IKA News - Nov / Dec 2012

Soke Kubota At His 48th All Star Tournament  with Shorei Ha Dojo and Sensei Les Heri (photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)

Soke Kubota At His 48th All Star Tournament  with Shorei Ha Dojo and Sensei Les Heri (photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)



The 48th Annual All Star tournament in Los Angeles was a resounding success. One of the largest yet with over 300 competitors from over 40 dojos. We had international participation with competitors from India, and Mexico. We also had participants  from the IKA dojos in Alaska and Washington state and a number of dojos from all over California. Soke would like to thank all the volunteers, participants, and Senseis that supported this event. Mark your calendar for next year: Sunday October 6, 2013. Osu!


The 2012 IKA Holiday party will be on Saturday, November 17th from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the IKA Headquarters Dojo in Glendale. It will be a pot luck and anyone may attend. Bring your favorite ethnic food to share and your favorite drink. Family and friends welcome. The IKA has our holiday party early so there is no conflict with the events of December.


Soke is happy to announce his return to one of his favorite cities; Sumy, in the country of Ukraine. The multi day event will include seminars, Dan testing, and tournament and is scheduled for April 26-28, 2013.  It will be hosted by long time IKA supporter, Shihan Dai Anatoliy Lozovoy and will be sponsored by Ukrrosmetall Corporation and Kancho Grigoriy Kirik

For more information contact Shihan Dai Anatoliy at his email at: ika-ukraine@mail.ru


IKA Italy will be hosting a tournament the weekend of May 24-26, 2013. The tournament will be hosted by Shihan Giorgio Bortolin of our Torino (Turin) dojo. The event is a Black Belt event only so competition will only be for advanced levels.

For more information, contact Shihan Bortolin at his email at: aik@karate-aik.it


Shihan Boban Petkovic, Kumite Champion, Faces off Against Keith Kinsman at the 48th All Star (photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)

Shihan Boban Petkovic, Kumite Champion, Faces off Against Keith Kinsman at the 48th All Star (photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)



The date has been set for the next IKA World Cup tournament that will be held in the city of Belgrade, Serbia. The proposed date will be May 22-24, 2014 and will be under the control of Sensei Bozidar Puric. Sensei Puric has repeatedly demonstrated his organizational skills at tournaments throughout Europe and we are confident that he will do an excellent job. Soke Kubota is expected to teach seminars and conduct testing and we also hope to have the presence of IKA Headquarters Master Instructors originally from Serbia, Shihan Val Mijailvic and Shihan Boban Petkovic. It will be a tournament you will not want to miss. We will post more information as it becomes available.


IKA Headquarters will be performing a karate demonstration on the Navy battleship, USS Iowa at the Veterans Appreciation Festival on November 10, 2012. The festival runs between 1 pm and 4 pm. The location is:

Berth 87, Port of Los Angeles
250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731


Soke has recently completed a video on Bokken kata (wooden Samurai sword). This video is brand new and to our knowledge it is unique in that it has two people performing kata in simulated combat. This is a way for one to practice sword skills and fighting without fear of major accidental injury. Since there are two persons doing the kata, each kata has essentially two pieces that needs to be learned. The new video features two new original katas created by Soke. “Ken No Michi” and “Ken No Mai” . Order through the IKA Store at: www.ikakarate.com



Look for Soke on Facebook. The name is:
IKA Karate Kubota. Soke will be using Facebook for posting photos of his travels and other happenings.


Many of the IKA kata  and waza videos are now available for download by the specific kata or waza topic in small groups by a website set up by IKA New Zealand under the guidance of Sensei Scott McKenzie. This way instead of buying the entire DVD, you can selectively pick topics or small sets of katas that interest you for the low price of $6.99. There are also discounts for bundles of videos.

The videos are available from the Karate Cosmos Wiki Store at:


Sensei Victor Chico Performing Kata At The All Star Tournament (photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)

Sensei Victor Chico Performing Kata At The All Star Tournament
(photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)



The Masters Forum is dedicated to increasing the knowledge base of the IKA Family. Each month we will try to cover a new topic on a multitude of facets of the art, dealing with all levels of expertise. This month, we feature a story written by Soke’s long time student, Hanshi Jim Mather. Hanshi Mather has written on his blog about IKA legend, Sensei John Gelsen. This is his story:

“One of the highest complements I ever received was “This guy could be good.” Now on the surface, it would not appear much of a complement. I was already 3rd dan and had won a fair amount of sparring trophies by then. But it was the person saying it and his personal standard that made it special to me.

It was the late 60s or early 70s. We were at Soke Takayuki Kubota’s IKA Headquarters on Kenmore in Los Angeles, the same dojo where they filmed the dojo scenes for the movie, The Mechanic, with Soke, Charles Bronson, and Jan-Michael Vincent. I was in an advanced class that met on a Saturday or Sunday afternoons, forget which. Soke was taking us through a drill he called “Attack-Defense.” Each person had to await the spontaneous attack of an opponent, defend against it, and launch a successful counterattack. If the counter failed, you had to wait for your partner to attack again. This went on until your counter was successful. Then, you got another partner and repeated the drill.

I was paired off with John Gehlsen. I don’t remember his attack or what I did in response but it was John who said to Soke, “This guy could be good.” Although not many people outside Soke’s organization were aware of John’s skill, I considered him (both then and now) one of the toughest fighters ever trained in this country.

John was a tall, lanky, thick-boned man, who worked both undercover and regular duties for LAPD. I first met him at Ed Parker’s Internationals. It must have been around 1965. Soke Kubota had recently arrived in the U.S. and Ed invited him to demonstrate at his annual event, the largest and most prestigious tournament in the world at the time. (I think I spoke previously about that event.) John was only a green belt at the time.

When I hosted my first tournament, the U.S. Winter-National Karate Championships in San Jose the following year, I also invited Soke to demonstrate. He brought both John and Tonny Tulleners with him. Chuck Norris drove up with Chris Wells and one of his other students. And Bruce Lee also demonstrated. I had met Bruce through someone. I think it was a great, old Kung Fu friend, James Yimm Lee, but not sure. (Bruce lived with Jimmy when he first came to California.) In the finals, Chuck fought Roy Castro, GM Ralph Castro’s brother, for the grand championship and Chuck prevailed, winning his first grand championship (continued below.)


Soke at the 48th All Star Tournament (photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)

Soke at the 48th All Star Tournament  
(photo courtesy of Lee Fisher)


John and Soke Kubota shared an apartment back then in Hollywood, on Vine Street, if I remember right. It was on the second floor and they used the large front room for the dojo. I would fly to LAX in the morning on my one day off. I’d rent a car, drive to Hollywood, take a private lesson from Soke, and participate in every class. Then, I’d take the long drive to LAX, catch the last flight to SFO, then drive the 40 miles to my home in San Jose. (I relate this story whenever someone tells me the dojo is too far from their home – usually 5 miles or less – to train with us.)

As I mentioned, John wasn’t known to many beyond Soke’s dojo. But in 1969, or thereabouts, he was asked to accompany an American team that Sensei Nishiyama assembled to compete against several university teams in Japan. A friend, who was a senior student of Sensei Nishiyama’s, went on the trip too. He told me that the Japanese treated John and most of our fighters with a degree of disdain much of the time until his first fight. John had been an alternate to the team and didn’t fight during the first couple of competitions. But when they finally put him in, his opponent refused to stop when John scored on him and kept trying to hurt John. So he drove the guy out of the ring, into the stands, and didn’t stop until the officials grabbed him. My friend said everyone in the large gym jumped to their feet and applauded. After that, he was treated with respect wherever he went.

In 1970, WUKO held its first World Karate Championships in Tokyo. The U.S. sent five teams, comprised of many of our top fighters at the time. John and Tonny Tulleners, also from Soke Kubota’s dojo, were on one of the teams. In the individual competition, Tonny tied for third with the legendary Dominic Valera. John didn’t make it to the finals but received one of the Outstanding Spirit (Tamashi) Awards distributed to the most respected fighters.

In 1972, the United States sent just one team to Paris for the second World Championships. John was selected to this team as well. This event was highly controversial. The U.S., Japanese, and several other teams walked out due to what friends termed the inadequate quality of the officials. (I heard they used judo, kendo, and/or aikido officials in matches – depending on who told me. But I wasn’t there so I’m not sure if any of this was true. I just know teams walked out.)

If you could select one person to accompany you in what could be a deadly fight on the street, who would you pick? For some, they might think first of some of the karate greats. There’s an entire category of jokes about Chuck Norris and his imagined prowess. (“When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.”) But having the skill to win at tournaments doesn’t always translate well to skill on the street in a serious, life-threatening fight.

For me, the person I would have selected back in the day would likely have been John Gehlsen or another old friend, Jim Harrison. Not only were both great tournament fighters but (because of their professions in law enforcement and the number of “death matches” they likely fought on the street when working undercover) they were perhaps even greater street fighters. ((Professional Karate Magazine did a five-part series on Jim Harrison’s experiences several years ago. They were great reading. Hopefully, the articles are still available.) (Just to put John’s skill in perspective, he generally bested his IKA dojomate, Tonny Tulleners, who placed 3rd at the first WUKO championships, won his black belt division at GM Parker’s tournament, etc. Tonny easily beat Chuck Norris all three times they met, when Chuck was at his peak. I saw most, if not all, of those matches and don’t remember Chuck ever even scoring a point on Tonny.) (continued below))


Brian Cooper, Father of IKA Headquarters Black Belt Sarah Cooper is one of the elite drivers of Mars rover, “Curiosity”. Brian is an engineer at NASA/JPL and is the senior engineer / driver having driven all the Mars rovers to date.

Brian Cooper, Father of IKA Headquarters Black Belt Sarah Cooper is one of the elite drivers of Mars rover, “Curiosity”. Brian is an engineer at NASA/JPL and is the senior engineer / driver having driven all the Mars rovers to date.


It always struck me as a bit funny when Gehlsen and the other cops who trained at IKA headquarters would enter the changing room, remove their service revolvers, and lock them in their personal lockers. I, of course, realized that the people they often faced in the line of duty were armed. And I had no illusions about the likely outcome in karate versus gun battles. But it always made me chuckle nonetheless. Gehlsen with a pistol seemed something akin to Superman carrying one.

John was a bit of an acquired taste. He was hard to get close to and it took a while before I felt accepted by him. Something I had learned along the way was that many cops tended to divide the world into two types of people – cops and non-cops. (Cops and “AssHxxxx” was actually how most phrased it.) This helped prevent emotion from making it difficult at times to do their jobs. If a person wasn’t a cop, he or she were often considered a perp who hadn’t yet been caught. (Many years later, I was asked by San Jose’s Chief of Police to speak to his captains about how to prevent their officers from abusing the power entrusted in them. And I looked at the side-effects of this view of the public, essentially the objectification of anyone they might have to confront.)

Once, I was at the dojo when a guy came in. He waited for someone to help him. John eventually strode over to the man and asked what he wanted in a less than welcoming tone. The guy answered that he was interested in learning karate. John told him they didn’t need any more students and the guy left. (The truth was they did need students at the time.) He looked fine to me. But that was John. He was a pure karateka. The guy hadn’t look serious enough to him or something.

John and I were talking once about his job. He told me about a fight he had gotten into a few years earlier while working undercover. He had gone in on a drug bust and chased one of the suspects into a high school shower room, where the guy tried to fight him and failed. John said he was at the supermarket recently, buying groceries, when a man approached him. “Do you remember me?” the man asked. John shook his head. The guy asked if he remembered the incident in the school shower room. John said “Yeah.” The guy asked, “Do you remember beating the crap out of the guy you arrested?” John said, “Yeah,” his voice and nervousness rising. The guy said “Well, I’m that guy.” John said “Yeah?!!” his hand going into his coat for his revolver. Then, the guys said, “I just wanted to thank you. Getting my ass kicked that bad made me straighten up. I never want that to ever happen again.” He offered his hand and John shook it.

I’ll likely write at least one more post on John before moving one. If anyone has any footage of John’s fights, please let me know. (I should have some but have yet to find it on the many films I shot years ago and Val later converted to DVD.) I intend to talk next time about his unique fighting style and tamashi.



"Karate is like boiling water. If you do not heat it constantly, it will cool"  - Master Gichin Funakoshi



There are many dojos that still have not paid their annual membership renewal fee. Please note that if your fees are not paid you should not be using the IKA name,  the IKA trademark, nor Soke Kubota’s name. If you have financial problems, please contact Soke Kubota directly to work out special financial arrangements. It is not about money, it is about respect. Please observe proper Reigi (protocol) as the overhead of running the IKA is very expensive. Send Soke an e-mail if you have questions as to the different methods of  payment, especially for dojos outside of the United States.



IKA Demo on USS Iowa
November 10, 2012 –1-4:00 pm, San Pedro, California
Berth 87, Port of Los Angeles
250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731

April 26-28, 2013
IKA European Championship – Sumy Ukraine
Hosted by Shihan Dai Anatoliy Lozovoy

May 25-26, 2013 – Torino, Italy
IKA Tournament hosted by Kyoshi Bortolin
Black Belts only.

November 2013 – Molinella, Italy - Tentative
Karate and Kubotan Seminars hosted by Kyoshi Pajello
Taught by Soke Kubota

May 22-24, 2014 – Belgrade, Serbia
IKA World Cup Tournament and seminars – Tentative
Hosted by Sensei Puric, Soke Kubota teaching



Each seek perfection of character.
Develop morals, ethics and distinguishable attributes.

Each be faithful.
Be loyal and devoted to a person, cause, or idea.

Each endeavor.
Have conscientious or concerted effort toward an end with an earnest attempt.

Each respect others.
To feel or show deferential value, honor, appreciation and regard for another.

Each refrain from violent behavior.
To hold oneself back from responding with inappropriate anger and physical force.


List of IKA Headquarters Staff and Instructors
President and Founder Soke Takayuki Kubota
Soke Dai James Caan
Vice-President Thea Kubota
Chief Advisor Leonard Kramer
Office Manager Carmen Kim
Senior Technical Advisors Val Mijailovic, Boban Petkovic
Technical Director Rod Kuratomi
National Coach and Advisor Ted Bratakos
Secretary Judy Rao
Liason, Special Projects Sara Kubota
Medical Advisor Dr. Ashok Rao, M.D.
Webmaster Brian McEvoy
Official Photographer Lee Fisher
Soke Takayuki Kubota 10th dan Master
Hank Hamilton 7th dan     Shihan
Paul McCaul 7th dan     Shihan
Val Mijailovic 7th dan     Shihan
Boban Petkovic 7th dan     Shihan
Mike Berger 6th dan     Shihan
Ted Bratakos 6th dan     Shihan
Mark Grigorian 6th dan     Shihan
Tatsuo Hirano 6th dan     Shihan
Leonard Kramer 6th dan    
Rod Kuratomi 6th dan     Shihan
George Sinani 6th dan     Shihan
Antonio Antonetti 5th dan     Shihan
Norvell Carrere 5th dan     Shihan
Mark Gujda 5th dan     Shihan
Judy Marx 5th dan     Shihan Dai
Marcial Soto 5th dan     Shihan
Sami Asmar 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Victor Chico 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Danny Kahan 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Demetrio Munoz 4th dan     Shihan Dai
David Petrie 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Stuart Richman 4th dan     Shihan Dai
Kirk Stites 4th dan     Shihan Dai
David White 4th dan    
Alfanso Espinosa 3rd dan     Sensei
Aman Ikram 3rd dan     Sensei
Anthony Boosalis 2nd dan     Sensei
George Lopez 2nd dan     Sensei
Judy Rao 2nd dan     Sensei
Patrick Reddy 2nd dan     Sensei
Roy Simmons 2nd dan     Sensei
Jennifer Allen 1st dan      Shidoin
Maureen DeGuzman 1st dan      Shidoin
Richard Martrosian 1st dan      Shidoin


The average training time for the Shihan (Master) level instructor is 30+ years of training and teaching. Each Shihan not only teaches but trains as well in order to maintain their status. Title is not automatically bestowed with rank. Soke also has several other master level instructors in Kubojitsu , Kobudo and IPT (International Police Training). Shihan Dai is a Deputy Master level instructor with an average of 20-30 years of training and teaching. Titles are reserved only for instructors that are ACTIVELY teaching at IKA Headquarters. Dan ranks are retained but titles can be changed as Soke sees fit.


We welcome any contributions you may have that you wish to have published subject to approval by Soke. Submit the articles to Soke in writing or e-mail them to him at:


It has come to Soke Kubota’s attention that some organizations around the world may be using IKA’s name and trademarks without permission. The name ”International Karate Association, Inc.” (IKA) and its registered trademarks may be used by affiliated organizations only after first receiving Soke’s written permission.   In addition, Soke’s hand written signature or the red Japanese signature stamp must not be used without his expressed permission. The red stamp is like a legal signature in Japan and is a symbol of authenticity. It should not be used by anybody except for Soke or for purposes that he authorizes. The “International Karate Association” name must not be used by itself to represent your organization. There is only one International Karate Association, Inc. and it is at Headquarters in Glendale, California, USA. After receiving approval from Soke, you may use the IKA name, but it must be attached with another description to differentiate it from the IKA Headquarters.  For example, if you are from the state of Nebraska, you could use the name, “International Karate Association of Nebraska” or something similar.


Please note that proper protocol (Reigi) requires that information matters directly relating to IKA Headquarters, IKA tournaments, karate training and seminars must be communicated to Soke Kubota first before contacting other members within the organization. It is improper for Soke to be the last person to be informed of matters that directly involve him and IKA Headquarters such as, for example, your intention to attend his tournament or invitations to tournaments that are addressed directly to a Headquarters student without Soke’s knowledge. It is proper respect in both of these cases to inform Soke first or at the same time that the student is contacted.   Thank you for your consideration in these matters. 


Due to increased liability risks, it is necessary that all IKA schools carry some form of liability insurance to protect the school from legal issues that may arise from accidents. The amount of liability insurance will depend on your location. USA schools are suggested to carry one-million dollars of liability insurance.

Past News Letters

Aug - Sept 2012 News Letter

June - July 2012 News Letter

Mar - Apr 2012 News Letter

Jan - Feb 2012 News Letter

Nov - Dec 2011 News Letter

Aug - Sept 2011 News Letter

Jun - Jul 2011 News Letter

Apr - May 2011 News Letter

Feb - Mar 2011 News Letter

Nov - Jan 2011 News Letter

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