Kenpo Lineage

Mr. Stephen LaBounty (1942-2020) 

10th Degree Black Belt - Senior Master of the Arts

Founder Of Stephen LaBounty’s American Kenpo

Sigung Stephen LaBounty sits at the head of AIK’s Kenpo Lineage.   

He was arguably one of the most widely known Kenpoists, there are many in the martial arts who say that Steve LaBounty was the true definition of the "Warrior Spirit."  Having initially come to Ed Parker in 1966 with a background in Judo and having a Black Belt under Al & Jim Tracy (only their third), Mr. LaBounty went on to distinguish himself in the Martial Arts, carrying Mr. Parker's banner wherever he went. 

Both a National and International fighting champion, he was widely sought after on the seminar circuit where he was legendary for his "fighting drills”.  Mr. LaBounty spent many years in police work and as a Law Enforcement Consultant and trainer. Having reached a level of excellence in the "Yang" side of the martial arts, he spent years pursuing an education related to the opposing "Yin" side, as a practicing Acupressurist and Herbalist, he taught seminars in bodywork to martial artists.

At times outspoken, he was always willing to support events and causes he felt will bring the brotherhood closer. A friend to many in the Kenpo community he was often sought after for his wisdom and experience and was one of the founding members of the American Kenpo Senior Council.

AIK is honored to stand in (and be a proud echo of) the Lineage of Sigung Stephen LaBounty! We are grateful for his instruction, guidance and council - Until his last day. 

 

Oos!

Mr. Shawn Knight 

7th Degree Black Belt - Senior Professor of the Arts

Co-Founder Of The American Institute of Kenpo

Shawn Knight (1973-Present) studied under the direction of Bill Packer for 15 years. With a background in wrestling, he found Kenpo to be exactly what he needed to balance his knowledge. From his very first lesson, he knew that Kenpo would become his primary focus. Mr. Knight began teaching at the age of 17 and found his life's passion therein.

Over the years, Mr. Knight has been involved in many schools.  He "cut his teeth" in the Pueblo Colorado school - a five year period that he looks back on fondly. Devoted to his training; he would drive from Pueblo, Colorado to Albuquerque, New Mexico every Friday to attend Mr. Packer’s Black Belt Class. 

In 2001 Mr. Knight opened the Broadway School in Tucson Arizona. This school has continued to be his flagship operation and hosts all AIK's Winter Training Camps and Black Belt Tests. In June of 2016 Shawn and Rebecca purchased a building within the same plaza and AIK-Knight was transformed into the 4,000 square foot training center that it is today! 

In 2006 Mr. Knight met Sigung Stephen LaBounty in a seminar class and he immediately respected his training ethic and Rough N' Tumble Drills! After seeking (many) training opportunities with Sigung over several years, Mr. Knight asked him (repeatedly) to be his personal teacher. To which Sigung always replied, "No..., but you can ask me again later." Then on September 18, 2010 Sigung finally said, Yes!

 

Mr. Knight would train with Sigung (at every opportunity he had) until his passing. Mr. Knight earned two ranks under Sigung Stephen LaBounty, his 6th testing before a Black Belt Board and his 7th where Mr. Sepulveda was present. However, the highlight of Mr. Knight's career was hosting the event in 2018 where Sigung was promoted to Senior Master with Mr. Bob White, Mr. John Sepulveda and Mr. Lee Wedlake.    

In addition to teaching across the country, Mr. and Mrs. Knight host a yearly training camp where they bring in the top instructors from various disciplines to expand AIK’s knowledge base and share with the martial arts community. All AIK events are non-political and all are welcome who wish to learn and share.  

 

Some of Mr. Knight's accolades include:

• Began Kenpo training 1990  

• Certified Kenpo Instructor 1992 

• Tested & Promoted to 1st Black Belt 1994

• Black Belt of the Year 1995 (AKKA)

• Tested & Promoted to 2nd Black Belt 1995

• Instructor of the Year 1996 (AKKA) 

• Tested & Promoted to 3rd Black Belt 1997

• Worked for Arizona Department of Corrections 2000-2001

• Opened Broadway School September 2001

• Tested & Promoted to 4th Black Belt 2002

• Co-founded American Institute of Kenpo (AIK) 2005

• Inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Hall Of Fame 2006 

• Promoted to 5th Black by AIK’s Black Belt Board 2007

• Certified Kickboxing Instructor for Pima Community College 2007

• Presented AIK Founder Belt by Sigung and AIK’s Master Council 2009

• Accepted as a personal student of Sigung Stephen LaBounty 2010

• Tested & Promoted to 6th Black Belt by Sigung Stephen LaBounty 2015

• Completed & Released AIK's New Curriculum July 2018

• Promoted to 7th Black Belt by Sigung Stephen LaBounty 2018

• Inducted into the Masters Hall of Fame (by Senior Master Bob White) 2019

Mr. Andrew Pilch

7th Degree Black Belt - Senior Professor of the Arts

Co-Founder Of The American Institute of Kenpo

Andrew Pilch (1977-Present) began studying martial arts at the age of nine in New Mexico. He changed styles several times until he became a student of Mike Winkeljohn – 8th Degree Kenpo Black Belt and former ISKA, IMTO and CHKA World Middleweight Kickboxing Champion. In 1993, Mr. Pilch broadened his studies beyond the traditional Kenpo to include kickboxing and grappling. In 1998, Mr. Pilch moved to Tucson to manage a school - which he later purchased. 

 

Some of Mr. Pilch's accolades include:

• Began Kenpo Training 1986

• Certified Kenpo Instructor 1993

• Tested & Promoted to 1st Black Belt 1995

• Instructor of the Year 1997 (AKKA)

• Tested & Promoted to 2nd Black Belt 1997

• MMA & Kickboxing Fighter

• Tested & Promoted to 3rd Black Belt 2000

• Co-founded American Institute of Kenpo (AIK) 2005

• Promoted to 4th Black Belt by AIK’s Black Belt Board 2007

• Certified Kickboxing Instructor for Pima Community College 2007

• Inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame 2007

• Presented AIK Founder Belt by Sigung and AIK’s Master Council 2009 

• Head Kickboxing and MMA Coach for AIK

• Promoted to 5th Black Belt by AIK’s Black Belt Board 2011

• Accepted as a personal student of Sigung Stephen LaBounty 2012

• Tested & Promoted to 6th Black Belt by Sigung Stephen LaBounty 2015

• Completed & Released AIK's New Curriculum July 2018

• Promoted to 7th Black Belt by Sigung Stephen LaBounty 2018

Mrs. Rebecca Knight 

7th Degree Black Belt - Senior Professor of the Arts

AIK’s Director of Operations

Often Mrs. Rebecca Knight lives somewhat in the shadow of her husband. However, Shawn Knight (her husband) says, “Rebecca stands right beside me in all aspects of our lives together and I find myself within the confines of her shadow almost daily.  There are no words that could adequately express my gratitude for the person that has influenced me beyond the scope of all others in my life”.  

 

Managing the studio, Mrs. Knight serves as the Director of Operations for the American Institute of Kenpo; she tirelessly serves AIK and her students alike. Although her demeanor is quiet and at just over five feet tall she is no imposing figure, you will find her to be a giant in the art of Kenpo.  

 

She attended her first Kenpo lesson in 1996, and immediately felt something that she had never felt before - a small and delicate sense of worth, which grew over they years to an overwhelming feeling of confidence and strength. That feeling that was cultivated in her is why she trains, and why she teaches…to see that bloom in the hearts of the students, to show each and every one of them what they are truly capable of - and that is ANYTHING they put their mind and heart into!!!

 

Mrs. Knight is proud to have been included on the Kenpo Compendium (by Amy Long) on 2008, was featured on the Kenpo Women Website (http://www.kenpowomen.com/2012/08/06/rebecca-knight/) in 2012, and was most humbled by her inclusion as an honoree in Tom Bleecker’s The Journey - Book 3 2019. She has also participated in two Kenpo Women’s Symposiums in 2020 and 2021 as is honored on the website: http://symposium.kenpowomen.com/

 

 

 

Mrs. Rebecca Knight's accolades include:

 

  • Began Kenpo training 1996

  • Worked at AKKA (Grant) as a Martial Arts Instructor 1997-1998 

  • Certified Instructor (renewed yearly)1997-Present 

  • Tested & Promoted to 1st Black 1998

  • Kickboxing Instructor for City of Tucson Parks & Recreation 1998-2000

  • Tested & Promoted to 2nd Black 2001

  • Worked at AKKA (Broadway) as a Martial Arts Instructor / Manager 2002-2005 

  • Tested & Promoted to 3rd Black 2003

  • Director of Operations at AIK-Knight 2003-Present 

  • Director of Operations for AIK Corp 2005-Present 

  • Tested & Promoted to 4th Black 2006

  • PE Teacher at Basis of Tucson 2006-2009 

  • Featured in The Kenpo Continuum 2008

  • Accepted as a personal student of Sigung Stephen LaBounty 2010

  • Tested & Promoted to 5th Black 2011 

  • Featured on the Kenpo Women website 2014 

  • Tested & Promoted to 6th Black 2015

  • Promoted to 7th Black 2018

  • AIK’s Lineage & Legacy Award 2019

  • Featured in The Journey - Book 3 by Tom Bleecker 2019

  • Featured in the Kenpo Women’s Symposium (hosted by Barbara White) 2020

  • Featured on The Safest Family on the Block (hosted by Jason Brick) 2020

  • Featured on The Martial Arts Woman Podcast (hosted by Andrea Harkins) 2020

  • Featured in the Kenpo Women’s Symposium (hosted by Barbara White) 2021