U.S. Pioneers of Taiho Jutsu

Dedicated to the Pioneers who blazed the way

I was a serious minded, well indoctrinated combatives instructor with a mission, and carried the message of close ground combat to military active duty assignments even outside of SAC. I did my job as we all did without fanfare and many of us were pretty beat up and exhausted by the end of our careers.

Prof. H. G. Robby Robinson

Charles L. Plaines, Sr.
Founder of USTJF

A History of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Its Combative Measures Program


A. Cruz
Jack Williams


A History of the Strategic Air Command (SAC)
and Its Combative Measures Program

The Strategic Air Command or SAC (1946-1992) was the operational establishment of the United States Air Force in charge of America's bomber-based and ballistic missile-based strategic nuclear arsenal, as well as the infrastructure necessary to support their operations (such as tanker aircraft to fuel the bombers and, until 1959, fighter escorts).

On 21 March1946 the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was divided into three separate commands: Tactical Air Command (TAC), Air Defense Command (ADC), and Strategic Air Command (SAC). SAC's original headquarters was Bolling Field, the headquarters of the disbanded Continental Air Force, in Washington, DC. Its first commander was General George C. Kenney.

General Curtis E. LeMay took over as commander of SAC in October 1948 and set about a dramatic rebuilding of the command's forces, as well as their mission. LeMay, who had masterminded the American attacks on the Japanese mainland during the war (including the firebombing of Tokyo and other cities), was a staunch believer in the power of strategic bombing: the destruction of an enemy's cities and industrial centers. LeMay believed that the existence of the atomic bomb made this type of warfare the only workable strategy, rendering battlefield conflicts essentially obsolete.

During World War II, US bomber groups in Europe suffered more combat casualties than did the US Marine Corps in the Pacific. Many of the lost airmen ended up in German POW camps, and as a result a generation of US Air Force officers were firm believers in tough, realistic escape and evasion training. So, when Lt. General Curtis LeMay took over the Strategic Air Command (SAC), he was determined that all of his flying personnel would have some working knowledge of hand-to-hand combat to aid in escape and evasion. He felt that Judo would be a foundation for this training and that Judo combined with other phases of a conditioning program would keep crew members physically and mentally alert, thus helping them to endure the pressure of long missions.

In 1950 General LeMay directed the setting up of a model physical conditioning unit at Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska, the home of SAC headquarters. So successful did it prove during its test run that by January, 1951, LeMay directed that similar units be set up at other bases as rapidly as possible.

Although the value of training in purely combative measures was recognized, the finding of qualified instructors proved an especially difficult problem. Gen. LeMay appointed Emilio ("Mel") Bruno, a former National AAU Wrestling Champion and 5th-degree in judo, to direct the command-wide judo and combative measures program for SAC in 1951. Bruno formulated a new approach to military combat training, integrating parts of aikido, judo, and karate into a systematic unarmed combat technique. To implement his idea, he suggested a pilot program to Gen. LeMay, who was also one of Bruno's judo students. To assist Bruno in the field, SAC was able to find qualified civilian judo instructors to staff only six SAC bases; the rest had physical conditioning units, but no judo instructors. As a solution, SAC decided to train its own instructors.

In 1952, Air Training Command (ATC) took over the Strategic Air Command program. In direct charge of the judo and conditioning program for SAC was Gen. Thomas Power, later honorary chairman of the National AAU Judo Committee. Because of the obvious deficiency of instructors, Power sent two classes of airmen (24 men) to the Kodokan Institute in Tokyo, the Mecca of judo, in 1952 for several weeks training. This was the first such training for any Armed Forces group.

In 1953 Emilio Bruno invited ten martial arts instructors of judo and karate to participate in a now famous four-month tour of every SAC base in the U.S. and Cuba. The tour was of course financially backed and supported by SAC. The touring group included seven judoka (Sumiyuki Kotani, Tadao Otaki, Kenji Tomiki, Kusuo Hosokawa, Tsuyoshi Sato, Takahiko Ishikawa and Kiyoshi Kobayashi) and three karate dignitaries (Hidetaka Nishiyama, Toshio Kamada, and Isao Obata, a Japan Karate Association [JKA] co-founder and senior disciple of Gichin Funakoshi). Mr. Kotani was the leader as well as organizer of the group.


The purpose of this tour was to train judo instructors and combat crews and to give exhibitions on and off base. Many civilian judo clubs had their first visit from high-ranking judo teachers as a result of this tour. One of the highlights of the tour was a demonstration at the White House on July 22.

With Gen. LeMay's endorsement and SAC's sponsorship, Bruno also initiated eight-week training programs for Air Force instructors at the Kodokan. A few hand-picked airmen, with previous experience in physical training or combative sports, were sent to the Kodokan for advanced combatives training by the world’s foremost experts. This course was a Japanese-designed mix of Judo, Karate, Aikido and Taiho Jutsu. Kodokan officials contacted the JKA to manage the karate instruction. The JKA responded by sending the famed delegation of Nishiyama, Obata, Okazaki, and Terada. Judo instruction was provided by Kodokan greats Kotani, Otaki, Takagake, Sato, Shinojima, and Yamaguchi. Aikido instruction was led by Tomiki, along with Yamada and Inuzuka, while the all important instruction in Taiho-Jutsu was given by Hosokawa and Kikuchi. The SAC airmen attended class at the dojo for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and at the end of the course had to compete against and be evaluated by ten Black Belts. Upon returning to the United States, these airmen became instructors at every SAC base where it was important to develop combatives courses for crewmen in training.

A poster for this 320 hour program listed the following “Combative Activity Training Values”:

  • Physical Coordination, Balance, Relaxation, Combative Skill and General Physical tuning up

  • Mental and Physical Alertness as required under combat conditions

  • Confidence, Self Assurance, Courage, Aggressiveness and Self Control

  • Ability to Escape / Defend while in dangerous areas

  • Knowledge of Leverage as applied to situations requiring techniques of restraint

In 1955 seventy men from SAC and the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) journeyed to the Kodokan for instruction. In 1956 SAC and ARDC sent 280 Air Policemen to the Kodokan to participate in four week classes.

Curtis LeMay left SAC to become USAF Vice Chief of Staff in 1957, and was succeeded by General Thomas S. Power, who served as SAC commander until December 1964. He was followed by General John Dale Ryan (1964-1967).

From 1959 until 1966 the Air Force Combative Measures (Judo) Instructor Course was held at Stead Air Force Base in Reno, Nevada. The 155 hours course consisted of the following: 36 hours fundamental Judo, 12 hours Aikido, 12 hours Karate, 12 hours Air Police techniques; 12 hours air crew self-defense, 18 hours Judo tournament procedures, 5 hours Code of Conduct and 48 hours training methods. There was also a 20 hour combative measures course and a 12 hour combative survival course for air crew members.

By 1962 SAC had more than 160 Black Belt Combative Measures instructors and more than 20,000 crew personnel had been trained in combative measures. The US Air Force Survival School history acknowledges that the "Combative Measures course was extremely successful but, in an effort to reduce aircrew training time [during the Vietnam buildup] and to reduce spending, it was dropped from the [Survival School] course."

Today, while there are many Americans who learned the arts of judo, karate, aikido, and taiho-jutsu as part of this unique and arguably unparalleled program, there is, sadly, no institutional memory of the program within the active Air Force or its historical branch.

In 1992, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, SAC's goal of Cold War victory was achieved and it was eliminated in a reorganization of the major Air Force commands. SAC, TAC (Tactical Air Command), and MAC (Military Airlift Command) were reorganized into two commands, AMC (Air Mobility Command) and ACC (Air Combat Command). These two commands were essentially given the same missions that MAC and TAC held respectively, with AMC inheriting SAC's tanker force and ACC inheriting SAC's strategic bombers. The nuclear component was combined with the Navy's nuclear component to form USSTRATCOM (United States Strategic Command) which is headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base (SAC's former headquarters).

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Vincent A. Cruz

Vincent Augusto Cruz Casul has more than fifty years experience in the Karate.  He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937 and began his study of the Martial Arts in Japan while serving in the United States Air Force.  During his tour of Japan (1955-1958), Chinen Tsuyoshi, later to be known by the name Chitose, a student of Kyan Chotoku introduced him to the art of Karate. The All Japan Karate Do Federation was resurrected by Toyama Kanken and for a short time Funakoshi Gichin and Mabuni Kenwa held memberships.  Chitose would hold several positions under this banner, serving terms as its president and vice president.  Cruz was member of the Kyushu Karate League in Kokura, Japan, which was founded in late 1951 and headed by Yamamoto Mamoru, one of Chitose's top students.  During this period Mr. Cruz was also a member of the Ashiya Karate Dojo in Ashiya Air Force Base, Southern Japan. He attained the rank of Ikyu (1st degree brown belt) in Japanese Kempo Karate.

The Air Force transferred Mr. Cruz to Tachikawa Air Base, near Tokyo.  A small group of Airmen was interested in having a Karate Club on base and they established the Tachikawa Shotokan Karate Club under the direction of a few Japanese Karate Association junior instructors such as Tsushima Toshio, Takaura Eiji and Tsushima Toshio (1957-1958). Mr. Cruz became a member of the Tachikawa Shotokan Karate Club where he was upgraded to Ikyu (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shotokan Karate. During this time Mr. Cruz had the opportunity to visit the Japanese Karate Association where he had the privilege to see Grand Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Modern Japanese Karate. Mr. Cruz also attended Grand Master Funakoshi’s funeral services from a distance.

Upon his return to the USA in 1958, Sgt. Cruz and his student Capt. Rai Finch made USA Karate history by organizing the first Shotokan Karate School at Castle Air Force Base, California.  In 1959 Mr. Cruz became a member of the Air Force Armed Force Karate Do Federation under the guidance of Hidetaka Nishiyama. At this time the AFKF ratified his Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shotokan Karate.  Mr. Cruz continued to practice as time permitted with his military duties under the guidance of Master Hidetaka Nishiyama until today.

In 1959, Cruz Sensei was selected as a Combative Measures Instructor in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combative Measures Instructor Program. He returned to Japan for continual instruction in the Japanese Martial Arts. Mr. Cruz received instruction from Judo Grand Master Kyuzo Mifune and Sumiyuki Kotani, the last of the great 10th Dans, Hidetaka Nishiyama and Isao Obata in Karate Do, K. Tomiki and Tadao Otaki in Aikido, and M. Hosakawa in Taiho-Jutsu, Police Restraint Control.  The Kodokan Judo Institute promoted Mr. Cruz to Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) and he became a Combative Measures Instructor until 1965.

In 1965, the Air Force assigned Mr. Cruz to Albrook Air Force Base, Canal Zone, and Republic of Panama.  He became a counter insurgency combative measures advisor with the rank of Major for the National Guard Armed Forces of the Republic of Panama.  During his tenure in the Republic of Panama 1965-1970, Cruz Sensei introduced the system of Shotokan Karate to the Republic of Panama.  During his departure in 1970, Mr. Cruz left approximately 1200 students, six karate schools and left Shotokan Karate well established in Panama.  Today Panama is a representative of the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) under Hidetaka Nishiyama.  Mr. Cruz is considered the “Father of Traditional Shotokan Karate “in the Republic of Panama. From time to time Cruz Sensei attended and practiced Chito Ryu at Ft. Gulick, an Army Base in the Pacific side of Panama. During a Chito Ryu Tournament at Ft. Gulick Cruz Sensei was awarded a Yondan in Chito Ryu Karate.

Mr. Cruz retired from the Air Force in 1974.  During his career in the Air Force he always shared his knowledge and continued his progression in the Martial Arts.  He continues to have many students all over the United States and Central and South America.  Mr. Cruz continues to teach Karate Do in California, where he now resides. Mr. Cruz considered a degree in Eastern Philosophy. He decided to study the Buddhist faith and went to Thailand and became a Buddhist monk. He attended the San Tam Pet Wat in Ubon, Thailand.


In 1975, many of Mr. Cruz's students requested that he organize a Karate League or Association.  Today, Mr. Cruz is the Executive Director of a project born out of his many years of Martial Arts experience.  The International San Ten Karate Association (ISKA), with headquarters in Madera, California, is a fraternal organization, carefully  formed as " a league of men and women " predominantly for Martial Artists of this Western Hemisphere, however, maintaining the Martial Arts Traditions and decorum of each system.  The basic objective of the Association is to provide through "strength and unity” the recognition and enhancement of our ISKA Instructors, while ensuring that we have the opportunity to control our own destinies in our respective Martial Arts, and to accept all styles of Japanese Karate Do, Tae-kwon-Do and Chinese and Okinawan Systems.

In 1976 Mr. Cruz organized the first Traditional Shotokan dojo in San Juan Puerto Rico, headed by his student Mr. Orlando Irizarry.  Today Mr. Irizarry is the Director of the International Traditional Karate Federation.  Today, Mr. Cruz has an elite Quorum of Black Belts in the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Armenia, Austria, Spain, England, Ireland, Pakistan, India, Denmark and Finland, Australia and Beijing China.

Mr. Cruz is a high-ranking member of the American Amateur Karate Federation AAKF, and the International Traditional Karate Federation ITKF, under the guidance of Master Hidetaka Nishiyama. He is also a Worldwide Ranking Examiner for ITKF.

In February 1988 Sensei Cruz was upgraded to the rank of 6th degree Black Belt (Rokudan) under the guidance of the International Traditional Karate Federation ITKF, Master Hidetaka Nishiyama. In November 1998 he received his 7th degree rank.  Mr. Cruz is also a Rokudan (6th degree) in the Nippon Karate Do Kyo Kai in Japan, and a 7th degree in Yoshimon Karate Do system. He is also Shihan in the Taizen Ryu Jujitsu System with the rank of 6th degree.

Cruz Sensei is the Executive Director and Head Instructor, ranked as a 9th degree Black Belt with the title of Hanshi, for the International San Ten Karate Association and the International San Ten Martial Arts Federation. Cruz received his 9th Dan from the Black Belt Council of the International San Ten Karate Association on August 29, 2004, to the cheering applause of his faithful students. In 2005 he was awarded a 10th Dan from the European Martial Arts Federation in Germany.

Mr. Cruz is a member of the USA Buddhist Southeast Asian Foundation in Fresno California, and has served his required services as a Buddhist monk.  He is the head of the martial art advisory program for the Foundation. Mr. Cruz has a Ph.D. in Philosophy in ancient Buddhist studies with the Buddhist Southeast Asian Institute, Thailand, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy in the Martial Arts.

Mr. Cruz is an author and has published several martial art books.  “The Epistemology of Traditional Karate-Do”, “The Twenty Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi” and “San Ten No Kata” are considered his best works.

On May 10, 2002, Rep. George Radanovich ordered a US Flag flown over the capitol building in Washington, DC, in honor of the distinguished military career and lifelong contributions of Vincent Cruz Sensei.

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B. R. “Gil” Gilbert

Grandmaster Gilbert has been involved in martial arts for 47 years, beginning one year before he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1953. During his subsequent military career, he was able to study, practice and compete in a variety of martial arts in the Far East.

It was in the Singapore British Straits settlement in 1953, that Gil began to study a variety of martial arts including Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, Savate and Taiho Jutsu. He also studied a then little-known martial art called Kung fu. He studied Kung fu under a Buddhist priest B. Heng. Gil graduated from the 1955 Revision Class of Taiho Jutsu taught at the Kodokan by Sensei Kuda.  He continued his studies in Asia until he returned to the United States to go to college.

After college, Gil was sent to Cuba where he was in intelligence with the USMC. He did subsequent service in Vietnam, assigned to the Republic of RVN, Danang and Saigon. He continued to study martial arts while serving in Vietnam.

In 1966, Gil returned stateside and opened a dojo at HDQ USMC in Arlington, VA. There he studied under Jan Vanderusluis, Nidan, AFJA (two-time All-Marine Champion).

Gil was returned to combat in Vietnam and spent 1967 to 1971 studying Vietnamese Taiho Jutsu. He was awarded his Judan in Taiho Jutsu and his Yodan in Jujitsu in 1969.

Another martial art that was not well known in the West, Thai Kick Boxing, was the next subject of study. While stationed in Bangkok, Thailand, this became the next subject of study.


This complimented his study of Savate. He reopened the U.S. Judo Club as Sensei with over 100 students. While in Bangkok, Gil competed in many tournaments.

1974 found Gil in Okinawa where he achieved Godan in Karate and Jujitsu.

During 1975-1976, Gil lived in Japan after leaving the USMC. He pursued his studies in Taiho Jutsu.

From 1976 until the present Sensei Gilbert has operated a dojo and conducted seminars in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Sensei Gilbert’s Current Martial Art Ranks:

Judan (Grand Master) in Taiho Jutsu
Nanadan (7th Dan) Judo
Nanadan (7th Dan) Karate
Nanadan (7th Dan) Jujitsu
Sandan (3rd Dan) Savate

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Larry A. Lent

A note from Steven J. Kaplan, one of Larry Lent’s senior students and instructors:

Larry Lent held a Shodan from the Korean Yudo Association, and a Shomokuroku in Sosuishiryu JuJutsu from Japan Sosuishiryu Association.  He received Rokudan in Nippon Goshindo Kenpo JyuJutsu from Naraki Hara, Soke on August 20, 1978.  Following that time, I lost touch with him, although I heard that he was promoted at least once more before his death in 1997.  I have a copy of his Rokudan, but nothing beyond that.  It is virtually impossible to contact Hara Soke, since he is in his late 80s and does not take calls pertaining to martial arts any longer.  Hara’s family history and martial arts credentials are legendary.

Lent Shihan received permission from his Commanding Officer and opened a self-defense school in Orlando, Florida upon his return to Pine Castle Air Force Base.  When he returned to NY, he opened a school in 1962.  He ultimately had two dojos, one in Flushing, NY, and one in Bethpage, NY.  Both dojos taught JAKATA, Taiho-Jutsu, and JuJutsu.  He was one of the instructors asked to demonstrate techniques at the 1964-1965 NY World’s fair under Hara Soke.  Further, he taught at the Police Academy (am unsure as to which one), and taught JuJutsu at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.   Lent Shihan appeared on television and in newspapers numerous times, demonstrating and teaching about Taiho-Jutsu and JuJutsu.

Based on the above expertise in JuJutsu, coupled with his status of Instructor of the complete S.A.C. Combative Measures program, Lent Shihan founded a self-defense course he called JAKATA.  This course was based upon and utilized the principles and philosophies of Taiho-Jutsu and Combative Measures as was taught in the S.A.C. program.  Originally geared for laymen, the course was expanded into a Taiho-Jutsu program for law-enforcement and military personnel. 

The following is taken from an unpublished manuscript authored by Larry A. Lent, Shihan.  All words are those penned by Lent Shihan.  The order of appearance was arranged by Steven Kaplan.

...in December of 1949 I began taking Judo..... I continued my study of Judo for another three years until I went into the Air Force..... The Strategic Air Command had just obtained a new leader in the person of General Curtis LeMay.  One of his best friends, Mel Bruno, a Sixth Degree black belt in Judo, persuaded him to make hand-to-hand combat (later called Combative Measures) part of the combat crew’s survival training.  So, when they started looking for men with previous experience in Judo (at the time, Judo was the only martial art introduced to the West), I was one of the few lucky men selected because of my previous experience. 

After seven months of on-the-job training at Pine Castle Air Force base in Orlando, Florida, I was sent to Headquarters 8th Air Force at Westover for further training.  Under a sadistic, mustachioed sergeant, we learned how to bleed graciously. ...in order to learn how to do roll-outs in a straight line, one of his tricks was to put us shoulder to shoulder and do roll-outs across the mat... To get us to jump further and make our roll-outs longer, he used to start with one man on his hands and knees and we did roll-out over him.  After one roll-out from each of us, he added another man next to the first, continuing this until he had as many as ten men kneeling down on the mat.  The last man usually had to be dragged from the mat as the law of gravity made us come down sooner or later...  Some of his training methods were not government-approved, but then again, there was no training manual written on the subject.  Combative Measures was a new career field, and everything at the beginning was experimental.   ... a valuable part of the training came from a professor of medicine from Boston College, who taught us anatomy.  We became familiar with every muscle, nerve, and bone in the body.  When I went to Westover, I was in perfect physical condition with a 45 inch chest and a 27 inch waist.  I thought I was invincible.  But, after learning of the vulnerable areas of the body that could not be covered with muscle, I felt like wrapping myself in cotton.....

Part of the combat crew’s survival training was the “S.A.C. Dozen”, twelve exercises they did before each self-defense class.  The Air Force’s philosophy was that an instructor had to be able to do twice as many repetitions of any exercise that a student could do.  To build up our bodies to do this, they had a “S.A.C. Dozen” for the instructors, which naturally was twice as hard.  After a month of this torture, we were sent back to our bases for another year of on-the-job training. 



My next bit of formal training was at Travis Air Force Base in California, where I had the pleasure of meeting Walter Todd, a Third Degree Black Belt in Judo, who headed their training department.  Here we had three weeks of pre-conditioning which consisted of more exercises, classroom management, public speaking, and how to be a good instructor. 

Finally, after long anticipation, we boarded a plane for Japan..... After we landed at Tokyo International Airport, we were taken to Army Hall which is located just across from the Imperial Palace.  This was to be our home for the next two months.  However, we did not see too much of it.  Our schedule went something like this:

0745 We departed for the Kodokan. After an hour of warm-up exercises, we studied Karate under Obata, Nishiyama, Okazaki, and Terada.

1200 We took a break for lunch.

1400-1500 We had Combative Measures.

1500-1645 We had Judo under Kotani, Otaki, Takagake (all Eighth Degree Black Belts), Sato, Shinojima (Seventh Degree Black Belts), and Yamaguchi (Fifth Degree Black belt).

.....This schedule went on for the first, third, fifth, and seventh week.  The second, fourth, sixth, and eighth weeks we studied Aikido under Tomiki (Eighth Degree), Yamada, and Inuzuka.  These same weeks we also studied Taiho-Jutsu under Hosokawa (Seventh Degree), and Kikuchi (Seventh Degree). 

Many of these professors under whom we studied had dojos in their own homes.  Each evening they invited us to their dojos to compete with their own students.  We must have looked like the ancient Roman’s victims did to the lions: fresh meat.  After eight grueling hours at the Kodokan, we had four more hours at those private dojos to look forward to.  The pre-conditioning that we had at Travis and Westover turned out to be a picnic compared to the first two weeks at the Kodokan.  They assigned two Japanese to each man to help him get in shape.... The exercises that we were forced to do seemed humanly impossible, but we did them anyway.  This consisted of stretching the tendons and ligaments in the body so our kicks could attain a height of six feet or more.  The guys would scream in pain and cry for them to stop pushing and pulling, to which they would just smile and push and pull that much harder.  They did not understand English, but to me it seemed we were talking a universal language by showing them the discomfort we were suffering.  The nicest thing that could happen to you was to pass out from the pain.  But lo and behold, in two weeks the pain went away and we were able to do the exercises by ourselves.

The four years that I taught, the uniform of the day consisted of white tennis sneakers, white pants that we borrowed from the medics, a blue T-shirt topped off with a blue baseball cap with Combative Measures written across it.  We drove everyone crazy for the first month when no one knew whether to salute us or not.  As a result, we had to have our rank affixed to our cap.

On returning from Japan I was in the best shape of my life.  I used to win bets with people, claiming that I could pick up a cigarette which was laying on top of the pack on the floor, with my mouth, without bending my legs.  The tendons and ligaments were so stretched that I could almost tie myself in knots.  A philosophy that the Japanese professors believed was, when a baby is born, his body is very soft and pliable.  As he grows older, his body gets “harder”, until the very end when rigor mortis sets in...  So the idea is to keep the body soft and pliable as in infancy and delay the growing old process.  An example of this would be Professor Mifune whom I had the pleasure of watching work out at the Kodokan.  Here was a man who was 82 years old, 5'2", 110 lbs. Wringing wet, and I have yet to see anybody of any age move as smoothly as he did.


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Walter K. Nishioka

Walter Kenmotsu Nishioka, respectfully referred to as Nishioka Shihan by his students, is the founder and chief instructor of The International Karate League.

Shihan was born in the Kahili district of Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 18, 1932, into a family already well versed in the martial arts. His father, Hikoki Nishioka, was a renowned jujitsu practitioner who had trained Imperial Marines in Japan before immigrating to Hawaii from Kamamashiki City in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. His mother Kiyo, also came from Kumamoto, Japan. Naturally, Walter Nishioka started learning jujitsu from his father at an early age.

Shihan's first formal exposure to the martial arts was at the age of eight. In 1940 he became a student of Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki who ran the Nikko Sanitarium and oversaw activities at the American Judo and Jujitsu Institute. The dojo was located in the Alapai district of Honolulu. At that time, Professor Okazaki, a noted honitsugi (chiropractor), was the foremost instructor of jujitsu. He had the largest, and only, school in the Territory of Hawaii. In 1948, at sixteen years of age, Shihan received his shodan from Professor Okazaki.

Shihan studied jujitsu continuously for a period of ten years, from 1940 until 1950. During that time, at his father's request, he studied kendo, yawara, and karate with one of Okazaki's instructors, Hamamoto Sensei. (Yawara is a form of martial arts used primarily to break holds.)

He attended McKinley High School and graduated in 1950. In 1951, during the Korean conflict he served in the United States Naval Reserve, later volunteering for active duty in the United States Air Force. He went through basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He also attended gunnery school at Lowry Air Force Base, Denver Colorado, where he learned to be an aerial gunner on B-29 bombers or similar aircraft. He was first stationed at Walker Air Force Base (SAC) in Roswell, New Mexico, attached to the 509th Bomber Squadron.

In June of 1952, Shihan's prowess at unarmed combat came to the attention of the base hand-to-hand combat instructor, John Hodges, who requested that he be transferred to the instructor cadre of the Survival Training Course. This was a curriculum designed to teach basic hand-to-hand combat to flight crews who may have had to bail out over enemy-held territory and work their way back to friendly units.

Shihan became the head instructor of the survival training school when Sergeant Hodges was transferred to Washington DC, eventually teaching over 10,000 personnel hand-to-hand combat techniques. The curriculum consisted of knife/bayonet fighting, the use of the "billy club," pistol work, and a multitude of jujitsu techniques.

In 1951, General Curtis LeMay, then the commanding general of the Strategic Air Command, implemented a physical and survival training program for his aircrews. He designated judoka Emile Bruno supervisor of judo and combative measures for the Strategic Air Command. In order to integrate aikido, judo, and karate into a systematic unarmed combat style, Bruno initiated training programs for Air Force instructors in Japan. This worked so well that LeMay, a judo student of Bruno, later invited ten Japanese martial artists to tour every Strategic Air Command base in the United States and Cuba. This resulted in the legendary 1953 tour of the United States by some of the most famous martial artists in the world.

Invited by of various distinguished instructors, he went to study at the Kodokan Judo College in Japan. Most noted among them were Professor Sumiyuki Kotani and Professor Kusuo Hosokawa.


While residing at the Kodokan dormitory he earned a black belt in judo. He also trained in Aikido techniques with Tomiki Sensei. At this time he was introduced to Shotokan karate, in Yotsuya, Tokyo where Gichin Funakoshi was the teacher.

In 1955 Nishioka-Sensei opened a school of self-defense he called the Hawaii Karate Goshin-Kai. "Goshin" can be translated as "self-preservation," and "kai" means "club" or "association" or "fellowship." At the time, the school was located at the Moiliili Community Center on South King Street in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Upon returning to Japan in 1959, he resumed training in Shotokan karate. It was during this time frame that Shihan was introduced to the Wado style of karate. Between 1960-62, he commuted frequently to Japan, training under Hironori Ohtsuka.

While Shihan was in Japan, he lived with Tatsuo Suzuki in Shizuoka Prefecture. Also, Shihan had the opportunity to live with and study under Yoshio Kawaguchi, who was the head instructor of the Yokohama branch of Wado-ryu.

Nishioka Shihan initiated proceedings to bring Ohtsuka Shihan, Kawaguchi Sensei, Suzuki Sensei, and a young man by the name of Kyohisa Hirano to Hawaii. At the time (post WW-II) Japanese nationals were not allowed to travel abroad except to attend college or on official business. Because karate was viewed as an art, he was granted permission by the U.S. Immigration Department. They were brought to Hawaii for approximately two months, touring the outer islands giving demonstrations, and culminating with a final exhibition to a standing-room-only crowd in Honolulu.

Before Professor Ohtsuka returned to Japan, Shihan spoke with him about forming a school of his own. Professor Ohtsuka had mentioned this idea years earlier while Shihan was in Japan, indicating that he should be credited for the propagation of martial arts in America. With Professor Ohtsuka's encouragement, Shihan was the first to introduce Wado-ryu to Hawaii.

As proper etiquette dictates: Nishioka Shihan asked Professor Ohtsuka if it was appropriate for him to start a school of his own, and when the proper time came he would ask for his blessings. When Professor Ohtsuka returned to Japan he replied; ...."I cannot stop you from opening a school on your own because of the caliber of training you have had in the past.....I will give you my blessings....."

From 1961 through 1965, Shihan periodically visited Okinawa to study the roots of karate. He researched the Shorin style of karate with Chosen Chibana who had extensive knowledge of karate's background history on Okinawa. He lived in the old capital city of Shuri where Shorin karate is said to have originated.

Shihan continues to travel back and forth between Hawaii and many Asian countries, studying the techniques and historical origins of the martial arts.

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Philip S. Porter

It is safe to say that there is no other person alive in the world today who has had so varied and comprehensive a career of achievement in Judo and the Martial Arts as Philip S. Porter.  In every field of endeavor involved in Judo; from coaching, teaching and national and international leadership positions to writing, refereeing and building the theoretical framework of Judo, he has excelled.  His competitive career spanned 50 years, culminating with four US National Masters Gold medals in winning which he never lost a match.

He may be the only person who has refereed the finals in the world championships and fought in the world masters championships as well.  During his many years in Martial Arts training, Porter has lived, taught and competed in Europe for four years; and lived, studied and competed in Japan for two years,  From Thailand to Germany, from England to Brazil, he has studied, refereed, taught, and competed for 65 years. 

O-Sensei (Teacher of teachers) Philip S. Porter began his Martial Arts career as a boxer in 1943 at age 18.  He was later a member of the West Point Boxing Team; and in 1950, Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the Western Area of the Air Training Command, USAF.  Porter graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1948, and served in the U.S. Army and Air Force for 25 years, retiring as a major in 1967. 

O-Sensei started Judo, JuJitsu, and Karate training in 1951 while serving on a Strategic Air Command (SAC) combat crew at Travis Air Force Base, California.  His first teacher was Sensei Walter Todd, 2nd Degree in Judo and the first American to be awarded a black belt in Shotokan Karate.   Todd was later promoted to 9th Degree Black Belt in Shudokan Karate, and is now deceased.  Because Porter was 27 years old at the time, he soon started teaching and coaching Judo as well as competing.  Now, he is called O-Sensei because he is responsible for teaching and watching over the rank promotions of thousands of his Black Belt students and club leaders throughout the country in over 1,500 clubs of the United States Martial Arts Association.

O-Sensei’s Teachers   Porter says, “I was blessed with the greatest teachers a man could ever have.”  While in the Air Force, his first teacher was Walter Todd (later 9th Dan).  In 1953, Sumiyuki Kotani (later 10th Dan) and Tadao Otaki (later 9th Dan) both accepted him as their student.  Then O-Sensei trained in England at the famous Budokwai in London for a period of four years (1954 to 1958).  At that time his teacher was Trevor P. Leggett, until his death the only 9th Degree in Judo in Europe, and one of only a few 9th Degrees in Judo outside of Japan.  O-Sensei insists that his teachers are still with him, and that now his O-Sensei is the Lord Christ.




O-Sensei’s Martial Arts Rank History
O-Sensei holds the 10th Dan or higher rank in more than 15 Martial Arts.  Many of these ranks are honorary and are not listed below.  The six arts in which O-Sensei holds 10th Dan and which he considers earned ranks are included in the rank history below, arranged alphabetically.

Beikoku Mizu Ryu JuJitsu: Judan (10th Degree), by the Beikoku Mizu Ryu JuJitsu Association.

Budo Taijutsu: Judan (10th Degree), 1998 by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, 34th Soke of the Togakure Ryu.

Judo: Judan (10th Degree).  Shodan, 1954; Nidan, 1956, Budokwai, England; Sandan, 1959, Yondan, 1963-Personally presented by Sumiyuki Kotani, 9th Dan, of the Kodokan, after O-Sensei placed third in the U.S. Judo Nationals at age 38.  (Kotani Sensei was later for many years the only living 10th Degree in Judo in the world).  Rokudan, 1973; Shichidan, 1981; Hachidan, 1989; Kudan, 1994, Judan, January 1, 2005.  Note: There are now about 25 living Kudan (9th Degrees) in Judo in Japan, and a few more outside Japan.  There are now (2008) five Judo 10th Degrees in the world.  They are: Abe, Osawa, and Daigo of Japan; Anton Geesink (of the Netherlands), and O-Sensei Porter.  There have been 18 Judoists of 10th in the history of Judo (15 from Japan). One of the last four Japanese Judan was Sumiyuki Kotani Sensei, who died on October 19, 1991, at age 89.  He was O-Sensei Porter’s most revered teacher.

JuJitsu:  Judan.  All degrees, 1st through 9th (1951-1994) by USJA.  Judan (10th Degree) 1997 by USMA and Beikoku Mizu Ryu JuJutsu.

Jun Kin Shin.   Soke-10th Degree. Jun Kin Shin is the JuJitsu ryu founded by O-Sensei from his many years experience in teaching self defense to law enforcement and military personnel.  He has awarded only a few ranks in this system because he does not consider the system complete.

Taiho Jitsu:  Judan (10th Degree) 1997 by Mid-Atlantic Self Defense Association. 

Wushu: 9th Degree (Honorary) 1994.

Moo Hap Sul Hapkido: 9th Degree (Honorary), 1997 by House of Discipline Martial Arts Group.

Karate: 8th Degree (Honorary) 1996 by the American Shotokan Karate Alliance.

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H. G. Robby Robinson

Professor H. G. Robby Robinson is the Director of Development United States Armed Forces-Southeast Asia for the USJA, Benefactor Life Member (# 22) in the Armed Forces Judo Association, Member, USA Judo Inc., and United States Judo Federation.

Professor Robinson, a native Bronx, New Yorker was introduced to Judo in 1949 through the teachings of Charles Yerkow and was strongly influenced by neighborhood Chinese Tai Chi Chuan practitioners. A former acrobatic performer with the famous Jules Stone Dance Studios of New York and a stint in the late 1940s as a youthful member of the WOR Radio's hit program Juvenile Jury, coupled with a high school background in weight lifting, gymnastics, fencing, wrestling, and boxing with the New York City Police Athletic League, Prof. Robinson was well prepared for a future fulfilling career in the little known field of martial arts that would take him around the world and encompassing the majority of his adult life.

Raised during the upheaval of World War II and the Korean Conflict, Prof. Robinson's attempts to enlist in the United States Navy Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) Program at age 17 couldn't be guaranteed by the Navy recruiter and in 1952 he opted to go the other direction that his older brother went and enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF) for aircrew bomber training.

While attending B-29 electronic turret systems gunnery school at Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado, his background records were scanned by Headquarters USAF Special Project personnel officials and he soon found himself as a “volunteer” on his way to Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Washington, destined to become a member of the USAF's Elite Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combative Armed and Unarmed Cadre of Escape and Evasion Instructors.

A quick learner from the streets of Fort Apache, the Bronx, he trained under the tutelage of the late Sensei Emilio “Mel” Bruno, GS-15, the Superintendent for USAF Aircrew and Air Police Combative Training and Physical Conditioning, Headquarters, SAC, Omaha, Nebraska, and a former student of Shihan Jigoro Kano; founder of the Kodokan International Judo Institute, Japan . Thus began a lifetime friendship with the person most responsible for the introduction and popularization of Kodokan Judo (and martial arts in general) in the United States Military Armed Forces and eventually on the United States National level.

During 1953 at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA, Prof. Robinson trained with a team of the highest ranked Japanese martial arts masters ever to visit the United States. This prestigious grouping of Judo, Karate, Aikijutsu, Taiho Jitsu and Goshinjitsu ambassadors included Takahiko Ishikawa, Kenji Tomiki, Tadao Otaki, Hidetaka Nishiyama, Isao Obata, Toshio Kamada and Sumiyuki Kotani; up until recently, the last of the great Kodokan 10 th Degree Black Belts (Judan).

In December 1955 Prof. Robinson was relocated to the US Army's former First Cavalry Garrison at Camp Crawford, Sapporo, Japan, as the overall Director of Special Services. It was here that he began his formal Kodokan training with his Sensei and mentor Yasumasa Kanemoto, Kudan, a direct student of Jigoro Kano and a superb mat technician. In 1956, Prof. Robinson was awarded Kodokan Shodan in Judo while training alternately with Japanese Military Self-Defense Forces in Kendo and Shorinji Kenpo. Relocating to Tokyo in 1957, he studied Shotokan Karate under Hidetaka Nishiyama at Fuchu Air Station and Kodokan Judo at Minami Koen (Green Park Annex) with Kodokan's Sensei the late Sadaki Nakabayashi, Shichidan.

A myriad of assignments throughout the United States as a Senior Judo Coach and Military Combative Tactics Instructor included providing Law Enforcement Arrest and Control training to officers of the Vice and Narcotics Division, Austin, Texas Police Department and Texas Public Safety Department. The loss of his Judo student Austin Texas Police Officer Billy Speed, one of many victims of the infamous University of Texas Tower Massacre only served to reinforce Prof. Robinson's concerns for these guardians of the law in both the military and civilian sectors.


Standing along side hundreds of mourners at Fort Sam Houston's National Cemetery clearly served to reveal the mutual respect shared by all in attendance and moreover the seriousness of this most dangerous, deadly and oftentimes unappreciated public service occupation.

During 1964, while attending a USAF advanced senior instructors martial arts training course at the Kodokan Judo Institute, Tokyo, Japan, the Foreign Division's Senior Sensei Sumiyuki Kotani, promoted Prof. Robinson to Nidan. Mr. Risei Kano, son of the originator of Judo, Jigoro Kano, formally presented Robby's promotion certificate to him in ceremony at the former Kodokan Judo Institute. Robinson, a student of Kodokan Kata under Kotani Sensei, was his teacher’s uke during the late Judo Masters’ tour of the mid west.  In 1966 after extensive training in advanced techniques, Kotani Sensei advanced Prof. Robinson to Sandan.

During this period of time Robby was a student of Senior Grandmaster Tony Lasit, Kudan, Kajukenbo, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Departing Bergstrom AFB, Austin, Texas in 1968 for the first of six Southeast Asia (SEA) tours of duty, Prof. Robinson continued his military career as a USAF Master Sergeant. During his first Southeast Asia tour, Robby teamed up with the late Kajukenbo Master Richard Peralta, introducing Kenpo Karate, Judo and Jujitsu to U.S. military personnel and Royal Thai security forces in central Thailand. Follow on assignments included Itazuke AFB and Hakata Air Station, Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan, Hickam AFB Hawaii and two tours in Southeast Asia.

Robinson was decorated by the Royal Thai Security Forces Supreme Regiment Command (Regimental Badge of Honor 2nd Class) for hands-on simulated close combat field martial arts training over 700 United States Security Police, Royal Thai Security Forces and local law enforcement police.

With a distinguished active duty and reserve military career spanning some 35 years, with numerous military decorations, both foreign and domestic, and passionately dedicated to the Kanonian principle of Jita Kyoei; Mutual Aid and Reciprocity, Professor Robinson will continue to concentrate and dedicate his time and energy towards improving the Quality of Life for military personnel and their families through the positive elements of martial arts training.

Professor Robinson's Current Major Martial Art Ranks:

  • 8th Dan – Hachidan, United States Judo Association
  • 9th Dan - Kudan, Traditional Kodokan Judo, USJJF
  • 9th Dan – Kudan Umi Bushi Goshin Jutsu
  • 9th Dan - Kudan, Ju-Jitsu
  • 9th Dan - Kudan, Taiho Jitsu
  • 8th Dan - Hachidan, Goshin Jitsu
  • 9th Dan – Dong Koo Yudo Kwan, Republic of South Korea No. 0879
  • 9th Dan – Ryu Kyu (Okinawa) Kenpo
  • 9th Dan -  American Federation of Martial Arts
  • 10th Dan Soke - International Kempo Federation (IKF) Iran
  • 10th Dan Hanshi - World Ju-Jitsu & AIKI Bujitsu Federation
  • 10th Dan Hanshi – Samurai Ju Jitsu Association International, Teacher’s Diploma, All-Japan Seibukan Martial Arts & Way Association
  • 10th Dan – Life Member, European Samurai Ju-Jitsu – AIKI Society
  • 10th Dan Hanshi – Nippon Yawara Ryu AIKI – Ju-Jitsu Renmei

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Jack Williams

Sensei Jack was born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1929. He spent his early years in a farm taking care of chickens. Menial, rigorous labor! Jack came to Florida in 1943, at age 14.

Jack entered Judo late, at the age of 25 around 1955. He started out in downtown Miami and later moved to North Miami. He was a gold medalist in his weight division. Sensei Jack was victorious (He won!) and defeated all the different weight division champions to be named Overall Champion many times! The menial labor had made his spirit impervious.

Sensei Takeshita agreed to instruct Jack as a student in 1959. Jack was accepted by sensei Paul Takeshita and instructed him in the areas of Olympic Judo and self-defense. Sensei Takeshita also imparted the spirit and the code of the samurai to Sensei Jack. Sensei Takeshita gave Jack all the knowledge learned from his grandfather, the feudal lord and the four Judans (10th degrees). As a result of Paul Takeshita’s teaching and Jack Williams impervious spirit jack has:

  1. Coached US national championship teams 10 times.
  2. Coached Eastern Collegiate Championship team 5 times.
  3. Responsible for 138 national champions.
  4. Has had players place 29 times in international competitions.
  5. Since 1989 to 1997 Junior and Senior players have captured 689 gold, silver and bronze medals in local, state, national or international competitions.

Sensei Jack is now Shichidan (7th degree) red and white belt. He studied in Japan in 1968, 1969, 1970, and 1972. Holds KODOKAN licenses in Katame-no-kata, Kime-no-kata, Go-shin-jutsu (the most modern form of self-defense ever developed) and was personally taught during above mentioned years Taiho-jutsu at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and two other police dojos.

Williams is a graduate from the University of Miami (1957) with a degree of Business Administration. He received his Masters degree in Parks and Recreation from Florida International University in 1977.

In 1997, he received his 7th Dan ranking from USA Judo and USJF.

1998 the Physical Education Department at Miami-Dade Community College (MDCC), now Miami-Dade College (MDC), dissolved all 1-credit enrichment courses except two Varsity team sports and two club sports. Judo was one of them.

So Jack taught non-credit Judo with North Campus (MDCC).

In 1999, Jack assisted Nestor Bustillo, Head Judo Coach at Florida International University, as adjunct Judo Professor at FIU-South Campus. At present he continues to hold above positions.

Sensei Jack has been admitted to both the Black Belt Hall of Fame (1981) and the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame (1994).

In 2006, Sensei Jack earned his 7th Dan from the Kodokan.

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