Tag Archives: norman rha

Bob Babich, Mas Oyama, and the Kang Duk Won

Behind the Scenes at the Kang Duk Won

This post concerning Mas Oyama, Don Buck, and other early pioneers in American Karate, was actually written by Master Instructor BJ. I didn’t know some of this, and there is no way I can compete with the original words presented here. I suggest you do a little googling of the names involved to pad out what you’re about to read. It is well worth it. The original post appeared on KangDukWon.com.

The Story of the Kang Duk Won in America

Sifu Al, you probably know this already but when teenage Don Buck started training with Duke Moore in 1946 fresh out of the US Navy where Don was the US Navy Pacific Fleet 137lb Champion and also wrestled and studied Combat Judo & Defendu.

duke moore, don buck,mas oyama, kang duk won,karate,kenpo

From the Hawaiian Karate Museum, John D. Pell collection. John Pell, Don Buck, Mas Oyama, Gosei Yamaguchi.

By the Mid-50s Don Buck was a Body Building champion and San Francisco Cop in addition to being a black belt in Moore’s Judo & JJ.   Buck & Moore started studying Shorinji Ryu Karate with one of Duke’s teachers, Richard Kim.  One of Kim’s Korean student’s came to the US to work as a Pro Wrestler.  Of course I’m talking about Mas Oyama.

BTW, Mas Oyama’s Karate and Masahiko- Gracie JJ Defeater- Kimura Judo workout partners in the Early 1950’s were Tak Kubota and Taiji Kase!  In fact the gnarled hand on one of Mas Oyama’s early books- ghost written by Don Draeger- was actually Kubota’s.

After WWII Kimura worked as a Pro Wrestler in Europe and N&S America.  He hooked Mas Oyama up with some wrestling promoters here in the US and Mexico so Oyama could make some money.

Mas Oyama set his US base up in San Francisco where he could continue his training with his Sensei Richard Kim.  While not wrestling Oyama lived with Kim’s JJ student Duke Moore and taught/worked out with Duke Moore and Don Buck everyday he was in San Francisco for 4-6 hour workouts.

After a little over a year Mas went back to Japan and promoted both Duke Moore and Don Buck to their Shodan ranks.  Buck opened his own Dojo in 1957 where he only taught Kyokushin Karate making his Dojo the first Oyama Style Karate Dojo to open in the US.  ***Please note that Bobby Lowe has the distinction of opening the first Kyokushin dojo OUTSIDE of Japan.***

mas oyama,norman rha,kang duk won karate

Mas Oyama showing impeccable breaking technique.

When Don Buck opened his Dojo doors in 1957 one of his first students, and Black Belts, was one Robert Babich. A year of two later Richard Kim had a skinny Korean Black belt fresh off the boat from Korea show up at his San Francisco Dojo.  As Kim was about to leave for Japan so he sent the young Korean to his student’s, Duke Moore, Budokan dojo where Moore promptly sent the Korean to Don Buck.

The young Korean didn’t speak much English but Don Buck told him to go change into his Dogi.  When the Korean returned Buck noticed a patch with a fist on the Korean’s uniform.  Don Buck asked what the patch said and young Korean replied something like, “Kang Duk Won Kwon Bup Kong Soo Do.”

After sparring and defeating Buck’s students he squared off with Buck himself.  Buck knocked the Korean down a few times but the Korean kept getting up and he finally knocked the much bigger and stronger Buck across the dojo floor and down.  Buck got back up smiling and told the Korean, “Your hired! What is your name?”  The young Kang Duk Won fighter said, “Norman Rha” and bowed slightly to Buck!

Buck was opening a couple of new Dojo locations and he hired Rha (Rha Jong-nam) and assigned Robert Babich to assist Rha with running the new Dojo.

However, the soft whip-like Tong Bei style punching and much deeper Chaun Fa stances of Rha’s Kang Duk Won Kong Soo Do were so much different than Oyama’s power punching that sometime after Babich earned his Shodan from Don Buck it was decided that Babich should open just his own dojo with Rha so as not to create differences of style with the Kyokushin students.  So they left Don Buck’s American Kyokushin Dojo’s to open their own KDW school.

As Rha was a poor Medical School student he and Babich shared an apartment with the agreement that Rha would teach Babich KDW in return for help learning English.  It should be noted that anytime in the 60’s and early 70’s Babich promoted students to Black Belt the Tracy Brother’s would try to hire the new KDW black belts to run one of their Tracy Brother’s Chinese Kenpo Schools.

The Tracy’s only hired the BEST fighters, both as teachers and Association School Coaches (Joe Lewis & Al Dacascos for example),  as school challenges were common and they didn’t want to loose their schools students, $$$, to another challenging school.  Babich’s KDW academy in San Jose, CA had a reputation of turning out some of the toughest fighters on the West Coast.

It is interesting to note, at least for me,  that Babich didn’t include Sanchin or Tensho in his Kwon Bop Karate that he taught in the 1970’s and 80’s until he closed down his San Jose Dojo.  Why I don’t know???

Note:

Thanks, BJ, for this wonderful bit of writing.

The reason Bob didn’t include Sanchin and Tensho, in my opinion, is that there are two styles of Karate, one fixed and one fluid, or Shorin and Shorei. Bob was not a large man, he was thin and whiplike, and the heavier sanchin style stances didn’t suit him, perhaps even worked against the fluid motions he was developing through the Kang Duk Won.

If you want to find out what the truth behind the Kang Duk Won, check out the first Karate form and applications, and the bonus material on historical uses of Karate.

This has been a page about Don Buck, Mas Oyama, and the early beginnings of the Kang Duk Won Karate.

Best Online Karate Lessons on the Planet!

Here’s a Course on Original Karate!

Oinkey Donkey
slop the hogs and shave the chicken,
I have something GRR-REAT for you!
I set up a website specifically for taking a person through Karate.

best karate lessonsNow,
if you have Temple Karate
or the Kang Duk Won (from Evolution of an Art)
Then you have the working pieces of this site.

I simply took Temple and Kang Duk Won,
broke them down into lesson format,
added check lists
articles,
and included various other items.
So,
buyer beware,
I don’t want to get caught out
accused of just ‘re-packaging.
So I am telling you now,
it is repackaging.

You might want to get it anyway,
because it is in lesson format.

Now,
you go through the belt levels
one belt at a time.
First belt only costs…
$2!

Then you add a dollar for each level.
You download the check list,
you read the material and watch the videos,
and you work out.

Now,
this thing is complete with original drills and exercises.
In fact,
you get some pretty AWESOME bonuses!
As you go through the course
each belt level will have a bonus.
For instance,
the Imperial Karate form applications are on each of the first three levels.
Other BONUSES include…
The Punch (with Kick and Candle)
The Master’s Handbook
Amazing Fighting Drills
The Kang Duk Won

And,
at the end of the course,
free test for Black Belt!

Now,
there are all sorts of other little things,
so you should just check out the site,
see what’s what.

And,
let me tell you,
this price is ONLY going to be for a while.

I am just taking a short time to check all links,
make sure all paypal buttons work,
tweak the text and whatever,
get some feedback and wins,
and then the price goes up.
I don’t know if I’ll go to two bucks every level, or five,
or some other scheme.
But it will go up to about $120 for the whole thing,
which is what the course and all the BONUSES add up to.

And,
as stated,
the course is Kang Duk Won.
This is the original Pre-Funakoshi,
not slanted for tournaments,
not slanted for commercial dojos (McDojos)
not arranged for school children,
Karate!

Do it the way I list on the check lists,
follow all directions,
and you will be visiting Kang Duk Won Karate
the way it was taught to me almost fifty years ago,
just a couple of teachers removed from the original Karate
that existed before Funakoshi.

So,
that is the big announcement.
Head on over and check it out,
and remember,
when the prices go up,
they go up for everything,
no matter where you are on the course,
so…
don’t waste time.
Dedicate yourself.
Take advantage of…
The Best Online Karate Course in the World!

Here’s the URL…

http://kangdukwon.com/introduction/

So I’ll tell you more about this later,
but,
right now,
I have to get to work and get this site on the map.

So,
have a great work out!
And I’ll see you over there.

Al

Man Knocks Himself Out with a Flying Side Kick!

This actually happened to my instructor, which is quite interesting because he was the best martial artist I have ever seen.

This was back in the late sixties, early seventies, and kicks were all the rage.

Truth, kicks were a new invention. Taekwondo was a word that people heard, and front, side and wheel kicks were the basic bread and butter of lower level martial arts.

Then Chuck Norris came along, people started discovering the taekwondo flying kicks, and, zingo bingo, Evolution of an Art.

Now, my instructor was actually trying to do a jumping, spinning kick. We barely had jumping kicks, and spinning kicks were just raising their ugly heads, and he was just putting it together.

So he jumped up, spun, extended the leg and…hit his head on a branch. That’s right, he chose to do the kick under a low flying tree, and he knocked himself out.

He was just getting up when one of the students found him, dazed, rubbing his head, and wondering what had happened.

Well, it happens to the best of us, and we all chuckled. What the heck, if the tree has your number…

Check out MonsterMartialArts.com. Got some new methods, and some old arts. And knock yourself out. Heh.