About Soke John B Burkhardt
Dealing in the martial arts
My name is John Burkhardt, after 50 years as a master instructor I take the title of Soke and a 10° Red Belt. I specialize in the following styles: Goju Ryu, Kempo Karate Do, Chito Ryu, and Mugoi Gijutsu Karate Do, as Instructor, Teacher and Practitioner.
I will begin this autobiography starting with the time I spent at Fort Benning, GA the main people that are involved, Elvis Presley, Melvin Sauer, and Henry Slomanski, the world's greatest martial artist in the last 100 years. The style that Henry and Melvin taught was for laming and killing your opponent, it was the very best that the Army had to offer. This training starts with military personnel who qualify for an airborne status that means that it deals with all branches of the military. Let me name those who would have come in contact with Melvin Sauer, and Henry Slomanski, and eventually me.
We're talking about the Air Force Air Commandos, the Navy Seals with the Marines and the last, the Army's Airborne, Rangers and Special Forces . They are the very best in the world at everything they do including Guerrilla Warfare Tactics. All of the above are considered “Legs” Non-Airborne qualified until they receive their Silver Jump Wings. This is where they meet the very best at teaching how to kill a person in a matter of seconds. So these are the requirements, first of all you have to be accepted by one of Slomanski's Master Instructors. and you have to be willing to accept the Decorum and Custom and total respect for the ancient teachings of the martial arts.
The only person I know of who was an exception to the rules was Elvis Presley. The reason for Melvin and Henry to change the rules, it had to be an exceptional reason. In this case, it was one of Henry's students, he was practioner and historian by the name of Ed Parker and a specialist in the style of Kempo Karate Do. His reason for not testing Presley for a Black belt was he felt the world would question Elvis' ability to receive that high of rank from him. He didn't want the world to think it was a so called “give me” belt. Commericalism is coming into it's own and traditionalism is going down the tube for the mighty buck. Slomanski would not compromise his style of training.
Elvis had received a brown belt in a different style other then that which Melvin and Henry were teaching. By the way it's important that I explain both Melvin and Henry were my instructor and teacher. Elvis's training was going to take place at Fort Campbell Kentucky, this did in fact take place on the 1st of July 1960.And Elvis did in fact receive his first degree black belt. It was on Oct 17,1963 that he also received his second degree black belt. Both were give by Henry Slomanski with his seal. The connection with Elvis and me is the seal on our certificates from Commissioner Slomanski are IDENTICAL. No one else in the world can make this statement.
I am back at Fort Benning Georgia in 1964 and talking with Melvin Sauer. Let me stop for a second and explain why I and my very best friend Gervis Cherry are having this conversation with one of the greatest martial artist that ever lived, I have to use the terminology one of the greatest because Henry Slomanski was second to none. So back to our conversation with Melvin at Fort Benning ,Georgia. By the way did, I fail to mention that I was the Main Post instructor and Gervis was my assistant under Henry Slomanski. So the three of us are sitting there enjoying a cup of coffee, and out of the clear blue sky Melvin says, “by the way did either one of you know this guy by the name of Elvis Presley”? Gervis looks at me and I said something stupid like Elvis who? I listened to his Gospel music just about every night back at the barracks. So now were jumping back to what took place at Fort Campbell Kentucky in 1960, Henry tells Melvin I want you to train Elvis and get him ready for his black belt test. Melvin's reply was OK. Henry chose Melvin for this task as he knew there would be no partiallity shown.
As were sitting there with Melvin wolfing down hamburgers and drinking coffee, both Gervis and I noticed that his words are slightly distorted. Now Melvin only had like two beers, I believe it was Gervis who asked Melvin if he was feeling okay, there was no response. Melvin went inside for about 10 minutes he came back out with a wet towel wrapped around his neck like he just went 12 rounds, I believe that we both asked if he was okay. He then smiled and said something that caught me by surprise. Remember, I am a second-degree black belt and Gervis is my assistant with the rank of a first-degree. He says to Gervis what would you do if I took off my fourth degree black belt and handed it to you as my number one student. Gervis is like the coolest guy in the world and never says anything that's inappropriate. He looks at Melvin and says I would ask permission from you to give it to John. My head is spinning like a top and don't have the slightest idea of what's going on.
Melvin says that it's exactly what I expected you to say. Now Melvin was the one who trained and thought Elvis the decorum and custom necessary for him to receive his black belt. Henry Slomanski then does something which is totally unbelievable, he takes off his Kempo Karate Do pin one of only six that was ever given out by Chitose, he hands the pin to Elvis along with the one and only tri-color belt in the world and tells him to dye it black. Melvin looks directly at me and says well how would you feel? I delay for about five seconds and say I guess I would feel kind of betrayed. It Is funny how things stick in your head even fifty years ago but I can see it like it was yesterday. His answer was yup, let's enjoy another hamburger. One of the six pins that were given to Henry Slomanski by Chitose one was also given to Melvin.
Approximately 3 months after this conversation took place Melvin had two identical replicas of the Kempo Karate Do pin made for Gervis and me. When Melvin presented us both with our pins he said, someday you will fully understand what they mean. When I first started taking karate under Melvin Sauer in 1963 he bought me a gi, karate uniform and drew a GoJu Ryu fist on it. This was the only recognition of the style I was taking. I never saw a Chito ryu patch or a Kempo seal on any gi. while I was taking karate in the service. The only two great grandmasters that he mentioned was Yamaguchi and Chitose both held high-ranking office in the Goju Ryu Federation of Japan. This information is extremely important when dealing in the martial arts and the styles that I was taking under Melvin Sauer and Henry Slomanski.
Henry Slomanski received his certificates that was issued by the Emperor of Japan in 1956 for his accomplishments and defeating 126 of the very best martial artists in the world. I will go into more detail later but for the time being let me just explain what was on his certificate. It was signed an issued by four of the greatest grand master martial artists that the world has ever known. They were Gichin Funakoshi,Juhatsu Kyoda,Tsuyochi Chitose and Gogen Yamaguchi. There is a tremendous amount of information written on Henry Slomanski's certificate but this is the most important information in dealing in my accomplishments as the last surviving Master Instructor under Commissioner Henry Slomanski. It states that both Yamaguchi and Chitose held high ranking office in the same organization. The name of that organization was the Goju Ryu Federation of Japan so now you know that T Chitose was a grandmaster in the style of Goju Ruy. So the three gold fist examiner badges that were issued at the presentation for Henry's accomplishments, they were the replica of the Goju Ryu fist handed down by Chojun Miyagi, not to be confused with the Gojen Yamaguchi seal that was not even in existence at the time of this presentation by the Emperor.
This is a message for those individuals who are taking Chito Ryu today, under the great Grand Master T Chitose they must realize that he was also a great Grand Master in the style of Goju Ryu. It is truly a shame that you will never learn the true traditional teachings that he taught. He eliminated the Goju Ryu and created his commercialized version of Chito Ryu. So that the world can truly understand that when Elvis Presley received his first and second degree black belt under Henry Slomanski, it was truly in the teachings of Chitose but when he was utilizing the traditional styles of Goju Ryu as part of his historical teachings. Melvin and Henry learned in the traditional teachings and it was handed down to their students in the same manner. The world has to realize that when Henry Slomanski received the title of Commissioner, ninth degree, tri color belt in 1956, the style of Chito Ryu did not come into its own until the last part of 1957 or the beginning of 1958. This is when the Emperor told Chitose that he could create his own style, which he named Chito Ryu.
So before that time the highest ranking belt that could be awarded in that style of Chito Ryu was a third-degree black belt. This information is extremely important and must be documented in order for the world to truly understand the teachings and the styles that was taught by T Chitose. So now we will be speaking about two grand, Masters G Yamaguchi and T Chitose and the controlling factor that they both came under, that was the Emperor of Japan. Everything takes place in the year 1956. We are talking about two styles that were created by three great grandmasters in Okinawa. The first is K Higaonna He was born in 1853 and died in 1915 at the age of 62 his style was Naha-Te Shorie which equates to Goju Ryu. The foundation of Goju-Ryu was established by Kanryo Higaonna he was the sensei and vital part of Chojun Miyagi teachings. Both Higaonna and Miyagi were the main grandmasters that were involved in the training and the teachings of T Chitose and G Yamaguchi.
Now you know the connection between T Chitose and his teachings and training in the style of Goju Ryu and the grandmasters involved. Here is where you get the connection between T Chitose and the style he created Chito Ryu. You cannot delete his training and the masters who were involved including his high ranking position in the all Japanese Goju Ryu Karate Do Federation. To eliminate or try to alter in any way the original training and teachings of T Chitose would be a great injustice to those who trained in the traditional style that was taught to Melvin Sauer and Henry Slomanski. The new style of Chito Ryu which puts emphasis on commercialism rather than traditionalism is what is taught today. It diminishes the training that was taught to an extremely popular individual who the world will recognize and was willing to sacrifice in order to receive a first and second degree black belt under the name of Henry Slomanski, There was no compromise. his name should always be recorded in history and never be forgotten That individual's name is Elvis Presley.
I receive emails from all over the world trying to get me to commit to the fact that Elvis Presley's training was only in Chito Ryu by Henry Slomanski. My answer is always the same, do you know the difference between the so-called old style Chito Ryu and the new style which I classify as the commercial version of what they teach today. Some practitioners and historians such as James Davenport, who passed away recently, truly understood what I was trying to say. He also understood why they wanted to promote Elvis Presley as being an individual who received his belts in the new style Chito ryu. Because of Elvis Presley's great popularity even in the world today it's a hard pill to swallow when you are trying to promote a commercial product but the truth will always prevail and that's the end of this story. In the world today because of the high volume of people who are taking the new style Chito Ryu, they would like to associate that style with Elvis Presley.
Elvis's teachers and instructors were Melvin Sauer and Henry Slomanski. It was the traditional teachings of T Chitose before he commercialized his traditional teachings, before eliminating the heart, the brain and most of the bone structure, to come up with a commercial system of Chito Ryu. I will never understand how a Grand Master can sell his traditional values down the tube for the mighty buck . Now the second Grand Master who is involved in this style is C Miyagi. He was born in 1888 and died in 1953 at the age of 65. He names his style Goju Ryu and claims it as the inheritance from Higaonna. So technically it's still the Naha-Te Shorie created in Okinawa and deals with the Naha-Te or the Goju Ryu. I guess at this point if you say the Naha-Te or Goju Ryu basically mean the same.
Both were great grandmasters and teachers to both Yamaguchi and Chitose so now you understand the connection and the teachings of Goju Ryu to T Chitose. This is how Chitose held a high position in 1956 under the Goju Ryu Karate Do Federation of Japan along with G Yamaguchi. You can't change history you can only make sure that the information is correct and indisputable in nature. The third great Grand Master and probably the most popular in dealing in the martial arts, is recognized as the father of Sho Do Kan Karate, his name is G Funakoshi, born 1868 died in 1957 at the age of 89. He was born in Okinawa, his teachings and styles were called Shure-Te Shorin-Kempo and ShoDoKan Karate. All of the great grandmasters mentioned above where teachers and instructors to T Chitose. I will try to correct the misconceptions in the last 200 years in the martial arts.
Now you know the three great grandmasters and the styles that were taught to both Yamaguchi and Chitose. Let me put them down one more time so there's no misconceptions. First is the Naha-te Shorei-Goju Ryu.The Masters who were the teachers are Kanryo Higaonna and Chojun Miyagi. Their students were G Yamaguchi and T Chitose. This is the explanation of the history of the Goju Ryu style. Now we are dealing with the style of Shuri-Te Shorin Kempo Shodokan. The master who was the teacher was Gichin Funakoshi and the students of his teachings were G Yamaguchi and T Chitose. This shows the two styles that make up the new style of Chito Ryu are Goju Ryu and Kempo Karate Do. The thing is Chito Ryu was always a part of Goju Ryu and Kempo when it was taught in a traditional atmosphere later the traditional teachings were depleted and the new commercialized version was added. We are back at Fort Benning. GA and our conversation with Melvin.
We know Henry took the one and only tri color belt in the world and gave it to Elvis. To this day nobody has ever seen or traced down the tricolor belt in Graceland. They did locate Elvis's identification cards from Henry, but the one and only tri color belt in the world has never been found. I can't believe that Elvis would ever dye it black but because it is not at Graceland on Elvis's wall I guess we'll never know . You can see Henry is wearing the tri color belt in the photo in the Tennessean. To see it go to “Henry Slomanski the Third Meanest Man in the World”.
This autobiography explains my association with Elvis, Melvin and Henry. It is now the year 2016 and I will be referring back 50 years. There we stand, Gervis and me dumbfounded and wondering when Melvin is going to give us the punch line. He then says if you boys would like to meet Elvis, I am sure that I could arrange it through Henry. Let me try to explain why we gave Melvin the answer that we did. A tremendous opportunity gone by the wayside. First of all I became the Main Post instructor on the recommendation of Melvin Sauer and Henry Slomanski.
Melvin Sauer is leaving Fort Benning on a clandestine operation at Gulf Breeze Shore, FL to take care of a Cuban crisis, extremely confidential only about five people knew about it. Gervis and I were two of the five. Its important to remember in this time period President Kennedy was assassinated, it was also the beginning of the Vietnam War. Back at barracks there was a lot of controversy over the president's loyalty to the country or to the Pope and why he was assassinated. And if there was in fact an association with a clandestine operation that Melvin was on and the assassination of Kennedy. I guess we'll never know. Once I was given the title of Main Post instructor my head was so inflated that I could barely walk through a doorway. I'm like 22 years of age and a Main Post Instructor at Ft Benning, GA. Let me give you a little insight of what's happening at Benning at this time. My rank is a Specialist E4, I am a parachute rigger. I am part of the first Calvary Division made up of the 11th Air Assault Division, a large number of troops from the 82nd at Fort Bragg and also from the 101st at Fort Campbell Kentucky. Are you starting to get the connection ? All Airborne, we are a tremendously large air mobile unit and getting ready to go to Vietnam.
Fort Benning at this time is the number one training center for all airborne in United States. It is also the location for training Army Rangers and OCS candidates. If you'd like an insight on the first Calgary Air division pick up a DVD movie “We Were Soldiers” starring Mel Gibson. That was my division while in Vietnam. So I am 22 years of age with a rank equivalent to a corporal and Head Post Instructor in the martial arts under Jump Master Sgt. Melvin Sauer and Command Sgt. Maj. Henry Slomanski Adjutant General's Office, Ft Bragg, NC. Just for the record, he is the second highest ranking noncommissioned officer in the Army at this time. The number one ranking noncom is located in Washington DC with the title of E-10, Sgt. of the Army. My Company Commander is aware of what is taking place between Gervis and me and the direct orders coming from JAG Fort Bragg, NC, and orders directed to the First Sgt. in charge of the Main Post Gymnasium at Fort Benning ,GA.
So with no equivocation or mental reservation I take over the assignment given to me. Back to Melvin Sauer and his generous offer for both Gervis and me to meet Elvis Presley. We both explain that we were about to be deployed to Vietnam, but would love the opportunity if we make it back in one piece. Our company consists of about 45 parachute riggers. Although we were parachute riggers, once we hit the so called beach in Vietnam you went back to your primary MOS which was 111, Infantry. We have a formation outside the barracks which takes place about 35 days after speaking to Melvin Sauer. Our company commander explains anyone who has less than 90 days will receive an early out. Gervis had 85 days and he was taking them up on their offer. We were both offered tremendous opportunities if we decided to stay in the service, the offers came from Melvin and Henry. One thing came into play at this time, Gervis fell in love about three weeks before Melvin's offer to us, the chance to meet Elvis Presley. So we're both sitting at our favorite meeting spot, the little Chilly Barn at Fort Benning, and discussed what we're going to do in the future.
We drive down to Gulf Breeze Shore, FL to get a few certificates signed by Melvin for those students who were receiving individual color belts. A fourth degree master instructor is the only one who can award up to a ninth queue Brown belt. So when students were ready to receive their belt, all information was supplied to Melvin and a certificate was issued. On this occasion we explained our situation to Melvin. Gervis was getting an early out and I was being shipped out to Vietnam. I explained that I would stay in touch with Gervis and we would like to take him up on his offer to meet Elvis if I come back from Vietnam. What a mess, three grown men with tears in their eyes. Elvis passes away and Gervis comes to Couderport, PA and informs me that he is dying from terminal cancer. My wife and his wife meets for the first time, plus his two gorgeous children, a little boy and girl. we treat them to some quality time together at Niagara Falls, NY. That is the last time that I spoke to my very best friend that I ever had. I received a call from his wife that Gervis was no longer with us.
I sent my silver jump wings down to his son as he chose to go Airborne like his dad.
1965---27 DAYS OVER ON A TROOP CARRIER TO VIETNAM.
So the 1st Calvary Division is trucked from Fort Benning, GA to Savannah, GA We were placed on troop carriers, six in all and 27 days across to Vietnam. Once again, without getting a big head, the word slowly but surely spreads that I was the Main Post instructor dealing in guerrilla warfare training in the martial arts. Now there is 16,000 troops give or take going over to Vietnam. First to Qui Nhe and then flown into An Khe , the main base in Vietnam by Channook helicopters. I have two of my Martial arts students aboard the troop carrier, James Roe and Jim Morgan. Both are high ranking green belts getting ready to be tested for their brown. But with very little skill in extreme killing techniques. We are working out on the steel deck two and three times a day except on Sunday. After about five days I am approached by a Company Commander of an infantry company. He says, are you the Main Post karate instructor at Fort Benning? My response was, yes Sir. As Slomanski always knew where I was, I was sure this Commander had been contacted by Henry.
His request was,“ would you be willing to take the time to train some of my men in defensive tactics.” My answer was “I will do everything possible to teach them how to kill an enemy as quickly as possible.” Now I began a new adventure. I miss Gervis Cherry more than ever as we worked together like a precision clock. My new assistants are James Rowe and Jim Morgan. I am also training them in deadly moves that are only taught after you receive your Black belt. It was impossible for me to get permission from Melvin or Henry, but the word eventually got back to Henry at Ft. Bragg. So Morgan, Roe and I are working out in the morning, the troops are sitting around and appear to enjoy what is happening to both my assistants . Morning is advanced training and afternoon and evening is training the troops six days a week rain or shine. Sunday is spent hoping we all return safely. Let me take a second and explain some of the things that are taking place on the troop carrier. Being a specialist E-4 I am not given the luxury of having two to a room, you have to have the rank of buck Sgt. I am sleeping on a bunk which is stacked three high and you have to get out of it in order to turnover, pretty remarkable when you think in this time period I weigh 165 pounds. I never gave it much consideration at that time considering the fact that most airborne troops were in excellent shape. It was just about impossible to receive your jump wings if you had more than 10 % body fat.
I bring this up because it has a lot to do with the type of training the troops are about to receive in four weeks. There were some so-called old-timers who were out of shape but today I can understand why they were given two to a room. Although they may have been a little out of shape, they had tremendous knowledge, since a lot of them had been involved in the Korean War. I was extremely fortunate not to get sea sick. 27 days with the bow of the ship fifty percent of time underwater. A little insight on what goes on while being on a troop carrier. When you take your shower and in my case, sometimes three times a day from working out, you have about 1 inch of puke on the floor. When you went to the mess hall they had long tables guesstimate about 30 feet long. Oh boy, hot meals three times a day sounds great, right, except for a few conditions every time the ship went under water or swayed to left or right, puke would come rolling down the table, from those who were seasick you spent more time picking up your coffee cup and your plate than you did eating the food on the table.
Nobody really knew what was going to happen once we hit the so-called beach of Vietnam. So thank God, there was a sense of humor and laughter on the ship. I am sure there are thousands upon thousands of stories that could be told by individuals who were associated with the First Cav Division, it was one of the largest and most decorated divisions this country has ever seen. I will not go into what took place in Vietnam I consider it extremely personal. There have been a few occasions where I have explained some situations to my wife Judy, who is the most important person in my life, but have been very selective not to burden her down with what is classified as traumatic experience. I am a 100% combat disabled veteran. I discuss some things that took place in Vietnam with other Vietnam veterans. And of course my psychiatrists and veteran doctors. Sorry Pat these things are strictly confidential. PAT Is a name that we in a military outfit came up with for nosy bodies.
I would like to tell a little story that happened about seven years ago. I am living in Potter County, PA. I am sitting in a little coffee shop called Mickey's, as I was sitting there a gentleman for two days in a row, was gawking at my wife and me. I was becoming a little bit disturbed and talked it over with my wife Judy, she said, maybe he has a slight mental problem. We laughed, but I felt it was not a funny situation. By using a little discretion and not saying, “what in the hell are you looking at?” I have a method of getting my point across without saying a word. It goes back to my martial arts training, tightening of the throat and locking the upper and lower lips. Melvyn Sauer used to say if you come across this situation it is probably better to sit down and talk it over. If you go to the Third Meanest Man in the World, you can see Henry Slomanski doing his breathing exercise which most martial artists call Ki or internal power. Pretty neat picture and more or less tells the story of how you can receive full power blows or kicks to vital parts of the human body. There are exceptions to the highest-ranking belts in the world and as a martial artist you must keep this in mind. They are the highest ranging belts in the world with the names like Smith & Wesson and Colt. This is just for those who feel they are infallible.
Back to Mickey's restaurant,this individual's name was Fordyce Reese, so I looked at Fordyce and tightened up my neck and what he said to me next was totally unexpected. Fordyce said, was you with the First Calvary division in 1965? I said, yes. He said, I knew it when you did that thing to your throat. He then said, I was with the First Calvary, I retired as at Staff Sgt. and was on the same troop carrier as you. He then gave me one of the greatest compliments I ever received. He said, you are one of the main reasons my troops came back safely. Fordyce was also a combat disabled veteran. We spoke about many things that took place in Vietnam. His wife and my wife became very good friends. Unfortunately Fordyce Reese died November 9, 2011, I still take time to speak to his children and grandchildren and tell them what a great patriotic war hero their father and grandfather was. I am discharged in 1965, I am living in a little blue collar town called Gloucester City, NJ where the families work two jobs in order to make ends meet.
At this time I had constant contact with Melvin Sauer. It is important to note that he is my master instructor even though I have a second degree black belt under Henry Slomanski, I explained to Melvin that I was going to open a small dojo and teach what was taught to me in the martial arts. Once again it's important that you follow proper decorum and custom, part of that is a proper chain of command, you would never go past Melvin to talk to Henry. I would have never requested me opening a karate school as a second- degree black belt if it wasn't for the fact that I was post instructor at Fort Benning. I truly always felt that Henry knew what I was doing when on a troop carrier to Vietnam. There were very few things that he did not know about, having a direct connection to Gen. Westmoreland.
Before opening my first dojo, The School of Self Defense, I put on a demonstration at Gloucester City High School. That's where I met Ken MacAdams. He was my “volunteer” and he was taking lessons at another Karate School. This is the first time that anyone in the area had ever seen “ki” internal power and capabilities to absorb full power punches and chops to the vital parts of the body. This style is called Goju Ryu which incorporates the internal power called “ki” and breathing exercise. After a few parries, Ken said to me, “You have to teach me this”.
Ken became one of my first students and my first instructor. He along with Bob Hill (deceased) and Jimmy Mulligan (deceased) were instrumental in teaching another of my students, Frank DeFelice the internal power, “ki” of Goju Ryu Karate which is incorporated in our style Mygoi Gijutsu Karate Do. Frank was tested by me for his belts which included the teachings of Decorn and Custom. He moved to California where he demonstrated his skills and now is a Guiness World Book of Records holder in absorbing full power blows to the different parts of the body. All of his instructors were able to absorb the same full power punches. An interesting fact is, that all of these men graduated from Gloucester City High School, Gloucester City, NJ.
If you want to see this style shown go on this site, to The Third Meanest Man in the World, showing Henry Slomanski in a full breathing exercise. This style is over 2600 years old and still practiced in Okinawa and other countries all over the world. It is a “behind closed doors” teaching style. There are so many exceptional and highly trained individuals in the martial arts training “behind closed doors” that could accomplish the same feats and more, but do not seek any individual recognition.
Melvin supplies me with all the information to contact Henry including his personal phone number. After making contact with Henry the first thing he says is, “I am glad you made it back from Vietnam.” We spoke for about an half an hour. He informs me to send him a letter explaining what my intentions are. In a letter to Henry I explained I want to teach the way I was taught by him and Melvin,I have no intentions of commercializing or changing the way it was taught to me, I only want to cover my overhead and pay for the necessary insurance. About two weeks go by, I receive a large folder with a fourth degree master instructors license. explaining what Henry said “I have seen you work out, I have no problem making you one of my master instructors. He explains that I can award up to a ninth queue Brown belt, anything above that will have to be tested by me, either I will come to you or you can come down here to me. At this point I would like to clarify if in fact there is a difference between teaching and training if you are going before Henry Slomanski to be tested for a black belt. First of all, no matter how much teaching and training you do with a student studying the martial arts it is one of the same. Now in the case of sending a student to be tested and trained under Henry Slomanski. I will try to explain that there is no difference. I will use Gervis and me as the example. Melvin took both of us up to a brown belt by training us and teaching us different techniques and all the history dealing in the martial arts. No matter how great of an instructor and a teacher that Melvin was when you went before Henry Slomanski nothing was 100% right because Henry had his own technique and the way it is different from Melvin's teachings.
Let me give you an example, you would go into your internal power or ki, breathing exercise, Melvin would say when you punch to the Solar Plexus use a completely closed fist ,keep the wrist completely straight and lock the arm. Melvin believed in covering a wide area and collapsing anything behind it. Henry on the other hand believed in using the two fingers next to the thumb and making them protrude out with the thumb locked behind them, shattering the breastbone. So much for the breathing exercise. that is called teaching and training from the very best in the martial arts.He would explain why the grandmasters use that technique, that is considered teaching. He would also explain why you punch the way you do and the damage that this technique does to your opponent, that is called training. Now I just broke the rules of the last surviving master instructor under Melvin Sauer and Commissioner Henry Slomanski both are gone from this earth as we know it, if there is a life after death they both will probably kick my ass for giving away a trade secret that should only be given to black belts. So now you know if someone has a blue, green or brown belt they were not trained or tested by Henry Slomanski. Those who received one of the above mentioned belts should never associate it with the teaching and training of Henry Slomanski.
Indisputable proof is a certificate for first-degree, second and third and of course, the master instructo licensed fourth degree belt all have to have his seal and signature on the certificate. Otherwise tell them they have their head up their ass, end of story. You got it from the last surviving Fourth Degree Shi-han master instructor under Henry Slomanski. I am the only one in the world who can award a legitimate karate belt under the name of Henry Slomanski. That would include all of the above karate belts. In 1958 Grand Master T Chitose was given permission by the Emperor of Japan to start his own style of Chito Ryu. I will try to tell you how this blends in with the teachings of Melvin Sauer and Henry Slomanski. Now T Chitose has unlimited authority to award up to a ninth degree black belt, and upon his death can leave the title of soke and a 10th degree red belt, to his son or daughter or any person of his liking. He and the Emperor of Japan has changed ancient history and the decorum and custom going back thousands of years. Commercialism is alive and thriving, traditionalism is a memory of what used to be. There are very few schools who still teach the old traditional styles.
You may find some teachings in Okinawa where the true traditional styles were created. Practitioners and historians will constantly confuse the history in order to promote commercialism. You may ask the question why would they do such a thing. The answer is for the mighty buck. All values that you should have been taught in the dealings of the martial arts are down the tube. The year is 1960, we were talking about Commissioner Henry Slomanski and how these three events changes Henry Slomanski's lifestyle. The first event took place in April 1960, it is an article in the Nashville Tennessean magazine, it is a story told by Henry Slomanski and what took place in Japan in 1956 when he won at the lame and kill matches by defeating 126 of the very best martial artists in the world. The second event, T Chitose calls Henry to Kyushu, Japan and awards him a 6 th degree karate belt in the new style Chito Ryu. This is the second ranking belt in the world under T Chitose. In the spring of 1966, I received a call from Melvin Sauer stating that Henry Slomanski was expanding the authority of his fourth degree Master instructors. They were able to award up to and including a second-degree black belt in Chito Ryu, and in my case all my paperwork went to Henry through Melvin.
All this came about due to the change in the Chito Ryu organization when the Emperor gave permission to Chitose to start his own style. Chitose immediately made Henry a 6th degree expanding his authority and making him the second-highest ranking belt in the Chito ryu Organization. Wallace Ruemann was Henry's first fourth degree master instructor to be promoted to a fifth degree under these new rules in the system. This belt was given to Wallace Ruemann by Henry Slomanski and later sanctioned by Chitose. Last and probably the most recognized by the public takes place in July 21, 1960, this is when Henry Slomanski awards Elvis Presley's his first degree black belt. I will take each one in order and try to explain either by referring to a website or giving indisputable documented history and true facts. So in April 1960, Henry Slomanski decides to tell the world what took place in 1956. He does it by giving a personal two day article to Nashville Tennessean Magazine. At this time, I would prefer that you go to the page: Third Meanest Man in the World, Commissioner Henry Slomanski. This is the spoken word from Henry to a newspaper reporter over a two day event. It is important to note that no practitioner or historian dealing in the martial arts as ever questioned Henry Slomanski's integrity.
If you read the above paragraph you can understand why T Chitose called Henry Slomanski to Japan. It is more or less self-explanatory, Henry Slomanski will take over the organization when Chitose dies. There is nothing that he can give Henry that he doesn't already have. The Emperor of Japan along with the grandmasters who were affiliated with Henry's contract in 1956 knows that Commissioner Henry Slomanski in what is considered a short period of time will control all of the historical traditional decorum and custom going back thousands of years. It will soon come under the complete control of an American Caucasian, highly decorated war hero, Doctorate degree in Canon Law, second-highest noncommissioned officer at Fort Bragg, NC under JAG, Judge Adjutant General's office, direct communications to Washington DC and a carrier of messages to Gen. Westmoreland in Vietnam, who also was the personal bodyguard of Gen. MacArthur. There is a tremendous betrayal going on in Japan, controlled by the Emperor. Keep in mind that in this time everything comes under his control. He has final say in dealing with all Grand Master martial artists in Japan at this time and place in history.
Everything was always built on traditional values going back to Eastern Asia, China, Okinawa, or Japan. So the Emperor has three things on his mind. The first thing is to diminish the story and make it look like it never happened when talking about Henry Slomanski's contract. The second thing is to destroy traditionalism and history going back thousands of years to make it look like it was never there. The Emperor cannot do this without the help of the Grand Masters who are recognized the world over and their names are signed and sealed on one of Henry certificates. The Emperor has to have two masters who are affiliated and involved in Henry Slomanski's contract. Always keep in mind that nothing in Japan is approved without the Emperor signature. The two who were majorly involved in Henry's training was Gojen Yamaguchi and Tsuyochi Chitose. How convenient if I allow both to create their own style then Henry Slomanski's authority is basically worthless. Henry Slomanski, Gojen Yamaguchi and Tsuyochi Chitose can only award up to a fourth degree Masters instructors license. That's the contract that Henry had in 1956. Once a master is granted permission to create his own style his authority is unlimited. He can award up to a ninth degree black belt and bestow his belt to whoever he decides.
So try to comprehend what I'm trying to say. Both masters die, Henry Slomanski becomes the number one ranking belt in the world under the contract and rules that were set up by the Emperor. Now this is where it becomes difficult to understand, Henry holds the title of red belt of the 10th degree and to evaluate the authority he had on the day he died in 2000. He was Commissioner of the United States and surrounding territories, he was the number one Highest ranking belt in the world under the two great grandmasters. All three could only award up to a fourth degree master instructors license, so it equates that all had the same authority and none could award a higher belt than the others. Henry takes all authority with him to his grave. All three Yamaguchi, Chitose and Slomanski,the way the contract was written upon each one's death you could not hand down the title or belt in a father to son relationship, You must keep in mind the way the original contract was written. We will start with Chitose he cannot leave his son his belt or his title, however, you cannot take away the style of the teachings that was given to him. We're talking about his teachings that were taught to his students, the same goes for Yamaguchi and Henry Slomanski. Once again in the case of Henry Slomanski, the last surviving master instructor can not inherit his belt or his title of Commissioner because it was given in a contract for his accomplishments at the matches in 1956.
The only way you can receive his belt and his title is to participate in the matches in Japan which were gone forever in 1957. Although Henry Slomanski gave his tri color belt to Elvis Presley and told him to dye it black, he was indicating that you can't wear it because of the way it was given. However, you can hang it on your wall, and explain that it was given to you for your accomplishments and receiving a black belt. HOWEVER, The Last Surviving Master Instructor can inherit his style of teaching and nobody else in the world can make that statement. In the last part of 1963 or the beginning of 1964, while I was working out with my good friend Gervis Cherry, 1 through 30 moves, called Hen shu ho that is in the book Kempo Karate -do Universal Art of Self-Defense by Chitose. He choreographs one through 28 moves, we work 1 through 30. All moves are done from a right-hand stance.
While Gervis and I was working out in Fort Benning, GA I decided to develop my own style, not only a right hand stance, 1 through 30 but also a left-hand stance because all offensive and defense moves are not always received and delivered from a right-hand stance. When I became a fourth degree master instructor in 1965 I made sure that all my brown belts knew moves from both the right and left hand stances. By the way, that is called developing your own style. I always taught and included in their belts the exact style that was taught to me. I modified the moves depending on the individual size and weight, also the age of the person. Open hand technique versus close hand techniques. About a year ago I promoted the first young lady ever to receive a senior black belt under the styles that were taught to me by Melvin and Henry. Her name is Daneen Whinna. Her father, Lester Whinna is the second ranking belt in our organization and had hands-off in the testing of his daughter for her first degree black belt. Daneen takes full power punches and kicks to the solar plexus and the throat area. They are always delivered by a black belt in this style when testing an individual for their black belt. The testing must be performed in my presence ,and it was, as she is the only young lady in the world to receive her Black belt under these teachings, that were taught to me by Henry Slomanski.
In the near future we will show a DVD of her capabilities.Daneen is a specialist in dealing in open hand techniques. She can drive her thumb through a cantaloupe with the snap of her wrist. This technique is also used for the eye socket. She can do the same with her big toe, she prefers that instead of the balls of her feet. This technique is used for the underarm and the testicles. Her training is to lame and kill, when it comes to protecting those who cannot protect themselves, protection of a loved one and self protection when all other means have been exhausted. Although she is lethal in the martial arts, her training in the medical field shows her as a capable and compassionate caretaker and practitioner. So from a lethal killing machine she has the capabilities of putting that off to the side and work with children with difficulties. She was given permission to train a young child up to a junior grade blue belt.Daneen paid for all expenses incurred for the little girl A presentation of her receiving her junior grade blue belt and a small trophy was done in front of family and friends.
From a gentle lamb to a killing machine, remarkable, Melvin and Henry would have
been proud of her accomplishments. Someday who knows, Daneen may be the first woman to become a soke in this organization. I can guarantee you that she will abide by the traditional teachings. It has been more than 50 years since I began my journey in the martial arts and many things have happened. When I opened my first dojo, I met my wife, Judy, who became a 1st degree black belt and worked with me over the years with the many changes we have had.
Other people who are still involved with me are: Lester Whinna, 8th degree Black Belt who will take over the day to day running of our organization; Ken MacAdams, 3rd degree Black Belt who works directly with Lesster and second in succession and Daneen Whinna, a 2nd degree Black Belt and is also in line for the running of the organization after my death. There are two other remaining Black Belts still involved after all these years: Wayne Hires and Bill Whinna.
My wife Judy would become President//CEO of our organization after my death, regarding anything involving my name.
I will end this like I do anything that is part of the Internet or any of my letters or writings, will always end with “ Never a penney profit made, Traditionalism always before Commercialism.
John B Burkhardt, Soke