The History of
Traditional KIHON Karate
The story of KIHON Karate begins with Kancho Lloyd D. Russette, a 10th degree black belt and founder of KIHON. In the late 1950s, Kancho began training in sunny California, USA studying traditional Japanese Karate. Later, he returned to his home in Detroit, Michigan and began training under the guidance of of Sensei Doug Noxon, a 4th degree black belt in Kodokan Judo and Okinawan Isshinryu Karate. Condoning a "rough-and-tumble" style of training, students were always encouraged to make heavy contact to the body. It was in this environment that Kancho Russette earned an 8th degree black belt. Meanwhile, Kancho developed his own physically tough style of karate training that would soon become his trademark. The Isshinryu system was very popular at the time due to its ease of teaching and elemental appeal. As years passed, it would be these very reasons that caused Kanco Russette's interest in Isshinryu to sour. His years of experience revealed a crippling lack of combat effectiveness to this traditional style; it was the simplicity of the system that exposed its inadequacies.
Kancho began traveling the world, trading ideas with other high-ranking instructors who revealed to him the methods used to read techniques and interpret their complex movements. These mentors provided information on advanced principles and their application to Kata (symbolic patterns of movement), Kumite (sparring) and fighting Basics. Incorporating this knowledge with his own experience, Kancho Russette developed techniques that consistently allowed David to defeat Goliath. He named this new system KIHON Full-Contact Karate.
Kancho personally chose two individuals that would not succumb to the allures of political rank or commercialism to influence their decisions. Men of integrity dedicated to the development of the art of KIHON Karate. Shihans John Gimpert, a 6th degree black belt from Chicago, Illinois and Dan Charlebois, a 6th degree black belt from Windsor, Ontario were these men. Together with Kancho Russette they formed the inner circle of KIHON and received intensive training in all aspects of authentic Okinawan Karate.
In KIHON FC (Full-Contact), 90% of all training is done with a partner. This allows the student to develop proper body alignment and weight distribution to maximize power when striking a human target. The extensive use of shileds and pads is implemented to practice full power techniques while ensuring the safety and longevity of practitioners. The techniques of KIHON, when performed to their fullest, include punches and kicks, elbow and knee strikes, shimewaza (chokes), and kansetsuwaza (joint locks) to incapacitate an opponent.
This is KIHON Full-Contact Karate; a system born of tradition and continually evolved to achieve ever-expanding levels of efficiency.
In the woods of Northern Michigan, Shihan John "Libo" Libiszewski operates a remote chapter school of the KIHON Karate organization. Visit their website to learn more about Shihan John and his school HERE.