Born Jackie Albert Stern, affectionately known as "Papasan," he started his Martial Arts career in 1947 while in the US Military in Chinhae, Korea, in Korean Yudo under Sensei Tae Ju Chung who was killed during the Korean conflict. After one year, Stern's unit was moved to Northern Luzon in the Philippines where he trained under Berabe Paragas in “Stick Fighting” for 2 years. Then he was transferred again, this time to Okinawa and Japan where he trained under O'Sensei Yamaguchi Gogen in Goju Ryu Karate for 8 months. In Japan, he also trained at the Kodokan under Mifune Kyuzo and earned his black belt in Judo, as well as trained in Kyokushinkai Karate under Grandmaster Mas Oyama at the main Hombu in Tokyo. In 1956, he was discharged from the military and stayed in Japan, living with the Otani Family while continuing his studies in the arts. In 1958 he returned to the states due to his mother being sick.
From his Paja Dojo, Stern started the Korean Yudo Association in the late 1960s, and started gathering members into a brotherhood of martial artists. It wasn't long before he also started getting inquiries from Hapkido practitioners, so he added Hakido to name of the organization and it became the Korean Yudo & Hapkido Association. However, after a few years there was a conflict with another Organization and he revised the name once more to what we now know as the World Organization of Mixed Martial Arts (WOMA). The oldest records I have from the original organization date to 1971.
- Martial Arts as a whole
- Korean Martial Arts (was the seed that started it all)
- Japanese Martial Arts (The true foundation of Kojido Jitsu)
- WOMA (World Organization of Mixed Martial Arts)
- And his Wife and Family
I think he wanted to pay his respects to them all, and he did so the only way he knew how. At the time, the Japanese systems were so close-minded and prejudiced against what Stern called "round eyes" that it was hard to get your foot through the door. The Korean arts were simply easier to register with, but that’s just my opinion. Grandmaster Stern was called many things over the years and he made a lot of mistakes at his own admission. The last thing of substance I can remember him telling me before he passed is this. "Don’t be like me. You have to be better than I was. Do what you do and do it well, and you don’t have to pat yourself on the back Others will do it for you."
Now Jack Stern, Papasan, Jackie, Mr. Stern or whatever you choose to call him has been called many things over the years, some not great, and he himself knew it. But if everyone could've seen what I have, and had the information that I have in my possession, even his critics couldn’t call him fake. He would be the first to tell you he did a lot of things wrong. But when it came to martial arts, he died giving back to his martial arts family.
My Sensei and Friend, you are gone but will never be forgotten !!!
Respectfully, Shihan Dell Sharpe