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816-682-2428 | 7504 N. Oak Trafficway, Gladstone, MO 64118 | AKKAnorthland@gmail.com

Sam and Kate Middleton

Sam Middleton

Sam (or Mr. Middleton, as we call him here -- actually, everyone here is addressed as Mr. or Ms.) anyway, Mr. Middleton started down the martial arts path at the age of 10.

Yes, there were times he would've rather stayed home to watch "Fall Guy" on TV. Thankfully, his parents kept taking him to class.

Mr. Middleton loves to compete and perform. He traveled the circuit as a martial arts student, placing nationally in various divisions. He's recently kept his competitive nature alive by entering (and placing in) natural bodybuilding contests. Next up, his plans include a CrossFit competition and cross-bow competition.

He began teaching his own students while attending college more than 20 years ago (he has a degree in architecture from Kansas State University, class of '92). And no, that doesn't make him feel old.

After college, he worked as an architect and also as a martial arts instructor at the AKKA Karate USA school in Westport. When the architecture field moved away from hand-drawn projects toward computer-aided design, he decided to switch paths. He opened his own karate school in the Northland in 2001, and has been enjoying the challenges of running a small business ever since.

His hobbies include playing video games (favorites include Skyrim, Max Payne, Splinter Cell and Left 4 Dead), picking up heavy things and putting them back down, and looking for great deals at thrift stores (the DAV on North Oak Trafficway is a favorite spot). And he has, like, a ba-jillion songs on his MP3 player, so he kind of likes music.

He recently earned his 6th Degree Black Belt.

Kate Middleton 

Ms. Middleton (yes, she does know about that other Kate Middleton overseas) began her martial arts journey after college (journalism degree, also from K-State, class of '94). She wanted to get a workout, but she didn't want to go to the gym.

She started out in tae kwon do (where she thought the flashy kicks were cool, yet impractical -- she doubted her ability to defend herself by kicking someone in the head). Then she tried bushidokan (loved it, but it was a fairly unorganized school). Finally, she found kenpo at AKKA Karate USA. The practical self-defense, together with a well-structured belt system, was what her highly organized heart was after.

These days, you'll find her running the youth classes and many of the behind-the-scenes-important-paperwork-organizey stuff.

Her hobbies include gardening, coming up with home-improvement projects for her husband to do and reading (about gardening and home improvements, and anything by Nora Roberts). She also makes steampunk sculptures from recycled materials.

She recently her 5th Degree Black Belt.

What is AKKA?

K is for Kenpo karate

AKKA stands for American Kenpo Karate Academy. We have four other affiliated schools in the greater Kansas City area, as well as schools in Colorado and New Mexico.

The word "kenpo" itself means empty-hand fighting. Many of our systems' self-defense techniques have their roots in traditional kung fu.

What does that mean?

We like to kick and knee (and otherwise hit) our assailant in the groin. The throat is a good target, too (although not for kicking or kneeing -- unless they're doubled over).

OK, but besides that, our self-defense techniques teach a series of rapid-fire strikes, meant to illustrate the variety of options available.

Oh, yeah -- we incorporate jiu-jitsu as well -- which is like wrestling.

We speak English -- it is called American Kenpo, after all -- although we may throw in a  "dojo" (school) or "gi" (uniform) here and there.

Checking out other styles?

 Check out this informative video in which "Master Ken" explains why tae kwon do is an inferior martial art. (Click on the image above)

Best in the Northland!

We were voted best martial arts studio in the Northland in 2013, as well as third in best kept secret. Thank you!

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