Inglewood’s Real-life ‘Equalizer’

Martial arts instructor Cliff McDuffy (rear left) is Inglewood's 'Equalizer.' Courtesy photo
Martial arts instructor Cliff McDuffy (rear left) is Inglewood’s ‘Equalizer.’ Courtesy photo

Denzel Washington may be “The Equalizer” in the expected Sony Pictures blockbuster film (Sept. 26), but there is a real-life hero operating under the radar somewhere nestled inside a suburb of Los Angeles helping people learn how to defend themselves. In “The Equalizer,” Washington’s character (Robert McCall) goes through a metamorphosis where he transforms from ordinary Joe to a guy taking down the bad guys with some extraordinary skills.

Well, you probably won’t find ordinary citizens coming from the area of The Forum and Hollywood Park running around and randomly smacking people who are doing bad things. Some of these individuals, however,  are being equipped to handle their business just in case they or someone in their family encounter danger. In other words, they’re taking it to the streets.

Envision an environment that oozes the love you feel from your family, the fun you have with your friends and the amount of physical and mental strength you gain after a powerful workout. An atmosphere like that may seem rare but in the heart of Inglewood, it does exist. McDuffy’s Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute is that place. was in the building- thanks to Thai Lee- and we can bring you a full event report of the self-defense training session at a Kajukenbo studio in Los Angeles this Monday, Sept. 8.

McDuffy’s Kajukenbo is a training facility that offers self-defense techniques, tournament sparring, weapons self-defense and street fighting classes for children, adults and the entire family. Kajukenbo is a unique self-defense system that was developed in Hawaii, which combines select skills from five different martial arts.

Those martial arts are represented in four syllables. The first syllable, KA, stands for Korean Karate; the second, JU, stands for Judo and Jiu Jitsu; the third, KEN, stands for Kenpo; the fourth, BO, stands for Chinese Boxing or Gung-Fu. The philosophical meaning of Kajukenbo is this:

“Through the fist style, one gains long life and happiness.”


At McDuffy’s Kajukenbo, they believe the teaching styles of Kajuknbo will teach their students discipline, respect, concentration, patience, self-control, courage, self-confidence, acceptance, perseverance, and weight control.

So, how did this interesting experiment fare? Let’s begin…

The night started off with welcoming smiles and “hellos” as individuals prepped for the session to come. The class started exactly at 7 p.m. and before stepping on the mat, it was asked that you remove your shoes and bow.

Instructor, Cliff McDuffy was very patient and stern when it came down to teaching the class step by step action of self-defense. He made the class of 20 feel personal by welcoming the new students with the old and remembering each student’s name.  The class varied in ages from teenagers to adults.

During the class, Cliff McDuffy worked side by side with his wife, Alex McDuffy and son, Terrence McDuffy  He taught three basic movements that will help if you were being attacked and like any great teacher, he was  hands on and helpful.

“It (self-defense) has been a passion of my husband. He has been doing it since he was in elementary and it was kind of like a prerequisite for marriage, so I didn’t have a choice. It then became a passion for me as well,” said Alex.

Alex McDuffy described their business as an “inner city cultural center.”

“We try to cater to our community by keeping the kids off the streets and keeping them busy. We also have a tutoring program and are very high on education,” she said. “We want this area to excel, go to college, and build a career for themselves, where they come back and support the community again. It’s very important to us.”

High school student, Bryant Marshall has been a part of the McDuffy’s Kajukenbo institute for five years and describes the establishment as “fun and entertaining.”

“My favorite part about the program is how it’s really fun and the sifu (teacher) is funny and it’s really entertaining. It simply teaches you a lot about self-defense and makes you have fun,” said Marshall.

The institute has been established for over ten years and has six classes that vary from 15 to 30 students per class. Classes start from the age of three all the way up to 60+ years of age.

“We have classrooms that focus heavily on the academics, morals and values. We bring in a lot of challenged teens. We focus on drug and gang prevention, along with many different things. It has been a great safe haven for the kids around Inglewood,” said Cliff. The McDuffy family is a great influence for the good.

McDuffy’s Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute is more than a place that teaches good physical condition, it is also a safe place for the family and a great place to create an alert mind.

For more information, visit or call (310) 677- KAJU (5258)





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