Is there any substantial reason as to why "Kempo Karate" is called "Kempo Karate?"

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by Mr. Tickles, Dec 22, 2021.

  1. Mr. Tickles

    Mr. Tickles Banned Banned

    Or Kenpo, I guess? It's all semantics anyway. I'll be using both when it suits me. ‍♂️

    Was it to take advantage of the popularity of Karate during the mid-late 20th century? That's the only sensible reason I can think of because calling Kempo Karate "Karate" is like calling Tae Kwon Do "Karate" since they both have, like, a smidge.

    It's Hawaiian kung fu with some Karate sprinkled in LMAO.

    You might as well call Mike Tyson's boxing style "Karate."

    Savate was a massive inspiration for modern Karate so I guess we better call Savate "Karate" now too, like, what? Lol.
  2. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    In the US at least as people were familiar with the name "karate" many Eastern striking systems used the term. The general populace wouldn't have had a clue what Tae Kwon Do,Hapkido,etc was in 1965,for example.So not so much to take advantage of Karate's popularity as so that people would have some idea of what you were advertising,talking about,etc. I have an old book circa 1970 called "Kung Fu Karate". My book by Parker is "Secrets of Chinese Karate".

    TKD has far more than a smidge. TKD,HKD,TSD all are Koreanized versions of what were initially JMA technique and training methods.

    More like the opposite. Mitose,Chow,Emperado.... there's much more of Karate flavor/technique to most of their descendant lines than Chinese.. Sometime in the 80s a lot of Kenpo practitioners started trying to tell us theirs was a Gung Fu system. We weren't buying. Although I have seen some Kenpo forms which looked like poorly executed bastardized Chinese sets.

    The various Hawaiian Kenpo lines of descent are their own field,tho'.
    They've earned their own identity as a separate category. But "Kenpo Karate" is still good for marketing purposes. The average Joe will recognize the word "Karate",Ken/mpo not so much.

    Coincidence-I just happened to grab Mitose's book off the shelf today.
    Nah,'cause everybody knows Karate means you kick people,right?
    Karate la Francais?
    Grond likes this.
  3. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    This one of my most favorite debates ever. o/^

    "How Karate was Tyson?" :).

    It's my contention that practically all styles that have survived long enough have at least enough practicality to have led to people perpetuating the thing, or conversely the old saying along the lines of "useless styles died on the battlefield".

    That doesn't mean they all are the same, but they all probably have something to contribute to others which is why so much blending has occured. Take karate, it's not the same today as it was 200 years ago. It couldn't be, it's been exposed to the world's influence and vice versa. We have all been changed in some way by karate even if you've never trained it, there's something there. Everyone has a stance on karate, pun intended.

    Today karate is still basically kick, block, punch. But it's smarter now, there are hybrid styles that combine in other elements. As I understand karate, it even changes as you go from Okinawa to New York. In between in places like, say, San Francisco, karate is uniquely hippie there. In LA, probably a little more old school and hard. Mind you all, I've never done karate in either place, I'm just thinking aloud.

    If anyone's familiar with this interact between Jesse Enkamp and Jay Elder, you'll know what I mean.

    Mike Tyson was a 'karate master' who used a 'peekaboo' style of boxing

  4. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    anecdotally the founder of kenpo originally did korate. He was korean, and experienced a lot of racism from his Japanese contemporise. in the end he got feed up moved back to Korea and founded kempo. Note I had a screaming migraine when I had this in conversation so i could have got the story right but the name of the art totally wrong.
    Grond likes this.
  5. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Isn't that the story of TKD not kempo?
  6. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Gather round children and I'll tell you the story of TKD...

    Some Okinawans mixed imported southern chinese kung fu with indigenous grappling and fighting styles to make early Karate ("tode" or just "te") to make a civilian self protection system,. They played down and removed some of the more practical elements of this collection of martial ideas to make a system for teaching to school children, with an eye to making strong citizens for the Japanese empire. This safer form of karate was exported to the Japanese mainland where it was further changed to move it in line with the already established arts of Judo and Kendo. Uniforms, belts, grades, etc. Karate was made more athletic, higher, longer, more exaggerated as it spread through the university system and was practiced by fit young men keen to test themselves. Koreans learnt this "Japanese mainland karate" and imported it to Korea to teach to Army recruits. After the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea they then sought to distance what they were doing from their hated Japanese oppressors. So they set about covering up the Karate origins and creating new kata/patterns to try and brand their Korean Karate (re-named as TKD) as something uniquely Korean.

    No idea about Kempo/Kenpo. Some of it seems to made up out of whole cloth.
  7. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    But but but!!
    What about jumping spin-kicks to dismount attackers on horseback?? :eek:
    Grond likes this.
  8. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Yeah...about that...sorry to say this but...a lot of the history of martial arts is exaggeration, fantasy, lies and, in some cases, flat out nonsense...whoopsie!
  9. bassai

    bassai onwards and upwards ! Moderator Supporter

    Short version , tkd is just renamed Shotokan , yeah I went there :D
    Smitfire and Simon like this.
  10. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Shotokan is just a kid's version of Okinawan Te made popular by university Jocks. :)
  11. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    Travess likes this.
  12. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    People say this just 'cause they're jealous they were never initiated in the secrets of a system-the mother of all martial arts!- founded by an unwashed Taoist a gizzilion years ago.
  13. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    But at least we got roundhouse kicks :D
    Grond and bassai like this.
  14. Mr. Tickles

    Mr. Tickles Banned Banned

    I mean.. u right.
  15. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Mod Note Please remember to spell words out out and not use text speak. thanks.

    From our Terms of Service (which can be found by clicking on the terms and rules button on the bottom right hand corner of every page).


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