When I first received my official founder's license, my system was chartered as San Budo Karate Jutsu. However, as my system continued to evolve I felt that name wasn't really appropriate, and I changed it to San Budo Sogo Bugei (Three Paths to Enlightenment, Complete Martial Art). I mean, no other classification made sense to me for an art that incorporated karate, kempo, aiki jujutsu, kenjutsu, okinawan weaponry and modern military combatives. But even though I enjoyed the rapid progression and thrived on it, as an instructor it is our responsibility to guide our students on a path that is in their best interests, not ours.
In 2014, my sister Shannon was promoted to 4th Dan and named my Soke Dai. This meant that should I retire or pass away, she would step up as the headmaster of my system. It was only natural for her to be awarded this honor, as I do not have any children (yet) and she is blood. I must say that she has certainly grown into her rank and has progressed exponentially as a martial artist. But there's more...
This appointment doesn't affect her position as Soke Dai of my system. In the event of my retirement or passing, she will essentially be the head of two martial arts under one umbrella. But what it does mean is that from this point forward, Shannon is officially a legitimate Soke and I encourage the martial arts community to welcome her to this exciting position on her journey. As Soke, she is officially above the ranking the system in the art of San Budo Karate Jutsu and has the authority to do whatever and issue whatever documents she wants in her system.
So what is San Budo Karate Jutsu? Currently, it's a traditional art whose foundation is in Nihon Tetsuken-Ryu (a Shotokan offshoot), Satori-Ryu Kokusai Karate (a Goju-Ryu offshoot) and Kempo Jiu Jitsu. What will it grow into in the future? You'll have to ask Soke Gordon. San Budo Karate Jutsu is completely in her hands.
I can only hope that other instructors can follow this example of setting their students on another path, even if it means training with someone else, that's right for them. It's not about tuition, or ego. It's about being a proper guide and mentor to those who entrust us with their future. It's our responsibility to provide the student with what they need, not what we want. If you can't do that, should you really be teaching?