Questions for Matt Barnes

Discussion in 'Kenpo' started by John Bishop, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. 14 Kempo

    14 Kempo Valued Member

    Let's clarify, at least in the West ot at USSD, the techniques from 45-50 are done using a right-handed stance against a left-handed attack. A bit different than than others up which always is a right-handed stance against a right-handed attack. To turn these around, they would be using a left-handed stance against a right-handed attack.
  2. meijin10

    meijin10 Valued Member


    I have my own view / opinon on who is the actual founder(s) of the SKK system. I have written some of it on my own forum. A system has to be looked upon in it's entirity not just if a few combinations are the same. Even the required live action drills have to be factored in.
    I have attended alot of seminars by SGM Cerio and I do not ever remember SGM Cerio referring to his system as SKK. I have been in SGM Pesare's school and no where do I see SKK written. Everything that I have seen or read about SGM Pesare mentions Karazenpo not SKK. Prof. Shurhas will have to fill in the blanks with SGM Pesare.
    I have in my possesion a few of the original patches used by the early USSD, the words Shaolin Kempo Karate are not on them, Kenpo Karate is. Later on around the same time the movie "Kung Fu" came out the word Shaolin Kenpo appeared on te USSD patch. A year or two later Shaolin Kempo was placed on the USSD patch. One of these original patches is posted on my schools website under patches/belts link.
    The original USSD was put together by Fred V. and his original group of (then) Seniors, not by Fred alone. It was a total group effort, I was there and saw it. Fred's own system, FVSKK, was not a group effort, Fred alone put it together with advice from his seniors
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2007
  3. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    That's correct, I had just finished setting up the 'home movies' to copy, and was trying to type quickly to answer the question backlog. 45-50.

    Thanks - had a great time at the seminar. I've got a great (rattan created) souvenier on my ring finger from the first few minutes. :D

    Last edited: Mar 25, 2007
  4. meijin10

    meijin10 Valued Member

    Left side

    So that I understand correctly, left side is done later on in the newer SKK versions?
  5. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    Although many instructors require all combinations to be done left and right, for some reason 45-50 are done 'lefty' in their 'natural form'. :confused:

  6. 14 Kempo

    14 Kempo Valued Member

    OK, I have to make the statement again, am I wrong in what I stated above, 45-50, at least at USSD, are done from a right-handed stance against a left handed attack, or let's say an open stance, rather than the normal closed stance. At least in my mind, when it is stated that the techniques are done 'lefty', I picture a left-handed stance against a left-handed punch ... this is different. My take on it is that if I'm in a right-handed stance, then it is a right-handed technique.
  7. meijin10

    meijin10 Valued Member

    When I do what is now known as lefty we totally reverse both the attack side and the defensive side.
    Around 1975, give or take, the Brockton and Fairhaven school started reversing all of the combinations. We started doing this because the "Crane" represented balance, both physical and mental, so to us reversing everything kept the body and mind in good balance within itself and between themselves.
  8. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Hi Matt,
    Yes it is convienent, and it has much information that takes many books and research to do otherwise.

    I'd like to take a mental trip for an example of one of the reasons I like the location.

    The Kata "Wankan" is not well known but it is one I like because it has good things going for it, and if you don't do much Kata but want to practice something I believe is essential for cardio and a good kata for excercise.

    Not many do this Kata, that is good, so I do it at home. I read that Wankan was a brief but good kata and very old. I'll practice it in various stages or all at once. If you look at this kata and know Kosho you might see some similarities. But it is not taught in Kosho, not that I know of anyway.

    I do my own thing as a general rule, I am into that mentality. I like FMA and study various schools of it. One I like is not taught as much as others it is the school of the Leo Giron method. It is close to the Angel Cabalas system. The man (leo) has a couple of books out and the person who inherited the school, Anthony Somera is a good person. IMHO

    I take what I like and adapt it to what I want to do. I hit a lot of bags, speed on up to the heavy one, I like the 2 ended also. I like the free standing water filled because they are similar to a person on the ground and not hanging from above, good for upper body hitting and giving with the punch, I do them also.

    Back to the Kata. I read about it in a book about the 25 katas (Shotokan) from and about Karate (okinawa kata) So now I have 2 books that I bought to learn about the kata. The books are good and give much more depth. But if you want to know about the Kata and the man that likes it all you do is click on the link provided, read about the kata and click on the name of the man who likes it.

    You go to that location learn about him and his art and click on the names that are there, learn about them, from there click on other highlighted items and you can spend hours and hours reading information.

    He is:

    Interesting stories and information.

    So that is one of the reasons I like it, then you interject it into a thread and discuss it more or not. Another reason I like Wiki it has its opinion and you can add or subtract but at least you have an idea about the topic. If you want more information, buy another book. Or you Google the name and get more information. It is good for those who have some time on their hands and still want to do some learning, and not just watch TV.

    Regards, Gary
  9. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    Some schools use a 'left foot forward' / left half moon stance on guard, where others just go from a horse stance for those. It seems to depend on what lineage. Basically, the big difference is that it's 'basic' method is against a left step through punch.

    Sorry for any confusion.

  10. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    Use of Wikipedia

    Yeah, as long as you consider it essentially just another encyclopedia, and open for discussion, I'd see it as a viable addition to a thread. If it were a really contentious argument, however, I wouldn't count on it for anything 'mission critical'.

    I'll take a look at Wankan and see if I can get what you mean (as in relation for Kosho). Thanks for the seed for thought.

  11. KGS BBS

    KGS BBS Valued Member

    Matt did an excellent job in distinguishing the differences in the Pesare, Cerio and Villari systems, I really don't have anything to add to that.

    SGM. Pesare called his version Zenpo Go Shinjutsu American Kenpo Karate, he also has used the spelling Kempo. He had once called his school George Pesare's Kenpo & Tae Kwon Do Karate Institute but when I first started there in 1978, it was George Pesare's Kenpo Karate Institute on the school sign and brochures. At that time, I remember being in his office and Mr. Pesare taking out a phone book and showing me the yellow pages. It was an add of his and it did say George Pesare's Kenpo & Tae Kwon Do Institute. He said look at this, I don't teach Tae Kwon Do, I teach Kenpo but people really don't know what they want when they come in here. Tae Kwon Do was also popular in R.I. at the time (Master Hee Il Cho's New England Tae Kwon Do Self Defense Centers).

    Mr. Villari called it Chinese Kenpo Karate all the way up to 80-81, right around there, he changed to Shaolin, I know for a fact, because I was part-owner of Framingham and later owner of the Milford school until 1981 and I had to buy the patches, certs and so forth, it was right around then the change came. I heard, but nothing I can back up, that Cerio used Shaolin Kenpo back in the late 60's, they may have meant 'Chinese' Kenpo but stated Shaolin, so I have my reservations on that one. Gm. Al is correct, nowhere in SGM. Pesare's school or literature did I ever see Shaolin from when I first met him in 1978 right ot the present.

    I'll say this though, all his original people (Pesare's) and right up to this day are very strong kickers and have all the kicks found in the Korean arts. It appears to me he essentially took the Korean kicking techniques and added them to the system. He did build everything around the kenpo nucleus he originally learned along with the grueling workouts of old. SGM. Pesare also related to me at one of the Summer Beach Camps that the first person who really teaches you how to punch and kick is the one who gives you your identity or your, let's say, root and foundation in the arts. The 60's DVD of him, Roger Carpenter, Nick Cerio and other notables shows a very strong Hawaiian kenpo nucleus with Korean type kicking in some techniques, not just the low line kicks synonymous with the original Hawaiian kenpo. It shows his students progress from white belt through the ranks up to black. A 'really impressive' performance by all those on the film and this has been the opinion of all those I know who have seen it too, not just me. Especially when one considers that early time period. Some of the other old stuff I've seen wasn't all that impressive compared to today's evolution of the art. He has shown it at seminars all over New England. Jesse and Matt have seen it too.

    At one time, I believe it was around 2000 when GGM. Sonny Gascon awarded him his 9th dan in KGS, I had the understanding Sonny Gas was going to retire and pass the torch to SGM. Pesare but things changed in 2001. I would have to say Mr. Pesare, no doubt, kept the system alive and flourishing on the mainland, well, I can personally attest to at least the east coast (originating in Rhode Island) after Mr. Gascon went back to Hawaii. I would say he was responsible out here in developing or evolving the original concept of the art into what it is today. When we think Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu out here, we think SKK, the two go hand in hand. We are essentially the New England version or perspective of KGS, another fitting name would be the original Kenpo Karate of New England or New England Kenpo Karate. There may have been others who took this early art on the west coast and did their own thing but George Pesare always told me he perpetuated Sonny Gascon's original teachings (while others went their own way) into his personal perspective of the art. If you ever trained at his school, you would most definitely have recognized the old but trustworthy Hawaiian Kenpo training methods. Hell, even what Gm. Villari called in the 70's, "The Gauntlet" was originally called the 'Monkey line' in Hawaii and later the west coast, had been passed from Gascon to Pesare to Cerio to Villari. Mr. Pesare always stated he kept those four forms intact from the way he was taught by Mr. Gascon back then. He deleted, added and/or altered, some, not all, but some of the combinations and last I knew was thinking of putting the originals back in place due to all the current interest over the last 5-7 years. So, in all fairness and honesty, and referencing what I wrote above, Dan Weston had some intersesting points:

    However, it seems that it's more proper to say that SKK is the same as whatever Kempo Pesare teaches, and not the same as "Karazenpo" at all.

    This makes me start to understand why Pesare has said the things he has regarding the Karazenpo folk trying to take credit for SKK. SKK is not the creation of Gascon, it seems, but rather of Pesare (at least up to 2nd black).

    Very good piece of the puzzle.

    Dan, I wouldn't say SKK is the same as what Pesare teaches but it is certainly strongly based on what he teaches up to around 6 kata (minus 2, 3, 4 & 5 pinan) along with Pesare's original 21 combinations, like you stated, 2nd dan. However, Mr. Pesare has a whole different format, some of it which is highlighted in his Best of the Best tournaments. Prof. Cerio's original system is much closer. Anyone who was taught Cerio's system pre-dating Nick Cerio's Kenpo has pretty much the same stuff up to Hansuki/Honsuki and also Swift Tigers (which was inspired by Pesare's #7 kata and Cerio's Circle of the Panther) and around 39 combinations. Also bear in mind, it appears that after Cerio left Pesare he was still getting material from one or more of George Pesare black belts as Fred Villari did from one or more Nick Cerio guys after he split from Mr. Cerio. Close relationships, a camaderie, was developed through this hardcore training at that time.

    Getting to Dan's other point, yes, SKK is not the creation of Gascon but neither is it the creation of Pesare (**I explain more on this one later), however, I think I know what you're getting at and I tend to agree, SKK is a much closer descendant to SGM. Pesare's Zenpo Go Shinjutsu BUT an even closer descendant to Nick Cerio's original Chinese Kenpo Karate. Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu is the inspiration, the building blocks, the foundation, the nucleus of SKK and for that matter the current Nick Cerio's Kenpo.

    **Getting back to the above I said I would explain later, SKK is not the creation of Pesare, it was essentially taken from Prof. Cerio by Gm. Villari, some say hijacked, lol, and then Mr. Villari added his own twist to it with additions and modifications. Nick Cerio abandoned this system for NCK. It is my personal belief along with others I've spoken to, that part of Cerio's motivation, now I said part, not all, was to distance himself from Mr. Villari. You had to be living in New England at the time to appreciate what I'm saying but Mr. Villari's schools started to expand and literally began blanketing New England, mainly Massachusetts and Rhode Island (later with a few in Canada). People really knew little of Cerio as a martial arts instructor despite his abilities as compared to Fred Villari, everything was Villari's forms, Villari's combinations, Villari's techniques, Villari's Kenpo and many of us believe this went up Cerio's......sideways. Some would ask Cerio if Villari was his teacher. I think it may have given him some extra motivation to change the system as drastically as what he did, not to mention he was also quite impressed with Prof. Chow's teachings. So, I'm not playing down other teachers in his life who motivated him and had an influence in NCK but remember this....Nick Cerio told me personally as much as he was impressed with Chow, it was George Pesare who gave him his identity. Long post, I know but there was a lot to cover. Perhaps Gm. Al Cunningham can add something or comment. - Joe
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2007
  12. DAnjo

    DAnjo Valued Member

    Well, that all seems to fit together.

    GM Al, I read on your forum about the idea that it was a group of people that formulated the original SKK after the break-off from Cerio. Are you referring to the material after 2nd degree? It has been my understanding for some time that the material up to that point came pretty much intact from Cerio.
  13. KGS BBS

    KGS BBS Valued Member

    While we're waiting for Gm. Cunningham to comment, I can rehash some of the information that has been debated before with a few other insights into NCK and SKK.

    #1 pinan or (Taikyoku shodan) was added to Zenpo Go Shinjutsu back in the mid 60's by SGM. Pesare. He used it when I was first there in 1978, I don't think it's taught now to beginners. Cerio told me he added 2, 3, 4 and 5 pinan from Mas Oyama's Mastering Karate book, actually #2 was a hybrid of Taikyoku shodan, nidan & sandan with some of Chow's stuff woven into it.

    Mr. Pesare told me he taught Mr. Cerio three KGS forms. They are essentially the 1-3 kata of SKK. Mr. Pesare stated at a seminar that the SKK versions, although changed, are still very close to the originals. Where Cerio got the rest.... review my last post. Cerio used #1 kata, #2 kata and #7 kata and Statue of the Crane. 1 kata revised and named Circle of the Tiger, #2 kata-Circle of the Leopard, #7 kata-Circle of the Panther, Statue of the Crane remained Statue of the Crane but like the others, was revised but much closer to the SKK version. Prof. Cerio stated Fred Villari left him with 'around' 35 combinations (and an undisclosed number of self defense techniques, punch, club, knife, gun, grabs) and my research has shown it looks like up to 39.

    Nick told me the rest of the katas didn't fit into his system, although he confused #6 for the inspiration of Circle of the Panther when it was actually Pesare's #7, after all, it was like 26 or 27 years from the time he left Pesare that we talked about this. Another he dropped was pinan 5 for the same reason. He called SKK's pinan 1, just that, pinan 1, NCK's #2 pinan was his own creation but the beginning, maybe almost half was inspired by Heian 1 (Shotokan) and the rest drastically deviates based on teachings from Chow and Nick's own thing. NCK #3 pinan is SKK's #2 pinan. SKK's #3 pinan is NCK's Cat Form #1 and NCK's Cat Form #2 is SKK's #4 pinan. Hansuki/Honsuki is Cerio's revised version-Cat Form #5. 8 point came from Pesare to Cerio to Villari. Plum Tree Villari's own stuff, 10 point, okay, this may have come from Nick Cerio and then he dropped it. I don't recall him saying it wasn't his and the form is done with tension breathing and is actually called a tension breathing exercise or form which is what Bill Chun Sr./ Bill Chun Jr. teach in their system. Master Chun emphasizes similiar tension breathing short forms at some of his seminars-hense-possibly a Chow-Chun Cerio connection there. I would most definitely be interested to run this past Gm. Cunningham, if he doesn't know, I can ask Gm. Don Rodrigues who was an original Nick Cerio Black Belt now with Gm. Pesare. It was Gm. Rodrigues who taught Gm. Villari #1 Pinan! - Joe
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2007
  14. meijin10

    meijin10 Valued Member


    I will have to write two responses, the Bride is telling me , "supper time", know what I mean.
    I am holding in my hands the three original patches that the USSD had.
    #1) 1970 - 73. It is a simple red patch with a gold fist in the center with the words Kenpo Karate with Chinese charactors on it. I have this one posted on my schools website.
    #2) 1974 - 75ish. The above red patch is the center with the words Shaolin Kenpo Karate around the fist. There is an outer black band with gold letters that say, "United Studios of Self Defense" around it. Also in the black band is a small gold section with a black "K" in it.
    #3) 1978 - 1980ish. this is the same basic one as #2 with the following changes,
    A) - Chinese charactors have been inserted in the red section.
    B) - The black outer band has written in gold lettering, Fred Villari's Studios of Self Defense.
    I will scan these in later on and post them on the other forum. Have to go, will post more later.
    P.S. lets take this over to the SKK material thread.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2007
  15. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    If your interested, the first Kajukenbo school in New England was founded in November, 1965 by Peter Robinson at the Westport, Ct YMCA. Peter was a student of John Leoning. He now lives in Canoga Park, Calif.

    Kajukenbo was first taught on the east coast for a short time around 1958-59 by Peter Choo, while stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey.
  16. BGile

    BGile Banned Banned

    Hi Matt,

    From what I have read Sonny Gascon also taught while in the Air Force on the East Coast, this was prior to his departure from Kajukenbo. So I figure he was teaching the Art of Emperado (original) at the time.

    Since Sonny Gascon was a student of John Leonings and mentions that John was his teacher it must have all been learned prior to his enlistment.

    Kempo History - Sonny Gascon, "Father" of East Coast Kempo

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2007
  17. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    That's fascinating. I never knew. I'll have to ask around friends from that area to see if they have any recollection or materials. Kind of ironic that that town was where Steve Demasco's (Villari's then) USSD school was back when he was the CT manager back when my first school was associated with him.

  18. John Bishop

    John Bishop Valued Member

    This may help your research. Some of Robinson's first students came over from a school at the Norwalk YMCA. They were students of a "John Piccolo" who was affliated with a "Doug Bartram".
    After a while John Leoning arranged for a introduction to William J. Chung. Peter became a personal student of Chung's and evolved his school into a kung fu cirriculum, calling it the "Chinese Shaolin Boxing Association".
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2007
  19. Matthew Barnes

    Matthew Barnes Valued Member

    Neat! Thanks.

    Thanks so much! I'm looking forward to delving into that one.

    I hope I can turn some things up.


  20. meijin10

    meijin10 Valued Member


    Professor Shuras,
    Responding to the questions in your earlier post.
    Early on these dynamic breathing exercises existed in much of the early preset material. In the very beginning of Pinon/Pinan forms 1 - 5 there heavy dynamic breathing was done. The dynamic breathing exercises were the same in all of these five forms.
    The 8 &10 point blocking system was done in two ways,
    1) with dynamic breathing,
    2) soft and fluid.
    The plum tree was done in a fast and fluid pattern with soft and relaxed breathing.
    In all of the forms, when a strike or kick locked out, dynamic breathing was utilized.
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2007

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