His teachers urged him to teach, so Chris Bailey opened his Karate-Kung Fu Center in Payson this summer.
"The reason I'm here is 75 percent for the kids," Bailey said. "There's not a lot for them to do. I try to teach them virtue. I call it ‘moral excellence.' I also want people to get healthy and stay healthy."
Bailey said he works to teach his students discipline and points to the what he calls the cornerstones of his philosophy and the building blocks of the martial and healing arts he has practiced for 25 years.
While it took 10 years for Bailey to open his own school, he has actually been teaching private lessons for 15 years in Phoenix. He continues to train about half-a-dozen of his longtime students who make the trip to Payson for their sessions.
"It took longer than I expected," Bailey said of the time involved in realizing his dream. "But the challenges today are much the same as when I started teaching. The challenge is to convince the younger generation that martial arts is not just punching and kicking, it's about discipline and respect. The parents see it right away, it takes the kids awhile longer."
Bailey has a college degree in health psychology from Northern Arizona University in addition to his 25 years with martial and healing arts. He is also a Reiki master.
Since opening his school in August, Bailey has enrolled about 30 students and has room for any number of new enrollees. They range in age from 4 to almost 60. He trains his students by age groups, the children's class is for those 4 to 8; the young adult session is for youngsters 9 to 12; and the adult unit is for those 13 and up. Bailey said he wants to make sure the students have the individual attention they need.
"The way I teach is very traditional, very old school," he said. "I believe that is the best way to train the next generation."
Bailey spent a lot of time as a child in the Rim country. His family had a summer home here and he has been coming up from Phoenix since he was 10 or 12. He is making that summer home a year-round residence now.
When he is not working on his house or teaching at his school, Bailey said he enjoys hiking, mountain biking and riding all-terrain vehicles.
Before coming to Payson, Bailey worked as an engineer at Bank One Ballpark and America West Arena.
"I was there from the Diamondbacks' first game through Game 7 of the World Series," Bailey said. "It was a lot of fun, but (teaching martial and healing arts) is my true passion. My life's motto is be happy and healthy. With a unification of the mind and body, everything else falls into place. That's what I try to pass on to my students."
Bailey's Karate-Kung Fu Center is at 434 S. Beeline Highway, Suite C in the Tonto Plaza. The school's hours are from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
For more information, call 468-8044.
"We have five rules and nine virtues," he said.
The rules: loyalty to one's country; loyalty to one's parents and teachers; trust and brotherhood among friends; courage never to retreat in the face of the enemy; justice never to take a life without cause. The virtues: humanity; justice; courtesy; wisdom; trust; goodness; virtue; loyalty; courage.