History
"Use only so much force as is necessary."

What is Minna-Jiu-Jitsu?

Minna-Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art system founded by Grandmaster Frank F. Kovacs in 1955. Quite literally it means, “More Arts Together.” The core techniques of Minna-Jiu-Jitsu encompass aspects of Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Savate (French foot fighting), and Muay Thai. Minna-Jiu-Jitsu was developed as a practical form of self-defense for the Western mentality. Its techniques empower an individual to effectively defend themselves from almost any type of attack, whether against single or multiple opponents, unarmed or armed - with weapons ranging from knife, gun, chain, baseball bat, etc. It is considered by many martial arts experts to be one of the first mixed martial art due to the mixture of fighting styles.

Frank F. Kovacs

Born in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania in 1921, Frank F. Kovacs began his journey in the martial arts at the age of six while studying L’art de la Savate. Frank later started learning traditional Karate and Jiu-Jitsu, earning a black belt in each style. He also became proficient in fencing, Western boxing, and Greco-Roman wrestling.

After graduating high school, Frank Kovacs was accepted into Ludovika (West-Point) in Hungary on September 13, 1940. He graduated in 1943 with the rank of Second Lieutenant and soon went into combat as a border patrol guard on the Hungarian-Romanian border during World War II. Frank demonstrated his fighting ability first hand in the defense of his homeland in what was some of the heaviest fighting Hungarian troops ever engaged in. He was shot by a submachine gun and almost died. His valor on the battlefield is legendary, earning him the Hungarian Congressional Medal of Honor. In 2012, the Hungarian military again honored him here in the United States. The Chief Hungarian military attaché to the United States who officiated the ceremony exclaimed that Kovacs fought in the harshest Hungarian battlefield of the Second World War where few survived.

He said it was an honor to have met a man who fought and survived such a hardened battle area. In the ceremony Kovacs received a medal and a proclamation from the Hungarian government, signed by the Hungarian Defense minister.

Soon after the war, Frank relocated to Austria and started teaching his combat skills to different military academies, including the British Commandos. Frank met Eva Onody in Austria in 1944, and in 1948 they were married. Frank and Eva moved to the United States in 1949, right after the birth of their first son, Frank. Eva later gave birth to one more son in the United States, Steve.

Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Federation of the USA

Frank Kovacs and his family settled in Cleveland, Ohio in 1952. In 1954, while working in the engineering department for Reliance Electric (currently Rockwell International) he opened his first martial arts school, the Cleveland School of Self-Defense and Judo at 2916 East 116th Street. Frank later opened up a second school, Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense & Karate, in 1956. In order to keep continuity within his schools, as well as to maintain the quality and integrity of his techniques, Frank formed the Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Federation of the USA (JJBBF) in 1956. The JJBBF serves as the governing body of all of the black belts promoted by Master Kovacs, which numbers over 4,000. Frank was the Managing Director of the JJBBF until the day he died, on January 12th, 2014. On July 31, 1987, Frank was tested and awarded his 10th Dan Black Belt at Mayfield Academy by Korean 10th Dan Grandmaster Yoon-Keun Lee.

"Use only so much force as is necessary."

After more than 50 years Mayfield Academy is still in existence today and has the distinction of being one of the oldest continuously running martial arts schools in the United States. Tens of thousands of students have passed through the doors of the school. Many students today are second and third generation students, learning from the man who taught their parents and grandparents. Outside of the school, Frank Kovacs gave personal instruction to many police departments as well as several United States military academies.

Frank made numerous television appearances both locally and nationally. He served as a private bodyguard for several entertainment celebrities, as well as private security for many politicians.

In 2010, Frank marked his 83rd year in the martial arts, at that time making him one of the oldest grandmasters in the world. At 89 years of age, he was a personal trainer and still taught group and private classes every day of the week. Grandmaster Frank F. Kovacs was quite literally a legend.

Years ago, Jim Caruso getting kicked by Frank Kovacs Chef and Harvey Torok, approximately 45 years ago, during the Cleveland Sportsman Show. Frank still running the dojo despite being in his 90s. Here he is at his desk in 2013. Always a fighter.

 

Zoli, Tom, and Steve Kovacs- cousins, trick-or-treating - standing just outside Frank Kovacs' first dojo, "Cleveland School of Self Defense & Judo," 1964. Not surprisingly, Steve is the pirate. Yar!

 

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