Ross Duncan is a seasoned martial artist with a lifelong passion for the arts. From his early days in the 1980s, surrounded by the martial arts craze sweeping America, Ross developed an unwavering love for the discipline. It was the time of the Karate Kid and the Ninja Turtles, what wasn’t to love? Despite facing challenges as a neurodivergent child, he found solace and purpose in martial arts, which offered him a path to personal growth and self-discovery.
His martial arts journey began when his parents enrolled him in Tae Kwon Do, providing him with a safe space to develop and heal. The dojang became his sanctuary, where he witnessed his instructor embodying healthy masculinity — strong, talented, yet kind-hearted and dedicated to uplifting others. Inspired by this role model, Ross resolved to follow in his footsteps.
Tae Kwon Do instilled in Ross the values of self-control, enabling him to excel academically and remain resilient against bullying. Although he didn’t complete his black belt, his experience in the art shaped his character and instilled confidence within him. Instead, he found a new love… In 7th grade, he joined the wrestling team, a sport and an art that matched his intensity and need to compete.
After high school, Ross’s journey into traditional martial arts led him to Kamiza, a traditional Japanese martial arts school, where he trained diligently under Master S.P. Sully. He immersed himself in the school’s comprehensive curriculum, earning a San Dan (third-degree black belt) after completing their full instructor’s program. Through this program, Ross explored various arts such as traditional Jujitsu, Iaido, Kenjitsu, Chuan Fa, Tae Kyon, and other Japanese weapons systems. However, it was the Qi Gong practice that captivated him, expanding his appreciation for the human body’s capabilities.
Motivated by his passion for martial arts, Ross established his own dojo in Massachusetts, where he taught and inspired students for five years. During this time, he actively cross-trained with members of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and mixed martial arts (MMA) communities, further expanding his skill set. His dedication to continuous learning led him to discover and explore Internal Chinese Martial Arts, specifically Tai Chi, Ba Gua, and Xing Yi. He sought out renowned teachers and committed years to mastering these arts, pressure-testing his knowledge to ensure its effectiveness.
Upon returning to Raleigh, Ross opened his second martial arts venture, teaching Qi Gong and Tai Chi within various yoga schools while also running a martial arts program at RTP Fitness. It was during this period that he met Guro Bryan Broussard, a highly experienced instructor in Muay Thai, Kali, Filipino Martial Arts, Jeet Kun Do, and Catch Wrestling. Training extensively with Bryan, Ross further expanded his skill set and developed a bond rooted in their shared passion for martial arts. He is currently an associate instructor under Bryan’s Monkey King Martial Arts association.
Seeking new challenges and training partners, Ross took off his black belt, put on a white belt, and embraced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Initially skeptical of the art(who fights off their back?!?), his perspective shifted as he witnessed the rapid evolution and complexity of BJJ. He trained at Jujitsu Performance Academy, earning his purple belt before the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, Ross is a brown belt under Cody Maltaise and continues his BJJ journey at Elevate MMA, where he also engages in Muay Thai and MMA training.
Now, with over 30 years of martial arts experience, Ross embarks on the next phase of his journey. Having merged the worlds of traditional martial arts and modern combat sports, he offers a unique perspective and a diverse skill set. Ross aims to share his knowledge and insights while continuously learning from the vibrant martial arts community at East Cloud Kung Fu.
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