Karazenpo: the Confusing History

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by DAnjo, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    Thanks Matt, I got the email. There's quite a few mistakes in the Chow/Emperado history in the paper. Can't comment on the accuracy of the New England part, since it resembles most of the accounts that I have seen.
  2. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    History and truth.


    I have had some disagreements about items that I have a first hand or face to face account or story. Then to be told on the various forms, it was not like that at all.

    It is difficult to swallow, the new/old informed views at times, when they are sprinked with trifle mistakes, that could actually be enough to sink a ship.

    We are all searching for a factual story??? I am hoping that is the end result.

    Many times the stories get spun and have valid reasons for it, and other times, it just does not seem reasonable. But they are retold so many times they become a "legend" and when given the option they say go for the legend.

    For example I have talked to persons who were there did it and have a smoking gun. I go seek them out and hear it first hand. So then when I explain it, it is second hand.

    When being examined to be an expert witness, then deemed to be.
    When the person is in that position they are not allowed to make mistakes. When caught in the mistakes, then they are from that day forth, suspect.

    Let me ask others, do you care anymore about this? When does the lie become the truth and return again to the fabrication of the individual?

    So many agendas so little time. Sad.

    Regards, Gary
  3. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

    BGile, you just said a whole lot without any context about what you are even talking about.

    And Danjo, I stand by my initial comment on this thread.
  4. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    KempoFist mentions,
    BGile, you just said a whole lot without any context about what you are even talking about.

    Yes, I do that some times, sorry.

    This year the word of the year is Plutoed, last year it was Truthiness.


    Both have a reason for being regarding this thread.

    Regards, Gary
  5. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    You wound me with your harsh words. :)

    Seriously though, this is not about lineage, as you stated, but rather which official representative of the KGSBBS has the accurate story regarding their history? Seems that with such a small group they could get together and come up with an official history and all use the same one no? When you look at the various websites and they are all different, it begs a question.
  6. KGS BBS

    KGS BBS Valued Member

    Hi Guys, I was a history major in high school and college so I think I can speak with some credibility in saying ALL history, World, U.S., Greco-Roman, whatever, is confusing and filled with twists and turns, inaccuracies, different dates and viewpoints (depending on the historian). It will be interesting to see how today's current events plays out decades from now in the history books. If we were able to read it, we'd probably say "Hey, that's not how it went down, I lived it!" Watch the next Iraqi controversy on Fox News and then turn to CNN, same incident, two different perspectives, all claiming their's is the true story. I have also delved into other arts, both in the Kempo/Kenpo/Kajukenbo, Korean, Japanese and some Okinawan and have found the same confusion, inaccuracies and flaws. I guess it's just the way it is.

    Anyway, to answer some questions. I got the information on David Kamalani from Peter Teymourez. True, Sonny Gas does not remember him. Now putting aside whether the info. is correct or not that I originally received, it is also possible that being over four decades ago Sonny Gascon doesn't remember. I believe he did not tell Mike Rash he was positive that he was never in KGS but he simply does not remember him being there. It doesn't matter to me one way or the other, outside of the fact that I would like to have it historically accurate like everyone else. Mike told me he was going to look further into the Kamalani story to either prove or disprove it.

    As far as my website goes, I have had some problems of a technical nature with Verizon SuperPages and I cannot as of now edit it, so I am unable to make changes and/or corrections and updates for some time so cut me some slack for now.

    I feel it personally inappropiate to get into anything on a public forum on the Godin controversy. My wife and I spent some quality time with the late Walter Godin back in 1994 and had come away with some fond memories and I'll leave it at that.

    As far as any other conflicting information, yes, I see it too but mostly in minor detail. Again, I have found the same conflicting information in many arts. This history stuff is tough to pin down as I said before. You also have one other variable that my old friend Bruce Corrigan has brought up in his writings, the in-house fighting and conflicts amongst all the seniors over the years in the Hawaiian Kempo derived arts. Bruce stated it appears most all the founders at one time or another were involved in some conflict or controversy with each other. I believe he is a correct. Therefore, some things we read are slanted due to human emotions, it's our nature. This can be clearly seen in "The Lost Interview"-Prof. Chow on Ed Parker that has been floating around the net. I'm sure all of you have many more examples also.

    All in all, Gary dropped me a line to check out this thread and it appears to be off to a decent start with a sincere search for facts. I hope we can keep on this path and in doing so, find more answers. Respectfully, Joe Shuras
  7. KempoFist

    KempoFist Attention Whore

  8. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Primarily New England:

    Years ago in New England, many did not know where our kempo came from, not only kempo but many styles and systems of karate did not have accurate histories of how they were passed down generation to generation.

    No one was really into the history when I started over three decades ago. We thought everyone came from Prof. Chow because Fred Villari had Chow's picture up in all his schools and said he was his instructor/senior. Later, around 1975 Fred revealed he studied under Nick Cerio who in turn studied under George Pesare and Prof. Chow. However, we did not know the original connection of our forms and combinations to Hawaii and Kajukenbo until later, the Emperado/Leoning/Gascon connection.

    All we wanted to do is have an accurate historical link so that we could trace the beginnings of our art together for a timeline of lineage. We always loved our art and many, many of us have either used it as a foundation to build our own perspective on or teach it pretty much like we learned it back then with some additions and modifications.

    The New England Kempo is a very balanced mixed martial art. George Pesare used the Karazenpo, Sonny Gascon's concepts of Kempo, as the nucleus of which to build his perspective on just as Emperado used Mitose/Chow's Kempo to build Kajukenbo on. Pesare added Boxing, more Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Aikido, Escrima and even Shotokan along with a touch of some Tai Chi for balance, then he threw in weapons, both traditonal and modern including pistol.

    Personally, I feel the Kempo I learned flows much smoother than Emperado's Kajukenbo but is just as powerful. We are not as 'choppy', they have a distinct 'Japanese flavor' to the original method and many of the weapon defenses are impractical, especially knife defenses and some gun disarms.

    Other punch combinations do not 'flow' as well as what we do out here.
    Emperado and Bishop states Kajukenbo doesn't trace it's lineage to judo, jui jitsu, Kung Fu or Tang Soo Do...But Kempo.. So we should not make the connection to Kajukenbo because Pesare trained much longer in other arts earning advanced dan rankings which went into the system.

    BUT Pesare made the 'core' of his art the Kempo he learned under Sonny Gas and has always said that and that is why we trace back to Kajukenbo just as Bishop traces Kajukenbo back to Mitose/Chow Kempo for that is the 'core' on which Kajukenbo was built on. Perhaps, people should come to Mr. Pesare's 'Best of the Best' tournament this year and experience what a real fighting style is all about, lol.



    I'll mention one of the lost links is information that has been changed since John Leonings death. He is remembered but not correctly IMHO...
    One of the reasons I have some issues with the History of Kajukenbo regarding John Leoning and Hanshi Bruce Juchnik.

    The Gathering of Eagles will have a twist to it and it will shed light or continue to keep us in the dark regarding what,where, when, etc..

    I am hoping some of the information from Mike Rash will clear some of the blatant changes that occured after the death of Johnny Leoning.

    I have contacted Share K. Lew trying to get some information and have it cleared up. I got a message back, but it was not very informative since I was trying to make a connection to Johnny Jr. and they have lost contact with him.

    In my humble opinion Johnny Leoning is another of the foundation building Blocks that got the "Shaolin Kempo" going in that direction. I feel it will come from the Karazenpo side to establish that connection.

    I have not stopped my efforts, nor will I.

    Last but not least...

    From: MSR ...To me

    Subject: kajukenbo
    Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 7:20:23 -0700

    >Bishop has some interesting thoughts.
    >This time I agree with him.
    >Kajukenbo is like a dying tree, that would look better if the dead branches fell off.
    >Guess thats why Sonny Gas pruned himself in his prime and never went back.
    > I move we call Sonny Gas, Grandmaster Greenthumb

    >The information contained in this e-mail transmission is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, copying, distribution, or taking any action in reliance on the content of this information is strictly prohibited.

    Regards, Gary
  9. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Funny stuff. Gary, were you supposed to reprint the copywrited stuff?
  10. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    Well, it seems he was the intended recipient.

    If you will note the bold portions (my emphasis), he states that the email was to him, i.e. he was the intended recipient. The blurb at the bottom suggests that disclosure is prohibited if he was not the intended recipient. It is most likely the boilerplate signature of someone's work email. I was never completely sure how one of those could be legally binding unless maybe you were dealing with some sort of 'classified' info or you had signed some NDA.

    Or were you talking about the quote at the top that's attributed to Joe Shuras? I think it's there for critical / commentary reasons. That strikes me as 'fair use' most likely.

    But enough about email mechanics, what do you think about the relevant parts of his post?

  11. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    I have permission from MSR to do it.

    The reason I showed it like it was, so we would not argue about its legitamacy, as has been done in the past, over and over and over.

    From Joe Shuras,

    Gary, if you wish to print this on MAP, be my guest.

    Gary, no problem printing the e-mail of my personal opinion on Kajukenbo vs. New England Kempo. After all, I wrote that this is my personal opinion just as Bishop and Weston have a right to their personal opinions in regards to their arts of which they have no trouble expressing on public forums. I put my two cents in ONLY because I noticed that both John and Dan mentioned my name in their posts, if not for that, I would have not even commented in this thread.

    I also wish to lay to rest once and for all that when we in New England connect ourselves to Kajukenbo it is cetainly not for legitimacy or that we view Kajukenbo as a superior art because, in all due respect, we don't, BUT just for the historical link - in other words - historical accuracy. Kajukenbo is a fine art as I have said in the past, with some flaws as all arts do, which is why we all evolve to correct these flaws to make our arts stronger for future generations. That's it!.... and if some has a problem with that, well, that's their problem, not ours. As far as Mike Rash goes, I can't speak for him personally but I can give an opinion.....I don't think he cares one bit that you printed his e-mail. Mike says what's on his mind and what he believes and he'll do it face to face as he and Sonny Gas attempted to do not too long ago regarding all these controversies - Joe

    Regards, Gary
  12. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    I won't comment on the "MSR" email, since I question it's authenticity. Too many times I've seen emails that were fraudulent, or re-worded in a attempt to bolster someone else's argument. But if it is real, then who ever the author is, he/she has the option of joining this discussion.
    As to the statements credited to Joe Shurus, again I don't know if they're authentic or not. He also has the option of joining this discussion and giving his opinions and views.
    Nobody should consider themselves in such a lofty position that they have to have emissaries deliver their messages.
  13. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    John Bishop mentions this:
    Nobody should consider themselves in such a lofty position that they have to have emissaries deliver their messages.

    See, the thing is this type of critic review and the distortion of the reasons and the putting out statements that are what cause the fights on various websites.
    John you have been the deliverer of Emperado's view and one of the things that has caused some strife. "Emperado said this or check with Bill Ryusaki or get a hold of such and such, etc."

    So this has come about because of your own personality and mine. I am attempting to be able to get some validity in my post's rather then your type of come backs towards my posts.

    As Matt said how about responding to the information, and not attack the messenger. I informed you before you have no right to attack the people I sort of represent, you are crafty at that. So lets stick to the issue of Karazenpo and Kajukenbo.

    I believe I have proved my identity so there is now reason to go there either.
    Just the facts from now on and opinions are OK also just go that route/path and we will do fine.

    Regards, Gary
  14. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    Distortions of what? I simply said I question the accuracy of the second hand emails, so I'm not going to comment on them.

    I haven't cut and pasted any private emails or letters from anyone. Sijo Emperado's recollections of history are pretty well documented in articles, video interviews, etc.
    And when I say, "check with Bill Ryusaki" or anyone else, I'm simply saying go to the source, instead of Wikipedia, or some other internet site written by who knows.
    In fact this discussion is a perfect example of the inaccuracy of internet sites. We have people who should be in the know, contradicting each other on their websites.

    Nothing has "come about". You were never mentioned in this discussion, and you are not a part of the organization being discussed. Don't be so paronoid. Not every discussion is a me versus you conflict. Get over yourself.

    Who is it you "sort of represent"? Can they speak for themselves? And when did I attack them?

    There you go again, trying to instigate a problem between two groups. There are no issues. The topic of this discussion is three simple questions: "So, did Gascon create Karazenpo by himself? Were Godin and Kamalani involved? When did he start teaching? 1958 or 1960?"

    Were has anyone questioned your identity? Again, get over yourself.
  15. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    It was my impression from the original post in this thread that it was not about any issue of Karazenpo and Kajukenbo. It was about Karazenpo history.

    I'm not aware of any issue of Karazenpo and Kajukenbo, but then again, maybe I'm just not in the know. I will say that the few times I recall training with our Karazenpo brothers and sisters in martial arts, I have found them to be sincere in training and humble.

    The only stink, and I will call it a stink, I recall that related to Karazenpo and Kajukenbo was some claim, of which I do not know the origins of, that what was taught in a Karazenpo school was original style Kajukenbo. It became a stink because basically someone from a Kajukenbo school said, "prove it." And then came up questions of the motives of the Karazenpo school for making the claim in the first place... I do not even know if any of this is true!!!

    What is true to me is that Karazenpo has roots in Kajukenbo, we are like cousins, family in the roots. Karazenpo went on to evolve along other lines, separate from Kajukenbo, creating its own proficient system while still retaining aspects of its roots.

    Gary, I have nothing against you, but it seems at times you like to add fuel to the fire. Only problem is that maybe we somehow lost sight of what the purpose of the fire was in the first place. Now maybe we argue just for the sake of arguing.

    I have an issue with the posting of email on a public forum because I question whether the context is appropriate. Mentioned in one of your posts where you quoted the words of someone else was that the Kajukenbo techniques for knife counters aren't good.

    Here is the jest of it... we talk about such things all the time amongst each other, as if we were a family. The reason it is in private is because we are not just questioning the teachings, but MOSTLY we are questioning ourselves and our own training methods. The knife techniques basic to Kajukenbo I have found contain many valuable principles that do fall into the creation of practical application. I consider the techniques to be a learning tool towards developing practical application... I do not consider the techniques to be my first choice in a real situation. I did not get them to work under pressure testing whereas I did find some others work better under pressure. However, the principles behind the techniques are the same.

    In the end, I find that it is me that needs to learn -- it is not the techniques but it is my understanding of the principles and my experience that needs to improve. The ONLY secret is to train hard. The teachings are solid as a foundation, but I would be limiting myself to leave it at that and not try to perfect things in my own way.

    The idea that many Kajukenbo techniques are choppy or don't flow right is another one of those things we discuss among ourselves. Some groups have gone off and created their own punch counter techniques, others have modified the existing ones to meet what they consider better. In all, we are questioning ourselves and our own training methods, we are not really questioning the value of the teachings passed down. The more I might change things, the more I find I come back full circle to where I started -- only I come back with a better understanding.

    Choppiness is not the word I would use for Kajukenbo techniques. I would use the word primative. The techniques are straight forward, get off the line of attack, and straight blast stun the enemy. The strikes are through the target. The training contains heavy contact, but in a safe manner as possible.

    But underneath these primative techniques is an underlining complexity of pressure points and physiology. One can train in Kajukenbo and use that as a foundation to move on to a number of different martial arts because Kajukenbo contains the principles used by many martial arts.

    All I know is I can get hit hard or soft and it still hurts like crazy. That's Kajukenbo flavor to me. Hit them hard so even if you don't hit a particularly vital area you still find a way to hurt them, and hit them soft at the same time to vital areas and pressure points. This is a combination of the primative with the complex.

    Last edited: Jan 10, 2007
  16. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Ok, Now that it is all settled, lets get on with some more good information and we will be better in the long run.

    I am a happy camper just to be able to discuss the issue.

    Here is my take on the roots of Kajukenbo with Karazenpo. We, all of us concide the issues of lineage prior to the child (karazenpo or kajukenbo).

    The factor is what was the outcome of the Parenting, did they grow up more like the Mother or the Father? Or did they get more from the Grandparents?

    Information is only going to be able to come from the ones who were and are directly responsible, or persons who will contribute with outside information. I try hard to go to a source and sometimes the source is Wikipedia. For now that Wikipedia is cleaning up its act and listening to others that are in the know it is a better location to visit for the layman???

    I have talked to many person's who are directly involved with Kajukenbo, Chinese Kempo, etc. many many, that others just read about, I have talked to one on one. Person to person and e-mail to e-mail.

    I am truly happy that the GOE is coming up, I believe the information from Will Tracy is good, I like the idea of the information that was gathered and given out at the Gathering in the last few years has brought more together.

    This next memorial to Chow is going to be good I am looking forward to that. All big events are good to gather information at. But if you have a grade school education on the subject it is hard to be able to know the higher education part, the deeper issue's etc..

    Those issue's are what I am trying to discuss and wish to be able to explore.
    If it is going to be hard for those to believe some of the E-mail issue's, I can understand that, sort of like heresay issue's..But this is a forum and not a court room.

    I believe things have come a long way in the last few years and I am glad I have been part of it.

    Someone mentioned "Go Shinjutsu" came from Chow... Did he use that prior to Mitose's book, which had it in it? "To fall 7 rise 8", is something that Mitose mentions prior to Karazenpo. "Daruma the Buddha" is something Mitose mentions. If these things go back to Mitose, that is where they came from not Chow or AE. In my way of looking at it anyway.

    Where do you stop the lineage? It has to stop in Hawaii, as far as the players mentioned.

    But when you come to the mainland and bring in players like Jimmy Wing Woo and Share K Lew and Doo Wai. These are players that changed the direction of the Art that was taught by Leoning and Gascon, when you change the direction as they did, now you have another branch that must be looked at and that is what happened with Karazenpo, IMHO...

    The time frame on the Mainland was the late 50's and early 60's for these guys. Los Angeles Chinatown and San Francisco Chinatown became major players via Johnny and Sonny. Simple.

    Karazenpo mentions Filipino Martial Art, it is a big player for this art. IMHO

    Anyone else care to comment?

    Regards, Gary
  17. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich RENEGADE

    Bringing down your own house?

    I'll tell you what I found here.

    It says that Victor "Sonny" Gascon and Walter Godin were the founders of Karazenpo. Under Sonny Gascon it lists Joe Black.

    (on the Kaju history tape) In Sept 1987 Adriano Emperado stated that Joe Black (Along with Tony Ramos, Jerry Martin and Richy Takamoto) was one of his first black belts.

    (Back to the family tree) It lists #3 under Sonny as George Pesare. I think if Emperado was right about Joe Black and the fact that these individuals are on the Kajukenbo tree. Even if Sonny didn't make it to black then Joe Black must have something to do with making them black belt instructors. Also listed on he Kajukenbo tree are Joe and Kathy Shuras.

    Why question your Ohana that your seniors have already accepted?
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  18. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    Look at the tree again. There's several hundred or a few thousands names on it, so it's gets confusing at times.
    There are actually 2 black belts with the nick name "Joe Black". Joe "Black" Kahowai is a black belt under Sijo Emperado. Joe "Black" Blacquerra is a black belt under Sonny Gascon.
    Chuck Sullivan actually has video on his website of Joe "Black" Blacquerra fighting Carlos Bunda for the lightweight championship at Ed Parker's first Internationals. Joe is wearing the trademark Karazenpo black gi with white trim.
  19. James Kovacich

    James Kovacich RENEGADE

    Thanks John. That is an amazing tree and I'm glad to see not only my old instructor on there but also some of my old classmates including Randy Galos who recruited me at a tournament in the '70's when I was an orphan in-between schools. I also noticed some of my old classmates from Charlie Gaylords class when Greg was still under Charlie. And very interesting that Charlie is Max Pallens Sigung. Theres a whole lot of SF Bay Area on there.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2007
  20. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    I find it strange that Walter Godin is not mentioned more, Kajukenbo or Karazenpo, I know he had a few issue's but that should not leave him out, since he was around in a busy time and place.
    Joe E. was killed and he was there, and he was a body guard for AE. Had something to do with Karazenpo, but aparantly not for long, and he was back to Hawaii and opened up his Studio. I understand it is still there?

    Dates are confusing, also they tell a story all by themselves. Who was where and when and doing what. People moving around like it was today and not yesteryear. But they did have planes LOL.

    I feel things have gotten clearer in the last few years regarding some of the items, but on the other hand they seem to have gotten muddier also.

    I am enjoying your new book John. I would just like to ask, if Sonny is part of the tree why he is not mentioned along with Walter Godin? I personally thought they were an extension of Johnny Leoning's talents, leaving them out is a mistake IMHO, as far as a true extension art of Kajukenbo is concerned, for it does have to go back to AE. No way around that.

    But I can see where it might lead to more question, as to where some of the arts really came from...I was under the impression Sonny and Johnny were involved with the Chinese in the late 50's and 60's and for Johnny the 70's. That is the time Kung Fu was coming on and I believe Johnny was pretty deep into it.

    I am not looking to argue just to have it mentioned and cleared up. If it can be.

    Nice family tree thanks for a look see.

    Regards, Gary
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2007

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