Johannes Cornelius Bluming (born February 6, 1933) is a Dutch martial artist, instructor and actor. Known as a pioneer in judo, Kyokushin Karate and mixed martial arts, he was also the coach of two-time Olympic champion Willem Ruska.
Born in Amsterdam, he was 13 when he started to train in boxing, but three years later he applied for the Marines to escape poverty and was accepted to the bootcamp in Doorn in July 1949. Started the Korean War in 1950, Bluming was sent to Korea as part of the van Heutz regiment. He received several condecorations and was wounded twice, having to be moved to Tokyo to heal. It was there where he made contact with the Asian martial arts, witnessing a judo exhibition by Kyuzo Mifune at the Kodokan school in March 1951. Deciding to try judo when he returned to Holland, Bluming meanwhile trained in taekkyon in Korea.
Back to the Netherlands, Jon trained in judo under Eddy Roosterman and the renowned G. F. M. Schutte, and gained his black belt in three years. In 1957, Bluming was appointed coach of the Dutch national team, which won the European championships in Bellevue the same year, and also was invited to train at a police dojo in Berlin, Germany and at a private judo club. Immediately after he received the 3º dan from Tokyo Hirano by beating 75 judokas in 26 minutes and while having an injured toe. After winning some tournaments, he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1958, teaching judo at the Dalhousie University. After a time, he finally moved to Tokyo, Japan, where he complemented his judo training by learning karate; he first joined the Shotokan school, but soon switched to Kyokushin, more of his liking.
During his time in Tokyo, he lived with Donn F. Draeger and Robert W. Smith, and was a part of the former's judo class, where popular opinion placed the 25 best judo practitioners in Tokyo. Anyways, Bluming gained his 4º dan after beating Akio Kaminaga by choke and Isao Inokuma by uchi mata makikomi. Draeger and him also trained in bojutsu, iaijutsu and kendo with Tokyo police instructors Takaji Shimizu and Ichitaro Kuroda. Also under Donn's tutelage, Jon underwent training to move to a heavier weight class, ascending from his natural 176 ib to 224 ib. This brought more success, as Bluming replaced Inokuma in a gonin gake (a judo challenge against five opponents of 3º dan or higher) and accomplished a shocking record of 4 seconds.
After his training in Japan, Bluming received a letter from the Netherlands in which Schutte asked him to come back and teach at the old dojo and the Amateurs Association for a year on contract. Bluming went back to teach his old friends, make some new ones, and participate in the 1961 World Judo Championships in Paris in December. However, around this time he entered in a public enmity with Anton Geesink, who badmouthed Bluming in the press but refused several times to meet him on the tatami. Jon answered back, claiming that Geesink was unworthy of his accomplishments and that Blumin himself was going to "bend him over like a folding chair" when they fought. Unfortunately for Jun, he was not allowed to take part in the World Championships because his role as a Netherlands Amateur Judo Association coach. He then made a match against all comers, some 80 judoka from 1st dan to 4th dan, and threw them all within about four seconds in full view of the press, but even so, Geesink did not step down to fight him. After watching Geesink's victory in Paris, a frustrated Bluming retired from competing and focused only on teaching instead.
In 1965, Bluming became the first non-Japanese in being awarded the 6º dan in karate from Masutatsu Oyama. This decision was controversial enough among Asian karatekas to force Oyama to put a challenge in a magazine, offering any of them a fight against Bluming in a boxing ring and promising to strip him from the black belt if the Dutchman lost. Oyama was so confidant that he also promised a hefty bounty and the swearing to retire himself from the Kyokushin school. Only the Korean champion Kwan Mo Gun accepted the challenge, and was swiftly knocked out by Bluming via shotei. Bluming remained as a close coworker to Oyama, but over time he became critical with his policies, and ended leaving the school for disagreements with him. founding his own school, Kyokushin Budokai. However, he remained as a respected member of the association, being awarded the 9º dan in 1989.
Four years later, Bluming was contacted by Akira Maeda from Fighting Network Rings, a professional wrestling and mixed martial arts promotion which had a working agreement with both Oyama himself and Bluming's apprentice Chris Dolman. Through Maeda, Masutatsu offered him to return as a trainer and mediator with Rings, which Jon accepted with the condition to expel Loek Hollander from the school. In 1994, after Oyama's death, Bluming was awarded the 10º dan by Kenji Kurosaki.
Back to the Netherlands
In his career as a teacher he has coached several champions, such as:
- Chris Dolman (four-time world champion),
- Willem Ruska (double Olympic champion in 1972)
- Otti Roethof (world champion in soft style karate and the team world champion, three times world champ judo),
- Semmy Schilt (at the top in K-1 and free fight winner three times in the daido juku and three time King of Pancrase),
- Robert Kool (1964 New York Cosmopolitan heavy weight champion)
- The students of his students like Jan Plas (who fought against Ernesto Hoost and Peter Aerts), Peter Adelaar and Jan Kallenbach.
- Jon Bluming, Europe’s first Mixed Martial Artist, Realfighting.com
- Peter Buwalda, Bonita Avenue
- José Fraguas, Kaicho Jon Bluming - Founder of Kyokushin Budo Kai, An In Depth Interview, Jigoku Dojo