By Weston Jones.

Heritage is a special school. If you were to compare Heritage Academy to a public school, you would find things we lack but also things we have that public schools do not.

While comparing schools with a friend who attends Highland High School, I learned that “normal” high school’s have security guards. These guards don’t teach classes or run the school. So, at first, I thought they didn’t have real jobs. It turns out that public schools need guards to stop fights, haul maniacal students out of class, and do some other things I never thought would happen at a place of learning. Thinking of the Heritage equivalent of security guards, I replied, “We have a Mr. Duke.”

Mr. Duke is one of the reasons Heritage doesn’t have fights. It is hard for bullies when picking fights to determine if their victim is a kenpo student. If the student doesn’t take kenpo, there are forces of students who would and will protect our school against bullying.

Some students unacquainted with Mr. Duke’s program might think that the trained students would be the main source of bullying like in Karate Kid; however, that is not the case for this martial arts class. The Duke Kenpo and Hakutsuru training program has multiple pledges that all students follow. These pledges enforce use of skill only in defense of one’s self or others. The higher a student rises through the ranks, the more responsibility he or she is entitled to uphold. In some pledges, students must “protect students and other people from ravenous individuals who would try to take advantage of personal weakness, or to divest the gullible into unprofitable paths” (Duke Black Belt Pledge). In others, instructors pledge to not reveal the private affairs of students or fellow instructors.

Not only must each Kenpo and Hakutsuru student uphold every pledge to the fullest, but Mr. Duke judges each person’s character and personality to ensure that their skills will only be used for good and in defense. This is how such an effective form of martial arts and self defense is allowed to be taught in regular class hours at a school.

Because of the rigorous training, hours upon hours of practice, and guiding pledges, it is the students in Mr. Duke’s classes that act as the school’s security guards. And we do it for free.

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