Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Steve Lavallee Earning his 8th Degree

(Updated in 2014) I noticed that this page on my blog gets a good number of visits so I thought I would update it. For those of you who don't know, I have some sad news.

 Steve Lavallee died at his own hand in June 2012.  His health was excellent and no public announcement about the reason for the suicide has ever been given. 

Steve Lavallee is survived by his widow,  a young son, and thousands of students who are confused by this turn of events and the man that they thought they knew. There has been lots of long discussions as people wrestle with the conflict between the persona and message that Kyoshi proclaimed and the actuality of who he turned out to be.  

While I am far from being fully informed, and perhaps nobody really is, on why Kyoshi made the decision that he did, there was a police report that was going to be (and was) released about him the Monday after his demise. The police report, which was made public, was from an adult staff member who had reported that Kyoshi has made a sexual advance towards the staff member.  The police report included documentation that Steve Lavallee had been accused of child molestation years before while teaching in Syracuse New York and a record of consultations between the police departments on the various accusations and investigations.  

 Kim Colvin LaVallee, Steve's widow, has partnered with Craig Halley to manage the two dojos that remain in their hands: NE Ft Lauderdale,  and Lighthouse point. The name of this new dojos is Elite Force.  

Dennis Osmond continues to run his dojo in Palm Beach independently. 
Vince Practico runs one in Plantation called Five Rings.


Steve Lavallee - Kyoshi - is the Chief Master Instructur of my dojo (along with the other ten locations in his system). Kyoshi is now celebrating his 35th year in the martial arts. Follow the link to a page on his official website where you can add your comment to the dozens of others.

At our dojo, they announced that on December 6, Kyoshi will be awarded his 8th degree black belt on December 6th. That's a lot of years of training.

I have the luck to train in the Lavallee National Training Center (HQ - NTSC) so Kyoshi is frequently on the floor or teaching class. He runs many of our Black Belt candidate classes himself. Which is great. Kyoshi is one of the more interesting and charismatic guys around. He's a 7th degree black belt, a successful business owner, has thousands of students through his system, and works with hundreds of industry leaders thru MAUI.

I intend to get the whole story on Kyoshi's professional resume directly from him one of these days (degrees, ring record, training) but as best I can tell from a quick web review:

Kyoshi is interested in blending the martial arts. While this is very trendy these days, it seems that he's been a pioneer in this area. While his base training is kenpo, he has studied and blended: Chinese Kenpo, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, Kali/Escrima, Chinese Kung Fu, Israeli Combatives( Extreme Hisardut ), Full Contact Kickboxing, Boxing, XMA and weaponry.

On the wall in our dojo, there is a certificate awarding him a 7th degree in Blended Martial Arts from Degerberg Internationa. This certificate on the wall is signed byRobert Beal, Greg Tearney (10th Dan), John McSweeney, and Fred Degerberg.

John McSweeney was a student of Ed Parker, the father of American Kenpo.

There is another certificate signed only by Greg Tearney awarding Steve Lavallee a 7th degree in Karate-Do.

There is alot of Muy Thai in our system plus XMA . He trains sometimes with his friend Shihan Moti, a champion in five martial arts with base training in Israeli Krav Maga. In the last few years, Steve Lavallee has been training in BJJ at Gracie Academy. Kyoshi's base training is Kenpo. Our curriculum evolves with periodic additions and changes in the kata and defense techniques. For instance, when I was a white belt, we learned mostly kenpo self defense. Recently, we've learned new jitsu-type self-defense. Kyoshi gave a demo of standup BJJ self defense at a recent show which was put up on youtube.

Another of Kyoshi's interests is the Maui Program and working with other sensei to improve the overall management of martial skills and foster exchange among different martial arts.

On October 19th, 2007, Kyoshi Steve LaVallee was the Keynote Speaker at the EFC Summit Keynote in Miami.

Two notes: One, Master KC (Kim Lavallee) is married to Kyoshi Steve Lavallee. Second, Kyoshi's nephew (his brother's son..Joe Lavallee)  also trains in our system (4th or 5th degree black belt) - I've seen web posts where the two were confused.
There is more information about Kyoshi on the Lavallee Official Website. This post updates an earlier one about Kyoshi and my sensei - KC Lavallee.


Rich Holmes said...

Thanks for this -- I've been curious about who's awarded his higher degree belts. I had no idea it was Greg Tearney!

(I do know his 1st degree was awarded by Lee Thompson, student of Al and Jim Tracy, students of Ed Parker, student of William Chow, student of Thomas Young and of Young's teacher, James Mitose.)

Do you know if the upcoming 8th dan is blended martial arts or karate-do?

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Escrima Sticks said...

Obtaining your black belt is indeed the beginning

Anonymous said...

Former student

Anonymous said...

I belonged to LaVallee's many years ago. I had no idea that he was a pedophile, but always considered his tactics "Questionable" if not unethical. Every time he did something for the public - it always has a way of benefiting himself more. He'd organize a carwash & show up in his Porsche for about 5 minutes , then leave. Making the UNPAID instructors & school kids do his dirty work. Always making it sound the whole event was good for them.
He designed a training regiment that always included teaching (for free) because it was good for the students while he cashed in.
He made policies that instructors could not date students, but most of his instructors including Steve himself met their spouse while being an instructor. Truly hypocritical. If anyone disobeyed they would not get their Black Belt or be delayed into signing another contract.
As far as sexual abuse goes, I remember hearing of adult instructors having sex with students under the age of 16 - though I can't prove it. The accusations were endless.
Sorry to say it, but the world lost nothing but an opportunist who manipulated school kids to enrich himself. He even taught seminars on how to become a millionaire teaching martial arts.
Burn in Hell Steve!

Anonymous said...

He disgraced the martial arts and the communities those schools were in.