United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame, 2017 Nominee

Military & Law Enforcement Instructor of the Year

KEVIN D. JAMES is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading authorities in the field of military special operations close quarters combatives (CQC) training and high risk diplomatic protective security.

In January of 2017, Kevin James was honored by an official notice that he has been nominated for induction into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame.He is recognized for more than 30 years of dedicated service in teaching military personnel, law enforcement and tactical first responders engaged in the war on terrorism.

Kevin James is Desert Storm era veteran of the United States Navy where he served as Special Operations Parachutist, Maritime Interdiction Operations/VBSS trainer, a course curriculum developer, and Assistant Command Exercise Coordinator.

Kevin James earned the coveted Master Training Specialist designation. The NEC-9502 (Master Training Specialist) rating is the highest certification attainable issued to a tactical instructor from the United States government.

Kevin’s work  involved research, testing and evaluation of combat tactics and authoring high-risk course curriculum that he would teach to instructors and peers under his leadership who include US Navy SEAL teams, Special Warfare Combatant-Crewmen (SWCC), Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) technicians and other Special Operations Forces (SOF).

  • United States Navy, Special Operations Parachute Rigger NEC-7353
  • Military Freefall Jumpmaster
  • United States Navy, Master Training Specialist NEC-9502. The NEC-9502 Master Training Specialist rating is the highest tactical instructor certification attainable issued by the United States government.
  • NSW Small Boat Operations Instructor
  • NSW Riverine Warfare Instructor
  • HRST (Helicopter Rope Suspension Techniques) Instructor
  • NSW Small Arms Marksmanship Instructor (SAMI) NEC 0812
  • NSW Crew Served Weapons Instructor | NEC 0814
  • NSW CQC Tactical Shooting Instructor
    • Proficient in basic and advanced small arms marksmanship per NSWG-1/2 TRADET curriculum. Proficient in all aspects of CQC Tactical Shooting Instruction: primary and secondary weapons, magazine changes, change over drills, stress courses, barricades, close and mid-range tactical shooting – pistol, rifle and SMGs, and Safety procedures.
  • NSW Dynamic and Static RSO Instructor
  • NSW Laser Range Safety Officer
  • NSW Dynamic Fire and Movement Instructor
  • NSW Tactical Ground Mobility (TGM) Instructor)
  • NSW JTAC Instructor/Evaluator
  • Department of State (DoS WPS/WPPS II) Certified High Threat Protection Detail Operations Instructor


  North American Executive Director of Combat Judo International (CJI), a worldwide association of martial artists who practice and teach one or more of the numerous multi-cultural interpretations of judo from a self-defense perspective rather than sport.

  • Technical Advisor – to the All Military Combatives Headquarters in Fort Benning Georgia and at Fort Carson, Colorado Springs.

  • U.S. Naval NEC-9502 Master Training Specialist: Special Operations Lead Instructor, subject matter expert in all aspects of maritime interdiction operations, anti-piracy ship-board security, restraint, control and arrest tactics, less-than-lethal (LTL) weapons, RUF/ROE escalating use of force procedures.

  • Lead Tactical Instructor at Hostile Control Tactics, LLC. | High Risk Entry Team Operations, Simunitions Instructor Course, Tactical Skill Assessment Evaluator, Close Quarters Combat Trainer, Crew Served Weapons Instructor, Ground Combatives Survival Instructor, Protective Security Detail (PSD) Motorcade Operations, IED/VBIED Awareness, Improvised Weapons Defense Tactical Instructor.

  • P.O.S.T. Commission (Approved LE Instructor): Author of numerous law enforcement  tactical courses; Less-than- Lethal Weapons [OC/Pepper Spray], Tactical Baton, Verbal Judo], Arrest, Restraint & Control with Tactical Handcuffing.

  • Lead Instructor contracted to the U.S. Department of State  High Threat Protection Division:
    • Worldwide Personal Protective Services (WPPS/WPS) Contract. Curriculum authored and taught by Mr. James includes, but is not limited to;
      • Surveillance Detection
      • Attack Pattern Analysis
      • Travel Pattern Analysis
      • Advance Route Planning
    • Foot Escort Formations
    • Motorcade Operations
    • IED/VBIED Awareness and Response
    • Counter-terrorism Evasive Security Driving
    • Extreme Close Quarters Marksmanship.

50 years of passionate involvement in the martial arts. An internationally certified black belt in five traditional ‘budo’ disciplines and full instructor equivalent in three more. Holder Aikibudo, Judo, Jujitsu and Hapkido rank under several notable Grand Masters.

SHISEIKAI (市政会館 ) AIKIBUDO – 7th degree black belt, as certified by Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK) of Kyoto, Japan and Combat Judo International.

KODOKAN JUDO – 5th degree black belt as certified by the Kodokan Judo Institute on November 6th, 1998 by the hand of Yukimitsu KANO the fourth president of the Kodokan and the Vice President of the All Japan Judo Federation.

  • Kevin James also holds dan *black belt rank issued from the Korea Judo Association (Godan certificate #5185) under the leadership of President-Kim Jung Haeng who also serves as Vice President of the Judo Union of Asia.

Kodokan Judo & Aiki-budo Jujitsu Lineage

  • Kaichi Tei – 10th dan (as certified by Dai Nippon Butoku Kai Kan Honbu, Shishei Kai Aikibudo Association and the Kodokan Judo Institute)
  • Benjamin A. DeLeon – 9th dan (USJA, USJJF, USJJO)
  • Shag Okada – 8th dan (USJF #8128)
  • Shigeru Yamamoto -7th dan (USJF #6332)
  • Benso Tsuji – 7th dan (USJF #7120)
  • Harlan W. Emerson – 4th dan (USJF #4728)

JANG MU WON HAPKIDO – 1st degree black belt as certified by the Jang Mu Won Hapkido Federation (JMWF) under Grandmaster Chong Sung Kim

TANG SOO DO/TAEKWONDO – 4th degree black belt as certified by the World Taekwondo Association (WTA). First generation direct lineage to the following;

  • Duk Sung Son-9th dan and President of the World Taekwondo Association
  • Jung Kil Kim-9th dan (President of Colorado State AAU Taekwondo and official delegate to the Kukkiwon World Headquarters in Seoul, Korea.


The United States Armed Forces is dedicated to continuous improvement of its combatives programs. There is no such thing as an ‘ultimate fighting system’ endorsed by the special operations community at large. It is the individual soldier’s responsibility to research, train regularly and maintain tactical readiness. Over the last years Kevin D. James chose to gain proficiency in the following styles and systems;

FULL INSTRUCTOR of Jun Fan Martial Arts and Jeet Kune Do Concepts with numerous training certificates earned from Richard Bustillo, Dan Inosanto, Ted Wong, Howard Williams and Jesse Glover. 40 years’ of exhaustive research and physical training in the same.

Supreme Grandmaster-Richard Bustillo shown above is a member of Black Belt Magazine’s 1989 Hall of Fame, Co-Instructor of the Year Award, a recipient of the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame (Pioneer Award), the Filipino Martial Arts Hall of Fame (Life Time Achievement Award) and the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame (Most Distinguish Martial Arts Legend).

Richard Bustillo is one of only for men to earn rank certification directly from Bruce Lee. On September 9, 1967, Richard Bustillo was awarded 1st rank certification #203 directly from the hand of Bruce Lee.


Kevin James has also trained extensively under legendary Jeet Kune Do instructor  Dan Inosanto.  Mr. Inosanto is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority in Bruce Lee’s art of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do. In addition to having a complete mastery of Bruce Lee’s system, Dan Inosanto holds black belt rank or full instructor credentials in at least twelve different martial art and is the creator of Maphilindo Silat and Kali Majapahit Martial arts. He is a multiple time International Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee.

Kali Majapahit Martial Arts – The Majapahit Martial Arts program as created by legendary Guru Dan Inosanto encompasses a wide range of Southeast Asian martial arts proven effective in actual combat scenarios.

  • A synergistic blend of Pekiti-Tirsia System of Kali, Lameco Eskrima, Kali Ilustrisimo, Balintawak Eskrima, Pencak Silat Mande Muda, Pencak Silat Bukti Negara, Krabi Krabong (Military – Nattapong), Bando.

DOCES PARES Multi-Style System – The only Doce Pares organization recognized by the Republic of the Philippines government under Securities and Exchange Commission as per Certificate of Registration No. CEO #1373 issued on 28 Dec. 1987.


  • Gold Medalist – 1985 U.S. Armed Forces Judo Championships (85 kg.)
  • 5X USJF State Judo Champion. (California, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Texas)
  • 1st Place (85kg) 1984 Liberty Bell Judo Classic – Philadelphia, PA
  • 1st Place 1982 Empire State Judo Games (Men’s, 85kg.), Syracuse, NY
  • 1st Place Senior Division, 1981 14th Annual East Coast Championships, NJ
  • Silver Medalist – 1979 USA Judo Mid-western Regionals – Saint Louis, Missouri
  • 1st Place, 1971 Cal Poly Judo Invitational. Pomona, California


  • IKKA Light Heavyweight Karate Champion – 1996 International Kenpo Karate Association ‘Quest of the Best’ tournament held in Pasadena, California. (An official world karate championship title)

  • ISKF Light Heavyweight Karate Champion – 19th Annual International Sport Karate Federation U.S. Nationals and Pan American Karate Championships. (An official international and Pan American Games 1st place championship title)

  • 6 time U.S. National and Pan American Games Champion in both point and full contact karate tournaments hosted by Budweiser ‘Fight Fest’, Miller Light, the United States Sport Karate Association (USKA), the Sport Karate Association (SKA), and the American Full-contact Karate Association (AFKA).

  • Grand Champion, 1996 Miller Lite 8th Annual Greater Metropolitan All Styles Karate Open. Held at Turning Stone Casino in New York.

  • USKA Silver Medalist, 1995 United States Karate Association ‘Goodwill Games’ held in Las Vegas, Nevada. (An official US National 1st Place Karate championship title)

  • Light Heavyweight Champion, 1995 16th Annual Budweiser Karate Classic, held in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • Light Heavyweight Sabaki Champion, 1995 Colorado 3D All Styles Open. Hosted by legendary kickboxing champion Clarence Thatch of Denver, Colorado.

  • USKA Silver Medalist, 1995 United States Karate Association ‘Goodwill Games’ held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • Masters Division Champion 1983 5th Annual ISKF American Karate Regional Open held in Evanston Illinois.

  • Silver Medalist (Sparring) 1981 9th Annual Japan Karate Organization Open held in Kingsroot, Tennessee.

  • First Place (Sparring) 1981 KRANE New England Grand Karate Championships held in Everett, Massachusetts.


  • SHIHAN (師範) CHIEF INSTRUCTOR Shiseikai Aikibudo. Kevin D. James is the acknowledged successor of the Kaichi Tei aikibudo system. Shihan James is a long time student and assistant instructor to Kaichi Tei who is one of Japan’s most revered Supreme Grand Masters of Daito Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu and Kodokan Judo. Grand Master Kaichi Tei is a year 2000 Aikido Journal Encyclopedia ‘Hall of Fame’inductee.

4th Degree Black Belt (Master) of Tang Soo Do/Taekwondo as certified by Grand Master Duk Sung Son (9th degree black belt) and founder of the World Taekwondo Association.


HEAD JUDO COACH – HQ Brand Training Center (formerly, TapOut LA) located downtown Los Angeles, California. Between 2011 and 2014, TapOut LA was the premier mixed martial arts training facility on the entire West Coast. Some of the biggest names in combat sports regularly trained at TapOut LA. Regular guests include; Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, Michael Bisping, Anderson Silva, Ronda Rousey, Chad Mendes, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Kathy Long (5X World Kickboxing Champion), Big John McCarthy and many others. [See photo gallery for more]

Some of the biggest names in the UFC©, Bellator©, Muay Thai and professional combat sports visit and have trained at TapOut LA on a regular basis. Guests include; Anderson Silva, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, Ronda Rousey, 6 Time World Kickboxing Champion Kathy Long, Michael Bisping, Josh Barnett and many others.

Owner and Chief Instructor of Iron Dragon Martial Arts Academy of Littleton, Colorado. Established in 1996. IDMA classes were held six days per week utilizing the 18,000 square foot Littleton, Colorado YMCA fitness center and health club. Kevin D. James oversaw all aspects of new member and supported sixty (60) full-time students.

Owner and Head Instructor Gold Dragon Martial Arts Academy utilizing the facilities of Gold’s Gym of Alexandria, Virginia. 4 time IBJJF World Brazilian Jiu-jitsu champion is a former student.

Chief InstructorCity of Denver Department of Parks and Recreation at Glenarm Recreation Center of downtown Denver. Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo programs.

Former Head Judo Instructor at Tiger Kim’s Academy in Denver, Colorado under the leadership of Grand Master Jung Kil Kim (Tiger Kim), a 9th degree black belt. Kevin james personally taught all judo classes, planned, organized and supervised rank examination testing and special events. 

Grand Master Jung Kil Kim of Denver is a 2010 United States Taekwondo Grand Masters Society ‘Hall of Fame’ award-winner acknowledged as a “Pioneer of Taekwondo to America”. Grand Master Tiger Kim one of less than a hand full of Korean Grand Masters in the world at the rank of 9th degree black belt in all three of Korea’s premier martial arts; Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo and Hapkido.