Sifu Duane Keller's Biography

Being able to do and understand the Martial Arts is a God given talent. Sifu Duane Keller

Sifu Duane Keller is originally from Miami and has been involved in the Martial Arts for over 35 years.  He has been teaching for over 30 years.  He became interested in the Martial Arts after learning the pugle sticks in the U.S. Marine Corp.

In 1972 he joined an Okinawan school and trained under Master Mel Wise.

In 1973 he trained in Hartford Connecticut at the Fire Dragon School and then in Maine at the Pai-lung Fire Dragon camp under the direction of Daniel K. Pai. In later years Pai-lung became famous as the White Dragon. Within the first week of training, the news that Bruce Lee had passed away made its way to the camp of over 200 which left them mourning.

  In 1976 he trained at the Japanese Karate association of Miami.  This was an affiliate organization of the South Atlantic Chapter of the International Shotokan Karate Federation.  In that same year, he also started his training in Tracy's Kempo.

   In 1977 Sifu Keller trained with Master Steve Beety in an Okinawan system out of Coconut Grove.

  In 1979 he trained in Conga Do Karate under Sifu Harold Roth who later changed his name to Harold Diamond, and starred in Rambo III with Sylvester Stallone. In 1981, Roth received the first world title championship belt ever made in a never-before-done 15 round bout for the middle-weight kickboxing championship of the world held at the Coconut Grove exhibition center. Sifu Keller, in this year was also a member of the Kwoon Defense tactics which was formerly established in 1972 when Sensei Rodriquez under the training of Master  McDonald from California opened his doors.  Sifu Keller was given a Black Belt title by Sensei Keith Mira who was rated 8th in a Walter weight division by Joe Corley's PKA. It was after this that he started professionally teaching Martial Arts.

In 1983 he was a student at the Bak Shaolin Eagle Claw Institute.

  In 1986 Sifu Keller moved from Miami to Crystal River, and in 1992 he trained in Taekwondo and received a certification in 6th rank from the USTF (United States Taekwondo Federation). He went on to receive another 6th rank certification from the World Black Belt College, an affiliate of the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation). This certification has Grand Master Yun Moo Yong's, president of the World Black Belt College, personal chop. Both of these certifications were received in 6 months from two different federations.

 In 1994 he became an assistant instructor at a school that taught the Ed Parker American Kempo Karate.

 In late 1994 he opened a Kempo school in Inverness, Florida and in 1995 opened another school in Crystal River which is where he presently teaches. In that same year, the school was awarded a first degree black belt by the AKA, the American Karate Association, the oldest organization in the Martial Arts in the United States. It was awarded to his school's red belt by an 8th degree Master.  The school houses two divisions, one is in Defense Tactics which is a belt ranking system and has achieved over 300 awards in 10 years. Sifu Keller's goal in this division is to give students the self-esteem and character that they need to go on to lead successful lives.  The second division teaches the Art of Jeet Kune Do. Sifu Keller had been privately teaching JKD concepts for at least 20 years before he became certified.  He attended the University in Virginia from 1995-2000, where he  received certification for intensive training in Jeet Kune Do by Sifu Ted Wong, Shion Joe Lewis, and Tommy Gong. In 2000, Sifu Keller was one of the professors on the roster at the Radford University in Virginia.  He was not brought in because of his many years in trapping or to teach HIA, it was because of the way he taught trapping principles.  He gave four seminars, two of them back to back. He had brought two of his students with him, one of which has been training with him for 8 years.  Together they had made advanced compound trapping look more than believable but do-able.  They showed the Sil Lum Tao and how this structured form applies to hand positioning.  They taught that what it takes to be a good trapper is the formula of three. To know your Mook Jong, your reference points, and your sensitivity energy drills. Bruce Lee said he knew that it was trapping that brought most people to his art. He also said that trapping is where the real combat begins.

  Sifu Keller only had about 50 min. to try and teach and he wanted to give them something to take home and bring back the following year, so in the last half hour of class he had the students pair off with matching leads about 2 1/2 ft. apart from one another, dropping the body weight forward, hand moving first and wrist to wrist, this is called asking hand or (Mon-sao). To do this takes trapping principles:

1.  Power side forward
2.  Hand moves before body
3.  Dropping body forward
4.  Heel steps first
5.  Back heel up
6.  Elbow seeks the center line

These principles are relatively simple ways of learning because they are done out of one of three Bijongs-the open Bijong also known as 50-50.

  Jeet Kune Do is easy to understand but hard to do, and Sifu Keller found it wasn't easy for his Martial Arts colleagues who wanted to know what Bruce Lee was all about. The following day after teaching his last seminar, Sifu Keller had said it made him feel like he accomplished something when his students came up to him with questions and complimenting him on what they had learned.

On July 24th, 2004 Sifu Duane Keller received a lifetime achievement award and was inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

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