Ever heard of Master Ken? He is this hilarious fictional martial arts master that has millions of followers on YouTube. But does Master Ken really know martial arts?
Master Ken (real name Matt Page) does have a black belt in both American and Okinawan Kenpo, which is a form of Karate. He is a real martial artists and has been training since he was a teenager.
Matt Page has studied martial arts extensively in real life; it’s become a constant in his life.
In fact, “Enter the Dojo”, his YouTube series which tells the martial arts education of the fictional character Master Ken is a similitude of his martial arts career so far.
In this article, we’ll explore who is behind Master Ken, whether Master Ken is an actual black belt, if so, what degree black belt Master Ken is, and finally, whether his art called Ameri-Do-Te is a real martial art.
Are you ready? Let’s have some martial art fun!
Who is behind Master Ken?
Matt Page is the man behind the character of Master Ken. He is the creator of the web series “Enter The Dojo” which lovingly parodies martial arts and certain types of martial artists.
And no, that’s not a real mustache.
Along with Adam Rottler, a friend of his, who co-directs the episodes, Matt Page writes the shows and plays as Master Ken only.
Matt lives and works in New Mexico, as does most of the cast and crew. Joe Conway, cast as Todd Woodland, is a black belt in Kenpo and owns the dojo ABQ Karate, where they film.
The remaining actors are Alex Knight, Katalina Parrish, Rachel Hroncich, Zach Dulin, Juliet Lopez, and Ben Ziegler, who are all actors based in New Mexico.
“Enter The Dojo” is a successful current comedic web series YouTube channel.
Episodes are mostly between five and ten minutes. Matt has been training in martial arts since he was a teenager, and most of his experiences form the framework of the scripting for his web shows and live performances.
The style of the show is perhaps best described as a near-total mix of “The Office” and “Karate Kid.”
His passion for displaying martial arts and presentations and shows, coupled with his filmmaking ability, have merged to produce comedic, laughter-inducing videos.
This, in turn, has amassed over a hundred million views and close to eight hundred thousand subscribers.
Matthew Page is also a professional actor, director, and writer. He has featured in several movies and TV series, albeit being cast in minor roles.
He was also cast in a major role in the movie “The Paper Tigers.”
— Black Belt (@Black_Belt_Mag) March 13, 2017
Is Master Ken an actual black belt?
Matthew Page, who plays Master Ken, is an actual black belt in American Kenpō, which is a form of Karate, sometimes called Kempo. But he also has a black belt in Okinawan Kenpō. The character Master Ken claims to be a black belt in his self-created martial art called Ameri-Do-Te, which is fictional.
So, yes, he really does know martial arts.
As one would expect, to mock-act in any field so well, you must at the least know details, tricks, and flicks about how the field works.
It’s therefore not surprising that Master Ken claims to have trained in numerous martial arts in his professional career.
However, Matt Page got an actual black belt under the late Shihan Rich Pelletier back in 1996. Pelletier ran a school (still in existence) called Pelletier’s Karate Academy in Lewiston, Maine, where Page grew up.
Based on this alone, there is no doubt that he is a legitimate martial artist. Anyone who has attained a black belt in Kenpo is certainly no false martial arts opponent.
Not only this, but Master Ken has trained many other martial arts throughout his years, including Brazilian jiu-jitsu, stick fighting, and aikido.
It is possible to make money as a martial artist, and Master Ken is proof of that!
But how many different ways are there? And what is the average amount people tend to earn from a black belt? Check this recent article of mine to find out.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
What degree black belt is Master Ken?
The Master Ken character is an eleventh-degree black belt in Ameri-Do-Te, a fictional art dubbed “the most dangerous martial art in the world”. Matt Page, who plays Master Ken, is a first-degree black belt in both American Kenpo and Okinawan Kenpo.
The color belt grading system used in most Kenpo schools fits most traditional Kenpo systems and many other styles of Karate.
In the curriculum, each level of the colored belt has a specific theme explained below.
Laying the Foundations
The yellow belt is crucial because the elementary movements and poses form the basis for the entire martial art system. The five yellow belt techniques are as practical and effective on the streets as any other level.
Expanding the Arsenal
The compendium of hits, checks, and blocks grows larger as attack situations are expanded. Students start to move as martial artists do.
Control is improved upon by turning attacks into counter-attacks, capturing and grabbing, and grounding an opponent. This is also achieved by controlling the distance and using lateral movement.
Here, there ensues a stronger focus on making unified moves. The legs, arms, head, and the whole bodywork together to ensure the ability to neutralize all attacks from all sides. At this point, sparring – defined as martial arts in motion – is added.
Finding the Flow
This high rank is a momentous achievement. This stage emphasizes the smooth movement of the deflecting, blocking, continuous motion, and circular movements that embody the Chinese martial art essence.
Power, accuracy, and speed are used self-assuredly and without hesitation. They face more complex scenarios, including multiple attackers and defending against weapons.
The End is The Beginning
Getting a black belt is naturally perceived as reaching a goal and thus getting to the end of the journey. But in truth, it is the start of another journey, albeit the end of a previous one. The adoption of martial arts as a way of life is the major theme of this stage.
So, meeting a Kenpo black belt means you run…or beg. Choose one.
— Adrian Gomez (@agomezArt) December 27, 2011
Is Ameri-Do-Te a real martial art?
Ameri-Do-Te, the fictional martial art created by the fictional character Master Ken, is not a real martial art. In Master Ken’s comical world, Ameri-Do-Te is the world’s most dangerous martial art. In the real world, there are no dojos training in this martial arts style.
In Master Ken’s world, this martial art actually has no content or basis but includes a number of bizarre moves that Master Ken describes as “top-secret street martial techniques.”
Also, it is believed that a lot of the ideas of Ameri-Do-Te are gotten from real-world martial art teachers by Master Ken, most likely McDojos.
He claims the idea for his infamous videos on the groin attack technique comes from one dojo he once trained.
He reports that this dojo only trained on groin attacks as the most critical attack. And that he was forced to train in this manner only. According to him, whosoever clutched an opponent’s groin first was considered the winner of the bout.
The web series revolves around Master Ken, a narcissistic martial arts trainer who imparts his personally developed style of fighting called “Ameri-Do-Te” to a group of misfits.
The character of Master Ken is an eleventh-degree black belt in the most dangerous martial art in the world: Ameri-Do-Te!
Master Ken grew up on the tough streets of Albuquerque after going round the world on a quest to learn all martial arts.
He then became an action star and held a record for the highest-grossing film titled American Groin Stomper in Vietnam.
After a protracted lawsuit that ended his film career, he took full advantage of his many years of training and developed a new street fighting style, which the world today recognizes as “Ameri-Do-Te.”
— Black Belt (@Black_Belt_Mag) July 22, 2015
Was Master Ken on America’s Got Talent?
Master Ken (played by Matt Page) and Joe Conway (played by Todd Woodland) were a comical martial arts duo on America’s Got Talent’s eleventh season. They were eliminated in the audition round. Woodland is a black belt who owns the dojo where Enter the Dojo is filmed.
In the duo’s presentation in the audition round in AGT, Ken showed different ways of attacking Todd’s groins.
All four judges, Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell, buzzed the act, voting a resounding no and sending them packing from the competition.
It is strange that a small handful of people still do not understand the performances of Master Ken.
Master Ken has received challenges to physical combat and death threats. There is a set of people out there who believe too much in his performances.
What is the thrust of freedom (and is it real move?)
Thrust of Freedom is actually the name of an episode of Enter the Dojo from 2012.
As with all of Mater Ken’s episodes and routines, it is a comedic routine. In this case, Master Ken instructs his class on how to do some sort of hip thrust movement which looks a bit lewd and ends up like a conga line around the mats in the dojo.
Later in the episode, it shows Master Ken thrusting his hips forward or his butt backwards in an attempt to strike would-be opponents.
Ridiculous as you would expect.
— Metek (@IncMetek) September 25, 2021
When Did Master Ken start his YouTube channel?
Enter the Dojo, the show on YouTube featuring the fictional character of Master Ken started on August 5th, 2011.
As of this writing, he has 406 videos, so that’s an average of about 3 videos per month. And yes, as of this writing, he’s still putting out new videos.
In that time, he’s gotten 861,000 subscribers, and on average, his videos are around 6 minutes each and tend to get about 30,000 to 40,000 views per video, although a few trending topics (like Will Smith slapping Chris Rock in 2022) get well over 100,000 views.
Does Master Ken (or Matt Page) practice any other martial arts?
While Matt Page, who plays the fictional character of Master Ken has black belts in Kenpo, he has studied other martial arts as well.
For example, for his role in 2020 film“The Paper Tigers”, Page studied Kung Fu which he was not previously familiar with. In the film, Page plays a character named Carter. So Master Ken (and his mustache) don’t make an appearance here.
Instead Page plays an aging Kung Fu master set on avenging the death of his old master along with 2 of his friends. But make no mistake, it’s a comedy.
Additionally, Page has also studied the following various martial arts and combat sports:
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Okinawan Kobudō (weapons study that accompanies Kenpo)
- Stick fighting
He’s also expressed interest in studying Hapkido but hasn’t actually started yet.
— Black Belt (@Black_Belt_Mag) November 19, 2014
What martial arts does Master Ken make fun of?
Master Ken often makes fun of other martial arts noting that they all pale in comparison to his Ameri-Do-Te martial art (which is totally fictional).
I’ve heard him call BJJ “Brazilian Be Jay Jay'”.
But he also makes fun of the following:
- Kenpo (“they’re always slapping each other”)
- Krav Maga (“they don’t even use the belt system. How are they supposed to know who’s more advanced? All they do is trade patches like a bunch of Girl Scouts.”)
- Tai Chi (“a martial art designed specifically for sissies and old people.”)
- Tang Soo Do (“Bull$hit”)
- Tae Kwon Do (“also known as WTF”)
Quotes from his interview in Black Belt Magazine and other YouTube interviews.
What martial artists does Master Ken make fun of?
As a comedian who is well versed in all things martial arts, Master Ken leaves no stone, martial art, or martial artist, unturned.
In his hundreds of videos as well as live appearances or interviews, he has made fun of many martial arts icons, including:
- Chuck Norris (“supposedly trained in Tang Soo Do for like 50 years and he’s only a 9th degree black belt)
- Jean-Claude Van Damme (Master Ken claims he can do more epic splits)
- Steven Seagal / Aikido (“Sounds like professional hugging to me.”)
In the article, we explored who exactly was behind the Master Ken façade and if Master Ken is a real martial artist and whether he actually has a black belt.
We also found out what degree black belt Master Ken was awarded and if Master Ken’s martial art, Ameri-Do-Te, was a real martial art.
We wrapped things up by checking if Master Ken was on America’s Got Talent.
Photo which requires attribution:
Still image taken from video Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio Podcast #47: Master Ken (Enter The Dojo) by whistlekick is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.