top of page
Man with Samurai Sword

History of the United Kempo & Gung-Fu Academies

UKGA Vintage Logo.jpg
What is the United Kempo & Gung-Fu Academies?

The United Kempo & Gung-Fu Academies is the result of a lifetime of martial arts training by Grandmaster Monty L. Atchley. He has spent the majority of his life learning numerous martial arts on his quest to create the most effective system of self-defense he could imagine. This incredible art has been pressure tested by Grandmaster Atchley and hundreds of his students over the years. It has been used and proven effective in many real life self-defense situations including armed robberies, assaults, and even attempted murders. It has even proven itself valuable in MMA matches, though sport combatives are not the main focus of our classes. We have had many students come back and tell us stories over the years of how the lessons they learned with us had literally saved their lives.


U.K.G.A. has several different martial arts disciplines under its banner. The fighting systems are rooted in traditional arts, but is trained with modern concepts and training methods. This combination of the fighting styles has created an all-inclusive combat system covering all ranges of fighting, be it from a self-defense stand-point, or even on the battlefield. The fighting systems cover the use of traditional, modern, and even improvised weaponry; ground fighting, standing grappling, joint-locks, control tactics, striking, throwing, and even conflict de-escalation. Use of force can be scaled from low level violence to high level violence to properly address whatever the situation calls for.


Even though it is an amazing starting point for the beginner, it takes a veteran martial artist to fully appreciate the depth and scope that the U.K.G.A. martial arts systems provide. The systems are adaptable enough to go against any style, while also staying open-minded and incorporating any new techniques or tactics needed to stay relevant in an ever-changing world. Since it was created, it has never stopped evolving and it never will.

U.K.G.A. Fighting Systems Style Names Translations

-Shinjutsu Kempo Karate-

Shinjutsu = Art of Spirit, or Art of Heart

Kempo = Fist Law, or Fighting Principles

Karate = Empty Hand

-Kuai Shou Pai Gung-Fu-

Kuai Shou Pai = Fast Hands System

Gung-Fu = Skill developed over time

-Shinjutsu Kempo Kenjutsu/Iajutsu Ryu-

Kenjutsu = Art of the Sword

Iaijutsu = Art of Drawing the Sword

Ryu = Method, or Way

-U.K.G.A. Principles of Jeet Kune Do-

Jeet Kune Do = Way of the Intercepting Fist

-Shinjutsu Kempo Kobujitsu-

Kobujitsu = Old Warrior Arts

(Focuses on Okinawan Weaponry)

Shodai Dr. Monty Lee Atchley – Founder of the U.K.G.A.

 Shodai Dr. Monty Lee Atchley began his martial arts career in Oklahoma City at the age of seven in 1959, at Sensei Bob Willinghams’s Judo/Karate school. In 1964, he moved to study with Hanshi Lou Angel in the Goju Ryu system in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He became as assistant instructor under Hanshi Angel from 1967 to 1969. Upon graduation from high school, he moved to Ada, Oklahoma to attend college. It was here that he opened his own karate school in 1969.


 He then studied Hung-Gar Kung-Fu under the SiJo to the NG style, Master George Ng. He became an instructor in Hung-Gar under Master Ng. During this time, Sensei Atchley taught Karate and Kung-Fu at Barney Jordan’s Judo school. Sensei Atchley had a thirst for knowledge and trained in International Tae Kwon Do under Steve Bowling and World Tae Kwon Do under Master Phil Perkins.


Sensei Atchley then had the opportunity to study with Dr. Rodney Sacarnoski in Oikiru-ryu Goju Kempo. Dr. Sacarnoski is one of the world’s leading experts in Ki breathing and meditation. Sensei obtained the rank of Yo-Dan, 4th degree black belt and received his Shihan appointment (master teacher) from Dr. Sacarnoski. Master Atchley also studied Iaijutsu and Kenjutsu under Dr. Sacarnoski. Master Atchley received his 1st Dan in Kobu Jitsu (Okinawan weaponry) under Dr. Sacarnoski.


 At this time, Master Atchley also studied with Grandmaster G.W. Dill in Bushido Kempo. Master Atchley received his 6th Dan under Dill, and his Soke-Dai appointment (successor of the Ryu). While studying under Grandmaster Dill, Master Atchley received master level in Gung-Fu, and graduate level instructor in Jeet Kune Do.


Shodai Atchley eventually took the wealth of knowledge he had and combined the two styles of Kempo to create Shinjustu Kempo Karate and the Gung-Fu styles to create Kuai Shou Pai Gung-Fu.


He now holds the title of Grandmaster with a 10th degree black belt in Shinjutsu Kempo Karate and a 10th degree black sash in Kuai Shou Pai Gung-Fu. He was awarded this by Great Grandmaster Hanshi Lou Angel in September of 2013. He was inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame in September of 2001 and was presented the Master Instructor of the Year award. He earned a PhD in martial arts in 1995 from the National College of Martial Arts, and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University, School of Professional Psychology, in 2001.


Following his martial arts school in Ada, Oklahoma, Dr. Atchley has owned schools in Clinton, OK; Sand Springs, OK; Henryetta, OK; Brownsville, AR; Paris, AR; Booneville, AR; and Greenwood, AR.

Tribute video of GrandMaster Shodai Dr. Monty L. Atchley and the many students of the United Kempo & Gung-Fu Academies
Shihan Dan A Smith – Chief Instructor/Owner True Strength Martial Arts

Shihan Dan Smith is a chief instructor of the United Kempo and Gung-Fu Academies and owner of True Strength Martial Arts. He began training in Kempo & Gung-Fu with the founder of  the United Kempo & Gung-Fu Academies, Grandmaster Dr. Monty Atchley in 2001. He was first given permission to open a school when he was still a brown belt (assistant instructor).  Around 2004, he started to teach a group of college friends and co-workers. His first location was inside another martial arts school, but eventually moved to a park then eventually a college friend's backyard.

In 2011, the first version of  True Strength Martial Arts then named U.K.G.A. Fort Smith was formed with a small group of friends in his own home. As more friends wanted to train with him, the decision was made to officially open a new branch of the U.K.G.A. In 2015, he moved the operation to River Valley Fitness & Training Center and made the transition from a martial arts club to an official school open to the public in Fort Smith, AR.


Shihan Dan Smith has been training for over 20 years and has earned several black belts in various martial arts disciplines. He has also cross-trained in many other arts such as Sambo, Jiu-Jitsu, Tai Chi, and Qigong. He is a multiple NCMA National Karate Champion and avid sport Karate competitor. He currently teaches several martial arts including: Kempo Karate, Gung-Fu, Kenjutsu, JKD Principles, Weapons, Grappling, and Self-Defense.

Explanation of the U.K.G.A. Logo
UKGA Vintage Logo.jpg

The symbol represents The United Kempo and Gung Fu Academies. The design was created by Shodai Dr. Monty L. Atchley.

Shodai Dr. Monty L. Atchley was associated with the Bruce Lee school when he first created his own system, so he combined Gung-Fu and Kempo, and added the fist in the middle to create The United Kempo and Gung-Fu Academies logo.




What is gentleness? It is a pliable weed in the wind----it neither opposes nor gives away.


What is the highest state of yielding? It is like clutching water.


What is true stillness? Stillness in movement.


What is adaptation? It is like the immediacy of the shadow adjusting itself to the moving body.


You wish to know what is internal school and external school? Not two.

Explanation of the Yin/Yang Symbol

Instead of opposing force by force, a Gung-Fu man completes his opponent’s movement by accepting his flow of energy as he aims it, and defeats him by borrowing his own force. In order to reconcile oneself to the changing movements of the opponent, a Gung-Fu man should first of all understand the true meaning of Yin/Yang, the basic structure of Chinese Gung-Fu.


 Gung-Fu is based on the symbol of the Yin/Yang, a pair of mutually complementary and interdependent forces that act continuously, without cessation, in the universe. In the above symbol, the Yin and Yang are two interlocking parts of one whole, each containing within its confines the qualities of its complimentary parts.  Etymologically, the charters of Yin and Yang mean darkness and light.


The ancient character of Yin (陰), the dark part of the circle, is a drawing of clouds and hills. Yin can represent anything in the universe as: negativeness, passiveness, gentleness, internal, insubstantiality, femaleness, moon, darkness, night, etc.


The other complementary half of the circle in Yang (陽). The lower part of the character signifies slanting sun rays, while the upper part represents the sun. Yang can represent anything as positivity, activeness, firmness, external, substantiality, maleness, sun, brightness, day, etc. The common mistake of most martial artists is to identify these two forces as dualistic (thus the so-called soft style and the firm style). Yin/Yan is one inseparable force of unceasing interplay of movement. They are conceived of as essentially one, or as two co-existing forces of one indivisible whole. They are neither cause nor effect, but should be looked at as sound and echo, or light and shadow. If this “oneness” is viewed as two separate entities, realization of the ultimate reality of Gung-Fu won’t be achieved. In reality, things are “whole” and cannot be separated into two parts. When I say the heat makes me perspire, the heat and perspiring are just one process as they are co-existent and the one could not exist without the other. If a person riding a bicycle wishes to go somewhere, he cannot pump on both the pedals at the same time or not pumping on them at all. In order to go forward, he has to pump on one pedal and release the other. So the movement of going forward requires this “oneness” of pumping and releasing. Pumping is the result of releasing and vice versa, each being the cause and result of the other. Things do have their complementary parts, and the complementary parts co-exist. Instead of mutually exclusive, they are mutually dependent and are each a function of the other.


In the Yin/Yang symbol there is a white spot on the black part and a black spot on the white one. This is to illustrate the balance of life, for nothing can survive long by going to either extremes, be it pure Yin (gentleness) or pure Yang (firmness). Notice that the stiffest tree is the most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survive by bending with the wind. In Gung-Fu, Yang (firmness) should be concealed in Yin (gentleness) and Yin in Yang. Thus a Gung-Fu man should be soft yet not lax, firm, yet not hard.

bottom of page