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Family Karate Center (FKC)

(International Karate Association of WA State)
12011 19th Ave SE, Everett, WA 98208 (map to dojo)
Phone: 425-344-2170 | Email:
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In Memorium

Kenny Kuch(right) 1949 - 2010

My good friend and fellow karate-ka of IKA since 1985 Kenny Kuch, age 61, passed away Feb 28, 2010 at his home in El Dorado Hills outside Sacramento, CA. Kenny had been suffering for the past two years. He was cremated and eulogized on the 44th day after is death in a memorial service on April 10, 2010. Speaking for the family were myself, Kyoshi Robert Martin; Shihan Vladon Mijailovic, 7th dan, who has known Kenny like a brother and trained with him since the early 1970s; a fellow Physical Therapist who worked with Kenny for the past 15 years at Kaiser; and Kenny's eldest son Mikko age 20. Many of Kenny Kuch's fellow karate-ka drove the 7 hours from LA to be there along with many of Kenny's students and former students of his IKA dojo. Others attending were many friends and neighbors, patients and former patients, and many colleagues, even one from south Everett, WA.

Kenny Kuch was a true warrior...small in stature and giant of heart...a loving, caring heart capable of taking down the biggest foe. Soke Kubota, who was out of state at the time, sent his deepest sympathies through Shihan Val. Shihan Val, who has been said to be one of the greatest karate fighters of all time, gave Kenny Kuch one of the highest compliments when he said that he had told Kenny, "If I ever need someone to watch my back, I hope it is you, Kenny Kuch." I will miss him.

Kenny Kuch is survived by his wife, Sirkka, sons Mikko, 20, and Davin, 12, Kenny's sister Suzy Kuch Sheehon and his younger brother Ron Kuch

Sensei Bob Hayford 1950 - 2004

IKA Washington:

The Sad Loss of a Brother.

It is with great regret and sadness that I report to the IKA world the loss of one of my Black Belts. On Saturday, November 27th, 2004, Bobby Lee Hayford, age 54, was killed in the crash of his helicopter he had purchased just three days before.

This helicopter represented the culmination of a life long dream and this was his first time up in it. At last he was going to learn to fly one. According to the eye witness the engine seemed to explode ripping through the blades, causing the chopper to just fall out of the sky. The two men were killed on impact. This horrible accident also took the life of Medi-vac pilot Ben Springer, husband and father of four young children. Mr. Springer was a green belt 5th Kyu, in karate at a school closely related to mine.

Bob Hayford came to my dojo 30 years ago. He was a beer-drinking, street fighter who knew all kinds of trouble. He had a reputation of being a tough man you don't talk back to. He was the terror of Lake Stevens, Washington in the late sixties, early seventies. But he stopped his beer-drinking, street-fighting, bar-hopping ways when he found karate in my dojo.

He was a fierce fighter. Together we developed a fighting style for his large frame. We called it "the Hunter". His eyes would blaze with intensity (as you can see from the photo here) as he constantly, carefully moved forward looking for a chance to attack. At the hint of any aggressive behavior from his opponent he would cover by bringing his forearms together (taught us by Soke Kubota), avoid the possible sweep and follow with snap-punch, reverse punch foot sweep and follow up. Bob fought Kaveh Kalantari, the "mad Persian", three times in tournaments and led every time 2-0. Ask Kaveh yourself, he will tell you. Bob could have "run" out the clock and won every time, but would never do that. Kaveh would tie it up and win in overtime, every time. But awesome fights they were.

After one such loss to Kaveh, Bob quietly told me at a team dinner that he was ashamed of his lost and how he let down his team. I stopped the table chatter and asked of everyone there, "If you were in a fight in the street, who would you want backing you up?"

"Sensei Hayford!" came the shout back in unison. I looked Bob in the eye and said, "There! Still feel bad?" He fought back a tear and smiled. He had to admit he was proud of that response. But not only was his kumite strong, he was known for his strong backing or good basics. He knew the importance of a strong base and he was known for giving many pushups when students started getting sloppy in their stances and other kihon waza.

We became not only instructor/student, but close friends as well. We lived on the same property…he in a small cottage and I in a 60' mobile home. On the afternoon of February 14, 1977, we announced to each other that we had each married our sweethearts that afternoon. It was our second marriage and 27 years later we were both still happily married. On August 20, 1979, my son Alexander was born. Exactly two years later, August 20, 1981, his daughter Brandy was born. This coming March she will graduate from Western Washington University, the same University from which I graduated in 1967. My father died two days after Thanksgiving in 1968…exactly 36 years to the day before Brandy Hayford lost her father. How much coincidence is still coincidence.

Bobby Lee could fix anything and build anything. He would buy old rusted cars that were sitting in a farmers field for $600-$800. He would spent another $14,000.00 and many hours of work turning them into treasures that sold for $25,000.00. Many the time I did the drawings for the many houses he would build, the three airplane hangar buildings housing 36 airplane hangars, and the boat house to keep his 46' yacht. He had to hold my hand on every drawing telling me everything that needed to be in each phase of each part of each drawing.

This is how close I was with Bobby Lee Hayford. This was a mechanic who fixed large machinery for a construction company who rose up on his own. Single-handedly he built, lived in and sold five houses. He did all the work himself. I remember walking into his own private hangar he was finishing for his own use. He had made a scaffolding out of two ladders and a 2x10 plank and was 12' up in the air with a 4x12 sheet of sheet rock on his back attempting to screw it into the ceiling. This was a guy who build a softball field for his daughters team when they had no place to play. Not just the field, but the bleachers, the dugouts, the concession stand…everything. And he coached the team even after his daughter went away to college.

This is who I knew as Sensei Bobby Lee Hayford, Sandan.

I miss him now and will for a lifetime.

Kyoshi Martin, December 2004