Helping Youth Since 1993
"Supporting Better Education Through Martial Arts"
A 200 Year Family Tradition
Shortly after the American Revolutionary War, a young educated Irishman, Dr. Hugh Corrans Boggs, came to America looking to write a new chapter in his life. Originally settling in Pennsylvania, he studied Theology at the feet of one of American’s great ecclesiastical legends, the Right Reverend Dr. William White, Bishop of Pennsylvania. In 1788, Dr. Boggs was ordained as a Deacon in the Episcopal Church. The following year, in 1789, he was made a Priest, and decided to move southward, to the State of Virginia. Being appointed the Rector of Berkeley Parish, Spotsylvania County, he quickly established a reputation as a passionate preacher, and great classical Latin and Greek scholar. During that period in history, the clergy were instrumental in educating the youth. Accordingly, the Reverend Dr. Hugh Corrans Boggs became a private tutor for many bright young men of the day. In 1796, the Rev. Dr. Boggs married the well-connected Ann “Nancy” Holladay - daughter of Maj. Lewis Holladay (1751-1820) and Elizabeth Lewis (1732-1809), half-sister to Gen. Lewis Littlepage (1762-1802), and full-sister to Waller Holladay, Esq. (1776-1860). As a marriage gift, he received a portion of land from his Father-in-Law. It was upon this property that the estate known as “Livingston” was constructed and St. John’s Episcopal Church was established. By 1807, the Rev. Dr. Boggs decided to operate a school out of St. John’s Church. According to ads posted in the Virginia Harold, Hugh Boggs’ Academy taught the study of languages (Latin & Greek), geography, book keeping, religion, history, international politics, & philosophy. Around 1809, the Rev. Dr. Boggs’ sister, Ann Boggs, joined him in Virginia. Miss Ann Boggs, an accomplished Governess in Ireland, shared her Brother’s passion for education. She would help with instruction at the Academy and continued to serve as a private tutor. In all, the academy operated for nearly 20 years.
In 1814, John Lewis, a student of the Rev. Dr. Hugh Corrans Boggs (and wife’s 1st cousin), decided to open Llangollen Academy. Unlike other institutions, Llangollen was constructed as a school community - the forerunner to the modern university campus. The facilities included the main house, school building, office, dormitories, and garden. Much like Boggs’ Academy, Llangollen emphasized a strong academic study in mathematics (basic arithmetic, algebra, & geometry), languages (English, Latin, Greek, Spanish, Italian, & French), ancient & modern history, philosophy of languages, ethics, logic, mental philosophy, & political economy. In addition to academics, the pupils were also taught military tactics and strategy. John Lewis felt that this fusion of academics and physical training made a well-rounded individual. According to Lewis:
The object should be to lead the mind to the love of virtue and the desire for knowledge, as the means of doing good. We have, therefore, military training. Physical education is thus made to cooperate with moral and intellectual culture. The union of these, we believe, constitutes the best system of instruction. There is no good system in which they are not united.
In order to help with the extensive operating and teaching responsibilities of the Academy, Lewis enlisted the help of his former tutor, the Rev. Dr. Hugh Corrans Boggs, and Miss Ann Boggs. Llangollen became known as one of the first institutions to instruct both male and female students (in separate classes). Due to the comprehensive, systematic, and progressive teaching methods employed, the Llangollen Academy established a good reputation in the community, attracting such well-known patrons as Judge Peter V. Daniel (US Supreme Court Justice), Col. Samuel Carr (nephew of President Thomas Jefferson), and Dr. Beverley R. Wellford (6th President of the American Medical Association).
In 1828, the Rev. Dr. Hugh Corrans Boggs passed away. By 1832, due to poor economic conditions in Virginia, John Lewis decided to sell Llangollen and move to Kentucky, where he would re-establish the academy, and go on to write several books. The Rev. Dr. Boggs’ only child, Lewis Alexander Boggs, Esq. (1811-1880), who was educated at both the Boggs & Llangollen Academies, would become the Chief Justice for Spotsylvania County, Virginia, a position he proudly held for over 30 years.
Nearly a 100 years after the death of the Rev. Dr. Hugh Corrans Boggs, his Great Great Grandson, Lewis Alexander Boggs, IV, was born at the old “Livingston” estate. After fighting in the Second World War’s European Theater as a combat infantryman in the 4th Armored Division (General Patton’s 3rd Army), he would go on to earn his Bachelor of Arts Degree at Randolph-Macon College (Ashland, Virginia), briefly teach in the Virginia public schools, and return to the Army as a Commissioned Officer. In 1945, after being hospitalized in England during World War II, he married his wife of almost 50 years, Marold Mary Millar Dunlop (1928-1995), a native of the United Kingdom. Together, they raised three children (Lewis Alexander Boggs V, James Stuart Boggs, & Robert Bruce Boggs), while dealing with the demands of being transferred every few years (including tours of Okinawa, France, Germany, Vietnam, & Korea). Due to strong leadership skills and work ethics, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
In 1966, Lt. Col. Lewis Alexander Boggs was transferred to Okinawa, Japan. For Lt. Col. Boggs’ son, Robert (Bob), this meant not only finishing his high school education over-seas, but the beginning of an unforeseen future in the classical martial arts. Within a few months on Okinawa, Bob discovered the dojo (school) of Sensei (teacher) Seiyu Oyata 親田清勇 (1928-2012). After rigorous study, Bob earned his 1st Degree Black Belt (Sho-Dan) in the art of Okinawan Karate. By the time he left the island in 1968 (about 2 1/2 years after arriving), he would possess not only his 2nd Degree Black Belt (Ni-Dan), but also a teaching license signed by one of the great karate legends, Sensei Shigeru Nakamura 中村茂 (1893-1969). Traveling to the State of Kansas for college, Bob decided to open his own martial arts school. The school name his association had assigned to him, if he ever chose to form an academy, was Kenukan 拳友館 (meaning Fist-Friend-Building). Thus, in 1968, Boggs’ Kenukan Academy was established. Boggs’ Kenukan Academy, much like the Boggs’ Academy founded by his ancestor, the Rev. Dr. Hugh Corrans Boggs, is one that promotes the philosophical values of honesty, loyalty, respect, kindness, dedication, discipline, responsibility, courage, health, knowledge, community, and family. In addition, similar to that of the Historic Llangollen Academy, Kenukan Academy believes that the unification of physical development and academic study leads to a successful and balanced person.
In 1971, Bob Boggs continued his classical martial arts training with world renown judo, ju-jutsu, karate, and self-defense expert, Sensei Jim Harrison. Combining his training from Sensei Harrison and Oyata, Bob created his own system of martial arts, called Kenukan-Ryu 拳友館琉 (Kenukan Style). Kenukan-Ryu, a blend of classical asian judo, karate, and ju-jutsu, plus, western boxing and wrestling, has been recognized by both the World Union of Karate-Do Organizations and the Ju-Jitsu International Federation (150 countries around the world). In addition to producing hundreds of international, national, & state champions over the years, in 1976, Bob rose to become one of America’s top 40 professional karate fighters. Recognized as an international ambassador for the martial arts, he appeared on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, CBS Sports Spectacular, NBC SportsWorld, HBO, & ESPN. With a focus on practical and effective self-defense, Boggs’ Kenukan Academy has continuously served the Kansas City area for almost 50 years.
In 1993, Bob Boggs formed the Martial Arts Education Fund, Inc. (MAEF), a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, with the primary purpose of helping financially burdened youth obtain both educational and martial arts success, while infusing lasting values. With so many negative influences in the world today, the MAEF believes that the world would be a much better place if more people had access to a combination of classical martial arts training, Olympic style competition, and scholastic development.
Continuing the Boggs Family tradition of education that dates back over 200 years, is Bob Boggs’ son, Travis McKay Boggs. Travis Boggs, a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Business, is an International Gold Medalist, competing in both the Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Mediterranean Games in Athans, Greece. In 2006, Bob handed Kenukan Academy over to his son, ensuring the continuation of martial arts excellence. In 2014, Travis served as a coach for the United States Ju-Jitsu Team that competed in Paris, France, for the JJIF World Championships. Together, both Bob & Travis help run the Martial Arts Education Fund. They are proud of their family tradition and work hard to make a continued positive difference in the lives of America’s youth.