Memphis Martial Arts

Memphis Martial Arts is home to a variety of arts, each with its own unique approach. Come and see why we think these are some of the best in the city!

Kempo Karate: Style and Instructor information
Okinawan Kobudo: Style and Instructor information
Pak Mei / White Eyebrow Kung Fu: Style and Instructor information
Wing Chun Kung Fu, under Sifu Dustan Carroll: Style and Instructor information
Yin Yoga: Style and Instructor information

Okinawan Kempo Karate Jitsu is a classical system of karate encompassing a great deal more than punching and kicking. The techniques are those that were used by the ancient warriors of the Ryukyu Islands. It is these that separate Okinawan Kempo from the modern and traditional forms of karate.

Kempo: a martial art that includes grappling techniques (tuite), vital point strikes (kyusho jitsu), and weapons techniques (kobudo). These are not separate arts or additions to karate, but are contained in the original art.

Karate: The art of self-defense using the whole body, including the Empty hand, T'ang hand, or China hand.

Jitsu: The science and study of karate through training the mind as well as the body.

Kempo Karate Instructors:
Sensei Clif Bullard - 901.275.1636 or email
7th degree black belt, Kempo
1st degree black sash and certified instructor, Ching Jwa Gung Fu
Certified Instructor, Dayan ("Wild Goose") Qi Gong

Clif Bullard began his martial arts training in 1984 at the University of Mississippi's Isshinryu Karate Club under Sensei Robert Holly. After moving to Memphis in 1986, he studied at the Ching Jwa ("Golden Talon") Gung Fu school under Sifu William Vardeman and was awarded both his black sash and his Sifu certification in 1991.

In 1994 he attended his first pressure point seminar, taught by Eli McCoy of Milan, TN. This caused him to realize that there was a much deeper level of knowledge which he hadn't seen before, and he began studying Kempo and Aikido under one of Master McCoy's students, Gary Chase of Memphis Aiki-kai. He was awarded his first-degree black belt for Ryukyu Kempo in 2001.

In 2003 Clif moved to Nashville where he continued his Kempo training with Steve Cooper of Cooper Karate and Jujutsu Center. Under Master Cooper he climbed to the rank of third-degree black belt. In 2007, Clif moved back to Memphis and resumed his Ryukyu Kempo training with Master Chase. As of August, 2016 Clif has reached the rank of seventh degree black belt.

In addition to continuing his Kempo training, in 2011 Clif also received his instructor's certification for Wild Goose Qi Gong.

Sensei Bullard is proud to be an affiliate of Dillman Karate International.

Sensei Ralph White
3rd degree black belt, Kempo
1st degree black belt, Aikido
1st degree black belt, Tae Kwon Do
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Okinawa Matsusokan Dento Karate Kyokai and Traditional Okinawan Kobudo

Okinanwa Matsusokan Dento Karate Kyokai is the system created by O'Sensei Takaya Yabiku, who was awarded renshi by Hohan Soken under the system he inherited from his uncle, Nabe Matsumura, grandson of karate legend Matsumura Soken. Yabiku Sensei named his own karate style, Matsusokan, after his teacher, Hohan Soken, and Matsumura Soken.

Our study focuses on repetition of the kata of Shorin Ryu Karate and Traditional Okinawan Kobudo, as well as kihon (basics), kakie (push-hands or sticky hands), yakusoku kumite (promise sparring), bunkai (kata applications), self-defense, and conditioning of striking surfaces through makiwara and partner training.

Both Shorin Ryu Karate and Kobudo can be practiced by young and old. Our emphasis is upon training, not performance and competition. We train for training's sake, “polishing the spirit through polishing technique,” also known as Seishin Shugyo – Spirit Training. The purpose of karate and kobudo is not to fight; the purpose is to train.

We train together in a cooperative rather than competitive environment, inside the dojo and out, to make each other better martial artists and better people - a concept known as Ningen Keisei, which is the process of becoming a complete human being.

"Learning from seniors and instructing juniors - through this, finding your place in society." – Higa Minoru

Though Ningen Keisei, we promote and encourage the concept of Bunbu Ryodo – the Art of Pen and Sword – in the belief that you should combine the martial arts, karate and kobudo, with the aesthetic arts to become a complete person.

Through these principles, we can accomplish any number of personal goals, including: building confidence, becoming stronger, healing the body, improving focus, defending yourself, forging friendships, overcoming fear, obtaining mindfulness, finding peace, achieving balance, broadening the mind, learning patience, and practicing leadership.

Kobudo means "Ancient Martial Way." Kobudo always refers to martial arts training with weapons.

The two traditions of kobudo are Japanese and Okinawan. Each has different origins and histories and often use different weapons, or the same weapons in very different ways. Japanese kobudo most often teaches battlefield weapons, while Okinawan kobudo emphasizes the simple, self-defense weapons carried by farmers, fishermen, and pre-war Okinawan police and guards.

The Weapons
We train with five traditional Okinawan weapons drawn from two main Okinawan kobudo traditions - Matayoshi Kobudo and Ryukyu Kobudo. For a variety of reasons, we always train with real weapons, never padded or safety weapons (except during seminars and with very young children).

Bo is a wooden staff, usually six feet long. The bo trains mind and body in martial movement, improving situational awareness and broadening the kinesthetic sense. The bo is a weapon that can be studied your entire life, with always something new to learn.

Nunchaku, commonly called nunchucks, consists of two sticks connected by a cord or chain. Nunchaku teaches focus, speed, hip movement, and body control, as well as how to overcome fear and remain calm while everything is flying all around you.

Tonfa is a wooden handle-like weapon used in pairs. Tonfa teaches the hands to work independently, as well as precise coordination between hand, eye, and mind. Tonfa training is similar to (and synergistic with) Karate and Taekwondo.

Sai is a prong-shaped metal truncheon, used in pairs, which can be wielded for striking, stabbing, or trapping. Sais teach manual dexterity and precision, as well as building strength because of their weight. Sai training is also very similar to Karate and Taekwondo.

Ieku (also called Eku or Kai) is a long wooden oar. It was traditionally used by Okinawan fishermen for defense against local pirates!

Why Study Karate and Kobudo?

Karate and Kobudo have always been strongly associated, like two halves of a complete painting. If you only train with weapons, how will you defend yourself if you are weaponless? If you only train in Karate, how will you defend yourself against opponents armed with dangerous weapons?

If you train in Karate or Taekwondo, the art of kobudo improves your skills. The mental and physical stresses of wielding a weapon reinforces the lessons learned in empty-hand training, increasing power, strengthening stance, and improving focus.

Karate and Kobudo helps keep alive ancient Okinawan martial knowledge and appreciation of Okinawan culture.

“Martial arts training is a nice antidote for cultural ignorance. We are allowed through it to replicate the actions practiced by different people from different cultures who lived centuries from us. We can not only improve our health and our skills but don another person’s shoes and walk down his path.” – Sifu Ted Mancuso

Like Tai Chi, Shorin Ryu Karate and Okinanwan Kobudo are especially suited for adults wanting to get in better shape or start a fun and challenging exercise regimen. Plus you get to hit things, which is great for stress relief.

Self-Defense can’t be learned in a Saturday afternoon seminar or even a 10-week class. At the moment of crisis, thought becomes an obstacle to action. We train diligently in Karate so that Action becomes Reaction, movement without thought. We train with many different Kobudo weapons so you can learn to defend yourself with whatever is at hand.

The Classes
Karate is taught in the traditional manner – continuous instruction in a learn-at-your-own pace environment, with the opportunity to work toward a black belt in the Matsusokan organization. Karate students are required to supplement their training with kobudo in order to advance in rank.

Kobudo is taught in standalone classes of limited duration, usually lasting 10 weeks, and each class is devoted to a single weapon – somewhat like a university course. You don’t have to be enrolled in karate class (or even have martial arts experience) to take a kobudo class – it’s open to anyone and everyone.

Okinawan Kobudo Instructor:
Sensei Jeff Crook - email
4th Dan Okinawan Matsusokan DentoKarate Kyokai (O-Sensei Takaya Yabiku, Dai Sensei Peter Römer)
2nd Dan Taekwondo (Grandmaster Terry Brumley)
Member International Okinawan Kobudo Association since 2012 (Shihan Mikio Nishiuchi)

Jeff Crook devoted himself to the Art of the Pen in high school, though he only added the Art of the Sword ten years ago, when he began to practice Bunbu Ryodo. His journey has led him along different paths – through Taekwondo, then Kobudo and Karatedo – and to several accomplishments – 4th Dan Matsusokan Karate, 2nd Dan Taekwondo, six published novels (The Rose and the Skull, The Thieves’ Guild, Conundrum, Dark Thane, The Sleeping and the Dead, The Covenant) and over forty published short stories.

He strongly believes in the importance of Bunbu Ryodo and encourages students to share their arts and experiences with the class, to the enrichment of everyone.

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The White Eyebrow Kung Fu system is one of the few martial arts that combine the practices of internal and external system into one unit, a concept of Yin and Yang. White Eyebrow Kung fu combines softness, hardness, breath, coordination, speed, and agility into one solid unit. White Eyebrow is a lethal style and not geared toward sporting applications. White Eyebrow Kung Fu is a close range, mid-range, very fast, and aggressive style. It will train your body to produce a maximum force from a short range distance. It also trains the practitioner to develop quick and aggressive hands and footwork to move in any direction. The White Eyebrow Kung Fu is a rare powerful form of martial arts. It consists of four dimensional attributes: Tun (swallow), Tou (spit), Fau (float), Chaam (sink), and six points of power: head, neck, two arms, two legs, back, and clenching of the teeth into its fighting style.

Chang Lai-chuen (1889-1964) was the modern founder of the White-Eyebrow System. Both his disciple Ng Nam-king and his youngest son Chang Beng-fat had taught Dr. Yeu-Quang Wong. Dr. Yeu-Quang Wong taught and trained me from 2005 until his death in 2009. Then Luke Kilburn became the teacher. Luke Kilburn trained me for several years until I graduated and was authorized to teach the Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) Kung Fu System.

Pak Mei trained in the Southern Shaolin Temple. He became one of the surviving Five Ancestors of Shaolin Temple after the destruction of the Shaolin Temple. Pak Mei developed his kung fu in the 1600’s. White Eyebrow Kung Fu was given to Pak Mei on account of his silver eyebrows. Pak Mei passed his kung fu system down to Chan monk Kwong-wei. Kwong-wei taught Chan monk Jok Fah-yuen and Jok Fah-yuen taught monk Lien-sang and Chang Lai-chuen. Chang Lai-chuen became the 4th Generation of the Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) Shaolin Kung Fu System.

Classes are taught in a traditional manner. Pak Mei Kung Fu Institute is a no belt ranking system. Once a student has fulfilled all the curriculum requirements, a ceremony of graduation will take place to grant student Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) Shaolin Kung Fu certificate. This is an art for learning real life fighting skills and not just for functional exercise.

Pakmei / White Eyebrow Kung Fu Instructor:
Sifu Kevin Kelly - 901.491.1752 or email

Sifu Kevin Kelly is a 7th Generation of Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) Shaolin Kung Fu System under Chang Lai-chuen (CLC) lineage. He still travels to the Chattanooga Branch in Tennessee to continue practice, training, and dwelling in unity with the Pak Mei Kung Fu family. He was introduced to martial arts in 1981, where he trained for a short time. He later started back in 2000. He has trained in various martial art systems before encountering the Pak Mei Kung Fu. In 2005, under Dr. Yeu-Quang Wong a 6th Generation of Pak Mei Kung Fu, he began his training in Pak Mei Kung Fu until Dr. Yeu-Quang Wong’s death in March 2009. Dr. Yeu-Quang Wong bestowed Pak Mei Kung Fu Chattanooga Tennessee Branch to Luke Kilburn. Luke Kilburn a 7th Generation of Pak Mei Kung Fu trained Kevin several more years until he fulfilled all the curriculum requirements for the Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) Shaolin Kung Fu program. Kevin graduated and was granted the certificate in Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) Shaolin Kung Fu System in 2012. Kevin received a BS degree in Athletic Trainer Sports Medicine in the mid 90’s. He is currently working in the Information Technology industry.
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WING CHUN KUNG FU, under SiFu Dustan Carroll
Wing Chun Kung Fu is one of the most effective self defense systems in existence today. Wing Chun Kung Fu is a highly effective, combat-tested system of self defense, fighting skills, and defensive tactics. It has been referred to as “A Back Alley, Bar Room Fighting Style” or as “Scientific Street Fighting." Wing Chun Kung Fu has been taught and integrated into hundreds of military & law enforcement agencies training programs around the world such as the US Navy Seals, the FBI, CIA, and SWAT teams and anti-terrorist units. -Written by SiFu Dustan Carroll

For more information, see Memphis Wing Chun Boxing Academy's blog page.

Nathan H. Walls III 901.484.3787 or email
Joe C. Caviness - 754.264.2051 or email
Warren Oster - 901.848.0066 or email
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Yin is a slower more contemplative style of yoga which focuses primarily on gently stretching the connective tissues in the lower half of the body. In a typical class we will move through 8 to 12 long held postures. Holding gently for 1 to 5 minutes. We endeavor to relax the muscles around the targeted area in order for the stress of the stretch to transfer from the muscle to the connective tissue. We concentrate on breath and awareness making every Yin class a meditative practice as well.  With roots in Daoist Yoga and Chinese Medicine, Yin Yoga postures are designed to directly target and stimulate the meridian channels that run through the lower half of the body. This class is perfect for anyone seeking to gain more flexibility throughout the body, for anyone who would like to be able to sit more comfortably in long seated meditation postures, and for anyone seeking to cultivate calm awareness in both body and mind on and off the mat.

Yin Yoga Instructor:
Michelle Mukai - 206.913.7653 or email
Michelle Mukai was introduced to Yin Yoga in 2005. It was a teaching she resonated with right away and intuitively knew that this would be a practice she would one day share with others. In 2011 she completed a Yin Yoga teacher training at Semperviva Yoga Studio in Vancouver, B.C., under the guidance of Bernie Clark. Her exploration of Yin has deepened her understanding of meditation as she recognizes Yin to be a beautifully contemplative practice that challenges us to be still, receptive, and allowing even in moments of discomfort. She endeavors to teach each class with a feeling of loving kindness and support and hopes to see you soon.

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SELF-CONTROL - n; control of oneself, or of ones own emotions, desires, actions, etc. -- Websters New World Dictionary, 3rd College Edition

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