Article by Founder, Bob Jones
Since its very conception, Zen Do Kai has meant ‘the best of everything in progression’. It has always had the one overriding concept, does the technique really work? With that in mind Zen Do Kai has gone through constant evaluation and change, endeavouring to search for just that, truth in practicality.
“In the teachings of my discipline as a fighting system, I endeavour to be a total purist. As a purist I translate Zen Do Kai to be adaptable to its current environment, which happens to be right now in that, to be a constant winner you have to be able to adapt to change.”
“There have been many turning points in the organisation, but one that stands out in my mind was probably in 1980. By 1980 we had 300 clubs and around 5,000 students, but I felt I hadn’t done enough, we weren’t growing fast enough. We had the desire to expose the benefits of martial arts training to everyone in the community and to make it something achievable for all”.
So in 1980 the Jet Black system was introduced and in 1983 we developed the ‘FAST’ (Freefighting-forms And Self-defence Tournaments) system. A lot of emphasis was put on heavy competition. We made it the most competitive style in the country, in order to lift and improve the standard through regular competition.
In 1984 we modified our training practices, with the aim of again training people to fight from more practical postures, and applying techniques that work straight away.
At the beginning of 1990 we introduced Muay Thai Boxing principles and techniques within our Zen Do Kai classes which again added to the effectiveness of what we were already doing. Further to all this, Bob Jones is recognised as the father of Australian Kickboxing.
“On September 9, in 1976 I promoted Australia’s inaugural kickboxing event. Kickboxing is painfully ‘true’. If it doesn’t work you find out about it in the square ring.”
It was during a world tour with Rod Stroud (WA), to set up three World Kickboxing Titles and an International Teams Event for the America’s Cup‘Festival of Sport’ in 1986, that we both met Thai Boxing in the flesh. We trained with Tom Harinck in Amsterdam with some of his world champions and in Thailand regularly in the past ten years and both of us have included Muay Thai into our Zen Do Kai regime almost daily ever since.
Bob Jones’ time is also carefully allotted to advise and guide his martial arts organisation of 1,000 schools of self defence throughout Australasia currently developing 20,000 students towards Black Belt.
He has made numerous television appearances providing self defense tips for women.
He writes regular magazine columns and provides expert commentary for kickboxing bouts.
He holds the rank of Eighth Degree, and is one of the highest ranked martial artists in Australia. In 1997 was awarded the prestigious Blitz Martial Arts Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award.
He has a number of highly successful business interests as well as being a grand father and family man.
Bob Jones continues to take an active interest in the ongoing development of Zen Do Kai, with many highly qualified instructors to assist him, conducting training sessions and seminars throughout the country.