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Kicking It with Alan D’Allessandro

By Kim Dunbar

Growing up, Alan D’Allessandro was a small kid with a big mouth.  “I got into many, many fights when I was young,” said D’Allessandro, who is now a 6th Degree Master Black Belt and the creator of his own style of martial arts, Ken-Ryu Kenpo.

Coming of age in the Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris era, D’Allessandro was always interested in martial arts, but didn’t actually start practicing until he was 25 years old.  Now AGE and a skilled martial artist, D’Allessandro understands that karate is a valuable life skill. “Martial arts is not like the movies, it is real life,” he said. “It will make you become a better person as you will learn and understand the importance of respect, discipline, and character.”

In 1995, D’Allessandro established the New England Karate Academy, Inc. (NEKA) with his business partner.  A year later, he began studying as a private student under the late 10th degree grand master Nick Cerio.  D’Allessandro said that it was Professor Cerio’s direction and guidance which prompted him to develop his own form of martial arts.

Ken-Ryu Kenpo, which is nationally and internationally recognized and accepted as a valid martial arts system, is an eclectic version of the several styles of Kenpo combined with a good amount of D’Allessandro’s own material and techniques.  “I changed much of my previous material to fit more in line with today’s styles of fighting and defending,” he said.  “Ken-Ryu Kenpo has all aspects of self-defense for virtually any situation as well as having a full complement of empty-hand and weapons forms.  I teach martial arts in a dojo for what would happen in the street,” he added.

D’Allessandro said that in today’s world, knowing how to defend yourself is important.  “If you only have one serious encounter in your life, it’s worth knowing how to defend yourself, and if you never have a serious encounter in your life, it’s still worth knowing how to defend yourself.  You will always feel confident inside.”

D’Allessandro, who practices karate one to two hours before class, also teaches Aerobic Kickboxing and the American Open Sword System, serves as a Center Official and is an author of two books.  Despite his many activities, D’Allessandro’s favorite part of the job is teaching.  “There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a student grow and develop due to your tutelage,” he said.

While D’Allessandro no longer competes himself, he spends time coaching, training, and managing about 20 students on Team NEKA.  Team NEKA will compete in the 5th Annual Central New England Karate Championships ~ a  competition D’Allessandro created and runs himself ~ held at the DCU Center in Worcester on August 16th.

If all this talk has you interested in taking up martial arts, D’Allessandro advises not to think about it, just do it. “You will feel great inside and out.  It’s never too late to begin,” he added.

For more information on D’Allessandro and NEKA, visit

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