Mo Duk Pai

What is Mo Duk Pai?

Mo Duk Pai is the system of martial arts that we teach at Southwest Portland Martial Arts.  The phrase “Mo Duk Pai” translates from Chinese to English as “Martial Ethics Method”.  This means that we believe the practice of martial arts should lead students to ponder the ethics (rights and wrongs) of the use of physical force.

The roots of Mo Duk Pai are both wide and deep. Throughout their studies, students are exposed to striking, grappling, throwing, weapons, sparring, teaching and forms. We believe that the generalist – a well-rounded student, with a broad range of experience – has a better chance at survival [in facing the unexpected] than the specialist.
You can read more about Mo Duk Pai at the system website.

If you do such a wide rangle martial of martial techniques, why don’t you call it mixed martial arts?

We feel that the phrase Mixed Martial Arts implies the sport of MMA. While we appreciate all the amazing  and important things that the sport of MMA has contributed to the world of martial arts, it is not our focus to train people to fight in the sport of MMA (though we are happy to do so).  Our primary focus is to be generalist martial artists who can appreciate sport, self defense and the joy of movement for its own sake.

Who are the instructors?

Check our instructor page.

Why do you offer Mo Duk Pai and CrossFit in the same Gym?

When people first did martial arts, they didn’t need to do any extra fitness because they were laborers and farmers.  Today, most children and adults spend eight hours a day sitting at desks.  Thus, without a good fitness program, the body, mind and spirit will have a tough time keeping up with the demands of a quality martial arts program. We think CrossFit is a good, general fitness program that if done correctly, will help students in their martial arts journey.

Why do you offer so many other martial arts in addition to MDP?

Because we believe, as both a style and as students of the martial arts, that we should always strive to improve where we are lacking.  MDP is a general martial art. If you feel your training is lacking in a particular aspect, seek out the specific class that will help you patch up the holes in your practice. Is your grappling weak? Train some BJJ. Is your striking not up to par? Take a striking class. Not relaxed enough? Time for some Tai Chi. Not enough street fighting tools in your toolbox? Jump in on a Systema class.

When are classes and how much do they cost?

Check out our schedule and fees page.

How do I get started?

Check out our getting started page.

What if I’m injured or out of shape?

Get in the door – it’s the hardest part.  If you want to train, we can make it happen; together we’ll find a way to make it work.

Are there other Mo Duk Pai schools?  If I pay at one school can I attend classes at another school for free?

There is one other MDP school in the Portland area: North Portland Martial Arts.  If you pay dues at either of the two schools, you are welcome and encouraged to attend any MDP class at the other school free of charge.  Both schools have other programs besides MDP, so if you have never visited the school before, we encourage you to call or email in advance to see if the same free class policy applies at that school to non-MDP classes.

Are there any hidden testing fees in your system?

We charge no testing fees.

Is there a uniform? What should I wear?

There is a school uniform but we don’t require beginners to wear one. Wear comfortable clothes, whatever you’d normally work out in.

More questions?

Email us at