The Krystek School of Judo, Self Defense, and Fitness was founded on August 1st, 1968 by Sensei Jack Krystek. Our history, however, dates back to the early 1950’s in the small coal mining town of Heerlen in the Netherlands where Sensei Jack was born. He decided to study Judo after witnessing his older brother, Albert, get beaten up by another kid. Having seen Judo in a popular comic book, the then 9 year old Jack was convinced that it was the best way for a smaller man to beat a larger opponent. This was how a lifelong passion into the Martial Arts for the brothers, specifically in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu, got started.
At the age of 16 and within five years of training in Judo, Jack enlisted in the Dutch Marine Corp. He was stationed in Papua New Guinea where he was assigned the role of hand to hand combat instructor. By the age of 18, he was credited with starting the first official Judo club ever on the island of New Guinea. His brother Albert, continued to study Judo in Heerlen and eventually opened his own dojo under the name: Sportsinstituut Krystek, which he owned and operated successfully for the next 48 yrs.
After his tour of duty with the Marine Corp, Jack decided to immigrate to the United States. Not soon after, he travelled once again, this time to Japan where he received his 2nd degree black belt in Judo. Once back in America, he opened the Krystek School at the suggestion of a friend. Sensei Jack also began studying self defense and became passionate about mastering it. He realized therefore, that he needed to polish the boxing skills he had picked up while in the Marines. He was fortunate enough to meet and befriend two boxing legends: Paolo Rossi and Jimmy Herring, who both became essential in helping him master the art of boxing. Under their expert training, Jack eventually fought a pro fight.
What is commonly referred to today as, Mixed Martial Arts, was simply common sense to Jack. His philosophy was to always strive to be a well rounded fighter, trained in many other disciplines in order to truly defend oneself on the street. Jack, along with Albert, began developing their own system of jiu-jitsu for the street or what we call our Jiu-Jitsu Modern Style (JJMS) system. Albert wrote two books on this subject which were both published in the Netherlands.
In the late 70’s Sensei Jack met USA Judo legend, George Harris. George quickly made the Krystek School his home. Before the popular Karate Kid movie, there was “The Year of The Gentle Tiger”, a made for TV movie about a bi-racial Judoka – George was the co-star. Some Krystek students played actors and extras in the movie and the opening scenes were actually filmed at our school! George remained a colleague and close friend of Sensei Jack’s for the remainder of his life.
Throughout the 80’s-90’s Sensei Jack focused all his energy on nonstop training, attaining peak physical fitness and, practicing “real world” self defense. However, no true well-being can be achieved when your mind and spirit are deficient. This brought Sensei Jack’s training into the realm of holistic health, eventually earning a N.D. PHD. Over the years, he has helped many people heal and overcome mental obstacles in order to live richer fuller lives.
By 2002, Sensei Jack’s love for Judo was never stronger. He decided to compete again after almost 40 years of being retired from competition due to a back injury. He competed in the Liberty Bell Championships and won the “Masters over 40” division at the age of 63! He went on to place third in the World Championships in Ireland, before winning first place at the Masters Nationals in 2003. Jack continues to compete to this day, winning the 2010 World Master Championships in Montreal, Canada.
In 2003 we were extremely honored to host Judo legend Yashihuro Yamshita at our dojo for a seminar. He was brought to us by another close friend to the school Judo Olympian Radomir Kovačević. Sensei Jack met Radomir and the instantly became friends. Jack stayed close to Radomir until his passing in 2006. Radomir left behind a legacy and Judo spirit which we commemorate every year with an shiai and award in his honor: the Radomir Kovačević spirit award, given to the Judoka who exemplifies the true Judo spirit on and off the mat, the way Radomir did his entire life.
In 2004 Sensei began his training in Israeli Martial Arts eventually becoming a black belt in 2008. In 2005 Jack Johan, Jack’s son, under the tutelage of his father and uncle Sensei Albert, returned to the school to continue the Krystek legacy. He now teaches at the school and acts as head administrator.