Chronicles of Carl Cestari
By Clint Sporman
Carl Cestari was best known for his research, training and teaching of various methods of WWII Close-Quarters Combat; however Carl had an extensive background in both Japanese and Okinawan Martial-Arts. From the early age of 7, he started training in Kodokan Judo, under world renowned Judo Instructor Yoshisada Yonezuka and later in Tani-Ha Shito Ryu Karate under Shigeru Kimura at the Judo-Karate Center in Cranford, New Jersey. Carl was a Martial Artist through and through, his love for the martial arts and its early history is something he researched throughout his entire life.
In the mid 1970’s, it’s my understanding that Carl served in the United States Army Reserves. In or around 1977-78 Carl began a career in Law Enforcement and became a Police Officer in which he served on a local Police Department, then transferred to a Federal Agency and then back to his original department. It was around this time that Carl started researching various Military Close-Quarter and hand to hand combat training systems that where developed for troops during the Second World War. Carl sought out old Close-Combat Instructors to either train with, interview or correspond with over the years. These Instructor’s came from such units as the U.S. Army Special Forces, U.S. Army Rangers, Paratroopers, Marine Raiders & Scouts, (ONI) Office of Naval Intelligence, (CIC) Counter Intelligence Corps), (MID) Military Intelligence Division and the First Special Service Force, also know as the "Devil's Brigade" or "Black Devil's".
Carl’s research of the Martial-Arts & various Self-Defense systems started at the early age of 7 when he started collecting martial arts magazines, books, and mail order lessons. Over a 40 year period, Carl had collected several thousand books, hundreds of magazines, hundreds of videos and self defense DVDs. His collection was one most extensive and impressive libraries in the world. Another collector Carl and I knew, was in awe when he walked into Carl's library. There where books ranging from Judo & Jujutsu, to French Savate, to Russian Sombo, from Bare-Knuckle Boxing to All-In Wrestling; Military Combative manuals, to privately published manuals. Books from every part of the World; China, Japan, Indonesian, Burma, India, France, England, Russia EVERYWHERE! You name it, he had it! Carl would literally receive UPS & Fed-Ex packages EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Carl had been most influenced by the works of William E. Fairbairn, Eric A. Sykes, Dermot O'Neill, Rex Applegate, John Styers & Charles Nelson. Through Carl’s 40+ years of training and extensive real world experience, he developed a very practical method of Self-Defense. Carl had always referred to his teaching as “Defendu” i.e. (Gutter-Fighting), as he was very “hinky” to put his name to anything he was teaching.
Carl always looked to improve his own personal protection methods of street-survival, and he demonstrates this on his martial arts DVDs. He looked at EVERYTHING, regardless of where or whom it came from. He was NEVER closed-minded and was open to ANYTHING that would make him a more DANGEROUS adversary. As he stated;
“My interest in the FIGHTING ARTS is SIMPLE:
I want the BEST methods for BEATING THE SHIT out of my enemy”.
Unfortunately, Carl had been battling diabetes for many years, and later was diagnosed with cancer. Carl fought hard, as he did with everything throughout his entire life; he trained and fought right up to the very end. Carl’s final battle ended on July 23, 2007.
GOD BLESS MY FRIEND!
Below you'll find a list of various Martial Arts Carl studied and trained in over the years. There is probably a lot more and as I go through his paperwork, I'll add more as I come across it.
*Shodan 1st Degree Black Belt in Judo USJA under Yoshisada Yonezuka
*Shodan 1st Degree Black Belt in Tani-Ha Shito Ryu Karate (Shukokai)
(His Shukokai technique is based on study with four Sensei primarily: S. Kimura, Yonezuka, Kidachi and Ishihara. He trained with Nanbu but this was very limited)
*Shodan 1st Degree Black Belt in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu - Kodokai
*Nidan 2nd Degree Black Belt in Goju Ryu Karate (Shobukai)
*Sandan 3rd Degree Black Belt in Shorinji Ryu Karate (Kenkokan)
*Sandan 3rd Degree Black Belt in Nippon Kempo with Narabu Sada
*Sandan 3rd Degree Black Belt from the Federation of Practicing Jujutuans
*Godan 5th Degree Black Belt Jujutsu - World Jujutsu Federation under Clarke
*Ryokudan 6th Degree Black Belt - Koshinkai Karate under John Burrelle
*Instructors Certificate - Charles Nelson System of Self Defense under Charlie Nelson
*Founder of Tekken Ryu Jujutsu (Shinan)