Founder & 1st International Director: International Kokondo Association (IKA)
Nearly 60 year full time devotion to authentic martial arts - 1950 to 2009
Paul Arel the founder of both Jukido Jujitsu and Kokondo Karate began his martial arts journey because he was bullied as a child. This experience created his love of the underdog and compassion to teach thousands of children to defend themselves.
He began his training in 1950 as a student of Sudo Sensei a jujitsu master from Japan studying in Massachusetts. When Sudo Sensei left to return to Japan he left the small dojo in the hands of his best student, the new black belt, Paul Arel.
Mr. Arel utilized his training as both cashier and "bouncer" at a store and beer hall. He quickly experienced what worked and what he needed to discard from his training.
Paul Arel joined the Marine Corps a decision that crystallized his sense of honor and patriotism the hallmarks of his life. In the Marines, while stationed in Japan, he absorbed advanced training from Oriental masters on contract with the US government for both overt and covert purposes. He helped teach and develop the unarmed skills of his fellow Marines.
After his honorable discharge he transitioned to civilian life stateside by opening the first karate school in Connecticut. His training with some of the greats in Karate is well documented. His Sensei throughout the 1960s were a "Who's Who" of US Karate development: Isshin Ryu's Peter Urban, Sankata's Ishikawa and Kyokushin's Mas Oyama. While learning and teaching these dynamic systems of Karate, Mr. Arel continued to teach the jujitsu learned from Sudo Sensei and refined by his experience in Judo and Jujitsu while in Japan. He ultimately called this art Jukido Jujitsu.
Karate's continued movement towards tournaments and away from self-defense forced Shihan Paul Arel to develop the dynamic self-defense oriented style of Karate named Kokondo. Paul Arel believed that the practice of kata was fundamental to self defense and his insights into the himitsu (hidden) techniques informed and infused his art. Shihan developed his unique understanding of three exclusive principals, underlying all of his techniques. They are kuzushi, shorinji and jushin. These three principles allowed Shihan to train and develop these two arts exclusively for the rest of his life.
While, Shihan trained thousands of students in his career, Master John Fearns and Master Tom Wood continued their training from the early 1970's through the expansion of Kokondo and were loyal to Shihan until his death. Their loyalty extends to Shihan's successor Kaicho Greg Howard, to whom Paul Arel left the stewardship of his arts and the loyalty of his association.
Successor to Founder: Shihan Paul Arel Kaicho & 2nd International Director: International Kokondo Association (IKA) Kudan (9th degree black belt) - Jukido Jujitsu & Kokondo Karate
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)