COMBAT KENPO BLACK BELTS
Sifu Phil Des Rosiers, 4th Degree Black Belt
Phil has been involved in martial arts for 30 years, and was an amateur boxer for 8 years. Phil began his training at Marin Kenpo Karate eventually becoming the owner in 1999. During his tenure as owner of Marin Kenpo, he was the official self-defense provider for the City of San Rafael Employees. He worked in conjunction with city management and law enforcement to develop a comprehensive self-defense program. Phil started training in Combat Kenpo in 2005, and received his 4th Degree Black Belt in September of 2008. Phil is also a licensed personal trainer providing his students with classes that emphasize martial arts drills for both self-defense and fitness.
Phil’s passions are his beautiful wife, Riki, 1st Degree Black Belt, who was also one of his first karate teachers, and his beautiful daughter, Kimberly.
Sifu Milton Davis, 4th Degree Black Belt
My dad always had an interest in Martial Arts, He studied, Judo, Aikido, and found a great love for Kenpo in the mid 1970s at Close’s Kenpo Karate prior to him joining the Army. (At Close’s he was a classmate of a young Jef Dix.) He discontinued his training for many years until January 1991, when he saw a newspaper add from San Rafael Kenpo Karate advertising a “2 for 1” special. Realizing this was the Kenpo School he had originally trained in, he returned bringing my younger brother and me with him.
My first Lesson at San Rafael Kenpo was with Sifu John Sutherland. The spark began after my first lesson, knowing very well of Bruce Lee – and like many others I idolized him and wanted to be just like him. This was the start of my journey, and here I met my new influences- Sifu Jef Dix, Sifu Terry Neill, Sifu John Sutherland, Sifu Ken Chavez, and Sifu Robin Artgiani.
Shortly after I started lessons, Sifu and Marjorie Dix took over the school from Sifu Terry Neill moving it to Novato and changing the name to Marin Kenpo Karate.
At Marin Kenpo Karate, I attended the kid’s classes taught by Sifu Dix, Marjorie Dix, and Sifu Ken Chavez, who was my first Private Instructor. Within a couple of years I graduated to the adult program and was able to attend the sparring class taught by Sifu Dix. This was my first introduction to adult Kickboxing & Grappling, and I have been hooked on sparring ever since.
I loved martial arts and trained at least 2-3 times a week consistently for 14 years. I was a Brown Belt, but the effort it took to learn and practice the Katas of traditional Kenpo Karate was making me loose interest. I just wanted to focus on kickboxing/sparring and fighting technique. Losing interest in Kata inhibited my ability to get my Black Belt. I was still happy but lacked direction and was very stressed by life. This was until I had an awakening to a new path.
In early 2005, Sifu Dix, saw my frustration with traditional Kenpo training, and suggested I make the change to Combat Kenpo. Sifu Dix had introduced me to Combat Kenpo philosophy and training several years prior, but it was hard for me to break from the traditional mold. Once I did, Sifu Dix revitalized my training methods, dramatically improved and influenced my life at home and work, improved my fighting style, and most importantly was one of the most important mentors in my life (other than my biggest idol – my dad). Jef was not just an instructor for martial arts he was a role model, an upstanding citizen in the work place, and loving father and husband. Through rigorous training and lessons I was promoted to Shodan – 1st Degree Black Belt in December of 2005.
Kenpo by nature has always been a mixed martial art in many ways, but I wanted to learn more about my weakest link which was ground fighting, this is when I ventured to find Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Sifu Dix had introduced me to BJJ years earlier, and he encouraged me to find a real BJJ instructor/school.
In 2006, I met Mikyo Riggs Chief Instructor at his new Academy, Marin MMA, in San Anselmo. Since my first class there I was hooked on Mikyo and his crew.
In 2007, I was promoted to “Sifu” 2nd Degree Black Belt in Combat Kenpo, and in June of 2012 I was promoted to 3rd Degree. On September 15, 2018 I was promoted to 4th Degree.
Martial arts have been, and always will be, a great influence on my life. I continue to train in Combat Kenpo and BJJ and will until I can no longer walk or breathe.
Sifu Ian Derammelaere, 3rd Degree Black Belt
I was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, son of a Belgium father and South African mother, and moved to the United States when I was three years old, settling in Novato, California. Throughout my school years I was very involved in a variety of sports and outdoor activities such as soccer, baseball, running, and tennis, and was always interested in health and fitness.
I got my first taste of martial arts at age 12, when I attended Ito’s White Tiger karate school in Novato. I trained under Mr. Ito for three years and obtained my advanced purple belt. After leaving Ito’s White Tiger I took a year off to focus on various sports, until a flyer for Marin Kenpo Karate caught my eye and renewed my interest for the martial arts. I will never forget the first day I entered the school, as it was the day that Jef and Marjorie Dix gave birth to their daughter Kylen.
After initially starting in group classes I quickly progressed to individual instruction, first training under Sifu Richard LaFave, and eventually training under Sifu Jef Dix in 1992. Jef has remained my mentor and instructor ever since.
A couple of years after receiving my brown belt under Jef’s tutelage at Marin Kenpo Karate in November 1994, other priorities took focus away from my personal training with Jef for several years. I studied for and obtained a Fire Science degree, worked as an EMT for American Medical Response, and volunteered at Marinwood Fire Department in the hopes of one day achieving a career in the fire service. A couple of years later I obtained a full-time job at Marinwood Fire Department, got married to my wife Stephanie, and eventually landed my dream job as a firefighter for the San Francisco Fire Department in 2002. After my first child was born, my son Lucas, I started training again with renewed enthusiasm and drive in Combat Kenpo under Jef Dix, reaching first-degree black belt in 2005, my second-degree black belt in 2009, and my third degree in February of 2014. In addition, I have continued to remain active in other areas of health and fitness, including running, cycling, and weightlifting.
Having been a dedicated martial artist for nearly twenty years, I try to live my life, perform my service as a firefighter, and care for my family, which has now expanded to include my daughter Vanessa, with the principles I have learned from Jef Dix and Combat Kenpo. Applying the principles of Combat Kenpo into my own life – using them as a model for treating others and overcoming challenges in life – have made me a better father, husband, student, and friend.
Sifu Marjorie Dix, 2nd Degree Black Belt
I was born and raised outside Sacramento, California. Following graduation from high school, I attended Humboldt State University, eventually transferring to Sacramento State University where I earned a Fine Arts Degree. After backpacking through Europe a few times and living in London, San Francisco, and Florida, I settled in Marin County, California. I returned to school and earned my teaching credentials from Sonoma State University. My love of physical activity and sense of adventure have led me to try such activities as, hang gliding, rock climbing, SCUBA diving, horseback riding, running, cycling, weight training and of course, karate. My current passions are yoga, hiking with my husband, and riding my horse. I continue to make art (which can be viewed at mmurraydix.com) or my Art Facebook page. I also enjoy playing the guitar, banjo and piano. My greatest joy and adventure has been living life with my husband Jef, while raising and homeschooling our daughter, Kylen.
Although I remember having an interest in Judo as a young child, my first martial arts training actually began as a teenager when my older brother started studying Kenpo Karate from Gary Garrett. He would practice hitting or kicking at me, as close as he could get without actually making contact (of course he was doing this just to bug me). My job, as I saw it, was not to give him the satisfaction of a reaction, so I would practice staying relaxed and unfazed while he let his weapons fly. My brother went on to obtain a second degree Black Belt from Gary Garrett.
Years later, in the mid 1980’s, while living in Orlando, Florida, I began studying USA Goju Karate with Sensei Bill Liquori, now a tenth degree Black Belt under Peter Urban. I spent two years studying with Sensei Liquori before returning to California in 1988. Upon my return to California I studied Kenpo with Gary Garrett for a couple of months before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. I asked Gary to recommend a good school in the Bay Area, and he referred me to San Rafael Kenpo, owned by Terry Neill.
There I studied under such notable instructors as Terry Neill, Jef Dix, Jon Fix, John Sutherland, and Richard LaFave. Jon Fix became my private instructor and took me to the rank of first degree Black Belt, which I earned in 1994. This school is where I met my husband, Jef Dix. Of course, living and playing with him had a huge impact on my martial arts. I have many fond memories of playing karate games in the kitchen while making dinner, watching him throw slow punches at our young daughter Kylen, while she worked her blocking skills, and grappling on the living room floor – Kylen and me against Jef.
In 1991, Jef and I took over San Rafael Kenpo, which we moved to Novato and renamed Marin Kenpo Karate. We owned and operated the school for 6 years. After selling the school I continued training in Combat Kenpo, and teaching self-defense classes to homeschoolers. In 2007, I received my second degree Black Belt in Combat Kenpo.
Sifu Mike Dougherty, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Mike was born in 1967 and was raised in Petaluma. He currently lives in San Rafael, CA with his wife Nicolle and four children; Reagan, Rachel, Ryann and Jack. Mike attended college in California where he played middle infield for the Division 1 CSU Sacramento Hornets in the Western Athletic Conference. Upon completion of this college athletics, Mike played professionally in Italy.
In the past 10 years Mike has focused his athletic training on triathlons and the martial arts. Mike began his martial arts training with Sifu Des Rosiers’ in Marin Kenpo’s “Old Dogs Club.” Mike began to train in Combat Kenpo in December of 2005, and received his Black Belt in 2010 at the “High Desert Combat Kenpo Black Belt Camp” in Redmond Oregon. Mike received his 2nd Degree Black Belt in 2013.
Sifu Andrew Guidi, 2nd Degree Black Belt
Andrew Guidi was born and raised in Northern California where he began studying martial arts. He has trained in a number of different styles all with the hopes of strengthening his karate. Outside of practicing martial arts, Andrew works as a law enforcement officer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sifu Rob Guidi, 2nd Degree Black Belt
In 1977, I started the study of Taekwondo at the West Marin Martial Arts School in Fairfax Ca. I Studied Taekwondo for four year where I obtained the level of Brown Belt. After college, I joined the Mill Valley Police department in 1983. In 1986, I transferred to the San Rafael Police department where I spent the next 14 years. During that time, I become one of the department’s Defensive Tactics, Firearms and Baton Instructors. I also spent 10 years on the SWAT team, the last 3 years as the Team Leader. In addition to teaching Defensive Tactics, Firearms and Baton training to the officers at the department, I also taught Defensive tactics and baton training to the new recruits at the Napa Police Academy.
While at SRPD, I decided to change my Martial Arts training from Taekwondo to American Kenpo Karate and joined the Marin Kenpo Karate School in San Rafael, Ca. I felt that Kenpo Karate was more suited for Law Enforcement than Taekwondo. In 2009, I was promoted to Black Belt in American Kenpo Karate. Shortly after that, I decided to start training full time in Combat Kenpo. In 2013, I was promoted to 2nd degree Black Belt in Combat Kenpo by Master Instructor Jef Dix.
Sifu Mike Daly, 2nd Degree Black Belt
I was born in SF in 1965 and moved to Marin in 1973, right next door to Sifu Rob Guidi. Although a few years apart, we grew up together, attended the same high school and played a lot of basketball throughout our lives. In 2009, Sifu Guidi asked me if I wanted to take up martial arts. That is where it all started. I have had the honor and privilege to train with almost all of the black belts in Combat Kenpo as well as all the current students at various levels over the years. I want to especially thank Sifu Milton Davis, Sifu Rob Guidi, Sifu Andrew Guidi and Sifu Mike Dougherty who have all spent countless hours helping me become a martial artist. The ongoing dedication to Combat Kenpo by all of these warriors is impressive.
Lastly, to simply be allowed to train under Professor Jefrie Dix is an honor and a privilege. Obtaining any belt and diploma with Professor Jefrie Dix’ and Senior Grandmaster Rick Alemany’s signatures speaks volumes about high standards (1st Degree Black Belt November 2015, and 2nd Degree on September 15, 2018). To be included with this group is one of my greatest life achievements.
Sifu Laura Spaulding, 2nd Degree Black Belt
I was first introduced to martial arts when my son Eric started taking classes from Sifu Terry Neill almost 10 years ago. I sat in the back of the class every week watching and becoming more and more interested. I met Sifu Jefrie Dix when he would come and guest-teach the class on occasion when Sifu Neill was out of town. Fast-forward to August of 2010 when Sifu Dix held a weekend Combat Kenpo Karate Camp at his home and allowed Eric, who was 12 y/o at the time, to participate. When I dropped him off for the first day of camp, Sifu Dix introduced us to his wonderful family and all of his students who had come up from California for the camp. Everyone was incredibly kind and welcomed us warmly.
While there, Sifu Dix offered to show me the dojo which was still under a bit of construction. When we walked inside, I knew instantly that I was supposed to be there. I had my first lesson in October of 2010 and was hooked. Undeniably, the beginning of my journey was more difficult than I care to admit. To say that I am not a natural athlete is a colossal understatement; but, I embraced the Combat Kenpo principle “The test is in the training” and I haven’t stopped. Through the challenges, Sifu Dix stuck with me and believed in me until I believed in myself. His patience, encouragement, and dedication to his students’ practice is unsurpassed and I am a better martial artist, and person, because of this. I have also been fortunate to get to know and train with his other Combat Kenpo students from Oregon and California and I admire them all tremendously. I feel lucky and proud to be part of this family.
Five and a half years, hundreds of lessons and thousands of hours of training later, here we are. Receiving my Black Belt from Sifu Dix is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. I am both honored and humbled to be one of his students and look forward to training with him for as long as I can. Laura received her 2nd Degree Black Belt on October 27, 2018.
Skip Berg, 1st Degree Black Belt
Skip Berg was born in 1941 to Russian-Jew immigrant parents. He grew up in Chicago, on Maxwell street. As a boy he worked wherever he could, but mostly in the various Jewish deli’s and autoparts stores that dominated the neighborhood.
Skip’s father was a semi-pro heavyweight boxer who had his career ended when he was jumped by a group of men from a rival neighborhood that ended up blinding him in his right eye, such that he couldn’t see a left hook coming. This boxing legacy kick-started Skip’s interest in martial arts. The family moved to Los Angeles during Skip’s formative years. There, he finished high school begrudgingly and worked as a diesel mechanic for ocean going vessels and semi-trucks, before attending USC on an athletic scholarship.
After USC, Skip began syndicating real estate all over the US, fixing up commercial properties and selling or trading them. Through this process he met Terry Neill, owner of a local Bay Area gym, and Kenpo practitioner. Skip trained under him for many years and thus began a life-long obsession with Kenpo which was continued to the Black Belt level under the excellent tutelage of Sifu Jef Dix. Of special note – Skip received his Black Belt on his 70th birthday in 2011. Skip is now retired and living in the Bay Area, he enjoys reading, working on old cars, and spending time with his family.
Bobbi Sloan, 1st Degree Black Belt
Bobbi Sloan is a teacher at Central Christian Schools, in Redmond Oregon, where she teaches a variety of social studies courses and a self defense elective. She holds a B.A. from George Fox University and a M.T.E. from Eastern Oregon University. She has always been interested in the history of martial arts and military history is her favorite “genre” of social studies. However, it wasn’t until she met Sifu Jefrie Dix and attended his women’s self defense seminar that she started training in martial arts. Bobbi started studying Combat Kenpo in 2011 and received her black belt in 2017. She considers the reception of her black belt from Sifu Dix as one of her greatest accomplishments.
Carri Sloan, 1st Degree Black Belt
I was born and raised in Redmond, Oregon. Throughout my life I have always been involved in some sort of athletics but never martial arts. In 2010 my sister dragged me to a cardio kick class at the Redmond Athletics Club. This is also where I met Sifu Jefrie Dix. In 2011 Sifu Dix hosted a women’s self defense class with an offer to train with him at his dojo and the rest is history.
Jeremy Brumitt, 1st Degree Black Belt
I grew up in Redmond Oregon with my older brother Jimmy, and my parents Cam and Terry Brumitt. I have been involved in sports my whole life including soccer, baseball, wrestling, track and field (just throwing events) and football. I played football all through middle and high school and even a little semi pro for a couple years which resulted in too many headaches and 2 torn ACLs. I had a lot of passion for football. If I wasn’t playing it, I was watching it.
That’s how I currently feel about martial arts and Combat Kenpo. Before meeting Sifu Dix, I had no karate experience whatsoever. The only involvement I had was watching UFC, when I was I kid, back in the Tank Abbott, Royce Gracie and Frank Shamrock days – oh, and fighting with my brother of course. I’ve never been in a fist fight, but anyways wanted to learn martial arts, just in case I ever needed to defend myself or others.
I met Sifu Dix at the Redmond Athletic Club (RAC) where my wife (girlfriend at the time) and I were doing high intensity Boot Camp classes. The class was taught by another Combat Kenpo student and incorporated a lot of kicking and punching. Jef was also participating in the classes, and it was there that I found out about Combat Kenpo. I really wanted to learn and felt like this was a great opportunity, but Jef wasn’t taking on any new students at that time.
After almost a year of watching me in the Boot Camp class (I was totally uncoordinated), Jef decided to bring me in as his last student. I was ready, eager and excited to learn. We began in 2012 and after 6 years of intense “The Test Is in The Training” workouts/lessons I received my Black Belt!!! It is by far one of my most proud moments and greatest accomplishments. Jef has not only been an amazing teacher and martial artist, but a great person, friend, and mentor. Everyone in the Combat Kenpo family has been so great, so friendly and so helpful throughout all the training. I’ve had such an amazing time, so much fun and it’s been a great learning experience. I feel so privileged, lucky, grateful, and thankful to be a part of the CK family. I hope to continue and carry on this legacy for as long as I possibly can.
I currently train with Sifu Dix once a week and I have a student of my own that I train once a week. I have worked at Pcc Schlosser (a titanium casting company) for the last 14 years, and I am currently in the X-ray department. I still reside in Redmond Oregon with my beautiful and amazing wife Courtney and my 2 wonderful boys Tatum and Logan (future CK Black Belts).