Student opens American Kenpo academy

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The ideal life for Carol Le Elliot and her fiance, Gene Braden, would be to teach American Kenpo and have it be supportive enough financially for it to continue as a lifelong project. They will be experiencing a dream come true on Sept. 26 when Elliot and Braden officially introduce American Kenpo to St. Joseph with the opening of Scholar and Warrior Kenpo Academy.

According to, this style of  martial arts is characterized by quick, ceaseless movement, designed to overpower the opponent. American Kenpo is derived from Japanese and Hawaiian roots.
Elliot realized that American Kenpo was her true passion in life when she started out by taking classes in Cameron, Mo. It was there that she realized American Kenpo would change her life. Not only did it show her how to overcome self confidence issues, it also was through Kenpo that she would meet her future husband Braden. Braden, a third degree black belt, and Elliot, a third degree brown belt, will be the co-owners of the academy together.
“Our academy is definitely focused on self-defense,” Elliot said. “Not only does it give you the ability to defend yourself, it also gives you the confidence to do everyday tasks, such as speaking in public or going to a job interview.” 

Elliot is definitely someone who is aware of the possible anxiety issues that come out with public speaking and audiences. She is a Theater and Cinema major in her junior year here at Missouri Western. She plans on becoming a high school theater teacher when she gets her degree. Education and American Kenpo are what she always wants to be a part of. Elliot has always looked up to the creator of American Kenpo Ed Parker, and she lives her life by Parker’s saying “condition and guts take over where knowledge and skill end.”

Condition and guts are exactly what American Kenpo gives you, and has given Elliot. This was proven when Elliot broke her wrist the day before her first  tournament. She decided to deny getting a cast on it in order to stay qualified to compete. Not only did she compete with no cast on a day old broken wrist, she took first place in her division. “Scholar and Warrior Kenpo Academy” was named “Scholar and Warrior” to emphasize exactly what is important to them.

“You can’t just train your mind, you can’t just train your body,” Elliot said. “You have to train both.”

The academy already has approximately 15-20 people ready to start Kenpo classes and are inviting more to join. Elliot and Braden are eager for newcomers into Kenpo to at least give it a try. For the people who have never tried American Kenpo before, the academy is having their first two classes to be free of charge. You can find more information about the academy at or by calling (816)-689-3669. Carol and Gene are ready to welcome anyone interested into their new facility at 709 Edmond St., right next to the Missouri Theater.

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