40 years or so after the death of Daruma, sieges on the temple continued and a single man from the Temple, known as the "begging monk" fought off several of the outlaws with an array of aggressive hand & foot techniques driving the remaining attackers away. The other monks were so inspired by the display of this single priest that they requested tutelage in this martial style as a means of protection. In later scripts, the kanji for this fighting art was recorded & pronounced as “Kempo” meaning “Fist Method” or "Law Of The Fist". The word Kempo (拳法) is a Japanese translation of the Chinese word "quán fǎ" or "fist law".
In 1920, at the age of 3, a young boy named James Mitose was sent to Japan to be given a formal education and upbringing. While there, in addition to his normal schoolwork and university studies, he trained in the art of Kempo. Kempo had been brought over to Okinawa from China and had grown with great popularity. After training in Kempo for 17 years, he returned to the United States on February 25th, 1937, arriving in Honolulu Hawaii on the SS Tatsuta Maru at the age of 20. There he continued to train and in 1942 he set up a martial arts school. He gave the style he taught a number of different names during his lifetime including “Shorinji Kempo” & “Kempo Jujutsu”.
William Kwai Sun Chow was born July 3, 1914, the third child and first son to Sun Chow Hoon, also known as Ah Hoon Chow and rose Kalamalio Naehu. After his mother’s death in 1925, Professor Chow dropped out of school at the age of 11, having completed only the 6th grade. William Chow learned to live on his own while drifting from one friend and relative to another. One of his more influential friends was that of James Mitose. With that friendship and time on his hands, Professor Chow trained and refined the techniques learned & taught by Mitose. Chow was a firm believer that the martial arts and more specifically, Kempo, have a sole purpose of combat and warfare with less emphesis on spiritual enlightenment.
Adriano Emperado (Founder of KaJuKenBo)
The name KaJuKenBo pays respect to the five arts that went into it's creation.
KA = Karate
JU = Judo and Ju-Jitsu
KEN = Hawaiian Kenpo
BO = Chinese Boxing
With this appreciation and blend of these complimenting sytles, it's understandable to hear Kajukenbo referred to as the truly original American Mixed Martial Art.
Sijo Adriano Emperado is the man credited with putting Kajukenbo together from the roots created by the Black Belt Society.
Adriano Emperado, the founder of the Kajukenbo Self-Defense Institute of Hawaii, was born in Honolulu on June 16th, 1926 in the small community of Kalihi, which was and still is a part of the Kalihi-Palama District of the City and County of Honolulu. Adriano was one of seven children. There were three boys (Larry, Adriano, and Joseph), and four girls (Ella, Dechi, Nancy, and Connie Marcella). Like a lot of poor neighborhoods around the world, Kalihi and the surrounding area was a violent place to live. Because of this, Adriano started learning how to defend himself at a very young age. His father had been a professional boxer in the Philippines and in Hawaii, fighting under the ring name of Bulldog Panis. Adriano's uncle had also been a professional boxer. So by the time he was 8 years old he was getting some much needed exposure to western boxing.
Professor Emperado received much of his martial arts training from Professor K.S. Chow and Professor James Mitose.
Between the years of 1947–1952, he was part of the Black Belt Society that developed the art form currently known as KaJuKenBo. During these years Emperado together with 4 other masters of their respective arts developed KaJuKenBo to complement each others styles, to allow effective fighting at all ranges and speeds. It was decided that Kem(n)po would be the scaffolding, around, which KaJuKenBo was built. To test the effectiveness of their original techniques the five founders would get into fights around Palama settlement (the worst slum in Hawaii, at the time). If the technique succeeded consistently in street fighting, it was kept as part of the system. From these field test came Kajukenbo.
Professor Emperado is a master of Eskrima, Jujitsu, and various Kenpo forms. In addition, he has studied Okinawan Karate, Chinese Kung Fu, Hawaiian Lua, American Boxing and Wrestling, as well as various arts which utilize such weapons as the staff, club and knife. During World War II, Professor Emperado was attached to the First Filipino Infantry Regiment as a Medical Corp Man, during which time he received various awards and citations for military accomplishments. The arts drawn upon to found KaJuKenBo are Karate(Shotokan practiced by a Korean and mistakenly referred to as Tang Soo Do for this reason), Judo, Ju-jitsu, Kempo, and Chu'an Fa(Chinese boxing); hence the name Ka-ju-ken-bo
The five men that created this art were,
Walter Choo (who was Korean but unlike many believe, did not practice the Korean art of Tang Soo Do but rather Japanese Shotokan Karate)
Joe Holck ( Danzan Ryu Judo and Ju Jitsu)
Frank Ordonez ( Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu)
Adriano Emperado (Kosho Ryu Kem(n)po)
Clarence Chang (Sil Lum Gung Fu or Chinese Boxing).
1952 KaJuKenBo became a popular & feared art. In Hawaii it evolved
into a very powerful and violent fighting style. Kempo/KaJuKenBo
fighters had the reputation of training and fighting the hardest of all
the martial arts. Kempo fighters were known to develop an "animal"
instinct through their hard and sometimes brutal training methods. From
then on it was known as the meanest martial art practiced. It's
reputation became known world-wide, and people the world over wanted to
learn the new and improved Kempo from Hawaii.
Only a few top martial artists including Walter Godin (also trained by Chow) were taught this new art form in the beginning. Then in 1950, Adriano Emperado and his younger brother Joe began teaching the new art in an open class in 1950 and called their school the Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute (KSDI). Godin said, "There are no words to describe the training sessions at Palama Settlement during the early days, unless you've experienced it, only then will you understand." Joe Emperado and Godin became best friends. Joe would often take him to secluded parks and practice self-defense that nobody else saw. Then he would "tell me to remember the techniques."
Joe was responsible for most of the training in the KSDI school until the Memorial Day weekend of 1958. One night after class several Kajukenbo students were hanging out at the Pink Elephant, a bar where Joe worked part-time as a bouncer. Joe stayed late waiting for his girlfriend who was working there. When the rest of the Kajukenbo students left, Joe asked his favorite student Godin to stay. Joe must have sensed something was wrong because at closing time, three men who stayed behind wanted to start some trouble and started messing around with Godin. Godin suggested that they take it outside. Right before it started coming down to blows, Joe went outside and shoved Godin inside hoping to close the door on the three troublemakers.
While Joe’s back was turned, George Shimabukuro stabbed him from behind. At that time, Joe did not even know he was stabbed and thought he was hit by a very hard punch. The next attack thrown was a strong hammerblow from Joe that knocked his attacker into parked cars. The fight continued with Joe Emperado squaring off with an armed George Shimabukuro while Godin took on the other two guys.
Imagine as a martial artist what it would be like to be in a fight back-to-back with your instructor on your side. Unfortunately, Godin and Joe Emperado lost that fight. When the police came, everyone ran. Joe lost so much blood from multiple stab wounds that he died the next day. He was able to tell his brother Adriano what happened and from that day forward the tradition of escorts was in effect. It is a matter of looking out for one another. The escorts would accompany a higher rank whenever s/he went out in public. Their job was to go everywhere with the higher ranking, including the restroom, to take care of anything behind him because he can take care what is in front of him. This tradition is still practiced today. After all, Joe would not have died that weekend if he had more escorts.
Unfortunately, Shimabukuro avoided jail time in Joe Emperado’s death. The claim of self-defense was allowed since Joe was well known as a dangerous martial artist (plus it was probably hard to determine from the multiple stab wounds examined during the autopsy when the first stab occurred). Some people even considered Godin to be a coward. Could this be true? Godin went on to become one of Kajukenbo’s top students and chief instructors who was promoted to a level that clearly recognized his position. He was also Emperado’s bodyguard. If Emperado thought Godin was a coward, neither of these things would have happened!
In the late 1950’s, Godin and his brother-in-law, Victor "Sonny" Gascon, redesigned a lot of moves and techniques and founded Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu in Pasadena, CA. Karazenpo grew and now has schools worldwide. While in California, Godin frequently sparred Elvis Presley at Ed Parker’s school, which was within a couple of blocks from the Karazenpo school. Godin was so fast that he had to slow down and go easy with the King of Rock and Roll. (Although Parker had a lot of respect for Godin, it is said that he asked Godin not to attend his tournaments for fear that Godin’s tough sparring techniques would create too rough of an environment and things would get out of hand.)
Godin left California and started Godin’s School of Self Defense in Kaimuki, Hawaii. He began teaching Chinese Kempo Karate in 1961. Around this time, Godin also went back to training with Chow, who was teaching Kara-Ho Kempo, and studied Hawaiian Lua with Brother Abe Kamahoahoa. On December 16, 1973, Chow promoted Godin to the rank of Professor. Godin trained lots of martial artists including Martin Buell, John Hackleman, Eugene Sedeño, Delilah Godin, Bill Takeuchi and David Tavares. Godin continued to teach and operate the only standing school in the Palamas Settlement until his recent passing on August 7, 2001.
Professor Martin Buell (Founder of Universal Kempo Karate Schools Association)
Professor Buell along with many of his students left Godin’s School of Self Defense and created the Universal Kempo Karate Schools Association (UKKSA) in 1981. UKKSA teaches Chinese Kempo Karate, is headquartered in Aiea, HI and has several branches throughout the United State. On May 22, 1982, Professor Buell was promoted to the rank of Professor, 10th Degree. The promotion was witnessed by many martial artists in Hawaii and from afar. This event was held at the Momilani Recreation Center in Pearl City, Hawaii.
Professor Wayne Lacno (Kajukenbo, Las Vegas, Nevada) trained under Professor Buell since the early Godin days and had several schools in Las Vegas under the UKKSA banner until going back to his roots in Kajukenbo. After a brief retirement, Professor Lacno now teaches in Las Vegas at Torres MMA.