Chuck Liddell - Early Days of Training

Jack Sabat
Dec 19, 2016

chuck liddell

Chuck Liddell began his career of Martial Arts under the tutelage of Jack Sabat ‘Sensei’ in Santa Barbara California. This is the history of events that shaped his life.

1. Began private training at the professional Koei-Kan Karate-Do academy on State St. Santa Barbara. Upon acceptance into the dojo, Liddell started the basic program of striking / kicking / and defensive tactics in and around the traditional atmosphere of the Koei-Kan dojo.  

2. Once into the level of Green-Belt, where free sparring begins, it became apparent to Jack Sabat, then a 4th Degree Black-Belt, that the most outstanding characteristic was his willingness to engage in battle and seldom retreat.  The repetition imposed on Liddell by Sabat Sensei was rigorous and without fail.  

3. After a period in time, Liddell was introduced to Bogu (armor fighting), a means to go into full battle engagement without fear of contact or retribution.  Bogu allows one to master the principles and strategies of full contact, where battle became the mainstay of bold learning forming an iron will and a mind with one aim; to move forward unstoppable and win by attrition.

4. Over intensive training time, Liddell was encouraged to compete in the full contact fighting and advanced to invitational Koei-Kan championship competition at the Nationals in New Jersey.  This experience fueled his desire to push even harder and aggressively, winning honors as a full contact fighter.  This was the spark that lit the fire setting the stage.  Years afterwards, as a 16 year old, Liddell was cast in iron as the junior battle-man for the Koei-Kan Karate-Do team yearly. Even more so, he was placed in the men’s adult division which was unheard of, and again took the Gold in Gumite – open fighting and then, Bogu – full contact with armor.  Nothing seemed to hold him back.

5. Over years of cultivation, Liddell mastered both controlled contact and full contact by 17 and 18 years of age.  It was during this time he was awarded the ‘coveted’ Black-Belt under Sensei Jack Sabat.  This was ultimately, the only individual under the wing of Sabat Sensei, who achieved such an advanced award while at the same time being so young.  It should also be noted that the training imposed was rigorous, brutal and demanding, just about equal to that of the Seals in the Navy.  But then, why not, as Sabat Sensei came from Viet Nam and the Navy for 4 years experience, where he tempered his body and mind in the art of Kempo Karate under his teacher then in 1966-1968

6. Chuck Liddell, now seasoned, continued his study and eventually, moved on to College at San Luis Obispo, Ca.  

That continuing saga (story) will be followed in the next series of articles, both on Koei-Kan Karate-Do and his introduction to Kempo and the UFC at the suggestion of Sensei Sabat.  Specific techniques, held ‘Secret,' from my teachings will be revealed in Budo Secrets.  These inside hidden movements will enlighten even those who thought they had the knowledge.

About the Contributor

Jack Sabat is a practitioner of Martial Arts for 50 Years. As a Black-Belt in Chinese Kempo/ Shito-Ryu/ and Presently, 8th Degree Black-Belt in Koei-Kan Karate-Do; Jack has experienced concrete factors and underlying principles of real Budo (Martial Ways). Martial Arts Philosophy or life philosophy will be examined and translated for the purpose of strengthening the spiritual – mental – and physical aspects of life. These expressions or philosophical views can be used to encourage, help, and stimulate the Inner Spirit to Thrive.

Read more about Jack M. Sabat »


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