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American Kenpo Legacy Association
Belt Ranking FAQ's

This section contains the most commonly asked questions about the American Kenpo Legacy Belt Ranking System. If you have other questions, please send us an email or go the forums.

Question:

1. What exactly is required for each belt rank for the Advanced Black Belt Degrees?

2. Do I have to start over at the beginning to test for Black Belt Degrees in the American Kenpo Legacy Association (AKLA)?

3. What is the minimum number of years between each test?

4. I have a 1st Degree Black Belt in the American Kenpo System. How do I test for 4th degree black belt and above?

5. I have a 1st degree Black Belt is Tracy's Kenpo (or Shaolin Kempo, or Chuck Sullivan Kenpo, or other Kenpo style cousins). Can I test for advanced degrees in American Kenpo Legacy Association? How?

6. Do I have to be a member of the American Kenpo Legacy Association to test for advanced degrees of Black Belt?

7. I am not a Black Belt (brown or lower). How do I get involved to train for the advanced degrees in the American Kenpo Legacy Association?

8. How do black belts in Tracy's, Parker's, Sullivan's, AKKA, WKKA, and other kenpo associations measure up to the American Kenpo Legacy Association? How can members of these associations, which are so diverse, attain the same black belt in the American Kenpo Legacy Association?

9. How much does it cost to test for black belt tests?

10. How do I become a certified instructor in the American Kenpo Legacy Association?

11. What will my skills be after becoming ranked with the American Kenpo Legacy Association (AKLA)? What is the big picture of of the AKLA?

12. As an instructor, will I be a free agent? Or do I have to be subservient to other regional leaders in the AKLA?

13. Can I get my students certified for their belt ranks?

14. I already have a 5th or 6th Degree Black Belt in one of the Kenpo Organizations. What is required for me to advance?

15. Why is it necessary to learn more material for advanced degrees? Many of the American Kenpo System are reducing the amount of material for each belt. Will this lead to better kenpoist's?

16. I thought that the Elite-Fighters System was a non-belt system. Why was a belt system added? How does this affect the Elite-Fighters Program?


Answers:

1. What exactly is required for each belt rank for the Advanced Black Belt Degrees?

The exact testing requirements are found on these two pages:

The Elite-Fighters Testing Requirements

The American Kenpo Legacy Degrees

More will be posted soon.

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2. Do I have to start over at the beginning to test for Black Belt Degrees in the American Kenpo Legacy Association (AKLA)?

You do not have to start over to advance in the AKLA. Most martial arts organizations force you to start over mainly from a financial standpoint. By making you start over, they will gain more wealth. We do not require this. What the AKLA requires is quality performance and comprehension of the degree material that you are attempting. Basically, "We are not concerned with where you came from, but where you are going." By following our guidelines, you will be ranked at the belt rank that you truly are able to attain. There are no belts awarded for being in the system for a number of years, or being buddies with other members, or paying extorted belt fees. The AKLA will not lose integrity for monetary gains, 'power' or popularity.

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3. What is the minimum number of years between each test?

There is no minimum amount of time to any belt level. What is require is quality performance and comprehension of the degree material that you are attempting.

Consider Joe Lewis. Joe Lewis is reported to have achieve his 1st Degree Black Belt in only a few weeks, while he was serving in the U.S. Marines in Okinawa. A few months later he was world champion. Joe Lewis was a rare, true Elite Fighter. Our goal is to help produce new legends like Joe Lewis.

We do not try to hold anyone back from any belt promotion that they truly deserve. Many schools do require a minimum time limit stating that they want to prevent 'too many black belts from running around'. While this statement sounds good, the truth is, the longer you have to take to attain your next belt, the more lesson payments and association dues will be collected from you.

We are confident that our system will be challenging enough to prevent anyone from running through the belts too fast. However, if you are an Elite Fighter, nothing will get in your way to slow down your progress.

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4. I have a 1st Degree Black Belt in the American Kenpo System. How do I test for 4th degree black belt and above?

The American Kenpo System has a natural flow from 3rd Degree Black Belt to the 4th Degree Black Belt with the AKLA. The material for 4th Degree Black Belt is listed in the requirements table in the requirements information page. You can complete your 3rd Degree Black Belt using our American Kenpo Home Study Course material, or you can begin your study of the 4th Degree Black Belt material and beginning training to attain the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt.

Ed Parker produced material only up to 3rd Degree Black Belt. After that belt, most American Kenpo Organizations will have you to keep retesting what you have previously learned. Some have you to learn materials from other martial arts styles. Most require your adoration and submission to the 'good ol' boys at the top'.

We don't do any of this. The American Kenpo System is built upon a learning system based on concepts and principles. The advanced material from 1st Degree Brown Belt to 3rd Degree Black Belt finished the techniques with the 'extensions' of the lower belt techniques. These extensions are not simply a bunch of more moves and abuses that you can do against your opponent. Instead, they are used to teach the advanced principles of the Kenpo system. However, most instructors have lost sight of this information. Naturally, a great number of students are in the quest for the lost grail of ' Family Groupings', 'Master Key Moves', 'Category Completions', and more. Sadly, several organizations have made themselves the sole source of this information, stating that only they have the 'Secret Manuals of Ed Parker', or that Ed Parker taught them something that the general public never knew. And they promise to teach this to you, too, if you start over and work your way up (while passing over your fortune in lessons, association dues and adoration).

The Elite-Fighters System of Martial Arts has analyzed all of the Kenpo systems and given a complete treatment to the Family Groupings and advanced concepts. What was found was that no one Kenpo system was complete. Ed Parker's system did not cover all of the possible groupings, nor did any other systems. The Elite-Fighters founders developed a system that has completed these areas and developed curriculum to attain the highest belts in American Kenpo. After testing the system on several students, it was discovered that the system was simple and effective enough for a new beginner to learn, yet detailed enough for Black Belts to be challenged in their pursuits to the highest degrees.

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5. I have a 1st degree Black Belt is Tracy's Kenpo (or Shaolin Kempo, or Chuck Sullivan Kenpo, or other Kenpo style cousins). Can I test for advanced degrees in American Kenpo Legacy Association? How?

Yes, you can test and be certified with the AKLA regardless of your previous associations. As we always state, "What is required is quality performance and comprehension of the degree material that you are attempting." To reiterate "We are not concerned with where you came from, but where you are going."

You will find that if you achieve the requirements for rank advancement, your skills will supercede those of your peers in other kenpo associations. The AKLA has set new standards for what a Black Belt means in not only Kenpo, but Martial Arts as a whole.

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6. Do I have to be a member of the American Kenpo Legacy Association to test for advanced degrees of Black Belt?

Yes, to test for rank advancement with the AKLA, you simply need to join using one of the membership options listed in the membership page. Individual membership is free with any purchase of AKLA Instructional Materials!

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7. I am not a Black Belt (brown or lower). How do I get involved to train for the advanced degrees in the American Kenpo Legacy Association?

If you have not yet achieved a Black Belt, you should first attain your Black Belt using our American Kenpo Karate Home Study Course. From there, you will be best suited for moving into the Advanced Degrees with the AKLA.

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8. How do black belts in Tracy's, Parker's, Sullivan's, AKKA, WKKA, and other kenpo associations measure up to the American Kenpo Legacy Association? How can members of these associations, which are so diverse, attain the same black belt in the American Kenpo Legacy Association?

The development of martial arts in America, including the kenpo systems, has followed three stages of development.

Stage One: The 'Old School' approach included pioneers such as Ed Parker and the many offshoots, such as; Tracy's Kenpo, Chuck Sullivan's Kenpo, and others. The Old School approach to training is, practice, practice, practice. The overall philosophy is that, "You must learn the whole system and make it second nature. When moment of truth arrives, your instincts will naturally kick in and protect you." 'Survival of the fittest 'is the underlying factor that drives this phenomenon. While this is very true, the best students of the Old School approach would remain as the senior students and be able to apply their art against new practitioners of the art effortlessly. Thus, instructor worship led to the second generation of martial artists.

Stage Two: The 'New Wave', or 'New Age' of the martial arts. In this stage, numerous associations, variations and factions develop due to Association Dissolution, death of a Grand Master and fraud. Several associations developed for the purpose of: monetary gain, perpetuating student loyalty to themselves, and to attain notoriety that was not afforded them by the former association, head instructor, or 'inner circle'. The result of the New Wave is that each association has changed the material to their liking to avoid lawsuits, to be different from the other associations, and to announce that their system is the 'best, most authentic, or original system'. Some associations add more material to add to the value of the quantity of information that they teach. Others reduce the amount of information to make it easier to attain belts faster, therefore the instructor gets testing fees faster. Because of this, much the art is lost, or adulterated to be indistinguishable from the other New Wave, or New Age martial art systems. Instructors of this phase are usually concerned with their position of the Family Tree or association, and also to be popular in the 'good ol' boys network. Often they switch from association to association until they find the the level of respect that they feel that they deserve. Wannabe is a suitable term for these individuals.

Stage Three: The 'Reformation Stage'. This third stage is where the founders of the Elite-FIghters System of Martial Arts are in. In this stage, we realize the limitations of stage one, and the downfalls of stage two. The Elite-Fighters has analyzed all of the main systems of the kenpo systems, focused their strong points, developed solutions for the weak areas and created material for the areas that have been absent. All of this was accomplished while maintaining the integrity of the kenpo systems from which they originated. As a result, the American Kenpo Legacy Association offers a complete kenpo system with demanding curriculum to attain the highest belt levels in American Kenpo. The Elite-Fighters System approach demands the student to be in shape and proficient for rank advancement.

Therefore, to become ranked with the Elite-Fighters System of Martial Arts, you are obtaining rank that is veritable and stands above the other systems. We take testing very seriously. Whether you are testing in person or by video, each test is given complete attention.

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9. How much does it cost to test for black belt tests?

Testing for each degree of Black Belt is only $15.00 (free for Individual Members who are involved with the Complete Home Study Course). What you have to do is, video tape yourself performing the required material for the belt that you are attempting and submit the tape to the AKLA. (See video testing procedures.)

The testing fee covers the testing time, certificate upon successful passing of rank, and a critique of your skills. Testing in person is simply the fee of a private lesson with Eric or Kevin Lamkin. The AKLA Regional Representatives may serve as testing proctors for individuals who are unable to video test, or test in person at the AKLA headquarters.

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10. How do I become a certified instructor in the American Kenpo Legacy Association?

There are three levels of instructorship available for certification in the AKLA.

Level One - The Trainer - A trainer is one who teaches kenpo in a club setting, yet has not yet attained the level of Black Belt. The trainer has at least two students registered with the AKLA
Level Two - Part Time Professional - A part-time professional is one who does not teach kenpo as their sole source of income. A part-time professional, is a Black Belt of a 1st or 2nd Degree with at least 5 registered students with the AKLA.
Level Three - Full Instructor - A fully certified instructor is one who is either a 3rd Degree Black Belt or higher, or a 1st or 2nd Degree Black Belt who has a full time school with 20 or more registered students with the AKLA.

To apply for instructor certification, please fill out the application form in our instructor certification section.

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11. What will my skills be after becoming ranked with the American Kenpo Legacy Association (AKLA)? What is the big picture of of the AKLA?

Each belt rank has qualities and characteristics that are required before promotions. By maintaining a strict adherence to these requirements, each student will possess a high level of consistency between schools throughout the organization. We understand that you will have various deficiencies in certain areas of kenpo depending on which association that you have come from. The strengths in one association may be a weakness in another.

The Elite-Fighters founders have developed a methods of learning all aspects of personal combat that complete these areas that may be deficient in other kenpo associations. The 4th degree Black Belt material, covers all possible grabbing scenarios, the 5th Degree 5th Belt Material covers all possible striking scenarios. As you continue to progress, you will have covered all of the grappling, joint lock, multiple attack, multiple opponent, offensive methods, and hand-held weapon attacks. The overall pedagogical methods utilized to teach these materials, enables you to distill the information to a potent, easily utilized system of fighting. In essence, the ultimate goal in the material that you are to study is to make you a true master of interpersonal combat.

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12. As an instructor, will I be a free agent? Or do I have to be subservient to other regional leaders in the AKLA?

As an instructor with the AKLA, you are a free agent. The AKLA does not demand a minimum number of seminars, camps, or direction from regional representatives, etc. Your students are your students. However, we do require that you maintain the integrity of the quality of instruction and standards set forth by the AKLA. Ranked students in the AKLA should feel confident that their belt ranking is consistent with that of other similarly ranked peers throughout the world.

The AKLA Regional Representatives serve as agents to assist instructors within their region. An AKLA Regional Representative is one who will mentor the new instructors and students and help set up and run Kenpo events to further the training, knowledge and fellowship among the Kenpo community.

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13. Can I get my students certified for their belt ranks?

Your students can get certified through the AKLA in two ways:

  1. Students may test directly by using our video testing procedure.
  2. Students may test directly under a certified instructor. The instructor then submits a request for rank certification. Rank certification is only $5.00 and comes with a certificate for the instructor to sign and present to his student, and the certified students will have their names listed the AKLA promotion listing.

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14. I already have a 5th or 6th Degree Black Belt in one of the Kenpo Organizations. What is required for me to advance?

To advance for your next rank, you are to test for the requirements listed for the belt that you are pursuing. Time in grade of other associations do not apply. We do not promote to rank for the simple reason of longevity in an association. You must demonstrate the required skills at the required level of execution for promotion. If you follow our training program for each belt, you will have no difficulty in passing a promotional exam.

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15. Why is it necessary to learn more material for advanced degrees? Many of the American Kenpo System are reducing the amount of material for each belt. Will this lead to better kenpoist's?

The Kenpo Associations that are removing material for each belt are doing this for monetary reasons. The faster they can push you through the belts, the sooner they get testing fees. There is also a misconceived notion that students will drop out if they do not get promoted more often.

The Kenpo material that these other associations are using, does not use the best pedagogical methods. Some have arranged the material for each belt to correspond with the forms. Others have even admitted to writing the names of the techniques on 3x5" cards, tossing them in the air, and scooping up them up to fill in the material for each belts.

The Elite-Fighters founders have analyzed the materials for each kenpo system, developed lesson plans to teach what the goal for each belt is, and refined the teaching plan after experimentation with actual students have become successful. You will find, after completing the materials presented, that instead of keeping track of more and more information, you will see to the root of the system, and have an understanding of kenpo that a master in Kenpo should possess. From this internalized knowledge, you will be able to respond to any threat, extemporaneously.

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16. I thought that the Elite-Fighters System was a non-belt system. Why was a belt system added? How does this affect the Elite-Fighters Program?

The Elite-Fighters System is a non-belt system. However, we have trained many over the past few years in the Elite-Fighter System and were questioned by many who wish to have a belt system. The American Kenpo System has a belt system that goes to 10th Degree Black Belt. However, the material required to get there stops at 3rd black The question then is asked, "How can you have advanced degrees with no material?" The answer lies in corruption. Either, the belt is paid for, or it is granted for service, loyalty or friendship with those of power to grant higher degrees. This corrupts the belt system.

The Elite-Fighters System gives a belt system to those who wish to pursue belt ranking. The Elite-Fighters System of ranking still remains above all other ranking systems. Those who obtain belts must gain their belt through the standards set forth. However, an Elite-Fighter maintains his ranking through the ranking trials. Maintenance of ones ability is a much greater honor than obtaining rank and not maintaining ones ability. If a belt rank is obtained, then the student is also ranked with the Elite-Fighters System. He will always maintain the Kenpo rank throughout his life. However, the Elite-Fighters rank will be maintained by regular Trials. By obtaining both, you will have a rank to be proud of, and always be fit and in shape to utilize your skills.

 

 

 

 

 
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