But Kajukenbo AZ’s two dojos, in Mesa and south Gilbert, had his family split up running them. So he found a good place at Warner and Greenfield roads with enough open space to run his classes, closed both dojos and opened in the new space.
“I think it used to be a church at one time and then a fitness center,” Corder said. “Now, it’s both.”
Corder smiled at the quip, but it is not far from the truth in the way he and his wife, Jennifer, run the place.
Fitness is an important component of kajukenbo, but so is the way a student conducts his or her life, Corder said.
The academy’s motto is “Live clean, fight dirty.” It may sound like one undermines the other, but Corder stresses fighting dirty is not about cheating in competition, for example, but rather about doing whatever is necessary to save yourself if attacked.
It is the “Live clean” tenet that colors most of Corder’s instructional efforts, with an emphasis on awareness, control and self-discipline.
“All of those things are what you should be learning in martial arts, and that’s what we teach,” he said.
Kajukenbo was developed in Hawaii as a combination of disciplines. The name is a blend of karate; judo and jiu-jitsu; kenpo; and Chinese boxing, or kung fu. The masters who created it brought together what was most effective from each, Corder said.
Corder was a latecomer to martial arts; he started at about age 26 when he needed a more physical means to rehabilitate from a badly broken ankle.
After building his way to a black belt, he and his wife, also a practitioner, started the academy.
But the academy is a night job for him. Corder runs his own software development company as his day job. He said he likes the mix of introverted and extroverted work from the jobs.
“It can make for a long day,” he said. “[But] I think I thrive on both at different times.”
888 S. Greenfield Road, Gilbert
Current class schedule: Mon./Wed. 5-5:30 a.m., 9-11 a.m., 5:30-8:15 p.m.; Tue./Thu. 5-5:30 a.m., 9-11:30 a.m., 5-8 p.m.; Fri. 5-6:30 a.m.; Sat. 6-10:30 a.m.; closed Sun.