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“Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it.” — Unknown

“We make war that we may live in peace.” — Aristotle

“Civilize the mind but make savage the body.” — Chairman Mao


Kajukenbo is a hybrid martial art that combines multiple martial arts including (but not limited to) western boxing, judo, jujutsu, kenpo karate, tang soo do, and kung fu.   Kajukenbo is considered by many experts to be America’s first ‘Mixed Martial Art‘ — commonly known as ‘MMA‘.  It was founded around 1947 in Oahu, Hawaii and the first classes were taught in the Palama Settlement Gym.  The original purpose of the art was to deal with local crime, and to help the people defend themselves against U.S. Navy sailors from Pearl Harbor who would start fights with the locals. The creators are recognized as being Sijo (“founder”) Adriano Emperado, Peter Young Yil Choo, Joe Holck, Frank Ordonez, and George Chang, who were later called the ‘Black Belt Society’.  The founders of Kajukenbo wanted to develop an art that would be readily useful on the street.  As they trained and fought in and around Palama Settlement, the founders of Kajukenbo quickly gained reputations as formidable street-fighters.  While similar to -and compatible with- Jeet Kune Do, Kajukenbo predates JKD by about 20 years.

Kajukenbo uses hard, fast strikes to soft targets and vital points throughout the body, takedowns involving high impact throws and many joint and limb destruction techniques — usually as follow-ups to takedowns or grappling. There are also many blocks from attacks such as punches and defenses and disarmament of offensive weapons. The name comes from the arts on which it was originally based: “ka” (karate), “ju” (jujutsu), “ken” (kenpo), “bo” (Boxing and/or Chinese Boxing [Kung Fu]) but a loose translation of those characters leads to the philosophical meaning of ka-ju-ken-bo: “ka” (‘long life’), “ju” (‘happiness’) “ken” (‘fist’), “bo” (‘style’)  –  “Through this fist style, one gains long life and happiness.” Kenpo emerged as the core around which this new art was built. Although uncredited by name, other influences included American Boxing (Choo was US Army Welterweight Champion) and Escrima (Emperado also studied Kali and Arnis/Escrima). From its beginnings, Kajukenbo was an eclectic and adaptive art. As time has passed, Kajukenbo has continued to change and evolve. Currently, there are a few distinct, “recognized” branches of Kajukenbo: Kenpo (“Emperado Method” or “Traditional Hard Style”), Tum Pai, Chu’an Fa, Wun Hop Kuen Do, and Gaylord Method. In addition, there are numerous “unrecognized” branches, including CHA-3 and Kenkabo. While this may be confusing for an outsider, it is the essence of the art. Students are not required to mimic the teacher, but are encouraged to develop their own “expression” of the art.  (c) Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License, with some modifications to the text. In our school, the Close Quarters Battle (“CQB” for short) System of Kajukenbo has both similarities and differences to several Kajukenbo branches while borrowing from additional arts and systems. You can learn more about Kajukenbo on the Web.


Kajukenbo (under various names and guises) has been around since before the Korean Conflict (c. 1950) and is practiced around the world.  Famous Kajukenbo practitioners include Mark Dacascos who has been in dozens of movies (Only the Strong, American Samurai, Brotherhood of the Wolf) and TV shows (The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, Iron Chef), Benny “The Jet” Urquidez – kickboxer and actor (the “Basque National” in Grosse Point Blank), as well as over a dozen professional MMA fighters like “The Iceman” Chuck Liddell & Tito Ortiz of UFC fame, who both trained with John Hackleman at The Pit up until about UFC 47. It is important to note that some Kajukenbo schools may refer to themselves as Kenpo, Kempo Aikijujitsu, Kajukembo, Kenpo Jujitsu, Hawaiian Kempo, or other names.  Whatever the name used for the style, if a practitioner can trace his or her lineage back to Sijo Emperado and the “Black Belt Society” then that person is considered to be a member of the Kajukenbo Family – “Ohana“.


Close Quarters Battle (CQB), Close Quarters Defense (CQD) or Close Quarters Combat (CQC) is a type of fighting in which small units engage the enemy with personal weapons at very short range, even to the point of hand-to-hand combat. In the typical CQB scenario, the attackers try a very fast, violent takeover of a vehicle or structure controlled by the defenders, who usually have no easy way to withdraw. Because enemies, hostages/civilians, and fellow operators can be closely intermingled, CQB demands a rapid assault and a precise application of lethal force. The operators need great proficiency with their weapons, but also the ability to make split-second decisions in order to avoid or limit friendly casualties. CQB is defined as a short duration, high intensity conflict, characterized by sudden violence at close range.

Criminals sometimes use CQB techniques, such as in an armed robbery or jailbreak, but most of the terminology comes from training used to prepare soldiers, police, and other authorities. Therefore, much CQB material is written from the perspective of the “good guys” who must break into the stronghold where the “bad guys” have barricaded themselves.

Although there is considerable overlap, CQB is not synonymous with urban warfare, now sometimes known by the military acronyms MOUT (military operations on urban terrain), FIBUA (fighting in built-up areas) or OBUA (Operations in Built Up Areas) in the West. Urban warfare is a much larger field, including logistics and the role of crew-served weapons like heavy machine guns, mortars, and mounted grenade launchers, as well as artillery, armor, and air support. In CQB, the emphasis is on small infantry units using light, compact weapons that one man can carry and use easily in tight spaces, such as submachine guns, shotguns, pistols and even knives. – (c) Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation License


Generally, I do not accept any student who is not at least in grade school and accustomed to listening to a teacher.  In my experience, around 10 or 12 years old is optimal for serious training but I have allowed students to play along who were as young as 5, as a courtesy when their brothers or sisters were training.  This will be decided on a case-by-case basis but the general rule of thumb is 12 years old.  If your child can follow instructions properly and CQB KAJUKENBO instructors do not need to take undue time from the rest of the class telling them to listen or pay attention then they will probably be fine. If your child is frequently reprimanded in school for talking, disrupting class or otherwise misbehaving then they probably not be welcome with us for long. Engaging in horseplay, ignoring instructions, lying, cheating, stealing or disregarding the safety of themselves and/or others will not be tolerated.  If your child does not know right from wrong then they need to learn that first. Any child will be given one warning for unacceptable behavior and will be dismissed from the program on a second offense. I will teach any student with the ability and desire to learn but I am not a babysitter.  Since we are on the subject, regardless of  how old your child is when s/he starts, do not expect then to be allowed to test for a black belt before they are 16-18 years old at the earliest.  If you want your child to have given a black belt before they are 16 then train somewhere else.  We call kids like that “brat belts” and they are considered to be a joke -or insult- to serious martial artists.  You earn your belt from me.  I do not give you or your child one just because you  paid me.


CQB Kajukenbo Club 41 Frontier Trail Fenton, MO  63026

cqbkaju (at) gmail (dot) com Call:  314  602  4068

Classes are currently held on Mondays, Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Getting to class early or late is not a problem. Arriving late is better than not showing up at all but realize that class starts on time so you may be missing out if you are consistently late. I often say “Come when you can & leave when you need to.”


Short answer:  Anywhere from 3 to 5 years depending on the student and the amount of prior experience.

Long answer: There are 20 levels in the CQB System of Kajukenbo Self Defense which are learned over roughly 800 hours of training.



0 White
1 White +1 stripe
2 White +2 stripes
3 White +3 stripes
4 Purple black uniform needed for test; awarded “rocker arm patch” {left arm} when uniform is acquired
5 Purple +1 stripe  
6 Purple +2 stripes  
7 Purple +3 stripes  
8 Blue

Awarded Kajukenbo Crest patch. Placed on the left side, over heart

9 Blue +1 stripe  
10 Blue +2 stripes  
11 Blue +3 stripes  
12 Green

Awarded Hawaiian Flag patch – right arm

13 Green +1 stripe  
14 Green +2 stripes  
15 Green +3 stripes
16 Brown

awarded Universal patch – right side, opposite Crest

17 Brown +1 stripe

“First Brown”

18 Brown +2 stripes

“Second Brown”

19 Brown +3 stripes

“Third Brown”

20 Black

First degree black belt, Shodan, 1st Dan


Stripes are simply bits of black electrical tape, which keeps everyone from having to buy new belts every few months. Wearing belts in class is optional. If you are in uniform for some reason (seminars, testing, etc.) then your belt is required.

A student is generally eligible to test for a level promotion (or ‘bump’) after around 40 class hours.  Since there are 6 class hours in a week, this could be possible every 2 or 3 months.

Depending on performance and prior experience, the “time in grade” requirement may be adjusted. A students class hours are tracked on a time card and initialed by a presiding instructor or assistant instructor at the end of each class. The student is responsible for making sure his card is initialed prior to leaving the class session.

To keep things easy, every card has slots for 40 hours of training per side.  Fill up a side and you might be eligible to test.

CQB KAJUKENBO promotion standards are more based on your skill set and overall improvement than your comparison to your peers or your instructors. Everyone has access to the requirements for every rank but you only need to perform those techniques at a proficiency relative to his or her level.  In other words, locks #1, #2 and #3 in Lock Flow that you must know for a promotion to L1 (i.e. Level 1,  beginner) do not need to be impressive when you test after the first few months of training.  However, those same 3 locks need to be done very well by the time you are a brown belt (L16).

In the words of Professor John Bishop: ‘Kajukenbo is NOT a; “if you can afford it, we will award it” system.’


I don’t charge.  You will pay in sweat, bruises and pain.  This way I have no tax liability or overhead. Donations are accepted and appreciated but are in no way required or expected.  Some people donate $5 or $10 every few months to cover the cost of equipment or someone may donate a case of bottled water or sports drinks.  But again, that has no effect on me or the class.  I teach to improve my skills and to promote and grow the Kajukenbo system.  The only time someone ‘pays’ me is if I order equipment for them and they pay me back.  No matter how poor you are, you will find that you can afford to learn Kajukenbo.


All I ask in return is that you respect the Kajukenbo system, your fellow students, and myself. If you do not do so, you will be encouraged to leave the class. However, that doesn’t mean you should follow me blindly. Ask questions! Question everything & think about the techniques. If something doesn’t make sense or you think there is a better way, please say so. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I don’t claim to have all the answers. A black belt is still learning, just like everyone else in class. Even if you expect to called “Master”, there are still things you can learn and be taught by others, as long as you are not too arrogant or ignorant to realize it.


Come see what you get and compare it to what you would pay for somewhere else.  Everyone seems to think differently afterward.  All of my students come from referrals and many are in Law Enforcement or ex-military, which I like to think says something about its value.  There is no charge to try the class.  I’m not advertising the first week or first month free.  It is always free.  You don’t even need to purchase a uniform or belt until you’ve been in the class almost a year.


We rarely wear uniforms, belts, “gis”, “obis”, “kimonos” or whatever else you want to call them in class, but you are welcome to if you wish and they should be black.  Kajukenbo & Kenpo/Kempo practitioners are famous for wearing black uniforms.   If you are wearing your uniform top then you are expected to wear your belt.  Be sure to wash your uniform jacket & pants together -even if you did not wear the jacket- so it fades evenly.

You should have a black gi (“uniform”) to be eligible to test for a purple belt.  The belt itself costs around $7-$10 with shipping.  Any black karate uniform (commonly known as a “kenpo gi”) with a traditional wrap-around top, such as one from Ronin® or GTMA® is acceptable.  A decent kenpo gi will start in the $40-$50 range plus shipping.  You are also welcome to purchase a black Judo/Jujutsu/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) gi instead but they usually cost at least $75 plus shipping.  Wearing a black judo / jujutsu gi class is permissible because we do a fair amount of throws and ground fighting, as long as you are wearing a black shirt or rash-guard underneath.  Be aware that the amount of throws and ground work we do will take it’s toll on a kenpo gi. You should always wear your uniform & belt to tests, demonstrations, seminars or the like and can always take it off if it isn’t needed.

We usually wear a black t-shirt or sweatshirt and black workout shorts or sweatpants when we are training. We usually wear shoes in class as well since you will probably have them on when you get in a confrontation anyway. A pair of clean tennis, wrestling, kung-fu or jogging shoes is all you need, but black is always preferred. A light shoe with a flexible sole will probably serve you best.  Feiyue kung-fu shoes are a great value at about $20 but they come in European sizes.  You can get Feiyue shoes at, (click here).

Be aware that quality uniforms are often 100% cotton and will probably shrink in warm water & the dryer.  I cannot stress this enough.  If you like the way your uniform fits then be sure to wash it in cold water and hang it to dry. I recommend a 100% cotton black uniform which is at least “medium weight” – 8oz to 10oz – or a black “single weave” judo/jiu-jitsu gi.  Something like the Ronin® Black middleweight (9.5 oz) uniform is a good choice if you are starting out or possibly the GTMA (8oz) KARATE GI 100% cotton will work for students on a smaller budget.  You will look good for formal occasions without breaking the bank.  Remember that the lighter the fabric, the sooner it may rip or tear, which could mean buying a new uniform. Also, pay attention to the descriptions if you want a white belt because uniforms may not come with one.    Saving up to get a decent uniform is often a good investment.  A 12oz kenpo uniform or a black jujitsu gi should last longer if you can afford it but the weight might take some getting used to and a 12 oz gi will probably feel quite stiff until it breaks in.  Sizing and shrinkage of these uniforms should be taken into account before blindly purchasing.  You may have the opportunity to try on another student’s uniform to get a feel for the fit before buying.  The fit and cut of uniforms can vary widely between manufacturers so mistake in sizing or laundering can be costly.  As a rule of thumb, I plan on a 100% cotton uniform shrinking about 3 inches after washing. Kenpo uniforms are usually well-made but are not likely to withstand the heavy pulling of a lot of grappling or throws for very long.  “Ground work” is likely to add wear and tear to a kenpo gi well.  If you get 12 months of constant use out of a martial arts uniform then that is usually pretty good.   I have witnessed a black Ronin 9.5oz “kenpo” uniform (which is great for frequent general use) rip at the seams after a few years of grappling and throws so I leave the choice up to the student.  In general, the heavier a uniform is, the longer it will last, the more it will cost and the warmer/hotter you will be when wearing it.  Any judo/jujitsu gi should be heavier and more durable than any kenpo gi because of the construction and materials.  I recommend 100% cotton because it breathes better and looks better after wear and washing.  The faded look of a well-worn black uniform is a badge of honor and indicates that that you have been training seriously for a while. A white ‘karate’ uniform or taekwondo v-necked ‘dobok’ is generally frowned on in kajukenbo.  Please wear black (or at least dark-colored) sweatpants or shorts and a black/dark sweatshirt or t-shirt instead.

Several 100% cotton options available on the Internet are listed below for comparison.  Make sure you select “black” if ordering, because white is usually the default color.

For the record, polyester-blend uniforms are usually less expensive than 100% cotton and easier to find, if you choose to get one of those instead.

The number is approximate weight in oz. “_elastic” means the waistband in the pants have elastic in addition to the traditional “draw strings”.

Ronin-9.5              Tiger_Claw-8           Kaizen-12          Ed Parker-14_elastic         Cahill-jujitsu_elastic      GTMA-8_elastic             KI-8         Ronin-16      Century_Ironman-14 

Butoku  Proforce-8    Ronin-jujitsu          KI-13.5                  Ronin-12             Century-10_elastic       Proforce-14       Hayashi-14_elastic        Masterline-12_elastic    GTMA-14      ProForce-12  Thread-8_elastic(ebay)   Thread-8_elastic(TS-30)   ProForce-10   BLT-10    Proforce_Gladiator(Judo)

Separate pieces  {Note that it it may be a better value to just buy a new uniform.  A new black uniform top/jacket is around $40 while a whole new 12oz uniform is around $50.}

Womans_top-8     Womans_pants-8_elastic      Pants-8       Pants-12     GTMA_pants-14     Judo_pants    Thread-8_pants(TS-24)   Thread-8_pants(ebay)   Jacket-11

 Belts1     Belts2    Belts3    Belts4   Belts5    Belts6    Ronin_pants-8    Ronin_pants-12   Jacket-12   Jacket-14    Proforce_pants-12

Some observations & opinions: Many uniforms of this quality do not come with a white belt but someone may lend you one for your purple belt test.  Pay attention when ordering if you want a white belt with the uniform. Ronin-9.5 {Ronin Brand Middleweight Karate uniform – White or Black} is the one I have the most experience with in this price range and comes with a white belt but I would prefer more than the included 2 or 3 rows of stitching on the cuffs.  The cuffs -especially on some of the pants- occasionally curl if you are not careful after washing. Kaizen {Kaizen Medium Heavyweight Brushed Cotton Karate Gi Black 12oz} and the Cahill {Black Jujitsu uniform – Cahill series} uniforms run towards the small side but seem to be well made.  They also cost more than many beginners might be willing to spend and do not come with a white belt.

The Tiger_Claw-8 {Karate Uniform – Black Medium weight 100% Cotton} comes with a white belt and has decent stitching on the cuffs but costs more than I like.  Also, the Tiger_Claw-8’s I tried had a manufacturing defect in 2 different pairs of pants. At this stage I do not recommend the Tiger_Claw-8 uniform at all since there are much better values.

The GTMA-8 {GTMA KARATE GI 100% cotton} seems to be well-made and has 6 rows of stitching on the cuffs and also has an elastic waistband but they may not always  come with a white belt.   The GTMA-8 has an odd placement of the size tag on the front of the pants, which could be removed.  The sizing seems reasonable but they will need to be shrunk to fit.

The KI-8 {KI – Light Weight 8 oz. 100% Cotton Karate Uniform (black karate gi)} or perhaps the Thread-8 {KARATE UNIFORM/GI 8-OZ MIDDLEWEIGHT,BLACK COLOR WITH WHITE BELT “TS-30”} might be an even better value than the GTMA-8, depending on the quality.  I will test & compare when we have the opportunity.  On the Thread-8 uniform: “They are pre shrink but still there are chances to shrink up to 5% with the course of the time since they are made with 100% cotton.”

The BLT-10 {Black Heavyweight 10oz. Canvas Karate Uniform sizes 4, 5, 6} is very reasonably priced!  Each 10 oz uniform is 100% cotton equipped with a traditional drawstring waistband and white belt.  Size {heavyweight} chart here: Uniform Size Chart 1 “… 5 rows of stitching on both {cuffs}. If you have any other questions; please don’t hesitate to ask.  Thanks. – martialarts55” Heavyweight (12oz+) uniforms may be too heavy for a beginner to break in and too expensive, especially if you do not wear it often enough.

For the price, a $60 black single-weave judo/jujitsu uniform might be a better long-term value than a middle or heavyweight kenpo uniform but be aware than some judo & jujitsu schools may not let you wear a black gi if you decide to train there as well.  Also do not forget that heavier uniforms will take more time to break in and will be warmer than lighter ones.

BLT-10#5 =  $29.95  (comes with a white belt & drawstring waist) + Free s/h = $29.95

Thread-8#5 = $32.95 (comes with a white belt & elastic waist) + Free s/h = $32.95

ProForce-10#5 = $29.99 (belt unknown) + $7.95 s/h = $37.94 {when in stock…}

GTMA-8#5 = $32.95 + $0 (2 came with a white belt) = $32.95 + $8.95s/h = $41.90

KI-8#5 = $36.95 (comes with a white belt) + $6.95s/h = $43.90 TC-8#5 = $40.84 (comes with a white belt) +$9s/h = $49.84

Ronin-9.5#5 = $40.00 (with a white belt) + $11.99s/h = $51.99


Because getting bloodstains out of white uniforms is a pain.


You can pick up most of this off and on as needed and we usually have plenty of gear on hand for you to borrow but if you want to train at home, consider some of these purchases.

BELT: The kenpo / kempo gis may come with a white belt for a beginner.  One may be donated to you from the class if available, or a new belt costs ~$5 +shipping.  Options include  Belts1Belts2Belts3Belts4Belts5, & Belts6

GLOVES: UFC-style 5oz grappling gloves.  These can be ordered online. Usually ~$40 + shipping. ~$45 retail.

BOXER’S MOUTH GUARD:  A guard for the top & bottom jaw is best. Available at many stores.  Arguably optional, but you will get punched in the mouth. Here is a TITLE Boxing Double Guard Mouthpiece under $10.  Cheaper than a trip to the dentist.

GROIN PROTECTION: Kicking to the groin is legal in Kajukenbo tournaments and it is encouraged in practice.  Nuf Said.

16 OZ BOXING GLOVES (OPTIONAL): Velcro straps are usually easiest to deal with. ~$35

BOXING HEAD GEAR (OPTIONAL): Something that is comfortable for you.  Boxing head gear is not the same as lower-quality “martial arts” head gear. ~$40

PAIR OF ARNIS / ESCRIMA / KALI STICKS (OPTIONAL): Two sticks can be made by cutting a 48″x1″ dowel rod (~$4) in half.  Grab a roll of white cloth athletic/coaches tape (~$4) to wrap the lower 1/3 of the sticks to make “handles” -leaving room for your punyo- and you are set.  A stick 24″ to 28″ long is fine for training in our style but 24″ is preferred.  Try to be courteous and not to hit rattan sticks with wooden dowel ones to prevent premature wear on the lighter rattan sticks.

TRAINING KNIFE (OPTIONAL): Can be made from the scraps of the sticks above or you can cut a second dowel in 12″ sections to make several “knives”.  Wooden dowel “knives” with athletic tape handles are fine for many of our drills.  Some choices include things like a Sharkee dagger (good for chalking), a Cold Steel Rubber Training Recon Tanto or and an aluminum folder replica

TRAINING GUN (OPTIONAL): A metal, spring-powered Airsoft gun is usually a better deal than most of the rubber or plastic simulated guns you can buy.  Metal Airsoft pistols can be purchased for about the same price as a well-weighted replica if you look around.  Even if you drop & “break” the airsoft gun, you usually can still practice disarms with it.  Just be careful not to damage the floor or mats.  Decent plastic/rubber options include Glock 17 replica ($22) and Berretta 92F replica ($13)

SAFETY GLASSES or GOGGLES (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED): Knife sparring and gun disarms against a loaded airsoft pistol can be quite dangerous so this should need no explanation.


Show up & train long enough and you will find out for yourself.


In Short:  Yes and Yes… There is not one all-encompassing Kajukenbo organization to track promotions, there are actually many.  But every Kajukenbo black belt is authorized to promote by his or her own standards and that promotion is binding.  Every Kajukenbo fighter (regardless of rank) is recognized by their peers as such based on their skills and on the reputation of their instructor.  Furthermore, once your name is on the Kajukenbo Family Tree as a black belt then your rank can be confirmed by anyone in the world.  You do not need to be a member of any Kajukenbo organization (or pay dues to one) for your rank to be official.   That being said, the CQB Kajukenbo Club is a proud affiliate school of the Ordonez Kajukenbo Ohana (“OKO”) and I encourage anyone to join who can afford to do so.  The OKO was formed to support and honor “Uncle Frank” Ordonez, the last surviving member of the ‘Black Belt Society’ & Co-Founder of the Kajukenbo system.


Your instructor tells GM Philip Gelinas to add your name and it is done.


Violent criminals do not care if it is “fair” to do harm to others.  They also rarely care about other civilized concepts like ‘morality’ or ‘justice.’ My job is to prepare a student for a confrontation.   With that in mind, will a child (or a woman) have a better chance fending off someone who was trying to assault or abduct them by training against students who are smaller than them or against adults who are bigger?  If a student cannot make the technique work against an adult in class they are usually doing something wrong and a qualified instructor can usually spot what it is and correct it.  If no one could make the technique work against a larger person then we would replace it with something else.  If the person who was going to attack you was always smaller and weaker than you then you wouldn’t really need to train much. By training these skills against adults, your child’s confidence should increase drastically.   He will have little to fear from the school bully pushing him if he is used to boxing against a 220 pound police officer.  By the same token, a woman will be less likely to panic in an encounter if she has become accustomed to grown men trying to grab, push, pull, choke and strike her – all while invading her personal space in class.


This is a contact-oriented class, so there will be awkward situations but “touching” is not done to be “inappropriate.” There will likely be positions students are not comfortable in at first or they may be incidentally touched in places that might otherwise be considered inappropriate. We strike, grab, roll around on the ground and swing weapons at each other. You will see men on top of women and the opposite, a male hand on or near a female’s chest, hands and arms between another person’s legs and the like. The point of this program is to become more relaxed in a conflict so you can do what it takes to survive it. That is partially done by experiencing the conflict -or at least a close representation of it- in training.  You should be far more concerned about the high probability of fat lips, bloody noses and black eyes than “bad touching”. Any contact in class is not of a sexual or lewd nature, but due to the nature of grappling, striking and grab defenses, contact is quite likely to occur.  If this concerns or offends you, train somewhere else.  Your priorities are skewed.


In short:  S/he will probably not get the opportunity to test for a black belt until s/he is 18 except under very exceptional circumstances, in which case s/he may be allowed to do so at age 16 or 17. How many people truly believe that a 14 year old who’s parents paid for  err… who was given a “black belt” -what we call a “brat belt”- could possibly possess all the necessary tools to defend himself in most any given situation.  Ask yourself how likely it is that a mere child would have the proper maturity, coordination and physical strength to actually fight off a would-be abductor or even the bully down the street who outweighs them by 40 pounds?  “Sparring” in tournaments or elsewhere is not the same as fighting.

* Since a child is not legally accountable for his or her actions they are not awarded the stature of the Black belt.  Their knowledge of right and wrong is often clouded by childish notions of what they want.  Of course that applies to many adults as well, but our justice system has decided that at 18 you are old enough to know better.

* A Black belt should understand the implications (legal, ethical and moral) of her actions and act accordingly.

* A Black belt implies someone with expertise in the basics who can teach -and effectively use- those concepts and techniques.  No 12 year old child is likely to have the wisdom or life experience to pass on the teachings to another child, not to mention another adult.  An adult will not take a 14 year old “black belt” seriously as a martial arts teacher because he knows s/he is a kid.  Not to mention that skills being effective against other kids does not mean they will be effective against someone twice their age and size, as mentioned before.

The fact is that a lot of schools have completely forgotten what the martial arts are for: to train the body and mind for confrontations and violence.  The word ‘martial’ means ‘of or appropriate to war; warlike’.  ‘Martial arts’ are not for little Johnny to get better grades in school, or to overcome his ‘A.D.D’. Such things might arguably be a beneficial side-effect, but that has little to do with training someone to fight for their lives.  An instructor that tries to tell you otherwise is selling something. Self-discipline starts with the word ‘self’, not ‘Sifu’ or ‘Sensei’ – and definitely not ‘Master’ . You are not paying me to be a babysitter so I will not act like one.  Many schools have turned into belt machines, guaranteeing rank as long as you sign the contract.  No matter what age or physical ability, a person will eventually be wearing a black belt if they pay their fees to a “McDojo” school.  Since we have no fees, I have no incentive or desire to water down my teachings to keep students, make more money or bump enrollment.   A Kajukenbo Black belt should be able to teach and fight well.  Fighting and point sparring are not the same thing.

If judged to be exceptional then the earliest anyone is considered to test for a 1st degree Black belt from me is 16 years of age.  ‘Exceptional’ is decided by other Kajukenbo black belts.  Do not bother ‘telling’ me how good your kid is because you think s/he deserves a black belt.  Unless you are a Kajukenbo black belt yourself then you are not qualified to make that claim.  Holding rank in taekwondo, judo, aikido or some other style does not make you qualified either.

Again, as Professor John Bishop said: ‘Kajukenbo is NOT a “if you can afford it, we will award it” system.’


Yes I do.  I would rather have a few students that are highly qualified and who would impress many other martial arts instructors instead of a fleet of 12-year old “brat belts” who cannot fight their way out of a paper bag and help convince people that ‘karate is a joke’.  If you or your kids don’t like it or think it is ‘not fair’ then they can train somewhere else.  A Kajukenbo black belt test is brutal – cracked ribs and broken noses are commonplace and are to be expected.   Do you want your little darling to go through that now or wait a few years instead?   Aside from that, it is not uncommon to take 10 or 12 years to get your Black belt in other respected martial arts (such as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) as an adult!  Shorin-ryu’s shodan age requirement is 16,  The official ITF / International Taekwondo Federation age is 16, Shotokan formally requires age 16, Wado-Ryu is 16 & USJA (Olympic) Judo is 16.  Even the WTF / World Taekwondo Federation (where ranks are handed out and recognized by the Kukkiwon & controlled by the South Korea Government)- is supposed to be 15 years of age for 1st degree black belt.  If you do not like this policy, train somewhere else.  You should be grateful that I let your child start training with us that young.  By the way, *eligible to test* does not mean they will pass the test – and the test is full-contact; against adult men in the 200 lb range.


Our basic guidelines are about 1 year per your current rank as Active Time-in-Grade (ATiG) training or teaching plus any other requirements for that level. The key word is Active: sitting at home watching TV for 4 years does not count towards promotion.  There are no belt, testing or promotion fees.  A Black belt is supposed to grow as a person and in and the style. At CQB Kajukenbo there is no ‘temporary’ or ‘probationary’ black belt.  There are also no ‘Master’ titles.  We do not generally use the Japanese or Chinese titles but they fit this structure if they are desired.  Using “Sir” or “Ma’am” when addressing an instructor is usually sufficient.

Any Kajukenbo Black Belt is allowed to promote up to 1 rank below their own; a 4th degree can promote a person to 3rd degree solely on his own authority but no higher than that.

“Who is NOT a legitimate Kajukenbo black belt?
Someone who has promoted themselves to black belt.  Someone who was promoted by his/her students.  Or, someone who has been promoted to black belt by a organization that has no ranking Kajukenbo black belts on the promotional board.  
Sijo Emperado always made it very clear that a individual Kajukenbo black belt can only promote someone up to 1 rank below their own.” — Professor John Bishop on the Kajukenbo Cafe

Read this post on the Kajukenbo Cafe if you have any questions on the ability to promote in Kajukenbo.

Ranks of 8th degree and above are uncommon and should be reserved for exceptional skill and dedication to Kajukenbo – or any other martial art, for that matter.  Such ranks are only awarded by the head of a lineage and/or the associated promotion board with at least one board member of sufficient Kajukenbo rank.  As far as I am concerned, no one in our lineage is to ever be promoted to 9th degree unless it is by one of the original founders or their successors.  By the same token, no one in our lineage should ever be promoted to 10th degree unless they are named to be a successor.


Title / honorific  Requirements


Provisional Instructor “Expert at the Basics”(3-5 years of training), 18 years of age, pass the tests


Associate Instructor

1 year supervised teaching or equivalent demonstration of “kokua”, Expertise in intermediate levels

3rd “Full” Instructor (“Sifu”)

2 years Active Time in Grade (“ATiG”) with a 1st degree Black belt or equivalent in a 2nd system OR about 3 years ATiG without. Expert at Advanced skills


“Full” Instructor (“Sifu”)

3 years ATiG, usually one or more Black belt(s) under you (“child”)


Chief Instructor

4 years ATiG with a 2nd degree Black belt / equiv in the 2nd martial art or about 5 years ATiG without.


Senior Instructor (“Sigung”)

5 years ATiG, often has a 2nd gen Black Belt (“grandchild”)


Senior Instructor (“Sigung”) 6 years ATiG, may have student(s) at 3rd degree



7 years ATiG, 40 years old, likely has 3rd gen BB(s) (“great-grandchild”)



Every student is encouraged to watch or participate in seminars, tournaments and competitions as they see fit but it is not mandatory and generally has little or no bearing on their ranks or promotions.  Also, since the things we do in training (takedowns & striking to the groin for instance) are ‘illegal’ under common competition rules, Kajukenbo fighters are often disqualified when fighting in non-Kajukenbo “Karate” tournaments.


First: Dave Jones came up with and applied the term “Martial Science” to our Kajukenbo lineage almost 25 years ago. 

Some other martial artists in St. Louis now are using the term “martial science” to promote their classes but they heard it used and explained by Dave Jones first.

Second: While the foundation of our training philosophy is based around KA*JU*KEN*BO: Karate, Jujutsu, Kenpo, Kung Fu & Boxing, most of our techniques are based on modern, real-world Military Combatives and street tested Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics.   Dave was trained by an expert in police Defensive Tactics, Sergeant / Sigung Mike Griffin.  Sigung Griffin was also a student of the legendary Bill Underwood, who founded Defendo & Combato. Our techniques are usually far different from a “Traditional Martial Art” (“TMA” for short) that may have been (allegedly) used to fight wars hundreds of years ago against men in wooden armor on horseback.  Our style is also vastly different from the martial arts that are used in point sparring competitions. Our skills have to work every day for a wide variety of people all over the world with limited repetition and practice, rather like Boot Camp.  Our techniques are based on leverage, physics and anatomy.   There is nothing magical or mystical about what we do or how we do it.  There is no such thing as ‘ki’ or ‘chi’ and people who say otherwise are usually selling something and/or deluding themselves. Techniques in CQB Kajukenbo are tested, the effects are measured and experimented on all to the best of our ability (within the confines of safety) often by Law Enforcement personnel in the line of duty.  If they are falsified or otherwise proved to be ineffective or inefficient then they are modified or replaced by something better.   This is somewhat like the scientific method in action and that is why I refer to CQB Kajukenbo as Martial Science. “Martial arts” are often more concerned with tradition (how things have been taught) instead of if they are practical or effective in a real confrontation.  Experimenting with the techniques to see if they fail is usually frowned on.  Instead, the student is usually told to practice the technique until they can make it work.  While repetition is important to build confidence and muscle memory, I feel self defense instructors should still teach efficient techniques that are easy for anyone to learn.  Gross motor movements and simple tactics provide a larger return from muscle memory that fancy footwork and intricate hand positions.   It is also more effective in self defense because there is less to go wrong. Another difference is that the idea of replacing techniques or parts of a program because it is impractical is not usually done in a “martial art” because the goal is for all of the students of one style to be like each other around the world.  All Shotokan schools have the same basic program (as do Judo, TKD and the like) and a person expects to be able to go into another school of their style with a comparable set of skills to their peers and instructors.   In contrast, I expect my students to surpass me and to continue researching and experimenting, not to mimic me or each other.  Everyone is encouraged to find their own path and specializations.  “Martial Science” allows one to build on discoveries in the past but not be bound to them, it means you are willing to admit that there is a better way to do things, and most importantly it means you are willing to do things differently if you find a better way. We at CQB also recommend you ask anyone in the region who is claiming to teach “Law Enforcement” programs or “Defensive Tactics” where and who they got their police training from.


“Coordinated Body Motion” (CBM for short, also known in some systems as “Single Unit Moving”), slight of hand, misdirection and similar illusions or parlor tricks can explain any alleged “powers” anyone claims to have – and tests have proven this to be so multiple times on national television and all over the world. Most people who claim to have “powers” decline to be tested and they often give a lame excuse.   The reality is that they would be exposed as frauds when they failed the tests.  Defining “chi/ki/qi” or whatever you wish to call it as some unseen external “energy” is wishful thinking and delusional. Those “Masters” who happen to agree to tests under controlled scientific-testing conditions always have their alleged powers fail for some reason and again, there always seems to be lame excuses for why their “powers” did not work.

Here a well-known video of James “The Amazing” Randi testing one such claim from James Hydrick, who claimed to be a “Shaolin Kung Fu Master” on “That’s My Line

James Hydrick -now a convicted felon- confessed he was a fraud during an interview with Dan Korem, a journalist and professional magician.  Hydrick said he did it “to see how dumb America was, how dumb the world is”

But sometimes you might be lead to believe that these “powers” work on or against other people.  Again, this is a trick, often helped along because the participants want to believe and want it to work.  This is because their minds create subconscious responses and reactions, sort of like self-hypnosis.  Still, whenever these powers are tested on “skeptics” they fail, and the “chi master” always has an excuse.

Here is a popular video of a “kiai / chi master” who bet $5,000 that his powers would work on anyone, even a MMA fighter.  Of course, he was proven wrong by the fighter who earned $5,000 in less than 1 minute just by punching the “chi master” in the face…

If you think you or someone you know has some sort of mystical ki, chi or psychic powers then consider this an invitation to take the “One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge“.  If someone passes the tests, not only will I retract this entry in this FAQ and give credit to whoever did so, but that individual will also have $1,000,000.

Just because you, I or anyone we know cannot explain how something is done, does not mean it is somehow mystical or magical.  Have it put it to the test by real scientists & experts -not plumbers!- before you take claims of “chi”, “ki”, “psi”, “ghosts” or anything else “supernatural” at face value.

The Paranormal Challenge was first introduced in 1964 and about a thousand people have failed to pass the preliminary testing so I think this FAQ entry is safe.


Because this is a self defense system and understanding firearms safety and being qualified to use a firearm in an emergency may be important in a life-or-death situation.  It could also make sure a student with a felony conviction will not get a Black belt from me.  Having a CCW permit does not mean the student needs to own a gun, but it does mean that the student passed a background check. Originally I required a CCW for all 1st degree black belts but that meant that you would need to be 21 years old to get your belt from me in the state of Missouri.  I am currently relaxing that policy and now I encourage a CCW for black belts as soon as they are old enough to get one but I do not require it. For now a CCW is “strongly recommended” for 3rd degree black belt in the CQB Kajukenbo system.  For 1st degree black belt, the requirement is that you are qualified to have a CCW, which means you must have no felony convictions, pass a Basic Firearms training course and go through a background check.  I will consider any extenuating circumstances such as age or living out-of-state as needed. Check back here for changes or updates to this policy.


Just three: knife, stick and gun. We do not teach or train swords, nunchaku, sai, kama, “throwing stars”, bo staff or any other “classical” weapon. We only train in weapons that you are likely to have in a real fight.  A CCW permit allows you to carry a concealed handgun.  Small knives with blades 3.5″ or shorter (no wider than the width of your palm) are usually OK to carry without a CCW and a “stick” can be something as simple as a tree branch or car antenna. As a variation on a “stick”, we also teach the use of the kubotan (sharpies and dry erase markers can fill this role) and walking canes in self defense.  We also train the use of improvised weapons such as pens, flashlights and even broken coffee cups. However, if you are carrying a 28 inch piece of rattan, “nunchucks” or a sword down the street you will probably be detained by the police and if you are brandishing or threatening with such a weapon then you run the risk of being shot by a police officer or anyone with a concealed handgun because you are threatening to use “deadly force”.  Do not mistake a game you may be playing for a real confrontation: under those circumstances, a person is usually within their rights to “Take a .45 and settle it” just as Bruce Lee suggested.


Because this is supposed to be a well-rounded RBSD (Reality-Based Self Defense) and Personal Protection training program, we have a few other requirements that set us apart from most “martial arts” schools, such as:

* Students should be CPR or Emergency First Aid certified at blue belt

* Training may progress to being strangled unconscious at the advanced levels when rolling or even demonstrations.  This has the advantage of understanding the effects and are no longer afraid of the possibility.

* Students should be certified to use OC / Pepper spray – and undergo decontamination before they are eligible to test for a Black belt This means the student needs to experience the effects and knows how to deal with being sprayed. The student will be expected to keep fighting and perform a take-down on the person who sprayed them.

* Research paper and ~ 150 question written exam required prior to the black belt exam,

* Written reports (750+ of your own words) on various subjects are required.  Some examples:

Missouri Revised Statutes, RSMO 563.031.1: Defense of Justification:

Dan Inosanto and how he applies to our Kajukenbo lineage

JKD’s ‘Five Methods of Attack’; “Tao of Jeet Kune Do”, ISBN-13: 978-0897502023

‘The Gift of Fear’, Gavin de Becker, ISBN-13: 978-0440226192

‘Bouncer’s Guide to Barroom Brawling, Peyton Quinn, ISBN-13: 978-0873645867

‘Living the Martial Way’, Forrest E. Morgan, ISBN-13: 978-0942637762

Essays comparing and contrasting 3+ martial arts of regions such as Okinawa, Japan, China, and/or Korea.  In short, students should usually know more about taekwondo than most “tie-kwon-doe black belts”, for example.

The Problem With Pacifism, Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay:

‘Strong on Defense’, Sanford Strong, ISBN-13: 978-0671522933

‘The Antiterrorism Handbook’ ,Karl A. Seger, ISBN-13: 978-0891413691

Antiterrorism: FM 3-37.2, Department Of The Army, ISBN-13: 978-1493725021

‘On Combat’, Lt. Col. (Ret.) David Grossman, ISBN-13: 978-0964920545

The Art of War (Public Domain)

The Book of Five Rings (Public Domain)


Not really. We just try to think realistically about violence and what it takes to protect our loved ones. Actually, some of us do feel that many other martial artists are delusional; relying on techniques that would never work because they were never tested. An interesting thread on the subject is here: Is Kajukenbo a marketable martial art? – with an interesting (and often accurate) observation about the frequently-hyped ‘Krav Maga‘ system as it is taught in the United States.


CQB Kajukenbo is in a class of fighting styles sometimes referred to as “Reality-based self-defense.” Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD) is a blanket term for an approach to self-defense training that focuses on practical application. RBSD practitioners emphasize training that directly relates to the most dangerous of all possible situations. To accomplish this, training includes but is not limited to scenario and weapons (including guns, knives, and batons) training. In RBSD training prime importance is placed on gross motor skill training and simple, high-percentage moves. Furthermore RBSD schools minimize or eliminate elements of martial arts training that are not directly related to practical application, such as acrobatic or aesthetic techniques, rituals, ceremony and kata. In their techniques, many RBSD systems draw on military systems, especially World War II combatives. – Wikipedia, (c) GNU Free Documentation License

* Regular classes at the CQB Kajukenbo Club consist of Reality-Based Self Defense (RBSD) Kajukenbo training with 50%, 75% and 100% power against resisting opponents at various intensities and speeds; either boxing, Thai boxing, grappling, stick / knife, etc. This is done in fighting and/or sparring modes and in almost any combination.  In the words of Kajukenbo Instructor Dan Tyrell: “There is a big difference between training against a resisting opponent and training with a partner who is pretending to resist.”

* We usually train with a minimum amount of protective gear.  In fact the only protection equipment we generally use in class aside from a boxer’s mouth guard is 4-oz mixed-martial arts gloves or 16-oz boxing gloves and boxing head gear – unless we are fighting full-contact.  We try to learn to protect ourselves instead of relying on foam padding to do it for us.  You will learn to hit -and to take hits- in class so you will be prepared for it on the street.  Kicks to the groin are legal in Kajukenbo and encouraged in practice.

* We do not presume the assailant will be stopped with one block or counter-attack.  We keep fighting until we are sure the threat is neutralized.  When the bad guy is done “he will fall down or run away” – and even then we do not turn our backs on him or his friends.  We do not bank on the ‘one-hit knockout’ fallacy and we do not subscribe to the fantasy of an ‘unstoppable technique’.  We also do not wait to defend ourselves until after the assailant attempts a strike – that is not self defense, that is simply taking turns!  The Laws regarding ‘justifiable use of physical force’, aka ‘self defense’ in the State of Missouri are pretty clear and easy to find but I am still amazed at how many ‘self-defense experts’  and ‘black belts’  I run across who have never even read them.  Pathetic.

* We do not focus on kicking like taekwondo, we do not specialize in punching or throws to the exclusion of almost everything else, and we do not train grappling & wrestle to win competitions.  Instead, we train all of those tools & ranges together to with the goal of creating a complete whole which is greater than the sum of its parts.  We take every opportunity to eye-gouge, pinch, knee, elbow & headbutt our opponents.  We train to crush bones and tear ligaments to protect the people we love in a deadly force encounter.  We may even bite if needed, knowing full well the threat of bloodborne pathogens.  To top it off we train with guns, sticks & knives.  The goal is to be well-rounded and prepared for almost anything.  The CQB System of Kajukenbo Self Defense is not perfect (nothing is!) but the aim is to make sure it is one of the more complete training methodologies around.  5 years at CQB Kajukenbo may not keep a BJJ competitor or college wrestler from taking you down but it will usually give you a far better chance of surviving and escaping than something like taekwondo.  CQB Kajukenbo also has street-proven techniques & strategies to deal with many types of assaults and threats that you can often learn in a fraction of the time of BJJ, and at no cost.

With that in mind, what is more “crazy”? (1) Signing a contract to pay $700 – $1,200 a year (or more) for 3 or 4 years, plus testing fees, black belt club fees, demo team fees, or whatever else to develop your “unstoppable technique” only to be choked unconscious by a 45 year old woman who has had 3 or 4 months  of training with us (or) (2) Paying nothing at all to learn more about real fighting and self defense in six months than you would in six years of many “martial arts” classes? Seems to me that some people confuse the word “crazy” with “tough.”

Any Traditional Martial Art could have things to offer a student but when someone equates things like point-sparring, flashy kicks, training with feigned resistance and performing fancy kata demonstrations to self defense and real fighting then they are leaving the game they are playing and are stepping onto our turf – the street.   If you want to play games, try combat sports such as Boxing, Judo, Muay Thai, BJJ, Wrestling, or MMA.  That way you have a far better chance to  develop the skills and toughness needed to defend yourself in a real fight and you will usually get a great workout on top of it!

Many martial artists are hesitant to hit with a real, full-force strike – sometimes because they believe the fallacy that their ‘unstoppable, too deadly to test technique’ will always end the fight or because they think they are demonstrating “control”.   In contrast, we have full-contact “Predator Armour” to hit as hard as we possibly can – and determine the effects.  Many people in the martial arts are actually unnerved by the thought of real confrontations or of being hit by someone who is not “light-sparring” with them.  We regularly box & kick-box with more than enough force to ‘ring your bell’ , chip a tooth or bloody your nose – which is sometimes called “trembling shock” or “contact sparring”.  You work up to that level, but you get there sooner than you think which teaches you Rule #1: “Don’t block with your face.”   Some striking-oriented martial artists are so deluded that they still believe they can always stop a determined grappler from taking them to the ground – 20 years after the UFC!  Some Judo players have never fallen or been thrown on anything but several inches of padding and are secretly scared of falling on anything harder.

All of that being said, not all Kajukenbo schools are the same.  Many teach forms or katas (we do not), many train to compete in point-sparring matches (we do not), and some even frown on students training at other schools or in other styles (we do not – in fact I require my black belts to do so!).   We train on a carpeted concrete garage floor with about 1/4 inch of carpet padding underneath.  We start with learning how to fall and the next thing you know you are enduring all sorts of throws & take-downs.  Find the school and style that is right for you.  Just be honest with yourself about what you are learning and what your capabilities are.

— Kajukenbo Forever!

Kajukenbo: The Perfected Art of Dirty Streetfighting

Kajukenbo America’s Martial Art

Jujitsu – Kajukenbo Style

From the Strength of Many: Kajukenbo’s Classic Blend produces a Deadly Street System