13. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    I don't see the harm in getting this stuff out there. I mean, I DO understand when you guys banned me for using foul language in a personal message to Akja, but this is history and should be allowed to be aired out. Let the chips fall where they may. If someone finds the thread boring, then I'm sure they'll stop reading it. If the only things that internet forums are good for is to pat each other on the heads and compliment each other, then their value is severely limited. Censorship of that nature seems more about being controlling of what is said in an effort to craft a certain fictional image than it is about getting the truth out there. Seems to me that these types of threads are the most read and most contributed to, so I'm sure your sponsors at the tops of the pages wouldn't mind if they continued. Something to think about.
  14. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich RENEGADE

    We, Dan and I were both banned for a moment and I agree with his post that it should be allowed. Whats good for one lineage is good for all!
  15. Pacificshore

    Pacificshore Hit n RUN!

    Mr. Bishop,

    I do not see the need for you to delete your membership here, but the choice is totally yours to make. We both know that this whole argument regarding rank, timelines, the instructors involved, etc. is a circular argument to no end. I also know that it has been argued back and forth on more than one forum with the same results. I think anyone who knows you or of you, and has read your posts, knows well enough that you possess the knowledge to speak on behalf of the Kajukenbo arts and their leaders of the organization.
  16. Pacificshore

    Pacificshore Hit n RUN!

    Hey, I'm all for history of the arts and if it can be written out without some one becoming offended that it degrades the thread then so be it. However, that never seems to ge the least here. This same historic lineage argument has been going on since the Geary thread, and now has expanded to the Hawaiian Kempo arts in general. The chips have fallen.....

    I doubt seriously that I'm trying to censor what is said in this thread. If that were the case, I probably would have locked it out by now. The point I wanted to get across is everyone's interpretation about their lineage is gonna be different from whatever source it came from. In the end, at least for me as Kempo student/instructor, I hope that it does not impact how I train and learn my art. I also like to believe that I have enough common sense to know whether or not those whom I've learned from had anything of value taught to me. My journey in the arts in my journey and no one elses. Sometimes we have to let people learn to crawl before they can walk and then run.
  17. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich RENEGADE

    Since I've been slammed by being promoted from an out side organization that is 1800 miles away and this guy did contribute to dirtying my name.

    I thought I might point out his bio.
    Seems like this guy gets ranked about every 2 years and the last 2 from an out side orgaixation 5000 miles away. Hmmm, 1st dan in 1997 to 5th dan in 2006. Just how much actuall training time did he get from the Hawaiian professor?

    Shodan 1997, Nidan 1999, Sandan 2001, 2001 he took a mentorship (sounds familiar) 2003 4th dan and 2006 5th dan. Considering he started Kempo in it's not out of the question to be a 5th dan in 16 years 1990, but my name has been etched on the internet archives forever and that can't be erased. Its all fair game.

    I understand the need to go to outside org. but some of those who speak up against those who do it are actually doing it.
  18. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    Hooray I'm Famous!!!

    Yes, let's talk about my training. I've been training continously for 16 (and change) years. Since 1995 I've been training with Chris Hatch at Cape Cod Martial Arts Academy. Seven years to Shodan was a bit long for this art, but with moving, college, changing martial art schools, it was what it was. In 2001 I began training with Professor Ferreira just about every time he came to the East Coast. When he comes to Cape Cod, he stays at my house usually. In between, I continued to train with Chris, and Chris continued to train with Professor Ferreira. When he wasn't here, we spoke on the phone pretty much every day about Kempo. I have never been promoted without a physical test administered under the direct supervision of the person whose name is on the diploma. I have never applied for a promotion, asked for a promotion, sent for, requested or 'received an honorary' promotion. How did my promotions come about? My instructor(s) said "you are testing for ____, be ready", or some variation thereof. When I trained with Professor Ferreira, I began at the bottom of his curriculum and learned it to the level I am at now. His Kempo is related to the Kempo I was doing. His teacher (Walter Godin) developed many of the things I did in the Shaolin Kempo material I had done previously. I have only been graded by Kempo folks, in the organizations in which I belonged. I am a card carrying member of his organization (and no other).

    In fact, if you watch the youtube clips featuring Professor Ferreira you will see many of them were shot in our dojo. If you buy the tape of 'seminar techniques' from the japan website, I have a sneaking suspicion (since some of the raw footage was shot with my camera) you may well see me tapping out a lot. How many hours of contact? I couldn't even begin to guess the number of hours training with Chris. With Professor Kimo? Probably only in the hundreds over the last five years. For some reason, I can still sleep at night.

  19. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich RENEGADE

    Great Matt, thank you. Personally, I don't have a problem with your training. I have a problem with people attacking other organizations and expecting them to live by their orgs standards when so much of their own lineage did the smae things before them.

    It was a good thing for you to trade lineages. It has become evident that Sonny G, the Shaolin Kempo founder was not not a black belt before his creation. Ummm, what was said about founding a style without ever having a black belt first...
  20. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Hey, good point. You may be right if the dates are correct. I don't know if Gascon had a black belt in 1958 or not. It's sort of why I did the poor-sport thing and just started getting silly with the fake certificate after you posted that one originally. Many questions that need to be answered to know the true history. Let the chips fall where they may and we'll take it for what it is. I don't run from the truth (even if I DO get a bit childish sometimes.)
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