History of the American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu (AFFKbJ) Hybrid Mixed Martial Arts System
What is "the American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu
Hybrid Mixed Martial Arts System"?
The American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu (AFFKbJ) Hybrid Mixed Martial Arts System is an American Martial Arts system created, founded, developed and brought to the world Martial Arts community by Mr. Buck Cunningham of Petersburg, Illinois with the able assistance and support provided by his son, Coltin C. Cunningham.
Mr. Cunningham's Martial Arts training began at a very early age and has evolved through many years with much study and thoughtful examination of western martial arts such as boxing, hand to hand "combatives", mixed martial arts and more "traditional" martial arts styles. This extensive training continues by all means available to him through the present day as Mr. Cunningham is determined to continue to grow in his total Martial Arts development, transmission of knowledge and manner of teaching to ensure that the AFFKbJ System maintains the modern day effectiveness, integrity and "aliveness" that he so intends it to continually and perpetually maintain.
If the above paragraph suggests a certain note of disillusionment with the current state of some of today's other martial arts styles and systems and methods of teaching, it may not be entirely coincidental. Rather, it is exactly that growing disillusionment with the current state of and/or apparent trend in some organizations' approaches to "modern" martial arts training that provided the ultimate motivation for Mr. Cunningham to collect his increasingly disparate thoughts and to develop some way to formalize his concepts, techniques and methods of teaching into what he hoped, for many, would be a "better way". That "better way", many now feel, is "The American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu Hybrid Mixed Martial Arts System."
Buck and Coltin Cunningham opened their first commercial school in March of 2004 in Petersburg, Illinois, after teaching with friends and colleagues in many locations for many years. The school, the first of others to follow, is trade-named Cunningham's UGOTTAWANNA Martial Arts. The UGOTTAWANNA aspect of the name strongly and directly implies the "ATTITUDE" that is both represented and commanded by the American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu System and the students and instructors in the highly professional Cunningham's Ugottawanna Martial Arts studios.
What is the significance of "American Freedom Form" in
American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu?
"American Freedom Form" is symbolic of some of the ideas that were important to Mr. Buck Cunningham as he founded this System:
First, Mr. Cunningham wanted the American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu System to be a modern, complete and extremely effective system of self-defense and a Martial Art that continually evolves to ensure that it remains current with modern self-defense needs and self-protection scenarios. (We wear shoes and train hard to equip ourselves with modern mental, psychological and physical tools for real self-defense situations). It was also important to Mr. Cunningham that it be an American Martial Art that is consistent with and celebratory of the very strong spirit of American Freedom as we all face everyday challenges to our liberties, independence and personal freedoms brought about by ever increasing crime and new threats of terrorism. It is designed to be taught using the English language and methods of teaching we, as Americans, are accustomed to. These methods of teaching invite, rather than inhibit, the free-thinking, questioning spirit we are famous (or infamous) for.
Secondly, Mr. Cunningham wanted this System to be a "freedom form" or "free from form" system of Martial Arts which encourages prospective martial artists and veteran Black Belts alike to exercise the freedom inherent in this art to "express themselves" in their own individual manners. Therefore, the AFFKbJ System is free from requirements to learn traditional forms or katas. Traditional forms and katas (if taught as practical self-defense) can be restrictive as to spontaneity, they can tend to "bind the mind", they can negatively affect one's ability to reflexively respond to an attack (and, therefore, negatively affect important response time), and have very little practical application to real self-defense and personal combat in today's world. Martial arts practitioners who are forced to spend years learning traditional forms or katas as part of their so called "self-defense" requirements are often wasting valuable training time and possibly gaining a dangerously false sense of confidence with regard to their real martial abilities. Instructors of martial arts styles which require strict adherence to form and kata training also can make a potentially talented martial artist feel as if he/she is a square peg being forced into a round hole, and that potentially talented martial artist may become disillusioned and stop training altogether. The AFFKbJ System is designed to encourage self-development and self-expression and inherently ensures that the Art shall complement and fit the individual practitioner rather than forcing the individual practitioner to fit the Art!
What is "Kenbo-Jitsu" in American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu ?
The American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu Hybrid MMA System is an integration of effective concepts, principles and techniques from many different systems and styles of martial arts purposefully conjoined by Mr. Cunningham with his own empirically derived knowledge, consciously developed theory and thoughtful insight with regard to real martial concepts, ideologies and techniques. Principal among the fundamental systems upon which this system is founded are: Kenpo (Ken); Boxing (bo); and Jujitsu (Jitsu). Thereby, we derive Kenbo-Jitsu.
We have and will continue to seek, learn, absorb and integrate what is useful from any style, system or source. Other arts that have influenced the development of American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu are: Jeet Kune Do, Muay Thai and other strongly self-defense oriented styles and systems.
Why were Kenpo (Ken), Boxing (bo) and Jujitsu (Jitsu)
selected to be the fundamental styles upon which the
American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu Hybrid MMA System is founded ?
It is of critical importance that a Martial Artist that is truly interested in effective modern day self-defense or "martial" capabilities ("martial" meaning "of, relating to, or suited for a warrior") be comfortable, capable and willing to defend themself in all ranges of personal combat. In the American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu Hybrid MMA System, we teach five principal ranges:
1) the "A" range: is our Awareness Range (we teach this range and subranges as the "A-Loop" which includes Awareness, Assessment, Appropriate Action, Again!)
2) is the "kicking range"
3) is the "boxing/ punching/ striking" range
4) is the "trapping/CQC/stand-up grappling range"
5) is the "groundfighting" range.
In his desire to develop a "complete" system, Mr. Cunningham examined Kenpo, Boxing, and Jujitsu and saw these three as historically rich, time-tested and battle-proven foundation styles with very strong attributes within particular but, unfortunately, somewhat different and even separate ranges. By consciously and effectively combining the best and most effective concepts and techniques from each of these different styles (along with his own independently derived concepts, theories and technical approaches) into one system, known as the American Freedom Form Kenbo-Jitsu Hybrid MMA System, Mr. Cunningham has developed a very diverse, modern Martial Arts System which will enable his students to effectively, successfully and decidedly defend themselves in whatever range of personal combat that might be required. (*Jujitsu, and our own more serene desire for self-improvement through study of the Martial Arts, also provides direct and indirect inspiration for the inclusion of important "esoteric" principles that motivate us toward "perfection of character" and the total training of the Body, Mind and Spirit.)