Shihan James Bruchac
Shihan James Bruchac grew up in the upstate NY town of Greenfield Center NY. Along with being a renowned author, storyteller and wilderness expert Shihan Bruchac has been practicing martial arts for most of his life.
Starting in 1977, at age 9, Shihan first trained in Indonesian Penjak Silat. As a small but quick martial artist Shihan excelled early in both kata and kumite. After several years in Penjak, following a large growth spurt, Shihan got heavily involved in school athletics, especially football.
Another full contact activity Shihan quickly excelled. With busy practice schedules and the eventual goal of an athletic scholarship Shihan’s focus on school athletics eventually took him away from his formal martial arts training. In 1992 after a successful college and semi-pro career Shihan James decided to focus more on his other interests including the martial arts. Having dabbled during his off seasons in western boxing, kickboxing and Okinawin Karate, Shihan longed to get back into formal training. Living in Clifton Park NY at the time Shihan was very happy to find a Kyokushin based Karate school running classes at a local gym.
This style known as Kokorakan was headed by Shihan Frank Rosseti who had brought Kyokushin to the capital region in 1969 running a school under Tadashi Nakamura until 1976. While training in the Clifton Park dojo Shihan Bruchac’s Sensei at that school had also started his training under Kaicho Nakamura. Kokorakan training and testing was hard with a strong emphasis on full contact kumite. Although limited by his busy travel schedule, as a Kokorakan shodan, Shihan went undefeated in regional black belt competition.
Following his 1998 nidan test Shihan’s Sensei decided to leave to form his own style. Although a fresh nidan upon leaving Kokorakan, Shihan along with sandan Nino Minisale became one of the senior students of this style. For the next thirteen years as membership rose Shihan taught at least once a week and by 2005, reached the rank of 4th Dan. Later that year, inspired by his brother Jesse, also a lifelong martial artist and co-founder of WNYMMA, Shihan also began to train and compete in Brazilian Jui-jitsu.
Through BJJ Shihan eventually got involved with the teaching of basic striking techniques to some of his team mates who wished to fight MMA. Through this
program, with the help of Sensei Robert Cornute, Shihan would also go on to train some of the capital regions best strikers from golden gloves boxers to several undefeated kickboxers. As the popularity in this program grew Shihan quickly found himself teaching three classes a week as well as running half of the black belt classes for his Sensei. During this time Shihan also took over the role as a professional ring announcer for the MMA event Kaged Kombat. Through this event, combined with those in which his fighters competed, Shihan became even more aware of how much fighters could benefit from a Kyokushin based education.
Unfortunately, as Shihan’s program grew, the rest of the karateka from his school, due greatly to a constantly absent Sensei, seemed to drift further and
further from their Kyokushin roots. Indeed, having over the past five years, focused less and less on practical application, especially kumite, Shihan found himself senior student in a school he no longer recognized. Always wanting the best education possible, not just for himself but his students, Shihan began to look into other options.
Following a year long search Shihan had the chance to train with Kaicho Farzinzad. By the end of that first class Shihan knew he had found a new home. Once ready, Kaicho offered Shihan the honor of testing for godan and, following the successful test at Kaicho’s private dojo, promoted him to 5th degree black belt.
Presently, along with serving as the Northeast Chairman of the IKU, Shihan Bruchac with the help of IKU Sensei’s Lenore Norris and Robert
Cornute is running Saratoga Kyokushin Karate & Kicbox in Saratoga Springs, NY.
To contact Shihan Bruchac