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Shihan Nico Fernandez == Early Life == Shihan Nico Fernandez began his training in the martial arts at the age of 2 in Manilla, Philippines. He studied Kobudo weapons, Filipino weapons and the art of Aikido and Judo. His Father and Uncles were students of Master Latino Gonzales and served as bodyguards for the Filipino Government. They were all Champions at various times in the “Old School” Asian bare knuckle tournaments and formed the Siete Paires (seven pairs) Dojo in the Philippines.
He moved to the United States in the early 1970’s. In 1986 he started training in Muay-Thai style kickboxing and continued his Shorin-Ryu Karate, Aikido, Judo and Kobudo training under Master Noel Fernandez. It was at this time that he began to combine American style kickboxing with the Muay-Thai style and with this found great success.
From 1980 through 1984 Shihan Nico fought many bare-knuckle karate tournaments and Kickboxing fights. It was during this period in 1984 that Shihan became the head instructor at a prominent Dojo in Phoenix. Shortly after in 1986 Shihan founded, Nicks Kicks Dojo in west Phoenix. There he spent many years teaching students of all ages the martial arts. For many years Shihan taught Shorin – Ryu and only taught the arts of Judo, Aikido, Muay Thai and Kobudo to his Black Belts and high ranking students. He felt it was a form of disrespect to advertise he taught Shorin – Ryu when in fact he taught so many other disciplines. This is how the name Nikidokai was created. But Nikidokai evolved.
Evolution of Nikidokai
Shihan grew tired of seeing all the rote, robot-like movements and techniques of Martial Art students. It is commonly a world where the student begins to emulate the instructor. And equally many instructors force a “style” upon their students. When in fact a simple technique like a straight punch or a wrist reversal can be executed in so many ways but most instructors will discourage this and say, “No, you must do it OUR WAY!”
After several years of training and receiving his 6th degree black belt” he created and founded Nikidokai, which combined multiple Martial Art disciplines including Aikido, Judo, Shorin-Ryu Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai kick boxing, Grappling and Kobudo weapons.
For many years Shihan trained many students who became amateur kickboxing champions as well as several who went on to become Professional Kickboxing champions. Some of the Professional champions he trained are; Gene “Red Sting Warrior” Stambaugh, first world champion in Arizona, Ray “loverboy” Fernandez, Jean Claude Leuyer, Everrett ‘Ring Warrior” Berry, Johnny “Thunder” Maglianico, Marla “Poison” Conrad, Tom “Polish Bulldog” Waceinga, Mikki D’Rain, Chris “Joker” Mack, Nathan Broacher, Todd “Good Night” Guess, and Pat “Lightning” White. Just to name a few.
In 1989 he promoted Arizona’s first Muay Thai fight, which was televised in two countries outside the United States. He also formed the United Amateur Kickboxing Federation. In 1989 through 1993, Shihan became a representative of the World Kickboxing Association (W.K.A.), International Kickboxing Association (I.K.B.A.), as well as the I.S.K.A.
For several years Shihan taught hundreds of rape prevention classes. He was a co-founder of the Phoenix Center for Rape Prevention, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing sexual assault as well he worked with C.A.S.A, (Center against Sexual Abuse.) Through both he taught self defense and self awareness training. He is also Co-founder of W.A.R. (Women against Rape.)
In 1997 Shihan was inducted into the Karate and Kickboxing “Hall of Fame” with Legends like Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Benny Urquidez, and all the great Masters of the Arts. He received this great honor for his life long commitment in sharing his Martial Arts with his community and the world.
In the words of Shihan: "If the major necessities of society could be brought into order as well as maintained in a centered and harmonious fashion, then every man, woman and child regardless of age, race or background could live in good health, be stress free, productive and prosperous."