Kenpo Karate (Kempo)
Characteristics of Kenpo
Kenpo Karate is a complete
fighting system that is particularly popular in the United
Kenpo places equal emphasis on the use of hands and feet and
uses similar fighting techniques to other Okinawan fighting
styles. Kenpo also practises Kata or forms like other martial
arts. Whereas most Karate styles use white Gi's (uniforms)
throughout, a visual characteristic of Kenpo is its use of black
Gi's for higher grades and even the mixing of black Gi tops with
white pants and vice versa.
History of Kenpo
Like most Okinawan fighting arts, Kenpo Karate can trace its
roots back to the Shaolin monks of China. Master "To-De"
Sakugawa (1733-1815) from Shuri, the ancient capital of Okinawa,
travelled to China in the 18th century to train with the Chuan
Fa masters (Chuan Fa is what Chinese Kung Fu was called at that
time). On his return to Okinawa he developed what became known
as Shuri Te, from which Kenpo was later born. In contrast, the
Okinawan martial arts developed in Naha, the modern-day capital
of Okinawa, first became known as Naha-Te, and developed later
on into Goju-Ryu Karate).
In 1916 a young Hawaiian named James Mitose travelled to Kyushu
in Japan where he learnt Kosho Ryu Kempo. He later returned to
Hawaii where he taught William Chow, who further developed the
art. To differentiate his system from that of Mitose, William
Chow called his school Kenpo Karate. As a visual break
from the traditional Japanese and Okinawan Karate styles, Mitose
and Chow introduced the wearing of black Gi's for higher ranks,
to indicate that Kenpo was a different and more of a "war art"
than the increasingly sports-oriented, white-Gi-wearing Karate
Ed Parker, father of American Kenpo
Ed Parker, also a Hawaiian, was a student of William Chow. Ed
Parker is considered the father of American Kenpo, as he had the
greatest modern day influence on the spread of Kenpo around the
world. Ed Parker opened the first ever university campus martial
arts school in Utah USA in 1954, at the age of only 23.
Ed Parker later became a tournament promoter. At one of his
early tournaments, Bruce Lee first came into the view of the
general public. Ed Parker was also active as a movie actor,
stunt coordinator, author and instructor to many famous
Kempo or Kenpo?
There is no difference between Kenpo and Kempo, they are
different spellings of the same martial art. The Japanese kanji
character for kenpo and kempo is the same, yet when translated
to English, the N can also be an M. Kenpo or Kempo translates to
"Law of the fist".
Origin of Kenpo: Okinawa
Founded By: Sakugowa
Popularised by: Edmund K Parker better known simply as Ed Parker
or "The Father of American Kenpo".
Among his most famous students where Elvis Presley, Larry
Hartsell, Steve McQueen, Robert Wagner, Warren Beatty, Audie
Murphy and Dan Inosanto.
Books by Ed Parker
Infinite Insights into Kenpo Vol 1 Mental Stimulation
Infinite Insights into Kenpo Vol 2 Physical Analyzation