I’m not the Best, but I’m Honored to be among Them

John Kraft is a student of Legendary Bay area Martial Arts Pioneer Ralph Castro. He is currently a 4th Degree Black Belt and the Northwest Representative to the International Shaolin Kenpo Association. At Ralph Castro’s passing in 2019, John became a student of his son Rob Castro who is now the successor and Head of the International Shaolin Kenpo Association and family.

John’s Journey in Martial Arts

John’s Journey began in 1965, 5th grade and Boxing Classes. In 1970 joining the ‘Karate Club’ at the Allen Military Academy in Bryan, Texas, being a student of Tae-Kwon-do. Later, in 1978, he was introduced to Ralph Castro’s Kenpo Karate and became a student of Maria Warwick at Aberdeen Kenpo Karate, Aberdeen, Wa. John began learning to teach in the 80’s and his Competition Years in 1990.

In 1994, the Kraft and Messenger Families opened Pacific Shaolin Kenpo in Aberdeen, Washington. At that time, Ralph Castro became John’s primary Instructor.

John believes his greatest accomplishments were the many friends and students gained from these years. Helping a student make it to a Black Belt legitimately is not an easy job, years of training and dedication are required by both the student and the teacher.

John feels Blessed that his family and both Children, Sam and Jenny were involved with this sport as they were growing up. He is proud of them both then and now. They were instrumental in every aspect of our schools development and overall success.

Some of John’s accomplishments were being Ranked #4 in the Pacific Northwest Region by Sport Karate International, ‘NBL’ and ‘ISKA’ , in Point Fighting in 1996 and 1997. That Region included; Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and a portion of Montana.

A highlight came in October of 1996 when my name was called to step into the Ring with 2 World Champions: 3 time current World Champion, Mark Hicks, tying in regular time 1 to 1, only to lose in overtime with a final score of 2-1 and Bill Hunter, tying in regular time, losing in overtime.

John’s take on the matches;

” These were great athletes, great fighters and veterans of the fight game. It was an experience I will never forget. I gained the skills to step into a ring with Champions”.

John earned a Presidential Sports award in 1995, and through competition, Earned Invitations to 2 Super Grand Nationals and World Championships in the years 1996 and 1997.

Many Students of Pacific Shaolin Kenpo also won Top Awards at Local and Nationally Rated Competitions.

“I am very proud of each of these students.

For more memorabilia, please see page 2