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Grandmaster Mike Whittle

Author Topic: Grandmaster Mike Whittle  (Read 5139 times)

Offline John Bishop

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Grandmaster Mike Whittle
« on: December 14, 2006, 05:24:09 PM »

Michael Lynn Whittle
Born April 23, 1952 in Austin, Texas

(In his own words)

I joined the Bergstrom A.F.B. Kajukenpo Karate Club in September 1968.  I was 17 years old and junior at Reagan high school in Austin, Texas.

The chief instructor, Tony Lasit, had just been sent to Vietnam. Jim Johnson who was the highest ranking color belt was promoted to black belt and was in charge of the class.  There were about 20 members. Most of them were airmen. Dan Baker was a blue belt when I joined the club.

Jim Johnson finished his duty with the air force in1969.  He moved away and Dan Baker
was promoted to black belt. Dan took over as chief instructor in 1969 as a first degree black belt.

I was awarded my first black belt by Dan Baker in 1974.  Dan was promoted to second degree black belt around 1971.  Dan’s first black belt was Ben Calvo in 1972.  Dan awarded me my first black belt rank in March of 1974.  He awarded Jay Vera his black belt rank in 1975.

Dan completed his duty with the air force and left Bergstrom A.F.B. to move to San Marcos, Texas to attend Southwest Texas State University.  He started a Kajukenbo Club at a recreation center in San Marcos.

I continued teaching at the Bergstrom Kajukenbo club and also began commuting to San Marcos to assist Dan with his class at the recreation center.  Jay assisted me at the Bergstrom Club until his duty with the air force was completed and he moved to Louisiana.

Dan graduated and took a teaching position and moved away from San Marcos in 1975.
I took over teaching at Southwest Texas State University and taught there until 1968.

In 1975 I met Don Nahoolewa at tournament.  He was a fifth degree black belt.  I asked him if I could come to Ft Worth and study from him.  He told me yes, if my teacher gave permission.  I asked Dan about studying with Don Nahoolewa.  He said yes and he encouraged me to go and learn everything I could.

Don Nahoolewa awarded me my second degrees black belt in October 1975 and my third degree black belt in 1979.  He also awarded Dan his third degree black belt. Dan gave me his second degree black belt to wear.

I moved to Phoenix Arizona in 1979.  I did not start a class.  I studied Shaolin Kung Fu from Judd Tomaiko.  I moved to Phoenix because of my career and that became my focus.  I moved several more times during this phase of my career; Arizona to California; California to Washington; Washington to New Jersey and New Jersey back to California. Finally, my wife and I decided to move back to Phoenix.

We moved to Phoenix in 1991 and I started a Kajukenbo school in Gilbert, Arizona.  Later I moved the students from the school to the Chandler Gilbert Community College.
I taught credit and non-credit classes at the college until November 2005.

I studied Danzan Ryu Jujitsu from Kirk Jaeger from 1991 to 1995.  Kirk is one of Joe Holck’s black belts.  I was never awarded any rank; however, I learned the black belt syllabus.  I incorporated many of the techniques into my Kajukenbo curriculum. 

Dan Baker promoted me to my 4th and 5th degree black belts before I moved back to Phoenix.  The 4th degree was post dated March 1985. The fifth degree was dated June 1990.  Don Nahoolewa had retired from Kajukenbo in 1985.

Dan Baker promoted me to my 6th degree black belt in June 1996.  The belt was presented to me by Moses Williams.  The belt was Moses Williams’ 6th degree black belt.  Moses taught me Sil Lum Pai Hung Gar Gung Fu in 1995 and 1996.  Moses Williams also awarded me a first degree black sash in Hung Gar in 1996.

I was promoted to my 7th degree black belt in October 1999 by Dan Baker.  I asked to have a certificate from Sijo Emperado and later received a certificate from Sijo in Honolulu, Hawaii at the annual KSDI tournament.

In 1999 I began studying Hawaiian Lua from Olohe Solomon Kaihewalu.  I continue to study Lua currently.  I was awarded my 7th degree black belt by Olohe Kaihewalu in September of 2004.

Don Nahoolewa came out of retirement in 2001 and reorganized the AKA.  Gerald Chavez and Richard Piralta contacted me about joining and I attended the first group meeting in Ft. Worth Texas at Burt Vickers school. Don Nahoolewa and the board of directors for the AKA awarded my 8th degree black belt in April 2002.  Don Nahoolewa did not give the title professor with the rank.  So I retained my title ‘Sigung’.

Tony Lasit attended The KSDI tournament in 2006. Dan Baker was promoted to 9th degree black belt.  Dan gave me his certificate awarding me my 8th degree black belt and the title, ‘Professor’.  He also gave me his 8th degree black belt to wear.

My wife and I relocated to Spokane, WA in November of 2005.  I am teaching Kajukenbo
at Spokane Falls Community College and Lotus Self-Defense.

Contact me at or my website
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 01:10:19 PM by John Bishop »
John Bishop  8th Degree-Original Method 
Under Grandmaster Gary Forbach
K.S.D.I. # 478, FMAA

"You watch, once I'm gone, all the snakes will start popping their heads up!"  Sijo Emperado

Offline Dean Goldade

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Re: Professor Mike Whittle
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2006, 12:32:54 PM »
I had the opportunity to meet Professor Whittle at a black belt testing in around 94 or 95. I was honored to be invited to sit on the testing board by Sigung Craig Speers and Sifu Stanley Smith. Their students did a great job, and showed the Kajukenbo spirit, and Ohana.

Professor Whittle is a very talented martial artist and showed a lot of passion for the art. Also the rest of the group Professor Moses Williams, Sigung Craig Speers, Sifu Stanley Smith are all a great bunch of guys, and very talented as are their students. Grandmaster Baker, and Alihi Nahoolewa should be very proud of the students they have trained and carry on the flame they fired up back in the 60's.

The first Kajukenbo man I met when I moved to Texas was Professor Ben Calvo.. He lived right across the street from me and I didn't know it. One night a student and I were training in the gym area of the apartment complex we were living in.. When we finished training, and were heading over to my place for a drink and to talk some story, this guy just appeared out of nowhere... He saw our Gi's and asked if we trained Kajukenbo... We shared our stories and that was the beginning of a valued friendship. The student I was training ended up being my first Black Belt.. Sifu Ken Shea.

Professor Calvo used to watch me working sticks, and training behind my apartment, and come over and give tips, or just a thumbs up to show his approval of what I was doing... I was very happy to hear of his promotion to Professor.. He is a good man, and a big brother I am proud to know.

Funny how those little things mean alot.

Keep up the hard training.


Student of the arts