Sons of self defense

LIHUE — Like father, like son.

Lachlan “Lucky” Ventar Jr., was promoted to the rank of seventh degree red/black belt for the Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute and presented with the title of Si Gung, or master-instructor, Friday at the Lihue Neighborhood Center.

Junior, 48, a Kajukenbo student since he was 5 years old, said it was an honor to accept his new belt and title from Frank Ordonez, 89, the last living founder of the Emperado Method of Kajukenbo.

“Achievement comes with the combination of knowledge and skill,” Junior said. “Building character is what I enjoy most about Kajukenbo. I enjoy seeing the students grow — both in skills and character.”

The belt was presented in ceremonious fashion to Junior after it was handing down a line of Kajukenbo instructors and high-ranking practitioners, both from Kauai and Oahu. And Junior’s father, Lachlan “Lucky” Ventar Sr. was also elevated.

The Senior Ventar, a Kajukenbo instructor for more than 50 years, earned the highest achievable rank, Grandmaster, or practitioner expert, and the ninth degree red/silver belt, which accompanies the rank.

Senior, 69, is a retired county employee and Kauai reserve police officer who started teaching Kajukenbo in the second half of the last century as a way to help the island’s young people.

“This is long overdue,” Ordonez, a 10th Degree Red/Gold Belt holder, said.

The 9th degree red/silver belt was loudly ripped from Ordonez’s hands before being worn by the humble Senior in a rare ritual.

“I taught Kajukenbo as a way to get the kids off the street,” said Senior, battling to keep his emotions back. “It was to keep them out of trouble. We’re low key. We don’t worry about belts and things like that.”

The retired county employee and reserve police officer said he enjoys the variety of the five disciplines — karate, judo/jujitsu, Kenpo, and Chinese and Western boxing — which form the core of Kajukenbo, a singular self-defense training regimen.

“Kajukenbo is a unique system combining the five martial arts,” Senior said. “The students train hard and practice. I feel real glad that my family is involved, too.”

With the promotions, there are four generations of the Ventar family involved in Kajukenbo.

The club meets on Mondays and Fridays at the Lihue Neighborhood Center with beginning students working at 7 p.m. and the advanced students working at 8 p.m.

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