This is a no-BS page. I'm being blunt - pulling no punches. We're veterans, if we can't handle reality - no one can. Most vets, and most police officers I've ever met have had 99 different excuses why they can't, or don't need, to practice martial arts.

From the easiest ("Ican't do it, I'll punch somebody out") - to the dumbest ("I don't need to, I have a gun") I've heard them all. Lots of words here, but most of us have similar histories; so read on,you'll possibly see yourself in some of it. Then, check out the sections and photos below, and we'll cover those 'reasons' (real and not real) people fall back on, and some other (useful) stuff too.

For example, not all of this is about fighting, it also has a lot to do with stress relief and general health. We work on exercises that prevent injuries from certain things EMT's and Firefighters have to do - a lot: bending and lifting, and walking backwards while carrying heavy weights (sometimes in the dark, or in the rain, or on ice or snow). We do exercises that sharpen your driving skills and your multitasking (like driving through a 4-lane intersection with the lights going, and someone yelling instructions while some idiot tries to cut across in front of you). Nurses too, similar scenarios that often result in lower back injuries, or damaged shoulders and knees. Many of our exercises help train you to avoid getting hurt, and some of them help you recover faster and better.


My Service Background:

I am a combat veteran, with 8 years in Naval Tactical Intelligence. I was a DIRSUP field analyst and spent several deployments overseas on special ops with various forerunners of the group that is now known as Delta Force. I've endured some pretty hairy times with Marine Recon, SEALS, Green Berets and Army Airborne, plus some groups I cannot mention. I've frozen in place while poisonous snakes swam by the toes of my boots, I've slept in a 1950's issue tent in 2 feet of snow and I know what it feels like to eat 30-year old C-RATS once a day for a month (and what that does to your digestive system!). I have a scar from an M-16 barrel behind the back of my right ear, pinched nerves, random numbness in my legs and hands, and I lost 20% of my hearing.

I was injured in 1982 in a shipboard SH-2 crash while making an emergency return to our launch vessel.  I spent 3 days getting slammed around in a Cat 4 hurricane (Brenda) on a frigate in the Pacific, and survived a massive fire on the USS Independence - and another big one on the USS Forestal (not the famous one, the FID used to experience fires of one size or another almost daily). And that's just the stuff that's no longer classified. So there were lots of opportunities to get killed - or scared stiff.

That final helo landing left me in pretty bad shape. I spent some time in 3X weekly rehab at Homestead AF base in Florida, and had a huge lump on my spine for nearly 6 months. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't stand up, I couldn't sit down. It all hurt. The AF surgeon put me on 6 months light duty - and the Navy immediately told me "we're critical personnel, there's no light duty in DIRSUP", so I went back on the rotation roster. It went on like that for my last 18 months, until I decided not to re-up, and got out for good.

My Time Back Home:

I spent 29 years dealing with injuries that were not covered by the VA because my records were classified and sealed. Repeated visits to the local VA and a couple calls to my Congressman were all useless.  There was no proof I had ever even been on air assignments. So I finally gave up and schlepped along as best I could. I'd listen to some co-worker complaining about a pain somewhere - and my first urge was to slap the hell out of them. I couldn't afford to lose a job, so they got to be weak and whiny with no consequences. In 1986 I decided to forego any kind of painkillers, I feel they are actually counterproductive. I didn't even use Tylenol, Advil or Aspirin and for the first few years it was pure agony. But then my body began to adjust, my brain started to ignore the nerve-complaints, and by 1989 I was able to function well enough to hide my problems from my employers long enough to get through the work shift, then collapse once I got home.

There were many - MANY - days that I could not stand up straight, nor walk upright, and puking from acid reflux in the middle of the night was a regular deal. But I had to work, to feed and house my family - so I did.  Some days I felt like it would have been easier to have not survived, my family could have used the $50K benefit and my $15K life insurance. In 1982 that was a nice chunk of cash - it would have bought them a house and a car, maybe a swimming pool and some college money to boot. Thoughts about that, and memories that wouldn't go away, kept me awake many nights.

What Fixed It:

Then, in 2003 I discovered a version of old-style Chung Do Kwan, and in spite of my doubts, I tried it. I joined along with my wife and our two high school-aged sons. Within a year, I was moving more easily, and within 5 years, I had recovered 75-80% of my physical abilities. And the workouts helped with my mental focus, and night-time memories. And I stopped using Tums and Rolaides. At all.

It got me into good enough shape that I was able to take a seriously demanding job doing new store build-outs and old store refits for some major retailers. I did light steel work, sheetrock, heavy lifting - you name it. I went through a box of bandaids and a set of gloves a week, but the money was great. The jobs were tough, I went from 70 hours a week of retail madness and stress to 60 hours a week of bleeding and sweating - for double the money. I could never had handled it if I hadn't been doing regular martial arts training. So in a very real sense, doing martial arts classes enabled me to buy land and then put a house on it. We still live in it to this day.  In November 2010, the company sold out, and then went out of business, leaving me to decide what to do next.

​Our School:

I was amazed to get a call from a 9th Dan Grandmaster in March of 2011, asking me to open a school and represent his organization in Western North Carolina. My family and I had known him for about a year, from his visits to the school where we were practicing. Discussions with several friends and co-practitioners convinced us we could do it, so in May 2011 we formed this academy. So again martial arts made a difference in my life, practicing (for my health) ended up creating a career for me.

In many ways, we broke the mold. I have zero tolerance for bullsh.., so I decided from Day 1, if we were going to do it, we were going to do it right. We were going back to the oldest, purest ways of practice we could validate, we were going to take steps to ensure that we didn't have the same problems as many other schools we had seen (out of control egotism, worrisome cultish behavior, idiotic methods of self-defense, 5-year old Black Belts, money grabbing arrangements, and so on).

​Your Practice Here:

Since 2011 we have held to that standard, in full. Your practice here will be clean, pure and free of BS. We have rules, but all our rules are for good reasons, mostly for ensuring safe practice sessions. We teach one of the deadliest arts ever created, but it's necessary for our students to go home alive and intact every day - most of us have to work in the morning!

Our Black Belt Staff includes several ex-Navy (sub crew, nuke tech, EOD Diver), an ex-Army MP as well as some JROTC graduates. Past and present student ranks here include Air Force, Marine, Navy and Army personnel of varied backgrounds. Many of us are combat vets, and some have lifelong injuries and have suffered traumas - both physical and emotional. 

My own most recent instructor is a Vietnam Vet, a USMC survivor of the Siege of Hue in 1968. If you're looking for a traumatic experience that could put you in a dark corner for the rest of your life - that was it. Not only did he return to Oh Do Kwan/Chung Do Kwan for a release... he's continued it non-stop for the 52 years since, has over 62 years' total practice time and is still active!

My first instructor (James Craeton) was an 82nd Airborne paratrooper who spent time in the Persian Gulf, patrolling the border between Kuwait and Iraq during the first Gulf War. He returned to his martial arts practice in 1993 and continued it until he retired just a couple of years ago.

Summing it all up:

In 2017 enough of my DOD record was declassified to qualify me for VA benefits. Since then I've had 3 surgeries and have another scheduled. They want to do one more after that, but nobody is cutting into my spine unless I'm about done for. Some of you know exactly how I feel.

Instead, I'm planning on relying on my martial arts practice to keep me alive and moving until I am in my 90's. Don't laugh - my first instructor's instructor is in his late 80's and still active and healthy, he plays golf all over the US, several days a week. My latest instructor's instructor is 84 and still runs around all over the world, supervising a worldwide martial arts organization. So that's my plan, I'm sticking to this art until I'm ready to kick off, which hopefully will be farther away and much calmer, because of it!

THAT is what our art can do for you! All of our veterans here have had similar life-quality improvements from class. If you're willing to give it a chance - this will help you have a better life, maybe with new possibilities you never expected.

Come try us out - you may be surprised at how this program will help you recover range of motion, build inner muscle strength with muscles that you have quite probably never used; doing class creates natural serotonins that make you feel good after class. One of my Black Belts has said more than once - and it's a direct quote - "If it wasn't for this school and my practice here, I would either be dead or in prison by now".


I often hear a lot of  'I can't do it - because I'll lose it and punch somebody out...'. Guess what?  No - you won't. That's a dodge, it makes it easy to say 'no' to all kinds of stuff. We run our program such that you start out in ways where you cannot accidentally 'pop' somebody. And this isn't a back yard workout in a shed, we have professional instructors on hand. If we see something developing, we'll defuse it WAY      before it gets out of hand.

Others say "I learned self-defense in BLET and I have a gun - I'm good". Know what? The stuff we teach is forbidden in most BLET courses; it takes more time and detailed attention to learn it than they have to give you. That makes it too dangerous to attempt in BLET... or in a 'self-defense class' at a community center.  YOU NEVER GOT IT.

This is serious stuff we're teaching, some of it takes time to learn, control it and learn how to use it, when to use it - and when NOT to use it. Once you DO know how, it allows you to safely survive serious situations with no (or fewer) injuries. And another thing you won't hear at most places... my intention is for my students to end a situation in less than 30 seconds (more like 3 seconds, actually) AND I want them to be able to go home - not to jail, and to not get sued afterwards. This isn't community center pick-up, we have fun in class and joke around a lot, but we take our training very seriously. And this art is so well designed that even after 20 years, I still learn something new once in a while - you can do this for the rest of your life, and not get bored with it.

Next Excuse:

"I have a gun". Great. Not in some urban cities, not in your kid's school, not at the hospital, not at the swimming pool, and not at your 5-year old's birthday party.

"I'll go out to the truck and get it". Yeah? And what is the shooter doing while you're on your way to the truck? A time-out?

"I have a backup in my (wherever) that nobody knows about". Ever hear of the "21 foot rule"? Many LEOs and gun owners insist it's a myth. One of our Black Belts is an NRA certified pistol instructor, and is concealed-carry permitted. He has many weekends of range time to his credit, and has done many weekends of combat-course shooting. In 2018 he and some friends set up a double-blind test to see if this 21-foot rule was real or bull. They set up a firing station, measured out 21 feet from it in two directions with two targets, one at each end. Then placed a shooter in the middle, with a runner standing next to him, facing in the opposite direction. At command the runner headed for his target and the shooter went for his weapon (different pistols, different holsters, different carries), to take a shot at the target on his end (live ammo)...

Guess what happened?

Almost two dozen tries, different shooters, different runners. ZERO HITS. Not only did the shooters not manage a single kill shot, most couldn't even get off one round. The few that did, missed. Why? Two reasons: one is that 21 feet is way closer than you think for a runner that's really humping at full blast; the second is that while you may be able to draw, target and fire in quick-order, you can't do it faster than they can cover the distance. A SLOW 100-yard dash is maybe 15 seconds. Amateur level. But it is 20 feet - in ONE second. Considering the first 50 feet are always the quickest - he will be on you F.A.S.T.

I myself enacted this with a patrol sergeant from a Noth Buncombe PD back years ago: He stood, back to a wall, and I paced off 21 feet out in front of him. He wasn't going to fire, just draw, but his weapon was empty, double checked before-hand by both of us!! A student yelled 'now!" and I charged. By the time he had his weapon clear of his holster, I had both hands on his shoulders. It was that fast. And... I was 59, and not in prime shape! (Between surgeries, remember?). He was suitably impressed, and took it to his captain to discuss having us do some classes for them - but NOT A SINGLE OFFICER WAS WILLING TO SIGN UP, they just didn't want to believe it. 

Now, what if the gun you're going for is on your calf, under your pants leg?


Next excuse:

"My Poor Physical Condition or Emotional Health Means I Can't Do It"


This one can be real, or feel real. But like I described earlier, I was a basket case before I started. I was 60 pounds overweight, depressed, and spent half my life hobbling around an apartment, wondering what my life would have been like, if only-

We've all learned this: fear will kill you. On the job, or just long-term refusal to try something that might hurt, or that we might screw up in front of people, or that we think we can't do, or that we've convinced ourselves is useless or hopeless. Or fear of having our friends or co-workers ragging on us for doing it. (Secret here - they're ragging on the guy doing it to hide the fact that they are scared of it too). And it's not unusual for your partner-in-life to be afraid of you doing it, they may even create strife to prevent it. They may be afraid that you're leaving them behind, you're trying something new that takes your attention away from them, that you'll find a new life they can't follow you into.

Two answers -

1- bring them with you! You'll both live longer, be happier, and both be able to enjoy stuff you couldn't do before.

2- gently (AND I DO MEAN GENTLY!) describe how you feel, that you need to try something to feel better, and that you want it for the both of you. After all, if you can't work past 50 or 55... who's gonna pay the mortgage? You don't want it to fall on them, this is a way to keep yourself going. And then bring them along to see that you aren't getting into something weird!

In our experience, the partner often watches a couple classes and goes home, satisfied. But sometimes, they get fired up and jump in too! We've had a number of people join alone, only to have their partner follow along a few weeks later. And I have a couple (usually guys!) who will miss a few days, then show up for class saying "that's it, she told me to come to class, she's tired of dealing with my s...!".


So about your 'stuff'...

Your physical or emotional health means you NEED to do this! That's what it's for! There's a reason why you don't feel good, there's something wrong that needs to be fixed. We can't correct everything, but we've done a heckuva job so far. Rehabbing bad shoulders, healing weak knee joints, rebuilding range of motion, rehabbing lower back injuries, reestablishing your endurance, flexibility and balance, helping with Scoliosis, Asthma, COPD, PTSD and more. MUCH more. Oh - and "No pain, no gain"? That's really stupid. If it hurts, you're doing something wrong. We'll spend the time to figure out what's causing it to hurt when you do a move, then figure out how to correct/adjust your technique for your own body.

While it was created to be the most lethal training system on earth, this system used long-established healthy training methods dating back hundreds of years. It is designed to prolong your life, and your functional life. It gradually strengthens your core, your joint-health, muscle and nervous system health, vison, balance and reflexes... and a hundred other things, too. And it's easy to do. Each class will add a little improvement, subtly and almost unnoticed. Then, a few weeks later, you'll suddenly notice you're faster, or your balance is better, or you can finally turn your head again. And it goes on and on. Like I said, I regained 75-80% of my lost physical abilities.

We've had students and Black Belts here with RA, artificial joints and even artificial limbs. We have successfully rehabbed nearly a dozen martial arts practitioners who came to us with severe injuries and surgeries from other schools. One of our Black Belts has had a complete shoulder replacement - twice, and rehabbed here with us. We have had students who were legally blind, one current student has Scoliosis, others have suffered from Vertigo or panic attacks. It doesn't matter- you can probably do it. And we will help you.​

Finally - unlike the many commercial studios around, we are a traditional academy in the old sense (there used to be accepted requirements for using the word 'Academy' in a martial arts school's name, but nowadays everyone uses it). And we are non-commercial, we are not a profit-driven operation. I and my family want the school to survive and thrive, but we don't expect it to make us rich. And I can promise you this - I am as straightforward with my students and instructors in real life as I am here on this page. Even people who don't like me (yeah, there are 1 or 2!) usually admit openly that I am exactly who and what I say I am, no posing or scheming.


NO hard contracts.

NO registration fees.

NO 'Club' purchases.

NO sales people.

NO forced auto-debits.

~ AND ~


That's FIVE full, regular classes...for a DOLLAR A CLASS. Use them at your convenience, talk to the members here, ask them anything you want, without us being around to listen in. At the end of the five classes, if you're not happy - you are free to go. Period.

If you decide to stay on, you get unlimited attendance, free competition training if you want it, free specialty classes, free VIP Guest Instructor Classes, one-on-one Black Belt attention in every class, and an Internationally Certified, ADULT, Master Instructor on hand, all the time. 



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​​​​​​​​Jung Kwon Martial Arts Asheville  

​​​​​If you want to train in karate, kung fu, hapkido, Te, jiu jitsu or other arts - CDK has them all! It is the most complete martial arts training program ever devised!​​​ martial arts classes reviews on yelp Arden Candler Asheville

BELOW: Photos of some of our veterans over the years, several others preferred not to be featured. We've had/have  four police officers in the school as well, but for safety reasons we do not identify them online. Coming from a family with long-time connections to law-enforcement (my stepdad, his father, and my uncle all served 20 years or more, as police officers) I am well familiar with the unique problems that LEO families have to deal with on a regular basis.

Two aunts and uncles, as well as my parents, all spent time working on volunteer ambulance corps. And we've had a couple EMTs, one doctor and five nurses in the school, plus nearly a dozen teachers over the years (one nurse and one teacher are in class here right now, and two or three parents of kids here are nurses and teachers too). 

You will find that we understand very well, what you live with and deal with on a daily basis, and what you need to do to for your health and well-being.

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