My Sensei

The word sensei is comprised of two kanji or written characters, borrowed by Japan from ancient China. Sen means literally, "before" or "preceding." Sei is the character that means "life". The life that came before, someone who has walked the way before you.

I am always extremely proud to compete in a tournament in the presence of my sensei Mr. Tom Cleaver. Not only is he a magnificent teacher he is also a dedicated martial artist and a fierce competitor.
He shows a deep belief in us when our confidence waivers. He never asks more from us than we are capable of but demands just enough for us to push ourselves beyond our self-imposed limits.  Faith is a powerful thing, he has faith in us and we have faith in him.
He has taught us many, many things not least of which is the true moral code of karate. He teaches that anything worth having is worth working for and that promotions are to be earned and not purchased.  He is building legacy of martial artists who believe their craft is not merely a hobby but truly a way of life. I feel confidant in speaking for my classmates in saying that we are truly blessed to study under a master of his caliber, he is as strong in his character as he is in his craft.
Domo arigato Gozaimashite

Martial Arts Experience for Tom Cleaver

My interest in the martial arts was sparked by a home study book that my father bought in the late 60s and a book on Judo and Ju Jitsu by Ishi Black Copyright1958. I started training in the martial arts in 1978 under Vonley Burgess (deceased). Style Pai Lum Kung Fu. Mongoose Kung Fu. Attained 2nd degree black belt August 17, 1988. 

Promoted to Black Belt Shorin Ryu - 1st dan - 1983

Attained 7th degree black belt in Shorin Ryu October 30, 2003 (from Dr. Jim Thomas - 9th dan)

Attained 2nd dan Ju-Jitsu on January 27, 2001 (From Jake Allen - 10th dan)

2 American JuKiDo-Ryu National Championships 2006

17 time National Champion and winner of 13 Grand Championships in a row.2006-07 Winner of 10 Grand Championships in a row 1998

8 Christian Black Belt Association National Championships

2 Time National triple crown winner

USA Hall of Fame Master of the year 2002

Member of World Christian Martial Arts Hall of Fame - Fighter of the Year 2000

Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame 2001 - Outstanding Male Competitor of the Year

USA Pankration Athlima Hall of Fame 2001

2008 Alliance National Grand Champion

Member of the Midwest Martial Arts Hall of Fame

2008 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame Master Competitor of the year

2008 DLMA World Champion Weapons

Member of the Midwest Martial Arts Alliance (Director for State of Indiana)

Alliance Tournament Director

Self Defense Instructor for YWCA for 5 years

Taught at Cub Scouts Summer Camp for 3 years

ABF Master Competitor of the Year 2001

In 1983 was winner of 115 awards for kata, fighting and weapons.

1983 Member of PKA National Championship Team,Akron OH Third Degree Shorin-Ryu (Kobashi) Aug.22 ,1990 USA Hall of Fame 2002 Instructor of the Year 

USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame 2003 Diamond Life Award 25-30 Years

2X World Champ (DLMA) 2007 ALLIANCE NATIONAL GRAND CHAMPION 2007 Alliance National Points Champion Black Belt Men

Past Member of:

United States Karate Association (USKA) 1983

USKK (United States Karate-Do Kai) 1988

PKA (Professional Karate Association)

PKC (Professional Karate Commission)

AKA (American Karate Association) 1983

AMTA (American Mid-West Taekwondo Association)



American Butokukai Federation1998

Current Member of:

American Jukido-Ryu Martial Arts Union2006

USA Martial Arts Alliance (Indiana Rep.)(life time member)

Kokusai Senshu Tokukai(International Champions of Virtue)2006

United States Jiu Jitsu Alliance (life time member)

Tang Shou Society(Empty Hand Society of Martial Artists)

Global Black Belt Society International Combat Martial Arts Unions(Life Member)

Brotherhood of Martial Artists

American Budo Society

Ph.D Martial Arts Philosophy & Martial Arts Science


If you have any questions or comments please email me.


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