What type of Martial Arts do you teach and what is the difference between Karate, Kung Fu, Jiu-jitsu, Tae Kwon-Do, etc.?

Our style is Shaolin Ch'uan Fa, aka Kempo, which means 'Way of the Fist'. In its current form we can trace back its history to the late 19th century; it is considered a blend of Karate and Kung Fu. Around that style we include some concepts primarily from Isshin-Ryu Karate (Okinawan) and Muay Thai boxing. As the Dojo and your Sensei evolve, expect as is the natural order of things that we will continue to incorporate additional useful and functional concepts.

Unlike some systems that employ 70% or 80% kicking techniques or 90% use of hands, Kempo is balanced between hands and feet. Ours is a striking Martial Art of self-defense. It is efficient and eminently practical.

Our style also offers a variety of realistic self-defense techniques. Teaching might vary from single techniques such as defending against punches, kicks, grabs, chokes and locks to controlling techniques, take downs and so forth.

Basic description of various martial arts:

  • Kung Fu, traces back to Bodhidharma and the Chinese Shaolin temple some 1,500 years ago. Encompassing numerous styles and typically based on the movements of animals, Kung Fu is circular in nature and found its way to Japan and her local islands.
  • Kenpo (aka Kempo), as originally practised was the "gateway" between Kung Fu and Karate. It is how the early Okinawan and Japanese Masters referred to their versions of Kung Fu. Several of these Kenpo practitioners later went on to create Karate. Today's Kempo maintains a traditional blend along with incorporating additional technique and efficiencies.
  • Karate, or 'Empty Hand', originated from Okinawa and is an outgrowth of Kenpo and a striking Martial Art. Movements are primarily linear with forms and function adopted to minimize unnecessary movement.
  • Jiu-Jitsu, Japanese, includes joint locks, throwing and pinning techniques. Emphasizes controlling your opponent with a minimum of striking.
  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a variation of Jiu-Jitsu, later evolved to include more ground-work, submission holds, etc.
  • Tae Kwon-Do, Korean, is linear in nature and is approximately 75% (or more) kicking. TKD is considered a sporting Martial Art (i.e., versus self-defense).

How safe are the classes?

We emphasize physical and mental toughness but safety is paramount. Students train within their own space and respect others. Older members often “punch in”. These drills provide outlets for the students to practice what they’ve learned in a controlled manner.

Are you teaching my child to become a bully?

No! Some local institutions focus primarily on contact sparring and board breaking. Without addressing the student's nature - the "self" - this sort of training can lead to aggression in students. While sparring and board breaking represent a portion of our curriculum, many additional techniques are employed. We foster assertiveness, not aggression.

Who will be teaching my child? What are this person’s background and qualifications?

We do not rely on unqualified or "revolving door" instructors; with rare exception, Sensei Anthony Smetak teaches all classes. A handful of more experienced, mature students are groomed as assistants under close supervision. For more specific information about Sensei Smetak, please visit the About Us page. Who's teaching my child? Remember, character matters!

How old does my child have to be to start karate?

At our Dojo, we have many children as young as 3 years old.

How many times a week do you recommend the students train?

We can see students once per week but actually recommend two classes per week, as this tends to substantially accelerate their abilities and development, as well as improve their overall satisfaction with their own progress and with that of the program.

How does the Black Belt system work?

At our school, teens and Adults are on an adult Black Belt path. Once children receive a Junior Black Belt, they then work on different Junior Black Belt levels (i.e., their adult material) in pursuit of the adult standing. These classes are more challenging and need to be attended in order to earn the coveted adult Black Belt ranking.

What are your pricing plans? Do you have discounts for additional family members?

We do not enforce long term contracts (i.e., 18 or 24 month terms) as some other schools do. There are month-to-month, 6 and 12 month programs. Prospective members commit to one of these programs and then at the conclusion of their term, sign-ups can be renewed or updated. Second family members receive a 10% discount on membership. After two fully paid memberships, third and fourth family members' tuition is free. We also have discounts for active duty military, first responders and teachers.

Not so FAQ of the Month: Is this one of those places where the instructor yells & screams a bunch?

Yelling & screaming can actually serve a valid function in self-defense. Really. But too much is rather comical and can give you a headache, so as with other areas in life, we try to maintain that sensible balance!