The Dragon Kenpo Creed

The classical martial arts present themselves as rivals. One a “hard” style, the other “soft”. This one emphasizing kicks, that one specializing in punches, the other takes each opponent to ground and wrestles. Yet the underlying premise is the same for each, in that a narrow system is presented as not only superior but holy. A shrine to the fixed knowledge is created, complete with ceremonies, rites and masters. None may transcend, or even question the institution’s unbending view of reality because of its sacredness.

The Dragon Kenpo way, however, is the way of never ending learning and discovery. The techniques taught are guides that develop greater skill, not boundaries that no one may cross. Greatness, after all, is not achieved by thinking within limits prescribed by convention. Greatness requires engaging the unknown. It is  there, in the mystery, that new discoveries are found.

The traditional arts are in the business of setting limitations. Their primary task is the creation of an imposed order and the production of conformity. Yet to adopt that order is to close out everything not included within it. By banishing the unknown the traditional martial artists advance by learning more and more about less and less. To the “masters” of the traditional styles, an unlimited mind is a dangerous thing. A lot of folks have a lot invested in the status quo. Those who choose growth and expansion should not be surprised to find resistance from those devoted to tradition. Choosing to cross boundaries, or even erase them, means coming into conflict with the imposed order.

There are no rules in total combat, so the Dragon Kenpo way is the path of free expression. The methods taught begin the process of endless discovery. We have only two choices as martial artists and as human beings : to be ordinary or to be explorers; to be followers or leaders. 

 Regardless of who approves

 Ed Hutchison, founder of Dragon Kenpo Karate


The Dragon Kenpo Story

By Ed Hutchison

 I founded Dragon Kenpo for two reasons:

  1. To create a place where those willing to make themselves into the ultimate martial artists that only they, as a unique individual, could do so.
  2. To create a place free from the collective untruths of mainstream martial arts education.

I believe almost everything about mainstream martial arts education is either unintentionally or intentionally wrong. About half of what they claim is traditional isn’t. And about half of what they teach that is traditional doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did. Let me give you a handful of examples:

Shopping mall karate schools do not represent “traditional” martial arts instruction

When the U.S. occupied much of Asia in the aftermath of WWII, American soldiers were exposed to martial arts of all kinds. Although those arts were taught and passed down within the family in Asia, the returning U.S. soldiers adopted the method they knew best to teach their new subject: Basic Training. So, the average shopping mall karate school today is set up amazingly like basic training was 50 years ago. An instructor in front of a group barking orders. Rows of trainees, wearing uniforms, doing exercises and practicing drills. The colored belt system used in America today is no more Asian than French fries. It’s a knock off of the then U.S. military rank structure: White = private, Yellow = corporal, Orange = sergeant, etc. The reason average schools have high drop out rates is not that they attract bad students, it is because U.S. military basic training is a bad teaching method for most people. It is a system designed to create uniformity when the subject matter screams for individuality. It is a method for teaching masses of people at the same rate when it is a subject matter that no two people learn at the same rate. It is a method designed to produce the same end result for everyone when the martial arts take each student to unique new abilities and accomplishments. If you have ever left a martial arts school don’t feel bad. You were set up in a system which is designed to fail.

Lots of traditional techniques, even genuine ones, can get you killed

Tradition should serve us, not the other way around. The arts should discipline the body, but set free the mind. Change, after all, is the only constant. Street self defense has changed dramatically over the years due to the influence of drugs, gangs, and a lessening of value of other people’s rights. Typical self defense schools have so many outdated methods and erroneous philosophies they just can’t help you even if they wanted to. Feeling brave? Try using a traditional reverse punch against a street attacker. You’d better KNOCK HIM OUT! With your left hand useless at your hip, you’ll be wide open for a fierce counter right. Our videos, provide demonstrations of traditional upward blocks and kick blocks being countered and even INVITED by attackers, who are looking to set you up with your own dangerously obsolete methods.

Kata is worse than useless

Most karate and kung fu schools teach something called “forms” or “kata”. This school does not! Learning to dance is not learning to fight. Pretending to learn how to fight while dancing is a fine way for school owners to drag out the time required to advance, (since it pads time between tests) but that is all that it accomplishes. Former world kickboxing champion Bill Wallace said at a seminar I attended, “I just can’t figure out what it’s for.” Or, as David Carridine said in his book, Spirit of  Shaolin, “Presenting the styles as though they were little ballets of combat, makes for grace and prettiness, but this path leads to something soft, almost effeminate and without much depth or substance.” I couldn’t agree more.

 Sparring at karate schools is a joke

Whenever I see sparring in a traditional martial arts school, I want to yell, “STOP THE INSANITY!” What they call sparring is having two students (often with wildly different skill levels) put on boxing gloves and punch each other. Pro boxers do something like this, since it is similar to their (my) sport, but I have no idea what those martial arts instructors are trying to accomplish. It is, after all, impossible to execute most martial arts techniques with your hands taped into fists and covered by padded gloves. When you visit your neighborhood self defense school and see sparring, one of three things is happening:

The instructor didn’t prepare a lesson for that night and wishes to create the illusion of education while actually killing time.

  • He REALLY, REALLY doesn’t like one of those students.
  • He doesn’t realize he’s not teaching street self defense, which is the scariest of the three.

Do you know why boxers wear gloves? Not to protect the opponents head, because it doesn’t. It’s to keep the tiny bones in the hands from getting broken. That is a good strategy for boxing as a sport, because fighters who are less likely to break their hands are more likely to get knockouts, and the public loves spectacular knockouts! BUT – practicing fighting with your hands protected leads you to fight in real life as your hand are protected. You launch one of those boxing style head punches on the street with bare knuckles and you are probably finished

If you’re not training to box, don’t bother training like a boxer. The techniques I teach have no tournament usefulness. They are not about scoring points or impressing judges. They are, almost without exception, illegal in full contact martial arts competition. They are for rendering an attacker UNABLE to continue. Please pay attention to this point: 


To learn an effective street combat style and the philosophies behind it I encourage you to take the next step and start your training with the Dragon Kenpo Karate Academy today. We’re ready when you are.

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