Ernie Cates' Biography
Magazine Articles

Ishikawa Judo School - May 15th, 1978
Black Belt Magazine April 2008
Inside Karate Magazine Jan. 1997


Professor Ernie Cates: is the Founder of Neko-ryu Goshin Jitsu; is an 8th degree black belt in Kodokan Judo; is a 7th degree black belt in Taiho Jitsu (Police Tactics); and is a 7th degree black belt in Goshin Jitsu (Self-Defense Tactics). In 1999, he was awarded the rank of 8th degree black belt (Hachi Dan) in Judo and the title Professor of Judo by the United States Judo Association – a position accredited by all national and international martial arts organizations. His 7th degrees in Taiho Jitsu and Goshin Jitsu were also validated by the USJA.

Neko-Ryu Goshin Jitsu
The concepts of Neko-ryu originated with Kotani Sensei (10 degree Kodokan Judo) and Nakabiyashi Sensei (a combative measures instructor at the Japanese Naval Academy) that had developed a four-hour self-defense course to provide Japanese business men training in simple

self-defense principles in the early 1960’s and who was later hired by the U.S. Marine Corp to train troops. Professor Cates studied directly with Mr. Nakabiyashi when Professor Cates was a hand-to-hand combat instructor in the Marine Corp at Paris Island.

Professor Cates took this concept, coupled with high ranking skills in Judo, Taiho Jitsu, Goshin Jitsu, as well a his military/combat experience and created a complete martial art/self-defense system naming it Neko-Ryu Goshin Jitsu (“Cat-style Self Defense”). Neko-ryu Goshin Jitsu’s principles and techniques focus on simple and natural movements (similar to the movements of a cat) which are easy to remember while under the stress of an attack and which utilize the size and power of a larger opponent against themselves. Professor Cates system of Neko-ryu Goshin Jitsu also includes the innovative and original concept (which he created) of “vertical and 22 ½ º  kazushi” rather than the traditional eight-direction and 45º kazushi.

Professor Cates received international recognition for Neko-ryu Goshin Jitsu when he was inducted into the World Head of Family Sokeship Council and recognized as the Soke (Head of family/Headmaster) of Neko-ryu Goshin Jitsu. The World Head of Family Sokeship Council is considered the most elite and prestigious martial arts grandmaster’s council in the world and consists solely of 9th and 10th degree Grandmasters. The current title of Soke (Head of Family/Headmaster) has been transferred to Grandmaster Moose Cates who continues to teach and develop the style, as well as to continue Professor Cates’ legacy.

Judo Competition, Military & Law Enforcement Instruction
Professor Cates is a retired USMC Captain. In the mid-fifties, he studied and competed in martial arts in Okinawa, Japan, Korea, as well as trained at the Kodan (World Headquarters for Judo in Japan) under Kotani Sensei. During the late-fifties and early sixties, he competed throughout the United States with over 300 matches and only twelve losses.

Professor Cates was: the 1956 Okinawa Judo Champion; the All Marine Corps Judo Champion from 1959 to 1963 (seven consecutive years in his weight class) ; the overall All Marine Corps Judo Champion for five consecutive years when he defeated all weight groups; a two-time Inter-Service Judo Grand Champion; also, a five-time Eastern U.S. Champion.

Professor Cates is to date the only American ever to receive the Japanese Ambassador’s Cup in Judo which he received in 1962. In 1964 he was fourth in his weight group at the first U.S. Olympic Trials for Judo (World’s Fair – New York).

In 1966-67, Professor Cates was a Psychological Operations Officer in Vietnam where he directed anti-terrorist, clandestine operations and civic action programs. He trained and deployed counter-guerilla operations in Northern I Corps. He was an advisor to armed
Professor Ernie Cates Biography continued

propaganda teams and provincial recon units, and he formed, trained and deployed scout units using mercenary personnel recruited from the Main Force VC.

Professor Cates also taught martial arts at the University of Hue in Vietnam.

In 1968-69 he was the Executive Officer, First Civil Affairs Group. He conducted in-depth personality studies of dissident leaders in the United States. He was also the advisor on Psychological Operations within the 1st and 3rd Marine Divisions.

In the early 1970’s Professor Cates was an instructor of weapons, defense tactics and apprehension techniques at the Mid-Michigan Police Academy. He also held numerous other positions at this time including: being the assistant Judo Coach at Michigan State University; being a full-time Deputy Sheriff in Shiawasi County, Michigan on road patrol and narcotics strike teams; instructing Judo at Owosso Judo Club in Owosso, Michigan – developing national and international women’s Judo Champion. He was also assistant Provost Marshall, New River Air Station, Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, where he taught police self-defense techniques to the Jacksonville area law enforcement.

From 1975-77, Professor Cates instructed Judo and self-defense classes at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he conducted numerous clinics in Judo in the Eastern United States. He was also an AAU United States National Judo Champion, Gold Medal in the Masters Division.

From 1980-90, Professor Cates was a Nuclear Security Specialist supervisor for Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric. During this time he also: instructed law enforcement and nuclear security personnel in the use of weapons and unarmed self-defense; taught seminars in competition Judo and defense tactics; trained and qualified as an Advanced Hostage Negotiator by the FBI; and, was a senior negotiator in numerous exercises with the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, FBI, Nuclear Security and local law enforcement.

While a technical director for the Martial Arts Center in Raleigh, North Carolina during the early 1990’s, Professor Cates taught clinics throughout the United States in Judo, Self Defense to numerous martial arts organizations, as well as taught street survival and officer safety to law enforcement agencies. He was also a National Senior Examiner for the United States Judo Association and a Senior Examiner and Technical Director for North Carolina Judo, Incorporated.

Professor Cates has instructed Special Forces, Special Operations, and Intelligence Agencies throughout the Eastern United States, as well as taught Federal, State and local law enforcement officers all over the county. He is an on-going consultant in Urban Survival, Police Apprehension and Defense, Domestic Violence Survival and Military Defense Tactics throughout the United States.

Just a few of Professor Cates awards include: being inducted into the Hall of Fame in the American-Okinawan Karate Association, the International Association of Martial Arts and the World Head of Family Sokeship Council; and receiving the Historical Martial Arts Figure of the Year Award and the Living Legend Award from the World Head of Family Sokeship Council.