Zen Do Kai
||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
Bob Jones describes Zen Do Kai as an "open system", and as such is "open to influences and ideas from all around the world",1 embracing elements from Boxing, grappling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Eskrima, Judo, Karate and Muay Thai.1 Zen Do Kai means, according to Jones, "the best of everything in progression",1 and its elements include self-defense moves, kata, and strike work. It is set apart from many forms of traditional karate because it allows many techniques and practices used by Thai kickboxing. The Zen Do Kai philosophy encompasses the principle of "if it works, use it" and as such contains elements of a variety of other martial arts.
Zen Do Kai uses kata as a form of discipline during training and these kata have been selected for the aid in rudimentary development of stances and techniques. Most of the katas derive from traditional Okinawan styles of karate, reflecting Jones' background in the 1960s.citation needed
Zen Do Kai also places a large emphasis on grabs and holds and other general close combat and ground fighting techniques, having adapted itself after the emergence in particular of Gracie Jujitsu and other forms of groundfighting largely unknown to the West until the late 1980s.citation needed
The first Zen Do Kai dojo was opened at Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. Jones states that it was originally intended to cater for those who worked in the security industry.1 Zen Do Kai follows the classical martial arts model with a distinct hierarchy, a philosophy and the promotion of the ethical code of Bushido. Most Zen Do Kai schools emphasize self-defence applications but do not promote fighting or violence.citation needed
Born of Welsh ancestry and in the Chinese year of the dragon, Bob Jones incorporates this personal iconography intimately into the style of Zen Do Kai, with the use of the dragon in the emblematic black karate gi.citation needed
The highest ranked Zen Do Kai student, Malcolm Anderson was sent to Queensland to take charge of the development of Zen Do Kai in that region in the 1970s. By the end of the 1990s had established a very successful franchise, peaking with about 120 schools.3
Disputes arose between Anderson and Jones that led to Anderson being removed as the head of Zen Do Kai in Queensland in late-2000. Queensland Zen Do Kai is now headed by Kyoshi Jim Friis and supported by Kyoshi Brad Ross. Queensland has continued to grow encouraging an atmosphere of respect and loyalty to each other and Soke Bob Jones - Founder of Zen Do Kai.
The Zen Do Kai Crosses are part the history of Zen Do Kai tradition, they are awarded to students through demonstration of loyalty, strength and dedication, whilst following the path of the warrior (around Black Belt skills). Only instructors who have been authorized to award Crosses may do so, sometimes requiring that an instructor have their instructor make the award of a Crosscitation needed
The Cross is an important symbol of acceptance into the more senior levels of the Zen Do Kai family and exemplifies commitment to the protection and instruction of the brothers and sisters in the ranks of Zen Do Kai.
The Cross itself bears its origins in the country of Finland and it has been embellished with geometric shapes symbolic of Senjo battlefield strategy and the words Bushido, Ishoa, and Kyunnin.
These terms and the Crosses are explained here: The original Zen Do Kai cross was the square cross. It was modeled on the Finnish cross of bravery. Dave Milne and Bill Sabotka. During the sixties, as his security firm grew, Jones awarded more of the crosses to his personnel. The early seventies saw Jones engrave the word 'Bushido' onto the cross. This translates literally as 'the way of the warrior'and the cross took on a slightly new meaning. The Bushido Cross (as it is still known) was presented by Jones to his higher grade Zen Do Kai students as a symbol of protection of the junior Zen Do Kai brothers (students in the ranks). This aimed to instill an incentive for every new student to maximise his efforts to gain acceptance in "the new family of security". Today, Zen Do Kai practitioners train fiercely to earn the honour and privilege of being awarded the Bushido Cross. Which ever cross is awarded, the most important thing is the relationship between the instructor and the students. It is the meaning and intention of the awarding of the cross.citation needed
The round cross was introduced initially to acknowledge the understanding and commitment of the wives and partners of the security personnel in Jones's protection interest, most of Jones's security staff worked long hours, often six nights a week. The women folk received the small circular cross which identified them as 'those who understood'. This cross was developed further during the seventies in Zen Do Kai and the word 'Ishoa' was engraved onto it. This means, literally, 'enlightenment', the perfect blending of mind and body. The Ishoa Cross was awarded to the "Karate wives" or to exemplify their understanding of the men folk training with Jones up to six nights a week. Soon the first wave of female Zen Do Kai students were also afforded acknowledgement as dedicated martial artists with the presentation of the Ishoa Cross and this cross took on a new meaning, its new reverence mirrored that of the Bushido Cross. It too, became a symbol of protection of the junior brothers and, now also, sisters, in the Zen Do Kai ranks. Today, female Zen Do Kai practitioners are awarded this cross for their fierce determination in training, dedication and commitment to Zen Do Kai. Just as the awarding of the Bushido Cross is a privilege and honour to Zen Do Kai's male students, so too is the awarding of the Ishoa Cross to Zen Do Kai's female students. Both Crosses are held in identical regard and esteem and are often awarded together in official ZDK family functions.citation needed
Bob Jones has been training and teaching martial arts since the 1960s, with the initial goal to prepare employees for the security industry. He was involved in support security to The Beatles4 and other successful bands such as The Rolling Stones and Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac.citation needed He wrote of his experiences in a book titled 'Let the Good Times Roll'.citation needed He ran a regular self defence segment called 'Fighting Fit' on Bert Newton's Good Morning Australia program (Channel 10) in 1992-1993.citation needed In 1997 he was awarded the Blitz Martial Arts Magazine Lifetime Tribute Award. 5
Ironically several of Jones' students have attempted to emulate his success in developing and teaching his own martial art, including Malcolm Anderson in Queensland (formerly the third ranked in the style) and Lance Strong and Geoff Aiken in New Zealand (both formerly amongst the top ten ranks in the country), though none have yet come anywhere near matching the numbers involved in ZDK, which at one point was the second most popular art in Australasia.citation needed
Bob Jones appointed Billy Manne (Melbourne) to oversee the management of the Australasian branches of Zen Do Kai.citation needed Bob Jones now lives in Spain and travels extensively overseas for teaching and training.citation needed
- Bob Jones martial arts website
- World Zen Do Kai Association at ning.com
- World Martial Arts Brotherhood at ning.com
- Anderson Bushikai official website