Another Green Dojo

Read the full story about Boston Karate Students to Help Build “Black Belt Garden” in Local Green Space

What I like about this article is how it demonstrates the community focus of martial arts schools. Extending the dojo to the garden is a great idea on how to link the agricultural roots of Karate to the modern world in a way that improves the land. It also makes it useful to others without being selfish.

Kudos to the Boston Karate students and their instructor for a great job. Between this school and King Karate, from a previous post about gardening and karate, there seems to be a new, promising trend among martial arts teachers.

Tragic News about David Carradine

Actor David Carradine found dead in Bangkok

Read the story here at Yahoo news.

As stated in my bio, his role as a Shaolin monk in “Kung Fu” inspired me spiritually and physically to start training in martial arts. I enjoyed the show immensely and mildly enjoyed his other roles in various movies and television shows. He was a great villain in the “Kill Bill” movie series.

I read his book, “Spirit of Shaolin” and found it interesting. It seems his role as Kwai Chang Caine inspired him too.

It is sad he may have taken his own life prior to filming another movie. David, thank you for inspiring generations of people to train industriously in the martial arts including me.

Regrettable Business Practices

Read the full story here.,0,732400.column

Get ripped, not ripped off, by avoiding contracts with gyms, karate schools
By Greg Dawson -The Last Resort, Orlando Sentinel, May 10, 2009

Three of the four cases listed in the article were for Martial Arts schools that have contracts. I find the practice disturbing. I understand it from a business practice but we are not just a business, we are a part of the community. Any reasonable request should get you out of the contract, which defeats the purpose of contracts. So just do month-to-month fees and offer a great program. It makes moral sense.

La Salle girl gets kick out of karate

Read the full story here.

The article is about a girl who started her training in Kindergarten around age 5. That’s a difficult age to maintain consistency but she is still there four years later.

“She was bugging me for about a year,” said her father, Joel Cordova. “She started taking classes and has been focused on it ever since.”

Her father’s quote is important for all students. She is focused on training. You can do it at any age as long as you have the focus to do the work, the desire to be your best and you never quit.

Karate master teaches more than kicks, jabs

Read the full story here and they have a video too.

Master King has hit on an ancient connection between the martial arts and life. Since the origins of Karate stem from farmers on Okinawa, his belief that they are related rings true. Here’s a quote from the article:

“Gardening, farming and karate are almost the same. You gotta get down into the earth. It’s all about job skills and earning your own way,” King Karate and Harvesting Earth Owner Jackie King said.

Training in the warrior arts teaches us about responsibility and that responsibility includes having appropriate skills to make a living and contributing to the community and one’s family. It is important to know how to provide for oneself. Farming like Karate requires patience. Also hard work has great payoffs. Here’s another great quote from Master King in the article:

“We have kids that come here and train and go out and work on farms. We teach them how to use the equipment. Some of the kids have never used a tractor,” said King.

His program speaks to the heart of martial arts like Karate or Kempo – making better adults by teaching children well. Martial arts are not just about punching and kicking, as the title says. Master King gets it.

“We think that’s part of self defense. If you have to depend on other people for basic things like food, then you’re putting your life in their hands. We need to take some of that power back,” Dora King said.

Good luck Master King.

Swine Flu Threat Closes Karate Academy

Read the full story here and they have a video too.

I’m a big fan of after school programs and small business owners. Though the closing is prudent to stop the spread of the flu, it does affect the financial ability of businesses to remain open. I wish the Karate Academy luck during this Swine Flu hysteria.

Blogging about my Martial Arts Journey

Daruma doll

Daruma doll

Golden Leopard Info is a blog for students of Kempo or any style that finds it useful. It is also about the martial arts journey we all take toward self-development. Kempo is a continually evolving art form that has a depth of theories that utilizes biomechanics and physics to make things work. The articles here will contain some of my lecture notes, recent dojo discussions, reviews of exciting movies, and how the Way affects our regular life. This blog is an Internet Dojo, a place to train the mind, body, and spirit.

For fifteen years, I wrote and compiled a dojo newsletter for my school and organization. It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed it. That enjoyment is why I continued to write so long. A blog provides a more vibrant format compared to newsletters because the reader can comment, adding their insights and reflections. A conversation is much better than a lecture.

You may imagine a strict dojo chief with a stern demeanor and fierce eyes. That’s not me. I like to joke and be relaxed. However, training is a serious business, and students should remain serious during lessons. This serious focus balances humor and levity during training. Follow the rules and show respect for your fellow human beings. That’s the most straightforward rule to remember — the Golden Rule.

What is Golden Leopard Kempo? It is my expression of the martial arts based primarily on my work in Karazenpo go Shinjutsu and Hawaiian/American Shaolin Kempo. Other influences on this base include extensive Jujutsu, Kobudo, Arnis, Escrima, Tai Chi, Ba Gua, Hsing I, Ninjutsu, and Silat. I’m also fascinated by European and Indigenous warrior traditions as well as modern combat. If it involves fighting, then I probably will enjoy learning about it.

Enjoy the articles and posts. Please note, I may, from time to time, post articles from my website that predate the official start of this blog. Think of them as posts transferring from my cave-man blog–the old fashion 1990s web page.

New and exciting in 2006

The last few years have been hard for many students. I’ve made many mistakes in running the school. I’ve upset some, disappointing others. However, it’s no excuse to wallow in misery. You may remember my old saying, “If you’re not getting better, then you’re getting worse.” I’m trying to turn the school around for the better. We are embarking upon a new, bold direction.

It’s been a lot of work developing a better plan for the school. I’ve spent time talking to other school owners, masters, and grandmasters, but I think we’re on the right track now. I’m using all I’ve learned from these great minds to make our school the best in San Diego. Over the last five years, our school has done a lot of wonderful things. Here’s a recap of the most important items.

  • Contacted and work under the original Shaolin Kempo grandmaster from the 1960s, Grandmaster Sonny Gascon. Now residing in Hawai’i, he has allowed our school to join his organization. I’m also a personal student of Sijo Gascon since 1998.
  • This has also revealed our relationship to Kajukenbo, American Kenpo and the other Shaolin Kenpo.
  • Adapted our Kempo curriculum to include Sonny’s original katas, punch counters, and drills. There are lots of missing, exciting material that’s now available to all our students.
  • Established a formal organization to help administer, register and support our members. This will help clear up information, standardize procedures and authorize changes.
  • Improved our Black Belt program to include more advanced material and to incorporate themes. There is a lot to learn in a safe, friendly environment. All returning Black Belts will train with Sifu Bagnas directly and privately, as desired.
  • Introduced a Tai Chi theme to our Black Belt course in 2000. We added a Jujitsu course in 2005. Soon, we’ll be adding Kobudo and Arnis courses. All these will start as Black Belt-only classes. Later on, kyu-ranks classes will be added.
  • Our official newsletter started out quarterly and now is distributed monthly. We also have a quarterly Black Belt Club newsletter too.
  • Celebrating our 14-year anniversary this year.

We want to invite you to tea – to thank you for being our student…even if it was a long time ago.

Questions for our inactive students

  • Do you still want to continue your Kempo training?
  • What would you like to do with your Black Belt?
  • What would you change about school?
  • What do you like most about school?
  • What would it take to get you back in class?

Please help us change your school for the better, so we can all grow together.

Feel free to contact me on my personal mobile phone anytime to answer any questions or for directions to the dojo. I would love to hear from you even if it’s just to catch up.

P.S. The hardest thing to do is return after such a long time. Many people feel awkward about forgetting the material. You’d be surprised how easy Kempo comes back, with a little help. Ask me about free private lessons to get you back on track. We need you back in school.

Introducing our new Little Ninjas program

The Little Ninjas Program is a detailed curriculum that focuses on improving children’s necessary motor and listening skills. These skills will help them enter society with a more confident and enthusiastic outlook. They will become better students at school, better listeners at home, and more ambitious towards the future. We believe the time between the ages of 3 and 6 are the most critical years of a child’s development.

Our program will enhance positive development in a fun and motivating way. The Little Ninjas program will also prepare your child for our Juniors Program. The skills taught are composed of physical and mental benefits. The following are the skills with the benefits of participating in the Little Ninja class.

  • Skill 1 – Focus
  • Skill 2 – Teamwork
  • Skill 3 – Control
  • Skill 4 – Balance
  • Skill 5 – Memory
  • Skill 6 – Discipline
  • Skill 7 – Fitness
  • Skill 8 – Coordination

In our Little Ninjas classes, we make learning fun and educational. Our goal is to help your child be the best they can be at everything they put their minds. Our motto is “Little Ninjas today, leaders tomorrow.”


The eight Little Ninjas skill requirements are composed of physical and mental benefits.

Focus – This skill will help your child’s aim, listening skills, and reaction skills. They will excel faster in any physical activity. Your child will also become a better listener and a more focused student in school.

Teamwork – Teamwork is necessary for any young child to develop. The more confident your child is willing to work with others, the more he or she will accomplish. Your child will build character, which will help your child make new friends and become a better leader in life.

Control – Having control means making the right decisions. Whether your child is handling a pet or handling a problem, he or she will learn to make the right decisions. Control builds confidence.

Balance – This skill is crucial to develop at an early age. Your child is beginning to participate in many physical activities that are challenging, like riding a two-wheel bicycle. Your child will develop great balance and a better posture.

Memory – Developing a good memory is an exercise for your child’s brain. The sooner your child exercises, the smarter he or she will become. Our drills are always helping your child think and make intelligent decisions.

Discipline – Our instructors use the Little Ninja drills to help create the vision that discipline is fun and rewarding. Your child will take pride in doing the right thing. Your child will also follow directions better.

Fitness – Children need to understand the importance of being healthy and physically fit. If your child does not burn off excess energy exercising, how will he or she burn off all of that energy?

Coordination – Your child will learn left from right. They will become better physical participants in sports and activities. The better coordination your child has, the fewer injuries your child will sustain.

In our Little Ninjas classes, we make learning fun and educational. Our goal is to help your preschooler be the best they can at everything they do.

How Your Child Will Advance Through the Program

After every first skill lesson, the instructor will place a sticker within the Little Ninjas Achievement Record Card. On the completion of the second skill lesson, your child will be awarded a skill stripe for developing that skill. Each skill stripe is a different color. Your child must earn all eight colored skill stripes to qualify to advance to the next level. Each ninja with all eight skills stripes will perform at the Little Ninjas Belt Promotion are every nine weeks.

The Little Ninjas Belt Promotion allows your child to show the instructors and parents how developed each skill has become. A panel of judges will be evaluating each ninja to monitor his or her progress.

After the performance, an awards ceremony rewards the ninjas with their new rank. Their rank advancement gives your child a new challenge for each skill. Your child again begins to collect the colored skills stripes as they set their goal for the next belt performance. This visible progress keeps the program exciting and challenging. Your child will learn how to set goals and achieve them accomplishing their new ranks.

The following is a list of each skill with the color of the skill stripe

  1. Focus = Red
  2. Teamwork = Blue
  3. Control = Green
  4. Balance = Yellow
  5. Memory = Orange
  6. Discipline = White
  7. Fitness = Black
  8. Coordination = Purple

Little Ninjas instructors monitor your child’s progress by his or her skills stripes. Make sure your child is consistent with his or her attendance so that he or she earns each skill stripe before the Little Ninjas Promotion. To avoid excess time at each rank and prevent boredom, follow the curriculum calendar.

If your child has difficulty with a specific skill, the instructor may ask you to work with him or her at home to improve the skills. Homework assignments allow your child to be the best that he or she can be. Our goal is to develop the eight skills in the Little Ninjas Program thoroughly. With your help, your child will learn and grow with commitment and dedication to excellence in everything that he or she does.

Enroll your 3- to 6-year-old at our school today. The first ten receive a free uniform.