Owner of Dragonwood Academy, Chris Bailey, can teach you how to fight with 108 different weapons in his new studio east of the airport. He can also teach you how to get away from an attacker using a simple roll and how to defend yourself in a street fight.
Bailey, a third-degree black belt, said he understands firsthand what it feels like to lose a fight. Growing up as a kid, he was harassed constantly for a birth defect.
His parents resisted letting him learn martial arts, so he was forced to defend himself unskillfully from bullies. It wasn’t until he attended college at Northern Arizona University that he found a teacher.
Since earning his bachelor’s degree in health psychology, earning his black belt in Hwarang-Do and becoming a master teacher of Usui and Karuna Reiki, Bailey has taught martial arts in Arizona for 20 years. He taught private lessons in Phoenix for 15 years and has taught in Payson for the past five years at his own studio.
Recently he moved from behind the Time Out Shelter Thrift Shop to 1405 W. Red Baron Road, Suite C off Airport Road.
Bailey is also a blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and is a certified Gracie Jiu-Jitsu combative instructor.
The 36 techniques of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu that Bailey teaches are based on leverage, timing and the efficient use of energy.
“The goal is to outlast an opponent in a real world situation,” he said. “(Jiu-Jitsu) gives the little guy and woman a chance in a fight, because a woman is not going to overpower most men in a fight.”
Besides Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Bailey incorporates jujutsu, an ancient martial art dating back more than 2,000 years.
Jujutsu is based on the governing laws of nature, Yin and Yang, Bailey said. Instruction includes all forms of combat such as strikes, blocks, kicks, throws, falls, weapons, chokes, breathing, meditation and internal energy.
With 95 percent of all fights ending in a clench in the ground, Bailey said learning jujutsu is imperative.
“To really defend yourself you have to learn how to fight on the ground,” he said.
Adult classes meet twice a week for one-and-a-half hours and are open to all skill levels and ages.
For children, Bailey offers one-hour Little Ninja classes for 4- to 7-year-olds.
These classes are more about having fun with martial arts and learning discipline along the way. The little ninjas learn self-defense by playing games and having fun.
Tim Moser said his 4-year-old daughter Lily loves coming to Dragonwood, especially after watching her brother do it.
“I think (children) really love the discipline,” Moser said. “They like the structure, but he is not mean.”
Bailey said he is not adding to the existing cultural violence, but is trying to instill discipline.
For more information, visit www.dragonwoodacademy.com or call (928) 468-8044.