Robert Bruce Boggs, age 73, of Olathe, Kansas, entered eternal life on July 31, 2022.
Robert (Bob) was born April 18, 1949, in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to Lt. Col. Lewis Alexander Boggs IV and Marold Mary Millar Dunlop. Growing up as an army brat, Bob’s family moved frequently. Throughout his childhood, they lived in Kentucky, Virginia, Kansas, California, France, Germany, and Okinawa. With each move, he demonstrated an ability to make new friends and connect with people on a personal level.
Throughout his life, Boggs loved playing, coaching, teaching, promoting, and watching sports. From 1962-1966, he played baseball, basketball, & tennis, while attending Prince George High School in Virginia. In 1966, the family moved to Okinawa, where he graduated from Kubasaki High School in 1967. The move to Okinawa would prove to be life-changing. Within a few weeks, he started training in Okinawan Kenpo Karate-Do and Kobudo under Sensei Seiyu Oyata. After attending the University of Maryland extension program on Okinawa, he moved to Kansas in 1968 to further his college education. That same year, he established Kenukan Academy, a martial arts dojo that continues to operate (54 years later) under the ownership and direction of his son, Travis Boggs.
Originally living in Iola, Kansas, Boggs moved to Paola in 1969, and finally, Olathe in 1971. In 1973, he began studying under Bushidokan® Founder and Martial Arts Pioneer, Sensei Jim ‘Ronin’ Harrison. Boggs and Harrison immediately formed a close bond and friendship that would last a lifetime. Combining his original Okinawan Kenpo background with his Bushidokan teachings from Harrison, he established his own personal style of martial arts, called Kenukan-Ryu. Boggs’ teaching ability and mentorship were profound, as he produced hundreds of state, regional, national, and international champions. Under his tutelage and guidance, Kenukan Academy formed a reputation for producing quality fighters with an emphasis on practical and effective street self-defense. Although martial arts were an important part of his life, it was ultimately the people he met, the friendships he forged, and the lives he touched, that meant the most to him.
In the early 1980s, Boggs served as the Community Recreation Director for the Olathe Salvation Army. While there, he helped organize and direct many community programs, including the Biddy Basketball program, the Adopt-A-Family dinner, the Youth Floor Hockey program, arts & crafts festivals, and Christian music concerts – just to name a few. Around the same time, he was selected as a Regional Director for the Chemical People Project (a youth program spearheaded by Mrs. Nancy Reagan), designed to help fight drug & alcohol abuse.
Besides the martial arts, Boggs loved music. He wrote many songs throughout his life and even operated his own music company for several years. He would often bring people into his office to sing them songs and play music. Music was always a way for him to connect and bond with people.
Throughout the years, Boggs achieved many awards and accomplishments. A few of them include: All Okinawa Black Belt Traveling Team Member (1966); Kansas Karate Invitational Black Belt Grand Champion (1970); founded and personally instructed the 1st karate program at Johnson County Community College (1975); personally selected by Jim Harrison for his International All-Star Black Belt Team (1975); rated as one of the “Top 40 Professional U.S. Karate Fighters” (1976); promoted the 1st professional kickboxing event in the state of Kansas (1977); selected as the Sports Commissioner of the AAU Junior Olympics (1988); AAU Coach of the Year (1991 & 1992); directed and coached TEAM USA Karate & Ju-Jitsu to 11 gold medals at the Goodwill Games held in St. Petersburg, Russia (1994); directed and coached TEAM USA Karate & Ju-Jitsu to 57 medals at the Mediterranean Games held in Athens, Greece (1995); awarded the USA Karate Federation “All American Award” for helping get U.S. athletes into the 1995 Pan American Games (1996); founded the 1st karate program at Baker University (1996); inducted into the USA Karate Federation Hall of Fame (1997); inducted into the US Ju-Jitsu Federation Hall of Fame (1999); unanimously elected by 22 countries to serve as the Secretary General of the International Federation of Pankration Athlima (1999); received the 1st Associate Black Belt Certificate from Sensei Jim Harrison (1999); and named one of 150 “Most Influential People” & “Top Athletes” in Olathe’s Sesquicentennial / 150 Year Celebration (2008).
Bob is survived by his son, Travis McKay Boggs (wife Destiny), of Olathe, Kansas; and ex-wife, Bridgett D’Andrea, of Overland Park, Kansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lewis (2018) and Marold (1995); and two brothers, Lewis “Alec” Alexander Boggs V (2018) and James Stuart Boggs (2020).
The Boggs Family plans to hold a Celebration of Life later this year. Details will be posted on the Kenukan Academy Facebook Page, located at www.facebook.com/kenukanacademy