MSGT. H.G. Robby Robinson
MARTIAL ARTS BIOGRAPHY
GRANDMASTER H. G. ROBBY ROBINSON, PhD, MA
Co-Founder U. S. Kajukenbo Mixed Martial Arts Association, Lasit O’Hana
Regional Coordinator for Development, NW Florida, United States Judo Association
Founder, Armed Services Judo & Jujitsu Academy, Pensacola, Florida 1985
Former National Program Director, United States of America, Traditional Kodokan Judo – United States Ju-Jitsu Federation
USJA Master Judo Rank Certified D Level Coach - Examiner/Certification
Grand Master Instructor / Examiner – Benefactor Life Member, United States Martial Arts Association
Distinguished Member, Marquis’s Who’s Who in America
Commissioner, Southeast Asia - Martial Arts International Federation
Advisor, Native American Hawaii Kosho Ryu Kempo Karate & Jiu Jitsu - Oyate Tokaheya Wokicize Wakagapi
As a youth, GM Robinson was strongly influenced by neighborhood Chinese Tai Chi Chuan practitioners and was introduced to Judo in 1949 through the teachings of Charles Yerkow. Coupled with a high school background in weight lifting, gymnastics, fencing, wrestling, and boxing with the South Bronx - New York City Police Athletic League, Robinson was well grounded and prepared for a future fulfilling career in the little-known field of martial arts that would take him around the world and encompassing most of his adult life.
GM Robinson’s athletics, hunting and fishing experiences all became part of his keen survival skills which were realized when he entered the United States Air Force (USAF) during the Korean War in 1952, eventually becoming one of the USAF’s youngest escape and survival combative measures instructors within the Elite Strategic Air Command (SAC) Combative Armed and Unarmed Cadre of Escape and Evasion Instructors.
In 1953, GM Robinson trained under the tutorledge of the late Sensei Emilio “Mel” Bruno, 6th Degree Black Belt, GS-15, Superintendent for USAF Aircrew and Air Police Combative Training and Physical Conditioning Division, Headquarters, SAC, Omaha, Nebraska, and a former student of Shihan Jigoro Kano; founder of the Kodokan International Judo Institute, Japan.
During 1953 at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA, Robinson trained with the Japanese martial arts master’s enclave touring the United States. This unique experience served to whet Robinson's appetite for even more knowledge and training, and thus began a serious self-study of the Japanese language, culture and customs.
Departing the United States in December 1955 by troop ship (USS General A. E. “Andy” Anderson - shown left) for his first Far East Asia overseas tour, upon arriving in the seaport of Yokohama Bay, Prof. Robinson was initially assigned to the USAF Chitose AFB on the island of Hokkaido and upon arrival was subsequently relocated to the US Army's former First Cavalry Garrison at Camp Crawford, Sapporo, Japan, as the overall Director of Special Services. It was here that he began his formal Kodokan training with his Sensei and mentor Yasumasa Kanemoto, Kudan, a superb mat technician. Kanemoto Sensei was a direct student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Kodokan Judo.
In 1956, GM Robinson was awarded Kodokan Shodan in Judo while training alternately with Japanese Military Self-Defense Forces in Kendo and Shorinji Kenpo. Relocating to Tokyo in 1957, he studied Shotokan Karate under Hidetaka Nishiyama at Fuchu Air Station and Kodokan Judo at Minami Koen (Green Park Annex) with Kodokan's Sensei the late Sadaki Nakabayashi, Shichidan.
As the earlier USAF military martial arts programs of the 1950s and 1960s gained national popularity, the existing Air Force Judo Association (AFJA) Yudanshakai expanded, bringing in other sister services such as the United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Navy (USN) and United States Army (USA). This was the beginning of the Armed Forces Judo Association, which eventually evolved into the United States Judo Association (USJA. The men (listed below) would eventually take on several major leadership roles as distinguished competitors, coaches and administrators, becoming a strong motivating force and a highly successful part of the history of the growth of Kodokan Judo in the United States and overall martial arts movement in general.
Phil Porter - (Deceased) Major, USAF (Ret.)
Rick Mertens - (Deceased) TSGT, USAF (Ret.)
George Harris – (Deceased) MSGT, USAF - Olympian (Ret.)
Paul Maruyama - LTC, USAF - Olympian (Ret.)
Dr. Jim Bregman - USAF Academy Graduate (Ret.)
Benjamin “Nighthorse” Campbell - former U. S Senator from Colorado
Jerry Dalien – (Deceased) Sgt, USA, Tacoma, Washington (Ret.)
Ted Highers, Sgt, USA Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Jeffrey Beish - SSGT, USAF, Lake Placid, Florida
Notably, the majority of Judo's developmental milestones occurred prior to the intense media exposure, popularization and expansion of martial arts thanks to the successful Chinese super star Bruce Lee's television series, the Green Hornet, the movie and sequel to “Billy Jack” and in present times, former USAF A2C Chuck Norris of “Walker, Texas Ranger” fame. Far from being last at the bottom of the pack is former U.S. National Judo Champion and former member of the U.S. Coast Guard Grandmaster Gene LeBell. Gene and Robby remain in contact to this day.
During 1964, while attending an USAF advanced senior instructors martial arts training course at the Kodokan Judo Institute, Tokyo, Japan, the Foreign Division's Senior Sensei Sumiyuki Kotani, promoted Robinson to Nidan. Mr. Risei Kano, son of the originator of Judo, Jigoro Kano, presented Robinson's promotion certificate to him in ceremony at the former Kodokan Judo Institute. In 1966, after extensive training in advanced techniques, Kotani Sensei advanced Robinson to Sandan.
A myriad of assignments throughout the United States as a Senior Judo Coach and USAF Military Combative Tactics Instructor included providing Law Enforcement Arrest and Control training to officers of the Vice and Narcotics Branch (VNB), Austin, Texas Police Department and Texas Public Safety Department. Robinson also served as an undercover agent for the VNB teaming up with his student and friend, Officer Tom Graham.
The loss of his Judo student, Austin Texas Police Officer, US Army veteran Billy Speed, one of many victims of the infamous University of Texas Tower Massacre, only served to reinforce Robinson's concerns for these guardians of the law in both the military and civilian sectors. Standing alongside hundreds of mourners at the Fort Sam Houston's National Cemetery clearly served to reveal the mutual respect shared by all in attendance and moreover the seriousness of this most dangerous, deadly and oftentimes unappreciated public service occupation.
During 1964 – 1968 Robinson was a student of Senior Grandmaster Tony Lasit, Kudan, Kajukenbo, Honolulu, Hawaii. After 48 years, they remain close friends to this day.
After a one-year tour to SAC HQs to kick start a dwindling Judo program, GM Robinson returned to Bergstrom AFB under the Tactical Air Command. In 1968, he was alerted for his first Southeast Asia (SEA) tour of duty, arriving soon after the 1968 “Tet” attack on Saigon.
GM Robinson continued his military career as an USAF Escape and Evasion Instructor introducing Kenpo Karate, Judo and Jujitsu to U.S. military personnel and Royal Thai security forces in central Thailand earning the Royal Thai Security Forces Supreme Regiment Command Regimental Badge of Honor 2nd Class for hands-on simulated close combat field martial arts training over 700 United States Security Police, Royal Thai Security Forces and local law enforcement police. Evening martial arts classes at the base gym was a major off-duty leisure activities program with the magnificent assistance from the late Great Grandmaster (MSGT) Richard Peralta. This program was hailed as the largest and most popular military martial arts program in Southeast Asia.
Leaving Southeast Asia in 1969, GM Robinson was assigned to Camp Brady, Hakata, Jana, a Tri-Services Security base. Three major events during the next two years included forming an inter-community Judo program with the City of Fukuoka under Sensei Ichiro Shibata, saving two Japanese children from drowning when their small boat sunk off the coast of Hakata Bay, and becoming a Charter Member, of the Navy Chief ‘Snuffy” Smith Memorial VFW Post.
Transferred to Hickam AFB, Hawaii in 1970, he was reassigned back to Southeast Asia, U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Base, Thailand from 1971 – 1972. While there, GM Robinson started up Judo and self-defense programs for U.S. and Thai military personnel as well as advising local law-enforcement agencies in related martial arts activities.
After a short stateside assignment at Brooks AFB, San Antonio, Texas, from 1972 -1974, where he started up again another Judo club, GM Robinson again returned to SEA training Royal Thai and U.S. Security Forces in armed and unarmed self-defense as well as expanding his military roles as a USAF Civic Action Officer and Superintendent of Recreation Services. His positive contributions were again prominently recognized by Royal Thai military officials and he was decorated by the Royal Thai Air Force Security Forces with the coveted, Sergeant Major 1st Class, Supreme Regimental Badge of Honor 1st Class.
Retiring from military active duty on December 31, 1976, Robinson returned home to Hawaii to complete his formal academic education. He was also an instructor with the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department, teaching martial arts credit courses at the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus.
During the late 1970's Robinson became closely acquainted with the late Professor Yasuyuki Sakabe, Hachidan. GM Robinson recalls that, “These were treasured and some of the most memorable moments in my life and grounded me even further in the history and purposes of Kodokan Judo.” He went on to say that, “We had many conversations concerning the true purposes of teaching Traditional Kodokan Judo and family values.”
A close friend of the late Donn Draeger, USMC Major (Ret.), GM Robinson worked alongside with Sensei Draeger on the development of a new academic disciple named Hoplology.
GM Robinson has written numerous articles on physical fitness and martial arts for magazines, newsletters, marketing and advertising, and television. Completing his Associates, Bachelors and 1 and ½ Master’s Degree programs, Robinson began his Department of Defense civilian service career as a Military Services Officer with the United States Navy in Barbers Point, Hawaii, followed by positions in Pensacola, Florida; the Republic of South Korea as a Director, Community Activities, Presidio of Monterey, Defense Language Institute - Foreign Language Center, Monterey, California as the Garrison MWR Director; Operations Officer and the Health Promotion and Family Fitness Director, and in Germany from 1998 – 2003, as the Division Headquarters Chief, Recreation and Business Operations Officer.
Notably after serving from 1981 - 1984, as the United States Navy Military Services Officer, UA-12, Barbers Point, Hawaii, Robinson returned to the mainland United States in 1985 relocating to Pensacola, Florida. Coordinating with the Headquarters Command Master Chief Petty Officer “Butch” Wallace, he set out to develop a top-notch Judo program for United States active duty and retired military personnel and family members stationed and /or residing in the area. In less than one year, his King Cobras Martial Arts Club located on Corry Navy Technical Training Center was the second largest member club in Florida and his students were winning every major title in and around the Emerald Coast and Northwest Florida. Many open regional tournaments were held at the Corry Gymnasium thereby providing the public an opportunity to learn about the positive role the United States Military provides towards ensuring our nation's security.
In view of his extraordinary success with developing martial arts programs for military youth and his background with ongoing international civic action programs, Robinson was recognized by the Gannett Foundation and the Pensacola Florida News Journal, with the auspicious "1988 Humanitarian Heart of Gold” nomination. Subsequent duty stations resulted in equally successful Judo clubs:
* Republic of South Korea (ROK) – King Cobra Judo Club at Camp Howze
* Republic of South Korea (ROK) – Gladiators Club at Camp Market
* Republic of South Korea (ROK) – Eagles Club at Camp Walker
* Republic of South Korea (ROK) – Warriors Club at Eighth United States Army HQ (EUSA) Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, Camp Greaves and Camp Casey.
* Bamberg, Germany – Warner Kaserne: Organized/coordinated construction project of a new state-of-the art $16.6 million-dollar fitness center designed to support a multitude of fitness, sports and martial arts training for the United States military community.
In September 2003, GM Robinson retired from the Department of the Army and took temporary residence in Bangkok, Thailand with his family. In January 2005, the Robinsons relocated back to Pensacola, Florida. Robinson combined the International Southeast Asia Armed Services Warriors Club with the Pensacola King Cobra Judo Club. In view of expanding the overall training curriculum to include other elements of martial arts, including military tactics aligned with the USMC Martial Arts Program, and the addition of volunteer teaching staff, the club has been renamed as, “The Armed Services Judo & Jujitsu Academy.”
With a distinguished active and reserve military and civilian service careers, spanning some 50+ years, with numerous military decorations, both foreign and domestic, and passionately dedicated to the Kanonian principle of Jita Kyoei; Mutual Aid and Reciprocity, Robinson has continued to concentrate and dedicate his time and energy towards improving the Quality of Life for military personnel and their families through the positive elements of martial arts training.
Since 1952, SGM Robinson has developed over 28 national and international martial arts clubs and has inspired and mentored thousands of youth and adults in the United States and overseas. His adventures throughout his life have affected many lives and he has lived up to the expectations of his mentors. He continues to walk in the shadows of these great teachers, always the student.