HISTORY OF LAKEWOOD BUDO KAI
Jim Kelton, the founder of Lakewood Budo Kai, being encouraged by his instructor to open his own dojo and did so on May 8, 1979. When the first class was held, he had a grand total of nine students, four students in Jujitsu and five in Karate. That very first night there were no mats, so Jujitsu students worked out on the bare floor; the students weren't very happy with that and it wasn't long before Jim was gifted with some mats from his instructor, Professor Beaver. Starting at the Lakewood, CA YMCA, we eventually moved to the City of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine where we hold classes out of a local city park building and has been doing so to this day.
During the 1980’s the foundation for a healthy school was laid, growing in students the school flourished. Some students from the 80’s, that have left for various reasons, have returned and continued to learn and train here.
During the 1990’s we continued to grow in size so much that we were moved to one of the City of Long Beach’s larger park social halls to accommodate the growing class. And when I say growing, we had a class in which we had 65 students on the mats at one time.
During the 2000’s the school continues to go strong. During this time the Jujitsu class got so big the decision was made to split it into two classes, a junior’s class and an adult’s class. In May of 2009, the school celebrated it’s 30-year anniversary. With the milestone we became the longest running martial arts school in the City of Long Beach, and one of the longest running ones in the County of Los Angeles.
In 2017, a group of us traveled to Tucson, AZ to participate in a three-day event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Kodenkan Yudanshakai, a major martial arts organization that we have been a member of since our school’s inception.
Now in 2018, coming up on the schools 40-year anniversary, Jim Kelton, the Schools Founder, made the decision to retire from active teaching and has appointed a long-time student, Russell Kelley as the schools new Head Instructor. Even though he has retired, Jim is still be a figure head in the school and continues to be involved in all its aspects.
In June of 2019 we celebrated our 40-year anniversary. We hosted a two-day event with participants from not only our own Dojo, but attendees from Tucson, AZ; Sierra Vista, AZ; Eagle Point, OR; and Lakeville, MN.
Each one of our past and present students have made this school what it is today.