Category: Martial-arts

Mo Duk Pai

“The Martial Ethical Way”

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques. Mo Duk Pai aims to develop the whole martial artist, by training the body, the mind and the spirit. The art teaches kicking and striking techniques, combinations and counters, forms, street technique and tournament sparring, Arnis (Filipino stick fighting) and some grappling. The emphasis is on individual learning and each student progresses at his or her own pace. Students must both master basic techniques and display creative application of technique against a variety of attacks, including multi-person attacks.

Mo Duk Pai was founded by Professor Frederick D. King, a student of Sifu Al Dacascos (student of Professor Adriano Emperado and founder of Wun Hop Kuen Do, Way of the Combined Fist), when he left the Kajukenbo system. An accomplished martial artist and tournament fighter (Professor King was featured on the cover of Black Belt Magazine as “The Happy Warrior”), Professor King felt the time was right for a more holistic system of martial arts that encompassed spontaneity, creativity, practicality, and ethical behavior. These four principles became the cornerstones of Mo Duk Pai. Ethical behavior in particular is strongly emphasized. The system does not impose a set of ethics on its students; it only requires that each student have his or her own personal honor code and to behave in a ethical manner. This applies to the student’s entire life, not merely to the use of martial technique.

Mo Duk Pai forms:

Traditional kung fu forms:

  • Lim Po
  • Pak Si Lum Six (Shaolin form #6)
  • Sui Wan
  • Si Lum Pai (Shaolin form)

Mo Duk Pai forms developed by Sifu King:

  • Mo Yet Do (first martial form)
  • Mo Yi Do (second martial form)
  • Mo Sam Do (third martial form)

System Seal

The system seal consists of a circle with a bonfire in the center and a smaller fire in the upper left quadrant. The big fire represents the vibrancy and power of the art. The smaller fire represents a time in the distant past when the first martial artist emerged. Sifu King’s seal for his black belts is an empty circle with the characters for Mo Duk Pai at lower right. Each school in the system puts its own design within the circle to create its school seal. Currently there are four sister schools in three U.S. states active in Mo Duk Pai.

Mo Duk Pai ranks: (lowest to highest)

  • White sash (wears no belt or sash)
  • Orange sash
  • Purple sash
  • Blue sash
  • Green sash
  • Brown sash
  • Brown-black sash (half-rank)
  • Black sash

Additional half-ranks may be awarded as the testing board sees fit. Testing up to the first degree of black belt is open to the public. Subsequent degrees of black belt are awarded by one’s sifu. First degree black belt is black belt trainer, meaning the student is sufficiently advanced to continue training on his or her own. Second degree black belt is black belt teacher; the student is awarded the title of sifu and is considered qualified to teach the art. First degree black belts may have their own students and promote them up to the rank of green sash. The highest ranked black belt in the system under Professor King currently is Sifu Christopher L. Hosman, fourth degree black belt (my sifu rocks!).

Because of the wide variety of techniques and applications students must master, earning a black belt rank in Mo Duk Pai may take several years. Rather than being frustrating, this length of training is highly rewarding to the dedicated student because of the depth of the training. As the student advances and his or her level of physical accomplishment rises, training encompasses more and more of the mental and spiritual aspects.

Personal perspective

I began training in Mo Duk Pai in 1996 when my girlfriend asked me to join her in learning kung fu. We stumbled over a Mo Duk Pai school and like what we saw: everyone was physically fit and looked like they were enjoying their training. She eventually dropped out, but I kept training because it was so much fun; the training engages my mind as well as my body. There is always something new to learn. My training partners have become like brothers and sisters to me. I get as much satisfaction out of their success as I do my own. I recently was promoted to the rank of brown sash, an accomplishment that was beyond my ken (as well as several other people’s) when I began over five years ago. With this advance in rank I feel renewed and approach my training with an open heart, knowing there is so much more I can learn.

Visit the Mo Duk Pai web site .

© 2001-2006, originally published Aug 15, 2001