MCC students are finding new ways to exercise while learning self-defense from Hugo Dittfach III at MCC’s Red Mountain campus.Kenjukenbo is a self-defense system derived from a blend of Karate, Judo Ju-Jitsu, Kenpo, and Chinese boxing.
This style of self-defense is physically demanding and requires participants to master numerous breakfalls, throws, and various punching and kicking techniques.
Kylie Smith, a 15-year-old student from Sheppard Junior High in Mesa, is taking the class because her family was recently notified that a pedophile just moved into their neighborhood and they want Kylie to be prepared.
“I’m here because I take the bus home from school and my mom wanted to make sure I’m safe,” Smith said.
Another student of Kenjukenbo, 44-year-old Rick Sarmento, is taking the class for an entirely different reason.
Sarmento is a member of the U.S. Navy and has been to Iraq.
He has been taking the Kenjukenbo class for three years and has earned his purple belt, the sixth Kyu rank or third belt after the initial white belt.
He faces another possible deployment in June of this year and wanted to take all the steps necessary to protect himself from harm while traveling abroad.
While at home he works as an Aerospace engineer to pay the bills and likes taking Kenjukenbo because it allows him to release his stresses and just focus on the task at hand.
“You can’t think about work or whatever when your in here. It’s too demanding, you really need to focus when someone is kicking or punching you,” Sarmento said.
The class is a mix of beginner students to more experienced ones who all work together to master the many techniques of Kenjukenbo.
“Self-defense has become multidimensional and varied because no situation is ever straight forward,” Dittfach said.
Cali Maryan, a 19-year-old communication major, is taking the class because of economic reasons.
She had taken about five years of Kenpo through DePalma’s Team USA Martial Arts but decided to stop because it was getting to expensive.
She found the class at MCC and decided to take it, and since then has returned for more.
Dittfach discovered Kenjukenbo himself more than 13 years ago when he took a self-defense class from Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
He encourages his students to practice as hard as they can.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing something you don’t have to do it,” Dittfach said.