Kaicho Gregory Howard
International Director: International Kokondo Association
9th dan (kudan)
Kaicho Gregory Howard began his martial arts training as a child at the honbu dojo (world headquarters) of the International Kokondo Association (IKA) under its’ founder, Shihan Paul Arel (10th dan -rank retired). Today, Kaicho Howard is the world’s leading authority on the authentic martial arts system of Kokondo. In late 2008, he was appointed as successor by Shihan Paul Arel, his Sensei for over 37 years. As the International Director, he is responsible for leading the IKA worldwide as well as maintaining the authenticity of the Kokondo arts. Kaicho Howard was promoted directly by Shihan Paul Arel to the rank of 7th dan in both Jukido Jujitsu & Kokondo Karate. In 2013 the Board of Masters & Directors of the International Kokondo Association unanimously awarded him the rank of kyudan after 41 years of non-stop study – the highest rank ever awarded to a living Kokondo-ka (aside from the founder). He is currently the highest-ranking black belt in Kokondo.
The long martial arts history of Kaicho Howard began in 1972. The late Shihan Arel stated that Kaicho Howard as a child was a quiet but enormously dedicated student who desired to learn everything he could about Kokondo. Kaicho Howard’s passion for applying the powerful arts of jujitsu and karate for realistic self-defense has lead to a lifetime of study. He started in the art of Jukido. As Kaicho Howard’s skill grew, so did his confidence. This once quiet young boy is now an intelligent, gifted communicator and martial artist.
Since Greg Howard became a nidan, at age 19, he has been the standard of Jukido jujitsu – being second in rank only to Shihan Arel. Before the passing of the founder, Kaicho Howard served as a top representative of Shihan Arel in a number of capacities. In addition to being the favorite uke (training partner) of the founder, he served in the past as the National Jukido Director and the International Associate Director of the IKA.
As Kaicho (leader), Master Howard serves Kokondo as the Chief Instructor of the Honbu (World HQ) dojo – leading regular instruction and the instruction of the Kokondo Yudanshakai (black belt association). In this capacity Kaicho, succeeds Shihan Arel, as teacher of the elite group of Kokondo black belts, including all senior sensei of the IKA. Kaicho Howard travels to teach and expand the Kokondo arts at both the national and international level.
As a martial artist Kaicho’s techniques are well known and difficult to forget. His encyclopedic knowledge of how to maximize the potential power of the human body is matched only by his knowledge of how to systemically control and fundamentally destroy that very same potential. Kaicho Howard is without question a master of the maxim Seiryoku Zen’yo (optimal use of energy). Although his skill level is extraordinary and well balanced among all the branches of techniques within Kokondo, Kaicho Howard is well known for his technical proficiency in nage-waza, taiho-jutsu (arresting techniques, including atemi-waza or pressure points), and his accuracy in karate-jutsu techniques and kata.
Kaicho Howard once said that martial artists approach mastery when they use their own body’s responses and trained reactions, almost as a living reference book, to teach themselves and others. Although he wasn’t referring to himself, the definition holds especially true in his case. The founder instilled in Kaicho Howard the uniqueness of Kokondo. His training included the entire curriculum of Jukido Jujitsu along with old style jujitsu drawn from classical systems (specifically authentic sanzyuryu jujitsu). Kaicho Howard’s Kokondo Karate experience encompasses all the Kokondo Kata as well as bunkai (applications) and himitsu (hidden) techniques within them.
As a teacher he is unique in that he can infuse and balance the traditional discipline required in the dojo while at the same time being able to provide a humorous tone as necessary. Humor is a teaching tool. It’s often said that confident teachers poke fun at themselves to illustrate a point. Kaicho is a teacher with the highest level of authority and skill, but with the humility to answer a question even long after class has ended and almost everyone has left the dojo. His “hotel lobby” and “parking lot” lessons are often as memorable and beneficial as his instruction in the dojo. Howard sensei is a truly masterful teacher – a teacher’s teacher.
Lasted Edited: August 1, 2014 (original Feb 2009)
Authored by Sensei George M. Rego, 4th dan
Contributions by Master James Scanlon, 5th dan (retired)
In honor of Kaicho Howard’s commitment to IKA