After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fighting Dragons with Sifu Don Alves returns to the Newman District to begin their Kajukenbo martial arts education.
Black Belts of Dragons teaches the art of Kajukenpo. Kajukenbo is America’s first true open-hand martial art. Founded in Hawaii in 1947, Kajukenbo is an eclectic art that combines the styles of five Asian martial arts. The name “Kajukenbo” is taken from these basic arts. “Ka” represents Korean Karate (Tang Soo Do). “Jo” represents judo and jiu-jitsu. “Ken” comes from Kenpo. Finally, “Bo” comes from Chinese boxing (Sil-um Pai Shaolin Gung Fu).
Elvis has been teaching Kajukenbo for over 30 years and has two black belts, a fifth degree in Kajukenbo and one in Kenpo.
Alves shared that the school’s main goal is to spread the art of Kajukenpo, educate the community in effective self-defense, and set each student on a path to lifelong improvement, happiness, and inner peace.
“Keeping all lessons completely free to ensure every family member can participate in the community regardless of financial situation or challenge,” Alves said. “In keeping with the philosophies of Adriano Emperado and the founders of the Kajukenbo System, Fighting Dragons was founded with the hope and belief that helping our children today will ensure a much greater tomorrow.”
The academy has three levels ranging from age five and above, Beginner (white and yellow belts), Intermediate (orange, purple, blue, green belt) and Advanced (brown and black belt).
As of now, each class will meet once a week until returning students are up to speed at which they can return to their normal lives two days a week. Fighting Dragons also has a competition team meeting on Saturday. This team is invited by the coach. The team has an impressive winning record and always has a strong showing representing Newman City.
As mentioned by Elvis, each level focuses on the basics, such as punches, kicks, hand-eye coordination and more, and each level gets more physical because of the belt rankings.
“Overall, I really want to make this a learning experience for the whole family, where the kids don’t have to join the classes,” Alves said. “In the long run also, I want to teach my students discipline, respect, kindness, camaraderie, and just wanting to get out, work and have fun.”
In order to become a Dragon Fighter, members are encouraged to register with the Newman City Entertainment Department (before attending the first class on July 12) located at 831 Hardin Street. A non-refundable semi-annual fee of $20 is required to register as an additional $10 fee for participants who reside outside of the Newman Cruise Landing Unified School District. Classes begin on Tuesdays with beginner classes starting at 6 p.m., intermediate classes at 7 p.m., and advanced classes at 8 p.m.
“I encourage my former students to come back as well as anyone who wants to join this family-oriented academy,” Alves shared. “We encourage all ages from the age of five to come, and I am absolutely delighted to be back in the great city of Newman to teach Kajukenbo again.