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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What class should I or my child be in?
    At Phoenix Rising, classes are divided into age: Little Dragons - 4-5 years old Little Ninjas - 6-7 years old Kids Class - 8-13 years old Adult Class - 13 and beyond If a student grows out of the age bracket of the class they are currently in, said student may still have to prove themselves mature enough in the class they are currently in to progress to the next class.
  • How is pre-existing martial arts experience treated in the dojo?
    At Phoenix Rising, those who come in with background experience in other martial arts are treated with respect to their previous dojos. In the past, students with previous martial arts experience have been rewarded with a black stripe running through their belt. A student with a black belt in another martial art may also be invited to the advanced class and leadership club early, if they so desire. A student from a different dojo may be allowed to use their old Gi or wear their old belt for a period of time when they start. However, a student with previous experience in martial arts, even a black belt, still has to master all of the American Freestyle Kenpo belt ranks to progress.
  • Who is allowed in the advanced class?
    The advanced class is on Thursday night at 7:15 P.M. for anyone with a rank of full-color blue belt or above at any age. Students with a black stripe through their belt may be allowed in the class earlier.
  • What do I do if I miss a class?
    Students who have to miss a class at Phoenix Rising are strongly encouraged to attend extra classes to make up for the lost time. For example, if a student in the Tuesday & Thursday night kids class is absent on Tuesday, they can attend the Wednesday night kids class free of extra charge.
  • Can I alternate classes to fit my schedule?
    Students are allowed to alternate their classes to fit their schedule. For example, a student may be allowed to attend a Monday night class and a Thursday morning class, instead of being forced to stick to Monday-Wednesday night or Tuesday-Thursday morning.
  • What is the order of belt ranks in American Freestyle Kenpo?
    The order of belt ranks in our system of American Freestyle Kenpo up until black belt is as follows: White - Yellow - Orange - Purple - Blue - Green - 3rd Degree Brown - 2nd Degree Brown - 1st Degree Brown - Shodan (1st Degree Black)
  • When can I or my child belt test?
    Belt tests are held 2-3 times a year at Phoenix Rising. If a student showcases remarkable proficiency and determination, they may have the opportunity to test privately before a given group belt test date. A student may also be eligible to test privately if they have other pre-existing reasons to not test in a group setting.
  • What do the black belt degrees and titles mean?
    In American Freestyle Kenpo, there are ten degrees of black belt. Each degree of black belt is titled by their respective Japanese number and "dan" (rank). First Degree Black Belt - Shodan Second Degree Black Belt - Nidan Third Degree Black Belt - Sandan Fourth Degree Black Belt - Yoendan Fifth Degree Black Belt - Godan Sixth Degree Black Belt - Rokudan Seventh Degree Black Belt - Shichidan Eighth Degree Black Belt - Hachidan Ninth Degree Black Belt - Kudan Tenth Degree Black Belt - Judan When a practitioner reaches the rank of fifth degree black belt, they may be referred to as a "Master". When a practitioner reaches the rank of eighth degree black belt, they may be referred to as a "Grandmaster".
  • Do little ninjas have to start over as a white belt when they are old enough for kids class?
    Little ninjas do not have to start over when they are old enough for kids class. Little ninjas with a purple-stripe belt or above are eligible to test for their full-color yellow or orange belt, depending how much material they know. If a student decides to start over as a white belt, they can still wear their striped-belt as an honorary title.
  • What is the leadership club?
    The leadership club is a program that allows selected students to begin helping out with teaching in classes. An example would be an orange belt in the leadership club helping a white belt little dragon with their material. A student in the leadership club will have a yellow patch on their gi. When a student is invited to the leadership club, they can start writing the time that they teach down. When a student reaches 25 hours of total teaching, they are awarded a chevron patch that is placed on either arm of a student's gi. When a student reaches 75 hours of total teaching, they can be promoted to junior instructor. A junior instructor can be identified by having 3 or more chevrons on their gi and a red stripe going through their belt.
  • Who can teach in the leadership club?
    When a student is first invited into the leadership club, they are permitted to help anyone during the "Open Mat" practice time and can volunteer their help to little dragons and ninjas classes. When a student in the leadership club is promoted to junior instructor, they can lead little dragon and ninja class with permission and supervision. When a junior instructor hits the age of 13 or older, they can lead kids classes with permission and supervision. A junior instructor may eventually be promoted to assistant instructor with enough leadership time. An assisstant instructor can teach little dragon, ninjas and kids classes without supervision. Junior and assistant instructors may also be called to help with teen & adult classes.
  • What does the red belt mean?
    At Phoenix Rising, we have an honorary red belt for a student of the month in each kids class. The student of the month is chosen by vote, and is a student that highlights leadership skills and compassion to other students. A red belt will stand aside the instructor during a class, may lead the warm-ups at the beginning of a class, and may be called upon to help students during a class. The red belt is only given in kids classes, not in little dragons/ninjas or the adult class.
  • What is American Kenpo?
    American Kenpo is a long-withstanding style based on the concept of finding the most efficient way possible to handle an attacker. American Kenpo places a massive emphasis on the placement of strikes, and how we use our energy while fighting. A technique in American Kenpo may be very simple to pull off, but the outcome of said technique is vast and detailed. American Kenpo studies each motion we make with our bodies in and out of fighting, to determine the most sneaky and effortless ways to stop an opponent. American Kenpo's curriculum includes strikes, blocks, maneuvers, locks, grabs, sweeps, kicks and more. American Kenpo originates in Hawaii, Where James Mitose taught a young Ed Parker Japanese Kenpo. Ed Parker would learn a technique or principal from his Japanese Kenpo learning, and try to theoretically apply it to every possible outcome of a given situation. Parker found that any situation will have an infinite amount of outcomes, regardless of the technique. This led Ed Parker to study the nature of the human body and the mind. Through this study, Ed Parker created the patterns and theory that made American Kenpo. Ed Parker would create hundreds upon thousands of self-defense techniques, until his mind would be able to adapt to any situation and he could counter anything an opponent would throw at him. The notion of having endless viable options to handle an attacker is the heart of American Kenpo. Ed Parker would go on to teach Al Tracy who formed his own version of American Kenpo. This variant of American Kenpo would be more blended with Chinese Kenpo and lead into the American Kenpo we teach at Phoenix Rising Today.
  • What does the "freestyle" part of American Freestyle Kenpo Karate mean?
    The "freestyle" part of American Freestyle Kenpo allows us to take techniques and principals from other martial arts and incorporate it into our curriculum, rather than being confined to Karate only. Our curriculum from white to first degree black belt includes material from not just American Kenpo, but Taekwondo, Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu, Shotokan, XMA Sport Karate, and more. By mixing and matching other styles with the base of American Kenpo, we further the original goal of Ed Parker's American Kenpo; to find the most efficient way to handle an opponent.
  • When did we become American "Freestyle" Kenpo?
    While American Kenpo started with Ed Parker and evolved with Al Tracy, American Freestyle Kenpo started with Bruce Hodge and Curtis Futch. Bruce Hodge was taught Tracy's Kenpo by an instructor coming from Berkeley, California. Bruce Hodge would go on to teach Tracy's Kenpo in Merritt Island, Florida. Bruce Hodge would also teach karate at his church under the title of "Mighty Warrior-Karate for Christ". By this point, the Tracy's Kenpo that Bruce knew would be retitled to Chinese Kenpo, as it took heavily from the Chinese martial arts' theory of fighting. Later on, fresh after the Vietnam War ended, Bruce Hodge would end up teaching Curtis Futch Chinese Kenpo. Curtis Futch would practice karate nigh-religiously for seven years. Curtis would teach karate everywhere he went, until eventually settling in Franklin, Arkansas in 1983. Over the years, Curtis Futch blended several other fighting techniques and styles into Chinese Kenpo. This would lead to Curtis branching off from Chinese Kenpo to create his own style, "American Freestyle Kenpo Karate". Curtis Futch would open "Mighty Warriors Karate" in Franklin Arkansas and would go on to teach AFKK at his dojo for 30 years. Flashing back to today, 10 years after the death of Grandmaster Curtis Futch, American Freestyle Kenpo lives on through Phoenix Rising and other schools led by the original students of Mighty Warriors Karate.
  • Does Phoenix Rising offer contracts?
    Phoenix Rising does not offer contracts.
  • Does Phoenix Rising offer family packages?
    Phoenix Rising offers family packages. Each person in the family package gets access to two weekly classes, open mat and fight nights.
  • How much are private lessons?
    The price of private lessons depends on the person you are getting private lessons from: Private lesson with Devin Robinson - 20$/30 mins. Private lesson with Anthony Stagner - 25$/30 mins Private lesson with Colton Means - 10$/30 mins. Private lesson with Sanzin Doriocourt - 10$/30 mins. Private lesson with Gideon Bristol - 10$/30 mins. Private lesson with Isaiah Bristol - 10$/30 mins. Private lesson with Jessalin Means - 10$/30 mins.
  • What does each patch mean?
    Any student can wear the rectangular Phoenix Rising patch or the American Flag patch. If a student participates in one of Phoenix Rising's demo teams, they are permitted to wear the demo team patch. If a student is promoted to leadership club, junior instructor, or assistant instructor they may be allowed to wear a patch noting such. If a student or instructor reaches a set amount of hours of total teaching, they are allowed to wear a chevron on their Gi. The amount of Chevrons depends on the total number of hours a student has logged teaching. If a student places in a tournament with a weapon form, they may be allowed to wear a patch displaying weapon they used. If a little dragon or ninja displays remarkable skill in their form, they may be rewarded with up to three star patches on their gi. The number of stars depends on the amount of form that the student knows. If a little dragon or ninja displays responsibility, focus and compassion consistently in their classes, they are allowed to wear a "Little Dragons" patch. The instructor(s) for little dragons and little ninjas are also allowed to wear the patch. If a student is a part of the All Okinawan Ozark Mountain Karate Association, they are allowed to wear a patch noting so. A student is also allowed to wear a patch from any previous external experience (patches from a different dojo, patches for military service, etc.) on their Gi if they have permission from Mrs. Devin Robinson.
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