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White Tiger Kenpo

"The Peace of the Open Palm, Balanced by a Well Formed Fist."

Shihan Jim Rathbone copyrightedİ 1993

Kenpo Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Will I learn a practical form of self defense not sport karate?

We teach WHITE TIGER KENPO JUJITS. This a highly effective martial arts system that is both practical and effective for the modern day environment. Our martial arts system emphasizes simple and direct movements making it simple to learn. The training is designed to develop instinctive responses to a variety of self-defense situations.

WHITE TIGER KENPO JUJITS of Tampa attempts to prepare its students to face a variety of self-defense situations that include unarmed attackers, armed attackers, multiple attackers and more. From the beginning of your very first Kenpo Karate martial arts class, you will be able to apply a very simple self-defense technique if you found it necessary. We do not teach or train our students in sport martial arts in karate for point fighting tournament competition.

We teach simple and advance defenses against:

  • Punches, pushes and kicks
  • Grabs and holds
  • Joint locks and chokes
  • Knives, guns, and sticks
  • Being taken to the ground
  • And much more!

While other martial arts schools are adding on other arts to fill in their gaps, you will learn one martial art that incorporates a multi-dimensional approach to self-defense.

Will I learn from qualified, knowledgeable, and competent instructors?

Your instructor has been teaching the martial arts for almost 20 years now. You will not have to wonder whether you are learning from someone unqualified, or that has no real-world experience which is often the case. I holds several Black Belts, 1st Black in Tracy's Kenpo Karate, 1st Black in Aiki Combat Jujits and a 4th Black in White Tiger Kenpo Jujits. I am personally trained by Jim Rathbone Soke, founder of WHITE TIGER KENPO JUJITS.

How hard is it to learn White Tiger Kenpo Jujits?

Anyone can learn WHITE KENPO JUJITS. Unlike other martial arts that are very acrobatic or requires a lot of athleticism, KENPO is designed around simplistic movements that are direct, effective, and efficient. Most importantly it is a tested and a proven system.

We will also teach you how to effectively defend yourself against much larger and stronger attackers so you can feel confident in any situation you might face. The study of any martial arts system requires a thorough understanding of the basics and a continuing focus of working on the basics.

Can I try Kenpo before making a decision to study?

Yes, If you are interested in the White Tiger Kenpo system try our Introductory Course and discover for yourself if our martial arts program is right for you.

Is there any other fees

No, there are never any belt or test fees here at White Tiger Kenpo Jujits of Tampa. Our membership fee is the only fee you will every have to pay.

How long does it take to get a black belt?

Because we specialize in private lessons, each student progresses at their own pace.  The more a student chooses to train and practice, the quicker he/she will move through the system.  On average, it takes 4-7 yrs to achieve the rank of black belt.

What is the difference between White Tiger Kenpo and other forms of Kenpo?

  • The primary difference is the use of circular power patterns or soft style vs. the linear or hard style of the Tracy's or American Kenpo. This is primarily based on the study of Bruce Lee’s power patterns and deceptive movement theory as taught to Shihan Jim Rathbone by Joe Lewis. Joe Lewis was World Professional Heavy Weight Champion full contact karate. For over 10 years Lewis was undefeated.
  • We incorporate the use of deceptive movement theory into not just karate style sparring but all initiation of techniques.
  • The way we train is much more like Kajukenbo, jujitsu or judo, making sure each student understands fully the hands on mechanics of each technique and can use his or her knowledge in the street. We don't karate spar we Kenpo spar using the techniques.
  • While White Tiger Kenpo is primary a standing self defense system, we understand and teach ground fighting. We have incorporated, chokes and strangles, locks and dislocation and other Jujits finishing techniques into the curriculum from DiatoRyu Aki Jujitsu blending them into the Kenpo self defense techniques.

What is a belt test, and do I have to do that?

A belt test usually occurs at your normal lesson time, in which you demonstrate all the self-defense techniques.  Instructors will schedule a student to test only when he/she is ready, and have already proven a solid understanding of the requirements.  The belt tests are only required if the student is interested in progressing through the Kenpo system and wants to achieve rank.

Do you teach any other martial arts?

No, We teach White Kenpo Jujits a complete program, capable of taking a beginner to advanced black belt.  We also incorporate elements of other arts that can be useful in self-defense, such as the stick fighting found in the Filipino art of Kali, ground fighting and Jujitsu locks and chokes. 

Do you teach MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)?

Kenpo is the originally Mixed Martial Arts. Kenpo karate is a unique mixed martial art or MMA that traces it's near history to the Pa lama settlement on Oahu, Hawaii. It is based on approximately 150 self defense patterns cataloged by the members of the Black Belt Society, whose members included William Chow who was Adriano Emperado (Kenpo) instructor, Walter Choo (Karate), Joe Holck (Judo), Frank Ordonez (Jujutsu), and George C. Chang. Ed Parker another of William Chow's student brought Kenpo to the U.S. in the 1950’s and established American Kenpo as his style. The Tracy Brothers who were Parker students established the Tracy Kenpo based on these same techniques. The true origins of these self defense patterns are unknown but many theories and legends abound.

Will I get injured doing karate? 

Safety within our school is our highest priority as an injured student does no one any good and can have a devastating impact on the student and the school. Even though we train at different intensity levels, the physical safety and comfort of our students has and will always remain a top priority. It should be understood though that studying a martial art of any kind whether it be White Tiger Kenpo Jujits, Tae Kwon Do or Mixed Martial Arts there are inherent risks associated with participation no one is immune from the possibility no matter how unlikely of sustaining an injury.

Do you teach weapons?

Yes.  We can teach various weapons to students interested, including sticks, knives and bow

Do you teach ground fighting?

Yes.  It is not a requirement, but self-defense situations are likely to occur on the ground and we teach various methods of managing and escaping ground attacks, including joint locks and body leverage control tactics.

I am very shy and nervous around others and often embarrassed. Will I feel that way at your studio?

No. We take great pride in our friendly and laid back atmosphere. We have all levels of martial arts and fitness-focused students, and require all instructors and students to grant the proper respect and consideration to everyone.

Will I have to spar/fight with other people?

No, as we do not do traditional sparring here at White Tiger Kenpo Jujits we do freestyle with Kenpo. No one has to do anything they feel uncomfortable with.

Do I have to be in shape to take Kenpo?

No. Kenpo is a self-defense system based on practical movements that anyone can learn. For students interested in the fitness side, Kenpo can be used to get you into shape -- you can start at your own pace and build your conditioning to your own timetable.

I have a belt in another art. Do I have to start over?

Yes. Each martial art has their own system of belts and colored ranks, so all students starting at White Tiger Kenpo Jujits start at the beginning, but we do not take your rank away from you.  Then, through our private lesson program, student can advance at their own pace.  

Would I need to buy any equipment?

No, there is no special equipment to purchase as we do not spare but Kenpo Freestyle

Will this style help me lose weight and develop stronger physique?

Absolutely.  First, your training in your private lessons will be geared to your goals and priorities. Second, because we offer free, unlimited group classes students can workout multiple times a week.  Our group classes include various cardio and strength building activities while learning and applying the techniques you have learned.  We strive to keep group class different day to day, and week to week , offering well-rounded fitness and fun.

Can you help with discipline and confidence building?

Yes.  As students develop the physical side of martial arts, they also inherently develop a more disciplined outlook.  The Kenpo art is specifically designed for self-defense, and students learn how to handle physical attackers, which also inherently provides more confidence in their day to day activities. 

Does White Tiger Kenpo promote fighting?

No. In fact, we believe it does exactly the opposite.  Students trained in self-defense develop awareness skills that allow them to recognize dangerous situations before they occur, or before the student becomes vulnerable.  Furthermore, students develop a self-esteem level that can be seen by others who may normally consider provocation, but are deterred by the student's confidence.

Do students have to wear uniforms? Is there a dress code?

Student are not required to wear a uniform but we do have gis and t-shirts for sale for those who wish to buy them.   Students generally wear normal workout clothing to group classes (sweat pants, shorts, T-shirts). 

Are you prepared to work around disabilities?

Yes.  We specialize in private lessons, and can design each student's training specific to their lives. 

Do you break boards or concrete?

No. We train in practical self-defense situations and have not yet heard of any boards or bricks attacking people. As soon as we do, we will incorporate defenses against boards and bricks.

Do you participate in tournaments?

No.  We train in practical self-defense situations. Our focus is always on our students' safety and security, not earning points in competitions or tournaments.

What is Kenpo? How Does It Compare to Other Martial Arts?

Kenpo is a practical form of self defense.   We practice for attacks such as a grab from behind, an arm pinned behind your back, a punch, multiple punches, a push from the front, and so on.  A kenpo student learns a wide-ranging set of self defense moves in response to these attacks, which can be used and adapted in any situation. 
White Tiger Kenpo also incorporates Kenpo Freestyling into our training, which teaches students speed, agility, and improvisation.  When students are free styling, the emphasis is not on winning or hitting hard; rather it is on learning from one another, improving skills, and making sure that no-one gets hurt in the process.
In addition to the practical self defense aspect of kenpo, there is also an artistic aspect.  Students learn kata (or forms) which are choreographed sequences of martial arts moves that allow for self expression and creativity.  Practicing kata helps students to master stances, transitions between moves, flow, timing and so on. 

I have Done Kenpo Elsewhere. How Will Your Club Compare?

White Tiger Kenpo is rooted Tracy's Kenpo, but has evolved somewhat over the years to meet the needs of today's society. If you have studied kenpo elsewhere and come to our school, you will most likely notice that our stances are a bit different than what you're used to and that some our techniques different although the content of most techniques and kata remains the same.

How Fast Do Students Advance?  What are the belt ranks?

Student progress depends on the individual student and the amount of time and effort they devote to learning the art.  Students test for and advance to a new belt rank once their instructors see that they have mastered the skills and techniques required at that level.  The course is designed such that all beginners who attend regularly should receive their first belt (yellow) within 3 months.  The next belt (orange) is typically attainable in about 6 months, but after that it depends on the student.  The belt order is yellow, orange, purple, green, brown and black. Once students reach intermediate rank (blue), they can train to become assistant instructors.  At White Tiger Kenpo it usually takes 4 to 7 years to achieve a black belt. 

What will I learn in the Introductory course?

You will learn some really cool things in your first four private lessons!  You will learn blocks, kicks and strikes, as well as self defense techniques. Within the first couple lessons, you'll go home knowing how to defend yourself against an attacker on the street.

Do I have to be athletic or particularly strong to do karate?

Not at all!  Kenpo Karate is designed to work for all different body types and athletic abilities.  Kenpo relies on technique, not strength or athletic ability.

Why do you guys like kenpo so much?

People love White Tiger Kenpo for a lot of different reasons, and these are just a few: 

                - It's a great workout and helps keep you from getting fat
                - Hitting and kicking pads and/or fellow students is an amazing stress reliever
                - It's great to know that you can defend yourself if you're attacked
                - It feels so good to finally master a difficult move or understand a technique
                - The instructors are great and really care about your experience
                - You build a lot of trust when practicing karate with others, and those others often end up being great friends

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