Curriculum Layout

Here’s how the curriculum is laid out under the “Casey Clayton’s Kenpo” system:


Please Note: Master Clayton and I have been going back and forth on how things will be laid out in terms of progression/belts, but this is the overall structure of the curriculum (so superficial things may change).

Master Clayton refers to the system as “Kenpo in a Thimble.”

This system is based on what Master Clayton was taught by Mills Crenshaw/Ed Parker Sr. back in the late 50s/early 60s. Master Clayton was awarded his Black Belt by SGM Ed Parker in late ’62 or early ’63.

Since then Master Clayton has applied his medical training to his study of the arts in order to make things much more biomechanically sound and approachable by people who are not physical prodigies.


  • Yellow
  • Green
  • Brown
  • Black


The requirements listed are to earn that belt. Students start at White Belt and then promote to Yellow Belt when they’ve met the requirements listed and so on.

Yellow Belt

Yellow Belt is the foundation for the system. You’ve learned the basic strikes/kicks and have a level of comfort in executing them in somewhat dynamic situations.

The basic strikes are:

  • Hook Punch – (inward strike)
  • Backfist – (outward strike)
  • Uppercut – (upward strike)
  • Hammer Fist – (downward strike)
  • Straight Punch – (forward strike)
  • Inward Elbow – (inward strike)
  • Outward Elbow – (outward strike)
  • Upward Elbow – (upward strike)
  • Downward Elbow – (downward strike)
  • Reverse Elbow – (reverse strike)

The basic kicks are:

  • Snap Kick – (front, and round)
  • Heel Kick – (front, side, back)
  • Hook Kick – (side, back)

Students working toward Yellow Belt need to be able to use the strikes on striking pads/targets being able to put power into the strikes while being bio-mechanically sound. The students are also expected to execute strikes while moving in various directions such as:

  • Stepping in and out
  • Angling in and out
  • Stepping laterally
  • Circling

Green Belt

Green Belt is the intermediate stage in the system. Green Belts have learned how to perform an effective initial defense against the following attacks from various resisting opponents:

  • Incoming
    • Hook punch to the head
    • Straight punch
    • Push to the chest (1 or 2 handed)
    • Uppercut (sucker punch, or against a wall)
    • Kick to the groin
  • Grabs (grabbing you)
    • Choke
    • Front shirt grab
    • Rear shoulder grab
    • Arm grab (come along)
    • Arm twist
  • Holds (grabbing themselves)
    • Side strangle
    • Rear strangle (rear naked/carotid)
    • Trunk hold (arms pinned/free)
    • Front tackle (lift and pull at the pelvis)
    • Single-leg takedown
  • Fall and Recovery
    • Falling down
    • Front pin (the mount)
    • Arm grab (avoid the arm-lock)
    • Leg grab (avoid the leg-grab)
    • Rear body hold (sitting rear trunk hold)

The attacks will be cycled through as modules. Proficiency in each module will be denoted with a tape stripe on the Yellow Belt.

Brown Belt

Brown Belt is the advanced stage of learning. The student has developed 2 to 3 move responses to all of the previous attack types and variations. The responses the student has can be used on the fly against resisting opponents who are using multiple attack types.

This is where the student is “learning Kenpo.”

Black Belt

Black Belt is the capstone on the curriculum (yes, there is always more to learn, but that’s based on the student’s interest). The student has demonstrated that they can hold their own against resisting opponents who are free to use any attack type at any time.

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