Frequenty asked Questions about Bucks Kempo


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This page is (c) Guy Gratton, 2006.  Please feel free to copy or link any text, but you must say where it came from. 


What is Aiki-Kempo Jiu-Jitsu?

Kempo for short, it is a modern mix of a number of ancient arts.  Whilst essentially Jiu Jitsu, it also contains elements of Karate, Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Shiatsu, including self-defence, internal balance and healing skills.  Kempo  is regarded as a “soft” martial art – which means that is doesn’t require lots of physical strength or involve regular abrupt physical movements – the power comes internally.


Is this a self defence class?

Yes and no.  What you’ll learn is no substitute for keeping yourself out of harms way but will teach you high quality practical self defence skills.


How fit do I need to be? And will it help make me fit?

Normal everday fitness is enough (i.e. if you can make it from the car park, up the stairs, and into the dojo or training hall), and yes, Kempo it will help you improve your personal fitness and health – most people also find that it does a lot to reduce stress and improve their self-awareness.  If you have any ongoing illness or injury, this shouldn’t be a problem, but please tell your instructor at the beginning of your first session or if this recurs.


Who is the instructor?

The instructor (Sensei) is Guy Gratton, 3nd Dan Black Belt, who is qualified by the British Kempo Society (BKS) and trained under Sensei Warren Palmer at Monxton Kempo club in Hampshire (Sensei Warren has now moved and is running a club in France). 


What should I wear?

If you have any kind of martial arts suit or “Gi” that’s great – please wear it, but with a white belt please unless you’ve graded at another BKS club.  For everybody else, a comfortable track suit or similar clothing is fine.  Most ladies prefer for their own comfort to wear a sports bra.


Normal footwear in the training room is bare feet.  If there’s a good reason why you can’t go without footwear, then clean martial arts “mat shoes” or plimsoles are fine – but not shoes that have been worn outdoors.


Finally – ABSOLUTELY NO JEWELLERY.  This is for everybody’s  protection, Kempo involves movement and contact and any jewellery can cause injury, most likely to the wearer.


Does age matter?

Not really, although for safety and insurance reasons the minimum age is currently 14.  We do occasionally have younger students, so long as they are big and mature enough to cope with an adult class.  In practice, most students are aged 30-50 and we are run as an adult club.


Is this a class or a club?

It is a club, we all pay the same, and it is here because we all enjoy Kempo.  That said, the format, as with almost any martial arts club, is of a class with a single instructor in charge for each session.


Will I get hurt?

We do everything reasonably possible to avoid anybody getting hurt or injured at Bucks Kempo.  But, being honest the occasional bruise is probably inevitable.


What does it cost?

The first session is free; after that the standard cost if you pay weekly is £10/session (waged) or £6.50 (unwaged / students).  Monthly it’s £15/month initially, then £25/month after you’ve passed your first grading – 2/3rds of that if you’re unwaged or a full time student.


Are there any extra costs?

If you are serious, you’ll need to buy a gi (Jiu Jitsu suit).  These cost around £15 for junior gis or lightweight senior gis, and around £30 for heavyweight senior gis, depending upon size.  You’re welcome to buy these anywhere, but we can usually get them for you cheaper than shop prices.


The club has all the training equipment you should need, although obviously there’s nothing to stop you buying your own training weapons and so on.  We don’t use “live” or sharp weapons in the dojo.


Occasionally we go to courses or seminars outside the local area; these are never compulsory (although good fun), and usually inexpensive – rarely more than about £30 for a weekend, or half that for a day.  Often the traditional Chinese meal afterwards is more expensive!


Gradings (the chance to be promoted to a higher belt) happen about twice per year and cost £5– if you pass.



Do you mind me training in another martial art as well?

On the contrary, it can only help – and if you learn anything good, please bring it back and show us.


But my instructor says that I shouldn’t learn another martial art as well as his?

Ask yourself, why is he worried about this?


I run another local martial arts club

We’d love to hear from you – let’s see what we can do to help each other out.


I am disabled, does this matter?

The short answer is that we don’t know.  Clearly some disabilities are likely to preclude this sort of martial arts training – but please phone Guy on 01494-771246 / 07886-693054 or come and have a chat.  If it’s reasonably possible, then yes we’d love to have you in the club.


Do you have links with Shorinji Kempo, Kempo Karate, Dillman Karate…?

No, what they do is probably great, but we have no formal links with them.  If a club or instructor isn’t a member of the British Kempo Society, we have no formal relationship with them.  This is just down to the enormous complexity of the worldwide martial arts community.


What weapons work do you do?

Weapons work is not the main part of our Kempo, but we do practice attacks and defences with knives, single and double sticks, and some use of improvised weapons.  Whilst we’re primarily a defensive martial art, we do teach some offensive techniques, particularly with knives, so that we understand what we’re training to defend ourselves against.


Where and when do you train?

The Liberal Club, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, HP11 1BG (next to the fire station on the big roundabout at the bottom of Marlow Hill).  (Almost) every Monday except for bank holidays, from 7:30-9:30 pm.


The latest updates are normally on our facebook page.  Just like the page for the latest news (you won’t get inundated, the page probably gets a post about once a week.)


Do you offer a childrens class

At present, no we don’t.  Sensei Guy is however CRB checked and we’re normally happy with students down to 14; if younger children would like to train with us, could their parents call or email for a chat about it.


The syllabus does show a junior syllabus, which is what students under 16 will be graded to.  This is mostly because some techniques, such as wristlocks, can be damaging to bodies that are still growing, so they’re restricted to adults only.





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