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|Country of origin||Territory of Hawaii; United States of America|
|Creator||Adriano Emperado, Peter Young Yil Choo, Joe Holck, Frank Ordonez, George Chang|
|Parenthood||Kosho Shorei Ryu Kenpo, Escrima, Danzan-ryu Jujutsu, Boxing, Kung Fu, Judo, Tang Soo Do|
It was developed in the late 1940s in the Palama Settlement of Oahu, Hawaii. Kajukenbo training incorporates a blend of striking, kicking, throwing, takedowns, joint locks and weapon disarmament. A driving principle behind Kajukenbo is transitioning smoothly from one specialty into the next to create an optimal response to any situation. This radical approach to training led to Kajukenbo being known as, "The First American Mixed Martial Art".citation needed
Today, Kajukenbo is practiced all over the world in many distinctive branches.citation needed Unlike many traditional martial arts, students are not required to mimic their teacher, but are encouraged to develop their own "expression" of the art. Each branch continues to evolve their training, adopting and taking in the techniques of many other martial arts. While different, each branch shares the view that self-preservation and defense is at their core.
Kajukenbo was founded in 1947 in the Palamas Settlement on Oahu, Hawaii.
In the late 1940s, the Palamas Settlement was a violent area where fist-fights and stabbings were commonplace. Due to this environment a martial artist by the name of Tommy Tanaka introduced five martial artists from varying backgrounds with the goal of developing an art that would be practical and effective on the street, yet transcend individual style limitations. These founders sought to develop one style that would complement each of their individual styles and yet had to allow for effective fighting at all ranges and speeds. They called themselves the “Black Belt Society”.
- Adriano Directo Emperado — Kenpo (Kosho Ryu) and Eskrima
- Joseph Holck — Judo and Danzan Ryu Jujutsu
- Peter Young Yil Choo — Tang Soo Do Korean Karate and Boxing
- Frank F. Ordonez — Danzan Ryu Jujutsu
- George "Clarence" Chang — Chu'an-Fa Chinese boxing
In its conception, the founders followed a simple philosophy, if a technique worked consistently on the street (or against one another), then it stayed in the system, if it did not, it was discarded. This allowed the style to maintain its strong self-defense focus, while covering limitations found within each of their traditional arts.
The emerging style was named Kajukenbo. It was named thus by Joseph Holck because of the styles that formed it. KA for Karate, JU for Judo & Jujitsu, Ken for Kenpo and Bo for Boxing.
Shortly after its conception, the Korean War broke out, and with it Joe Holck, Peter Choo, Frank Ordonez, and Clarence Chang left Hawaii as active duty military, leaving only Adriano Emperado to carry the system on.
Emperado and his brother Joe introduced Kajukenbo to the public by opening the Palama Settlement School in 1950. They called the school the Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute (K.S.D.I.). The training there was notoriously brutal. Their goal was to be invincible on the street, thus the students sparred with full contact. Emperado had a motto, "The workout isn't over until I see blood on the floor". He also said "the best teacher is pain". His philosophy was that if someone was afraid of pain they would be defeated the first time they were hit. Those who remained developed into tough fighters with a reputation for employing their art in street fights with little provocation.
In 1959, Sijo Emperado continued to add more Kung Fu into Kajukenbo, shifting the art to a more fluid combination of hard and soft techniques. Since then, Kajukenbo has proved to be an improvement-based, continuously evolving and open form, willing to accept whatever works. John Leoning, who taught Doug Bunda, the brother of Carlos Bunda, also helped bring out the "bo" of Kajukenbo. John Leoning pointed out that there should be no wasted motion.
The art slowly began to grow in popularity, and soon Emperado had 12 Kajukenbo schools in Hawaii, making it the second largest string of schools at the time.citation needed Joe Halbuna, Charles Gaylord, Tony Ramos and Aleju Reyes, who all earned a black belt from Emperado, brought Kajukenbo to the U.S. mainland in 1960. They each opened Kajukenbo schools in California. In 1969 Tony Ramos trained with and exchanged ideas and methods with Bruce Lee. Tony's version of Kajukenbo became known as the "Ramos Method" and is kept alive by numerous instructors. Aleju Reyes died in 1977.
In 1987 Ahgung Tony Ramos before retiring from his civil service job on Travis A.F.B. and moving back to Oahu Hawaii Ahgung turned his school over to his most dedicated and loyal student Sr. Professor David Amacucci and his devoted daughter Simoe Leah Amaccuci. Professor David Amacucci and Leah Amaccuci are the sole owners of the Tony Ramos Schools/Ramos Method. Ahgung appointed Professor Amacucci as his successor of his schools/method. Professor Amacucci headquarters is at Tony Ramos Kajukenbo in Fairfield California.
In a 1991 interview with Black Belt Emperado was asked who some of the Kajukenbo tournament stars were and said "Al and Malia Dacascos won many tournament championships. Al Gene Caraulia won the 1st Karate World Championship in Chicago in 1963 when he was still a brown belt. Purple belt Victor Raposa knocked out world rated Everett "monster man" Eddy at the 1975 "World Series of Martial Arts". Carlos Bunda was the first lightweight champion at the Long Beach International Karate Championship (IKC) in 1964. Bunda once defeated TV star Chuck Norris in competition where he broke Chuck's cup involving a kenpo groin kick."citation needed According to Norris, in his book Against All Odds: My Story he won the middleweight title in 1967 at the Long Beach Internationals, then beat Bunda who had won the lightweight title.
Kajukenbo continues to evolve with each generation and maintains its primary focus on realism and practicality. It is generally thought that "unfair" moves, such as strikes to the eyes or groin, are perfectly acceptable, as is whatever else the practitioner feels is necessary to get home that day.
Training workouts emphasize cardio conditioning and functional strength. While individual schools may show variation, it would not be unusual to train with sandbags or boxing gloves. There are core self-defense techniques at the heart of Kajukenbo and Kajukenbo schools eschew impractical, flashy moves and acrobatics. Most kajukenbo curricula feature counter-attacks to punches, kicks, grabs, as well as using knives, sticks and guns. While this base of common knowledge will keep schools' styles similar, there is plenty of room for variation. This openness tends to encourage schools to incorporate other arts into their practice. Many schools of traditional martial arts concentrate on kata, Kajukenbo concentrates on self-defense movements because protecting one's self in a street-fighting situation is primary.
Some schools of Kajukenbo feature katas that are broken down into 13 "pinyans" (also called "Palama sets" in some schools). These Kata are incorporated into Kajukenbo to help the student refine their skill. Every movement in the katas has a function.
Ranking hierarchies vary widely from school to school.
Traditional Japanese martial art ranking is often followed. One common belt order is as follows: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple (for juniors), brown (3 levels), student black, followed by the various degrees of black belt. Some schools have "in-between" belts that feature a white or black stripe running down the center of the belt.
Black belt rankings and titles can also vary, with most schools adopting either Chinese or Japanese titles.
Kenpo "Emperado Method" or "Traditional Hard Style".
The original style of Tum Pai was put together by Sijo Adriano D. Emperado, Al Dacascos and Al Dela Cruz in the early 60s to create an advanced style for the Kajukenbo system. In the mid-60s the developments that made up Tum Pai became incorporated into what was called "Chu'an Fa". In 1971 Jon A. Loren started incorporating the concepts of Tai-Chi and Southern Sil-lum into his Kajukenbo classes. This was called Northern Kajukenbo until 1976. In 1976, while staying with Sijo Emperado in Hawaii, he demonstrated his concepts and techniques and asked if he could call it Tum Pai and bring the name back to life. Emperado granted permission with the acknowledgment that the original Tum Pai followed a different path than the revised Tum Pai soft style. The name Tum Pai, which means "central way", fits the Tai-Chi concept blended into the Kajukenbo format.
In Hawaii during the early 1960s Sijo Adriano Emperado, along with students Al Dacascos and Al Dela Cruz, incorporated innovations of the style Tum Pai and other martial arts into their Kajukenbo training. Later it became obvious that they were no longer doing Tum Pai and it would have to be named something else. In the mid 60s Al Dacascos moved to Northern California and continued training in the Northern and Southern styles of Sil-lum Kung Fu to enhance his Kajukenbo training. It was in 1965 that the name Ch'uan-Fa was introduced.
Wun Hop Kuen Do was founded by Al Dacascos, in Cantonese Chinese Wun Hop Kuen Do means "combination fist art style" Wun Hop Kuen Do techniques identify with, and are based on, the Kajukenbo system. This martial arts style incorporates techniques from many different styles including Northern and Southern Kung Fu systems and Escrima. Since this style is always being developed it is not a fixed system. This means that practitioners of the style are always striving to improve it by the incorporation and improvement of useful methods or techniques. In addition the philosophy of remaining "unfixed" also applies to the defense techniques, in that there is no defined response to a given situation, and they attempt to fit the situation as it arises. This idea leads to self-defense that is creative and allows one to think about what is the best response. This is one of the primary things that sets this style apart from most others, it is a martial art that asks you to think for yourself and use your own common sense to actually see what you should do next. There are many drills to allow practice of this type of fluidity and creativity that lead to the ability to respond reflexively to any situation — which is in contrast to many other training methods where one is supposed to mimic techniques which are often not practical, except under very defined circumstances.
Matsuno Kajukenbo Kai was founded by Joseph Holck’s son Vinson Holck (A Jujitsu blackbelt under his father) to honor the teaching of his father and uncle Peter Choo, while adhering to the moral principles of Professor Henry Seishiro Okazaki (Founder of Danzan Ryu Jujutsu), Joseph Holck’s Jujitsu Instructor. In Kajukenbo's tradition of melding styles and focusing on what works on the street, Matsuno Kajukenbo Kai focuses heavily on the throwing/take-downs of Judo & Jujitsu and the striking of Karate & American Boxing.
This branch is promoted through the Kodenkan Yudanshakai martial arts organization in Tucson, Arizona.
The Ordonez Kajukenbo Ohana (OKO) was formed to perpetuate the art of Kajukenbo Self Defense through honoring the legacy of Kajukenbo Co-Founder "Uncle" Frank Ordonez.
The OKO was founded on February 15, 2008 and is composed of those who have been promoted by Uncle Frank but is open to all ranks and styles.
- The Kajukenbo Cafe
- The Original Mixed Martial Art
- Kajukenbo Belgium Kajukenbo Belgium
- Kajukenbo France
- Kajukenbo Canada
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