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1060 Middletown Ave, Northford, CT 06472

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The Dojo

Chinese Kempo Academy, located in Northford, CT, is owned and operated by Master Tom Smith, who trains with the co-founders of the Chinese Kempo system, Grandmaster Al Young and Master Kevin Bliss. Our dojo was founded by Sensei Tom in 1995. We focus on offering self-defense training in a friendly, family environment. A virtual tour of our facility will soon be available.

Our Annual Demonstration

Each June, Chinese Kempo Academy hosts a demonstration, in which students of all ages perform their combinations, self-defense techniques, forms, and weapons for an audience of family, friends, and members of the community. We encourage all of our students to perform in this fun and rewarding event.

The Black Belt Test

Every November, we're joined by students of Master Bliss for our annual black belt test. This test is an important stage in the development of any martial artist. The achievement of expert rank is not only a point of personal and school pride, but also reflects the dedication and determination required to succeed both in the martial arts and as contributing members of the community.


At Tom Smith's Chinese Kempo Academy, we offer self-defense education from a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) approach. Learn about the styles we incorporate into our curriculum.

Chinese Kempo

Chinese Kempo Karate is a system built off of forms and combinations which afford students of all ages the opportunity to improve coordination, increase flexibility and strength, and enhance speed and precision. By incorporating MMA, students benefit from augmenting their combinations and self-defense drills with the benefits of styles from all over the world. Students begin as white belts, and progress through nine additional ranks before they are invited to test for black belt. Once a student earns his or her black belt, there are ten degrees through which s/he continues to learn. Children participating in our program earn a stripe on their belt each month for demonstrating knowledge of the monthly self-defense technique--this monthly advancement builds confidence and excites our students to continue progressing.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or BJJ) offers students the opportunity to learn self-defense through grappling. Chris Watson delivers weekly classes that combine self-defense application along with a cardio workout. Adults begin as white belts and progress through three additional belts before earning the rank of black belt, at which point the student can continue training within our program. Some of our BJJ students have participated in tournaments.


Chinese Kempo Instructors

Our classes are taught by a team of skilled instructors, dedicated to providing a family oriented self-defense curriculum through drills, forms and combinations to students. Our instructing team provides a well-rounded martial arts and self-defense education to students in the Northford, North Haven, Wallingford, North Branford, Branford, Guilford, Madison, East Haven, and New Haven towns and surrounding areas.  

Sensei Tom Smith - 6th Dan Tiger Master

6th Dan Tiger Master, Tom Smith
Owner of Chinese Kempo Academy in Northford, CT, Sensei Tom earned his 6th dan Black Belt in 2013. Since CKA opened in 1995, Sensei Tom has been augmenting instruction of the traditional art with effective self-defense drills and elements from the mixed martial arts to provide students with a multi-faceted learning experience which incorporates the fitness training of sport martial arts with a core of real-world self-defense. Tom is also a certified NRA Instructor, and a Level 1 KAPAP Instructor.

Mike Dixon - 6th Dan Tiger Master

6th Dan Tiger Master, Mike Dixon
Mike Dixon earned his 6th dan black belt in 2013. He trains with CKA's Masters' Club, assists in proctoring tests for various ranks, including black belt, participates in our annual demo and provides support in developing CKA's curriculum.

Erin Flynn - 6th Dan Crane Master

6th Dan Crane Master, Erin Flynn
Erin Flynn is an affiliate master to the Chinese Kempo Academy, providing valuable input in awarding the rank of black belt, training with our Masters' Club, participating in our annual demo, and providing curriculum support. Master Flynn earned his 6th dan black belt in 2013.

TJ Dwyer - 3rd Dan Black Belt, Senior Instructor

3rd Dan Black Belt, TJ Dwyer
TJ Dwyer is one of our senior instructors, and works alongside Sensei Tom to instruct our young martial arts students. TJ earned his 3rd dan in November 2008.

Tom Abbott - 3rd Dan Black Belt, Senior Instructor

3rd Dan Black Belt Tom Abbott
Tom joined CKA after earning his 1st dan black belt, and has since become an integral part of our instructing staff. Tom teaches the adult class on Thursday evenings. He earned his 3rd dan black belt in 2011.

Margi McNellis - 2nd Degree Black Belt, Instructor

2nd Degree Black Belt, Margi McNellis
Margi returned to the martial arts at CKA in April of 2012, after having earned her black belt in 2005. She instructs with Sensei Tom during classes and seminars. Margi earned her 2nd dan black belt in November 2013. She also provides administrative support at the dojo.

Chinese Kempo Academy Assistant Instructors

Our assistant instructors help our instructors by rolling out the heavy bags for students, working with students, and taking over for a few minutes if needed.

Van Augur - 2nd Dan Black Belt

2nd Dan Black Belt, Van Augur
Van earned his 2nd dan black belt in November 2013, and studies Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with our BJJ Coach, Chris Watson.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coach

Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coach works with students to help them develop grappling skills and applications within the art.  

Chris Watson

BJJ Black Belt, Chris Watson
Chris studied under Professor Fabio Araujo, and holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.