Master Chuck Chirdon
Rokudan (6th Dan) Ji Do Kwan Kong Su Do
Martial Arts Biography
Master Chuck Chirdon started his martial arts career in February 1971, after witnessing a karate demonstration at his high school given by a student of Master Thomas Benich. Master Tom Benich, Sensei Vic Claycomb and Grand Master Melvin Russell had just opened Koroshi School of Defense in Painesville, Ohio. Master Chirdon, then 15 years old, began what would be a training schedule that would result in his being at the school almost every evening of the week for many years.
Shortly after this start, Master Chirdon began attending tournaments with Master Tom Benich many times per month. This would continue for the next 10 years, resulting in Master Chuck Chirdon establishing a winning record in both Kata and Kumite in the respective ranks and weight class. Master Chirdon's instruction intensified under the direction of Master Tom Benich, assisted by Grand Master Melvin Russell.
Master Chuck Chirdon received his Shodan, or 1st degree Black Belt, in August of 1973 along with Master Craig Clinton, another of Master Benich's students. Master Chirdon trained for the first 8 years alongside Master Craig Clinton, Master Charles Brown, and Sensei Bob Breedlove, just to mention a few of the top Koroshi black belt students and tournament point winners over the years.
Master Chuck Chirdon's principle instructor, Master Tom Benich, received his Black Belt in Tank Soo Do from Commander John M. Kistler at Miami University. Master Benich went on to work under Sensei Robert C. Moore in Ji Do Kwan in the Cleveland, Ohio area for many years. Master Benich eventually began instruction under Ill Joo Kim in Song Moo Kwan in Akron, Ohio.
It should be noted that Sensei Robert Moore and the Ji do Kwan system had a major influence in the origins of the Koroshi School of Defense system taught by Master Tom Benich. Many of the top practitioners of this system in Ohio; Al Fuzy, Curtis Herrington and Paul Ornowski, maintained close contact with Master Chirdon and the Koroshi team over the years.
Master Benich's training, and subsequently Master Chirdon's training, was heavily influenced by other systems such as Shuri when they both worked with people like Jim McClain in Bedford, Ohio as well as through the other top Okinawan practitioners associated with the USKA, United States Karate Association. Additional influence came through AlGene Caraulia, founder of the Karate Institute in Cleveland. Master Chirdon participated as a team member of the Cleveland Black Belt Team, with Master Benich, under the direction of Al Gene.
Master Chirdon continued to instruct and operate Koroshi School of Defense with Master Benich, Grand Master Russell, Sensei Breedlove, and Master Clinton after his promotion to ShoDan, and then Ni Dan. During this time, Master Chirdon also continued competing nationwide with Master Benich and Master Clinton in both point contact and full contact tournaments over the next 8 years. One of the most exciting times was the 1975 Midwest Karate championships in St. Louis, where Master Benich, Master Chirdon, and Master Clinton all placed 1st in their respective weight classes. Another time, Master Chirdon and Master Benich were seeded fighters in the first Battle of Atlanta, hosted by Joe Corley.
Towards the end of this heavy time of competition, the original Koroshi dojo was closed so that Master Chirdon, Master Benich, and other black belts could have the time necessary to pursue career objectives more aggressively. After the closing of the original dojo, Master Chirdon continued to instruct both privately and through the Painesville YMCA. He also began training in boxing with one of Master Craig Clinton's black belts, Sensei Marty Eudell, as a way to increase the intensity needed for full contact martial arts training. All of this continued until Master Chirdon's move to Iowa, after accepting an engineering management position with a plastics company in 1982.
While living in Iowa for the next two years, Master Chirdon started a branch of the Koroshi School in the town he was living, Eldora. His students included most of the town's police officers. Master Chirdon's wife, Sensei Anita Chirdon had begun training in Ohio with Master Chuck Chirdon, Master Buddy Brown, and Master Craig Clinton. She then continued her training in Iowa through the rank of brown belt. It was also while in Iowa that Master Chirdon would get news that his original instructor and best friend, Master Tom Benich, was killed in an airplane crash, April 1982.
Master Chirdon returned to Ohio in 1983 and almost immediately began teaching again at his home dojo. He continued to teach and run a small, but intense, branch of the original Koroshi School at two different home locations in Ohio. He continued to work with Master Buddy Brown, Master Craig Clinton, and occasionally Grand Master Melvin Russell, in an effort to hold together as much of the original Koroshi members as possible with the passing of Master Benich.
There were a number of black belts added to the original Koroshi list by Master Chuck Chirdon, Master Craig Clinton, Master Buddy Brown, and Grand Master Melvin Russell. These can be seen on the Koroshi Family Tree. These additional black belts were held to the same high standards started by Master Tom Benich and proved to be some of the best students any instructor could ask for. During this time, Master Chirdon was promoted to YoDan by Grand Master Melvin Russell. By 1992, Master Chuck Chirdon promoted four more people to ShoDan, Sensei Anita (Saari) Chirdon (Master Chirdon's wife), Sensei Steve Moliski, Sensei Mark Derus, and Sensei Kathy Roberts (Master Chirdon's sister).
Master Chirdon moved to Newark, Ohio in 1993 as a technical director for a company in Columbus, Ohio. Although now living away from the students he had developed over the past 10 years, he found it necessary to maintain his own personal training to remain in good heath and to maintain a high level of proficiency in the art that so heavily influenced his life to this point. The position he held at this company required him to travel throughout the USA, Europe and Mexico. His Martial Arts training provided the discipline needed to be successful with this career challenge.
As Master Chuck Chirdon and Sensei Anita Chirdon began raising their two children, Danielle and Jesse, it became apparent that all the training over the years would be best served by maintaining what was a complete way of life. This, coupled with the Master Chirdon's strong Christian faith, provided all that was needed to meet the greatest challenge ever, being a parent. Master Chirdon continued to maintain as much of his original ability as possible until the time that his children might decide to become practitioners as well.
Danielle developed, in her own way, as an athlete and in 2006 Jesse developed more than a curiosity of the strange workout he watched his father perform. Jesse then asked to begin training in more serious manner. Master Chirdon currently trains Jesse and his closest friends at a home Dojo, as well as at Dance Extreme LLC in Newark, Ohio, and will continue teaching as long as physically possible.
Master Chirdon's wife, Sensei Anita Chirdon, one of his earlier students and now a SanDan, continues her training as well. Master Chirdon has recently had the opportunity to re-connect with an old martial arts associate and friend, Master Al Fuzy, from the Ohio Ji Do Kwan Association. He plans to pursue additional knowledge and information from Master Fuzy. Master Chirdon hopes to better understand what can be described as one of the origins of influence in the Koroshi methods, taught by Master Tom Benich and Sensei Robert Moore.
Now, at the age of 56, Master Chirdon considers this young age a good time to move forward again in his understanding of his martial arts way of life. He has, at times, jumped back into the competitive field to support his son's growth in the Koroshi way. Master Chirdon currently holds the rank of RokuDan, 6th degree black belt, awarded to him in March of 2008 by Grand Master Al Fuzy. Master Chirdon is currently actively involved in the promotion of the United Promoters Martial Arts Circuit. He supports the organization as an assistant director and holds an annual Koroshi tournament.
Master Chuck Chirdon believes that after a great many years of staying with this art, and seeing old martial arts friends at tournaments, speaks well of the fact that this way of life is more than just participating in another sport. It is sharing a way of life with others that is based upon respect, honor, and discipline and is best served by passing this knowledge along to others, especially those youth who have been touched by the desire to know more of what they can be.