Modern Kung fu

Total Combat!

History of Modern kung fu

In San Jose, California during the early 1970s a method of combat by the name of Modern Kung Fu which also means “New Hard Task” or “New Work”. The founder name was Master David Lee.

Master Lee had studied many different systems of martial arts in China starting as a very young boy. Some were Pa kua chang, China’s wrestling, Shaolin (martial arts) Hung Gar, Monkey, Eagle Claw, Crane, Drunken Monkey, Tiger, Mantis.

The Main goal in MKF as in most styles of martial arts is to become a better human being. MKF is for defense of different zones, 1-5 the Modern Kung-Fu community utilizes the following breakdown grappling range, trapping range, punching range, and kicking range. Names are merely labels, though. In punching range, you can punch if you would like, or you might do anything else (such as an eye-strike) that would work efficiently within that range. The number of categories that is used is also optional.

In MKF, is known for its ability to adapt to different attacks and defense. The goal of a student is that he/she can defend themselves from any position. This system does not believe in any set techniques, instead it holds to studying movement of the human body.

In the 1990s MKF has added many more theories and movements from other systems. The Don Willis system of boxing, koga system (defensive tactics), Kenpo. They also focus on Muay Thai, Modified Freestlye submission and Greco-Roman wrestling. The interesting thing about MKF is it continues to grow for the future (Willis Modern Combatives). Instructors are always learning and growing with other arts and teachers. This keeps the system from going stale and outdated. An example of the Willis Modern Combative’s theory and ideas are alive, one only needs to visit a gym owned by Damon Willis, Who is well versed in MKF and Willis Modern Combatives and is an Muay Thai Assistant Instructor under Master Toddy.

He was also taught by his brother Devin Willis, who has his instructors ranking in MKF and Willis Modern Combatives . Devin has been training in the martial arts since he was eight years old and has followed that path for over thirty years. He has taught nureous students over the years ncluding law enforcement, military personal

Both Willis are always trying to grow and are currently studying one area they are interested in Walt Bayless Jiu-Jitsu and more Muay Thai.


  • Oral History of Modern Kung Fu – David Lee interview 1979
  • Modern Kung Fu- understanding true combative applications by Devin Willis (unpublished manuscript)
  • Reading And Critical Thinking Book -1 Donald L. Barnes – This book has a great section on the roots of Kung Fu

May 2, 2007 - Posted by | History of Modern kung fu

1 Comment »

  1. I am now an instructor in Devin Willis’s MKF. I am privileged and honored to be have been a student of Don Neal, a longtime private student of Mr. Willis’s. Mr. Neal Started in Boxing, Hapkido and Kenpo in the early 80’s, he has trained consistently in Martial arts but mainly MKF for over 27 years. He severd in the Military working closely with protection details, this experience has led to specializing in grafting MKF self-defense ways with contact manipulation, contact immobilization, contact control, and releases. This is also reflected in his use of the weapon use for similar applications.

    Comment by PhilJ | June 12, 2007 | Reply

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