Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category


Special Offer For Kenpo Black Belts

Submitted by: Susan Montello

Several years ago, I released the 1st volume of The Kenpo Continuum . The book is a collection of stories about kenpo enthusiasts who have dedicated their lives, or at least spent a many years, practicing Kenpo karate. I m working hard on creating the second volume of the book and am looking for submissions. To qualify, you must be a black belt in Kenpo Karate and have at least 10 yrs. of active training. Your lineage isn t relevant, as far as qualifying, because I m looking for kenpo lovers from all varieties of lineages. This is not about horn-tooting or showing off, it s about recognizing the basis of our Kenpo roots and recording where the many branches have gone. The following is my journey, as included in the first volume.

My Kenpo karate tale started in the year 1979, when I was 11 years old. My good friend at the time, Roben, was involved in a kenpo karate class and because I My idea worked; we were great friends for many years.) I had no knowledge in regards to the style, but was blessed to end up in an American Kenpo karate school, which was held at the Belmont, CA YMCA. My instructor was Vinton Koklich. I trained at that school for a little over 4 yrs. until later my family moved to Sacramento. The class was 1x a week and since I never practiced, I left that school a purple belt with one stripe. But — I was addicted. I had gotten my initial taste of Kenpo karate and there was no going back.

I took time away from kenpo to get adjusted to my new home, but when a year or so had passed, I began looking for a Kenpo karate school. Kenpo karate is one of those things that gets in your blood. It is not possible to stay away. I also discovered that there was no other type of exercise which could hold my interest. I did a short trial at a few schools until eventually I discovered 1 I liked. One day, when I was warming up for class, I saw a black belt on the floor stretching, who I had never met. I said hello , then told him my name, then I continued with my kata warm up.

He watched me for a few minutes, walked out of the room, returned, picked up my practice sheet, then instructed me to follow him. He brought me into 1 of the little curtained sections where instructors did private classes, then stated, I m your instructor now. Uh, okay. His name was Ray Arquilla.

I developed a love with Kenpo karate beginning with Vinton, but I can safely say I got my passion for Kenpo karate because of Ray. He fixed my basics and taught me tips on how to train. And BOY, did we train! I was 17, so, at the time, the three hour twice-weekly training sessions were easier then. I was also the only female in the class, so practically killed myself to keep up with the guys. We did some nutty workouts. One particular one that I remember specifically was the fivein the morning, crack-of-dawn, dead of winter, up-in-the-hills, weekendworkout, nearby the river. For the grand finale of the killer workout, he said, I want you to follow whatever I do no hesitation. Is that understood? YES SIR! Then, he took off down the hill, through the brush and went flying into the ice cold river! I must have been a little whacked in the head then as well because I did it with only a minor hesitation. (GOD, I DESPISE cold water!) It was a very short dunk, but I still pretty much froze in place. The guy helping us near the other shore said that my head poked up so high from the water that I strongly resembled a turtle.

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In retrospect, it was great though. I stayed at that school, learning a lot more than I can say, for close to two years.

I later attended the school of Bob Liles for roughly one and a half years, when I was around twenty), then later left for a couple of yrs. to attend college and other obligations.

One of the best things about attending his school was that I was able to attend a seminar taught by, and being an uke for, Mr. Ed Parker Sr., the year before he died. I later moved down to Marin County, where I attended Marin Kenpo, training under Richard LaFave. He died a number of years ago, but I learned a good deal in my brief time with him. I was forced to stop training prior to his passing because I was diagnosed with Hodgkin s Disease (Lymphoma). I was extremely ill for about 18 months, with an additional year or 2 for general recovery. I checked out a handful of different Kenpo schools during my healing, but none of them felt like home for me.

Eventually, I came across Darryl Liner s school, where I attended for roughly one and a half years, leaving after I became pregnant. 1 kid became 2 – (it is like magic) and before long, it d been 6 years since I d been without my art. Throughout that time, I d grown to be resigned to not ever receiving my black belt. By the time my boy was 2, however, I began to feel the itch. I was tired of feeling like an overweight, frumpy lump. (Raising kids has that affect on a person, especially a work-from-home mom.)

I returned to Liner s school, where I eventually was awarded my shodan. It only took twenty-five yrs. (total). I had my test at Larry Tatum s first Las Vegas camp, in 2004. I felt completely prepared had been training solidly for the test, but, Murphy s Law kicked in, so my 220lb. instructor fell heavily on my knee sideways at the end of one of the first few techniques of the test. I limped heavily through the rest of the test (and the next half a year). Not the kick-butt impression I dreamed of making!

As soon as I was promoted though, I began to teach a beginner s adult class. I had always helped out at all of the schools I d attended since blue belt, but this class was all my own. I loved it.

The only difficult thing for me about going to that school was that I had nobody to with. I did a ton of Air Kenpo. I could demolish the air like nothing you ve ever seen. After some time, I found a great Kenpo karate forum ( where I discovered kenpo practitioners of a similar mindset along with a person of like-location: Through the forum, I met Tara Turnbull, who lives only 45 min. from me. The school was smack dab between us, so I asked her to come workout with me as well as assist me in teaching my class. As she was also a well practiced Air-Kenpoist, she jumped at the opportunity.

As luck would have it, she is a very capable Kenpoist too. We quickly became friends and shortly after my 2nd degree black test, made a decision to leave to start our own school. Sacramento Kenpo Karate was born.

I was without an instructor for, but once having attended quite a few kenpo camps as well as seminars, I discovered a whole group of folks who offered me help. Most of my instructors have been in the Tatum lineage and Tara s has been in the Planas lineage, so we have a whole lot to draw from. Our dojo (and me personally) were very fortunate to have had Ron Nakamoto join us in 2008. He is currently a fourth degree black belt in American Kenpo and has not only enhanced the overall quality of our school, but of my personal life as well.

At SKK, we have used quite a few different dvds, including Larry Tatum s and Mike Lambert s, both of whom have had an influed on my art. I ve also found Lee Wedlake to be a fountain of generous expertise. Most recently, Dr. Dave Crouch has been my instructor (and very good friend) and We have determined our kenpo philosophies to be most similar. I can honestly say I have become a far more devastating killing machine with the knowledge gained from him, in my relatively-small amount of time on the mat with him, than I d learned in the many years training at my previous school. Dr. Dave teaches kenpo in a concept-based way, which I can apply to each technique in the system. As Dr. Dave says, Kenpo is HOW you move, not the moves themselves. He s one of the best examples of a kenpoist I ve ever had the pleasure of working with. In September of 2011, Dr. Dave honored me by promoting me to third degree black belt.

Kenpo karate has been tantamount in molding and guiding my life. Kenpo has always been there for me. I ve met some of my most valued friends as a result of Kenpo karate (you know who you are!)

I travel to camps and seminars whenever I can, frequently taking 100 s of pictures at most every one. I do what I can to give back to the art that that means so much to me.

Our website is the Sacramento Kenpo Karate. If you you re a Kenpoist, then you re family. Join us anytime and be a part of a class. We d appreciate having you.

About the Author: Susan is the author of multiple books on Spiritual Development and Growth.Amy Long is a third degree black belt in the art of

in addition to being the publisher for the first volume for the Kenpo Continuum. She is currently searching for submissions for the next volume of stories. She also is the co-owner of


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