The School Family Tree
- Masayoshi (James) M. Mitose, Kosho-Ryu Kenpo
- William K. S. Chow, Kara-Ho Kenpo
- Adriano D. Emperado, Kajukenbo
- Victor “Sonny” Gascon, Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu
- George Pescare, Shaolin Kenpo
- Nicholas R. Cerio, Nick Cerio’s Kenpo
- Rudy Duncan, Kemchido Combat Arts
- Herman Ocasio, Kenpo
- Rick Wong, Wushu
- Professor Alfonso R. Lima, Kenpo
What is Kenpo Karate?
Kenpo karate employs linear as well as circular moves, using intermittent power when and where needed, interspersed with major and minor moves that flow with continuity. It is flexible in thought and action so as to blend with encounters as they occur. Kenpo is the first Americanized martial art. Students are encouraged to alter moves, but not the underlying principles, to fit individual body structures or to compensate for handicaps. Teaching methods are also Americanized , relying on practical demonstration, everyday experience and familiar nomenclatures.
On December 7, 1941 at the beginning of World War II, Dr. James M. Mitose introduced Kenpo Karate to the Hawaiian Islands. Dr. Mitose a Japanese -American, was born in Hawaii in 1916. At the age of five he was sent to Kyushu, Japan for schooling in his ancestral art of self-defense called “Kosho-ryu Kempo”; said to be based directly on Shao-lin Kung-Fu. Mitose returned to Hawaii in 1936 and in 1942 he organized the Official Self-Defense Club at the Bertania Mission in Honolulu. This club continued under his personal leadership until1953, when it was assigned to Thomas Young, one of his chief students. Only five of his students (Young, William Chow, Paul Yamaguchi, Arthur Keawe, and Edward Lowe ) attained the rank of Black Belt.
Kenpo arts flourished in Hawaii and later in the West Coast of the mainland, where three of Mitose’s protégés formed clubs of their own. In 1953, before going to the mainland, Mitose wrote “What is Self-Defense,” reprinted by his students in 1980.
Of Mitose’s students, perhaps Chow played the most significant role in the evolution of the American Martial Arts. Chow began the study of Martial Arts at the age of seven under the guidance of his father. During his youth, Chow studied Boxing, Wrestling, Jujitsu, Sumo, Kempo, (fist way, first way) and Karate.
Although he had learned Kosho-Kyu Kempo under Mitose, Chow was the first to teach what he called Kenpo (fist law) Karate.