Karate, Kajukenbo and Kenpo

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by BGile, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Ok I am going to start a thread that has been something I have noticed for years and am now reading the thesis of Bruce Haines and it is the clencher for posting this.

    The Karate that hit the Hawaiian Islands and the Kenpo of Mitose was not the same folks.
    I would like to first say this is for discussion as a teaching tool about much I have read and much of the misinformation that I believe is out there regarding the two arts. Kenpo and Karate...They were blended by some and they admit it for they call it "Kenpo Karate" simple really.


    So if this is ok, or not, I am going to mention that the confusion is not, nor was it done on purpose, but I think if you look at the Kenpo of what is being mentioned by one group "SKSKI" and others, it is a matter of what direction they have taken it since the death of James Mitose.

    And to be honest it is ok to have done that and still have the others also, for the mixture was getting very blended. Then it was seperated in the 80s and more strife has occured because of it.

    Bottom line is the Karate of Hawaii and the Kenpo of Mitose are very different, but similar. That is it, no biggie, accept it and allow both to exist and forget all the problems that have happened and try to unite and not be so "glory hound" to who did what and where it all came from, for it is a mixture and the real proof is in the pudding guys and girls.

    The eye cannot trespass and that is for real.

    Just understand that if you are going to teach the art, you must also teach the history, with teaching history... Blood does "not" need to be spilled.

    Kajukenbo is lucky for the art is of numerous groups and blended, simple.

    Mitose was not like that, but it was blended because of the nature of the beast. It was blended over time and not all on Hawaii. Like Kajukenbo was.

    The art of Mitose was only really taught during the 30's and after that it was changed. It was changed because of the war and what happened in that war and who won is very much a part of why it looks like Mitose of the 30's and Mitose after the war is/was different. It was/is, so that is the reason I am starting this tread, is to discuss those changes. Then the fact that in the 70's he got back to the basics of what he was taught. Mitose was discovered in jail, with a book, his story, and the rest is history.

    Hope we can have a good discussion, or not.

  2. Kenpo_Iz_Active

    Kenpo_Iz_Active Greek Warrior-not 300

    oh no, not that "History of Kenpo" business again...But i was under the impression American Kenpo Karate was a blend of Okinowan Kenpo, Hawaiian Kenpo and various Chinese MA's.
  3. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    True it is, If you go to the website I posted it will explain it better than I can. It is up for grabs about much of what came from where and who is honest and who was just trying to make money and present a product that was buyable from a gullible public.

    The Hollywood flair was selling much of it and then it came into its own in other locations and caught on anyway.

  4. KenpoDavid

    KenpoDavid Working Title

    It seems Okinawan martial art ("karate"?) had a significant presence in HI before Mitose. It may have reached HI before it reached Japan for that matter, but that would be hard to document.

    I've been studying Kempo for almost 5 years, which is not long, but it is still difficult for me to articulate the difference between kempo and karate to someone who is not a martial artist. Perhaps in 1939 there was more of a difference.

    As far as names go, I think it was Ed Parker who used the 2 words together, purely as marketing.
  5. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    It is really interesting the various conversations I have had with some that have mentioned "Kosho Ryu Kenpo" was not a term used by Mitose in Hawaii. Funny because the term is in the thesis that Bruce Haines wrote, over a period of several years and turned it in to the college in 1962.

    Some other seemingly innocent things have appeared that have been twisted by some, for what reason I am not really sure?

    I was going to post more on the thesis but will only answer some questions and then get more verbose if I feel it is warranted. Secrecy no, just no reason to kick more anthills than I already have.

    "Kenpo Karate" was coined by Professor Chow! From what I have read. EPsr. just borrrowed it, like he did so many other things.

  6. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    The term "Kenpo Karate" was used certainly before Ed Parker. Professor Tiwanak's C.H.A. 3 Kenpo was also referred to as "Kenpo Karate," for example.

    Gary, my question is what leads you to believe that Professor Chow coined the phrase "Kenpo Karate" rather than the term having been widely used before then?

    According to this article by Charles C. Goodin ( http://seinenkai.com/art-miyagi.html ), which references Bruce Haines in his 1962 University of Hawaii master's thesis, when Miyagi was visiting Hawaii in 1934...

    By the way, since I started in Okinawan Goju-ryu karate many years before my Kajukenbo training, I've been interested in the links between Miyagi's visit to Hawaii and influences on Hawaiian Martial Arts.
  7. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    This is very good information and I'll find the information I have regarding why I thought Chow was the originator of the term "Kenpo Karate".
    This could be one of those finds that off set other mistakes or difference of opinion based on bad information from others, thanks...

    You mentioned:
    On Thusday, May 10th, an advertisement appeared in The Hawaii Hochi describing the upcoming demonstration at the Y.M.B.A. It described Miyagi as the best authority on "Kenpo Karate" and added that he would give a demonstration of "Goju Ryu Karate." It stated that the fee was a mere 25 cents.

    When discussing this with "Nuck' he mentioned this term is still used by some of the instructors he knows of in the arts. Good find. :D Going to my docs. :cool:

  8. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    This is a location that I frequent and I also talk/e-mail, to "Will Tracy" quite a bit about this topic, he is truly one of the people I count on.

    I know some will disagree, but until you have done as much research and finding the various stories, it seem I go back to this website and feel good with the information I get from it.

    One of Mitose's top students was */William, "Willy", K. S. Chow/*,
    who became Mitose's second Shodan (black belt) and Assistant
    Instructor; although Chow was actually promoted to Shodan by Thomas
    Young who was Mitose's first Shodan. After being promoted to the
    rank of Instructor William K. S. Chow taught with Mitose and Young
    until mid 1949 (May/June), when he opened his own Kenpo club and
    called his style, "*Kenpo Karate*". In doing so, Chow is rightfully
    credited as being the founder of Kenpo Karate, although the term,
    Kenpo Karate, had probably been used as early as the 1920's in
    promoting karate demonstrations.

    So I hope this helps, Will, was there as others were, but he talks to me and all I get from others, (is from sources that are very much removed from the original). As in such and such mentioned this or said this or I heard this. Not good enough, Sorry.

  9. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Will Tracy eh? Oh brother.

    Well, the term Kempo Karate was used by Motobu in his original book back in the 1920's in Japan. The terms were pretty much interchangable in Okinawa "Kara-Te" means "China Hand" and was the Okinawan "nickname" for the art that was originally known as "Kempo or Kenpo" which means "Chuan Fa" or "Fist Way/Law" which, in turn, is a generic name for what we in the West call "Kung Fu". There is no real difference between Kenpo and Karate. It's like saying there is a difference between an "Auto" and a "Car" and then if someone said "Auto Car" would they be talking about something entirely new? No. There may be many different styles of "Cars" and they may have different functions, adn they may be better suited to one person's needs than another style, and they may be called "Autos" in different areas of the country, but they are all essentially the same thing in the broader sense.
  10. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Yep, I agree. Nice to see you again.

    I sort of feel if the shoe fits wear it. I find unusual is the knowledge that Chow had and must have brought something to the table, but so many have different opinions and to be able to converse and interact, we have to be able to look and see what coincides with what others have written that were there at the time.
    History can be changed very easily, some mention. But seems there is always a wild card around, that might mess up the story. (Bruce Juchnik comes to mind, visit to Mitose).

    I notice one of the groups that seem to butt heads :bang: the most are these that we are discussing. I have really gone out and tried to turn over many rocks to see what is under them (stories) so if we all try to be honest and find the truth it is a lot easier to talk and not argue.

    I notice the same thing when discussing the arts of Escrima, Arnis and Kali. Many are into it for personal gain, while others are looking for the truth.

    I get the feeling that the "Kajukenbo" group would agree that "Kenpo Karate" was around for some time before Professor Chow gets the credit, but none the less, it is his name I see at the top of the list, out of Hawaii...

    The term "Karate" and "Kenpo" are each a single entity. But when combined as "Kajukenbo" did it, is now a blend. Similar with the way I look at it. But I believe the nod is to Professor Chow.

    One thing I found interesting is when talking to GM Bill Chun Jr is his respect for the Kajukenbo group and for Professor Chow also. But they are different, Just as Mitoses art "Kosho Ryu Kenpo" was different. And as I have shown, around in Hawaii, prior to his jail sentence.

  11. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Just as a last post for awhile (going to Tahoe for a week cough cough).

    The Thesis is interesting, his other books (editions) plus other books and stories of course.
    But at least it does verify that Kenpo karate was in the Islands prior to professor Chow using the term, plus the term Kosho Ryu Kenpo/Kempo (not sure) So many interchanged the writing and made it more complicated.

    Take a book that uses the term Kempo and when the person is relating the story in the book they write it Kenpo (I know many say it means naught, if that was true, way of the fist and Kuntao can be mentioned also).

    So. Hope more will be written to read, when I get back.

  12. Rabu

    Rabu Valued Member

    I sincerely paid no attention to Kem/npo for about ten years or more.

    I come back and people still argue the same, but there appears to be more information.

    I love Danjo and BGile and John Bishop mashing it up and talking. I think it adds to the entertainment value alone, aside from the good links and arguments you have.

    Keep going, I feel I have become addicted to your discussions. Bravo!

    Best regards,


    PS - still waiting on a reply from an earlier post, but probably was lost in the excitement of the discussion.
  13. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    Not funny at all. Look closely at the thesis, and the book (Karate's History and Traditions) that it gave birth to.

    In the footnotes, Haines says that he interviewed Mitose, around 1959 "at his residence in Los Angeles.
    So, Mitose knowing that Haines was also researching for a book, told him a story about "Kosho Monks", and generations of Kosho Ryu grandmasters.
    He also told Haines that upon his moving to Los Angeles, he attended seminary, and received a Doctor of Divinity degree. In fact he is pictured in Haines's first edition wearing a clerical collar.
    Now we know for a fact that the whole story about the "Doctor of Divinity" degree, "attending seminary", being a "ordained minister", was a lie. So one has to wonder about the "Kosho Ryu" story, since none of his Hawaiian black belts ever heard about it before Mitose's book came out.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2007
  14. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Hey, did Gary die or something?
  15. Nuck Chorris

    Nuck Chorris I prefer North South

    rofl. Check the obits
  16. Pacificshore

    Pacificshore Hit n RUN!

    Nah...they probably just limited his internet activity in the Sanitarioum :p
  17. Rabu

    Rabu Valued Member

    Gary posted he was going to Tahoe for a week. He said he would be reviewing when he got back.

    Pacific is right though, 'Tahoe' could be a code word for 'loony bin'.

    Best regards,

  18. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Gary A. Brewer 1941-2007

    Born in 1941, Gary (also known as Gabster, GAB, Gabbo the Mad W*nker etc.) quickly sought out his place in the world of Martial Arts. He began by sitting by and watching others fight and quickly realized that he needed a more formalized training setting. Fortunately for him and the rest of the martial arts community, there were a myriad of martial arts related magazines, books and movies that allowed a budding Gabster to begin to formulate his opinions and expertise on all things Martial. Later, with the advent of seminars and offers of being allowed to watch some classes for free, Gary was able to even further expand his knowledge of martial arts lore and mysteries. His pinnacle of aquired knowledge in the pre-internet days, came from a month long stint in the legendary school of Johnny Leoning where, after being inducted into the "Inner Sanctum of Knowledge" Gary was formally awarded a white belt rank from one of that legendary master's student instructor. In addition to being promoted to the rank of white belt in many different martial arts (some of them honorary), Gary was also awarded the Seminar Attendee Award, and the Sideline Observer Medal he was also named as the Non-Participant of the Decade in two seperate decades.

    White belts in hand, Gary would seek to make his own way now in the world of the fighting arts. Never would he miss an opportuniity to watch someone else do something or listen to third-hand information and propagate it as fast as his sixty-something hands could type it. Of course the area that Gary shined in the most outside of his non-training status, was his vast skill on the internet. He had mastered the art of the "Shadow Posting" where, just when you thought he was about to make a logical point, he was off on some nonsequitur rant about Wikkipedia, James Mitose, Samurai Warriors or Will Tracy. People rarely saw it coming and this talent led Gary to being banned off of more martial art forums than any other poster. In some cases being banned several times under several user names. IN fact, He still holds the record for being banned the fastet off of Bullshido.

    Though many moderators have tried to thwart his efforts, it seems that no one was ever truly able to keep Gary off of a forum. It's doubtful that his demise will keep him away for long either.

    RIP Gary, we can't wait to hear the new secrets that you've learned from personally talking to the departed masters.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2007
  19. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did there. Him and Kikkoman....got away with murder for far too long.
  20. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Hi John,
    This is why I post to gain good information that otherwise just sits and no one gets the inside scoop from historical persons like yourself. :D

    Are you saying he was never ordained :rolleyes:

    Thanks for all the input while gone, John is the only one contributing as I notice. All these personal attacks, X mods to boot, very interesting :p

    Bullshido was a blast and so many smilies?


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