Paul LaPointe, Sifu
Praying Mantis Boxing Kung Fu, 6th Degree Black Belt
Matsuno Ryu Kajukenbo, 5th Degree Black Belt
Matsuno Ryu Goshinjitsu, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Martial Arts have always been a way of life for Paul. Growing up in the 1980s he idolized the martial arts media that was everywhere he looked, from television to movies to video games. His “formal training” began at the age of nine in traditional Shitō-ryū Okinawan Karate and continued in Karate for three years before relocating due to his father’s job.
His next foray into formal training was in the early 1990s in the form of Japanese Jujitsu and Kajukenbo under Dai Shihan Vinson Holck, the son of Kajukenbo co-founder Dai Shihan Joseph Holck (the Judo/Jujitsu behind Kajukenbo). Holck, a retired member the Tucson Police Department’s SWAT entry team, instructed Paul in a no nonsense, self defense method of fighting. Holck’s training placed strong emphasis on kickboxing and controlling one’s opponent through throwing, joint locks, and constriction techniques. In 1999, Paul received his First Degree Blackbelt from Holck. He currently holds the rank of O’Sensei and Fifth Degree Blackbelt under Holck.
In addition to his Jujitsu and Kajukenbo training under Holck, Paul studied traditional Praying Mantis Boxing Kung Fu and Chen Tai Chi Chuan under the tutelage of Sifu Clem Daems after being referred by a fellow student of Holck. The difference between style was vast, however Daems teaching was a welcome addition and emphasized the balance between external and internal aspects of training, the impact of good / fluid movement and the application of explosive internal energy (Fa Jing) when applying technique. Paul received his instructor certificate under Daems in 2002.
Being a lifetime student of the martial arts, Paul is always seeking out ways to improve himself and in turn his students. He is an advocate of the real world fight theory behind traditional martial arts and their effectiveness. When it comes to training and passing on the styles, Paul believes in a hands-on, application focus. It is his view that the art and practitioner are always in a state of growth and evolution.
Michael Reynolds, Sensei
Matsuno Kajukenbo Kai, 3rd Degree Black Belt
Shukokai Karate, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Michael Reynolds began his martial arts career when he realized that the three hours of self defense instruction received from the Corrections Officer Training Academy was totally inadequate for the environment in which he worked.
After trying/studying several different styles, in which he attained the rank of Go Kyu (5th Kyu), Reynolds started his Matsuno Kajukenbo Kai training under Paul Haber (Shihan) in July 2001.
Michael was awarded his Shodan or First Degree Black belt under Haber in December 2006. In July 2009,Michael was promoted to Nidan (Second Degree Black belt) and Sensei. In July 2012, Michael was promoted to Sandan (Third Degree Black belt) in Matsuno Kajukenbo Kai and Shodan in Shukokai Karate. And in July 2014 Michael was promoted to Nidan in Shukokai Karate.
Mel Kemp, Sifu
Praying Mantis Boxing Kung Fu, 4th Degree Black Belt
SCA Armored Combat Black Belt Level
At the age of 28 and living in South Dakota, Mel was introduced to Mantis Kung Fu by two friends as a way to stay in shape during the long, cold winters. At the time, Mel was already conversant in a form of western armored combat and was looking to diversify his martial abilities as well as stay in shape. On moving to Tucson in 2002, he found himself unexpectedly fortunate enough to have Sifu LaPointe teaching a nearly identical style of Mantis Kung Fu. He has studied under Sifu LaPointe since that time as well as continued to study western armored combat under the auspices of the SCA.
Stylistically, Mel is more interested in the direct, practical application of techniques as they apply to a self-defense situation rather than flashier show aspects that apply best to performances. Mantis Boxing’s focus on the application behind the techniques taught in the forms feeds that interest in the practical and fosters a deeper understanding of application over the simple search for the next move.
Mel began studying weapons combat in 1992 as a member of the SCA and continues to practice it today, training students and competing in tournaments on a regular basis throughout the year. Given his prior and continuing background in western armored combat, Mel has an affinity for the weapons forms taught in Mantis Boxing. He places the same focus on the practical application behind the weapons forms as he does the empty hand forms. While people may not carry swords or spears anymore, in self-defense situations, those skills can be transferred to a wide range of everyday items, from a broken chair leg to a piece of pipe and in many ways, are as applicable today as they ever have been.
Mel currently holds the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt in Mantis Boxing Kung Fu and the rank of Knight in the SCA, the equivalent of black belt in the SCA. In addition to his ranks, Mel is a previous winner of the Crown armored combat tourney, one of the hardest fought tournaments in the SCA.
Liam Maddock, Senpai
Matsuno Ryu Kajukenbo, 1st Degree Black Belt
Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, 1st Degree Black Belt
Praying Mantis Boxing Kung Fu, 1st Degree Black Belt
Liam didn’t discover the martial arts until his early 20s but they struck a life-changing chord, and soon became an obsession, as he expanded his training seeking ranks in multiple styles.
He had the privilege to become the Kodenkan Yudanshakai’s first homegrown Kung Fu “Black Sash” under the tutelage of Sifu Paul LaPointe in the early 2000s. Shortly thereafter, he earned Blackbelts under Vinson Holck (Dai Shihan) in Kajukenbo and Mark Fitzsimmons-Cann (Sensei) in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.
His focus on practical self-defense, appropriate force response, self-improvement, and building character (as well as his experience as Dad to two strong-willed daughters) made him a logical choice to head up the youth Kajukenbo program.
Ben Diehl, Senpai
Matsuno Ryu Kajukenbo, 1st Degree Black Belt
***Bio Coming soon***