Kenpo Karate is without doubt one of the handiest offshoots of Karate that has been developed. Identified for its practicality and flexibility for use in self-defense

Right here is all the pieces you must learn about Kenpo Karate. Going over the entire types of Kenpo Karate, their historical past, the coaching, and the principles of Kenpo Karate competitions.

The Historical past

The martial artwork of Kenpo Karate is the merging of two completely different martial arts into one. Japanese martial artists took rules from completely different Chinese language martial arts and merged them collectively to create Kenpo Karate.

Kenpo means fist legislation or fist methodology. The story of Kenpo Karate begins with an American martial artist named James Mitose. Grasp Mitose grew up in Japan and spent his childhood studying Yoshida Kenpo.

After mastering this model of Kenpo, he got here to the US and settled in Hawaii. As soon as Mitose returned, he would open a martial arts faculty and name his model Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu.

Mitose would retire and provides the college to 2 of his high college students, Thomas Younger and William Kwai Solar Chow. Solar Chow is taken into account by many to be the true founding father of Kenpo Karate.

He would train Ed Parker, who would get credit score for creating, spreading, and popularizing Kenpo Karate.

Ed Parker

Ed Parker was a Hawaiian native that grew up training boxing. In faculty, he served within the Coast Guard and was stationed in Hawaii.

Whereas serving, he was launched to Chow and started studying Kenpo Karate beneath him for six years. After this time, Parker returned to Brigham Younger College in Utah, the place he started educating.

This was really met with controversy as a result of his teacher Chow claims that he by no means awarded Parker his black belt. Parker claims he was awarded his black belt in 1953, however Chow claimed he solely made it to purple belt.

Both means, Parker would popularize Kenpo Karate and unfold it all through the US mainland. He opened his first Kenpo Karate faculty in Provo, Utah, in 1954. Shortly after, Parker opened his second faculty in Pasadena, California, in 1956.

He would start altering the strategies that he discovered whereas coaching beneath Chow. Initially, the actions of Kenpo Karate had been extra brisk and linear, however Parker added extra round actions. Adopting parts from Chinese language martial arts and roundhouse kicks.

Together with popularizing Kenpo Karate, Parker would make a reputation for himself in Hollywood. Turning into Elvis Pressley’s bodyguard, educating stuntmen, and introducing Bruce Lee on the Worldwide Karate Championship.

Different Types Of Kenpo

There are numerous types of Kenpo which are practiced all through the world. To separate them from American Kenpo, listed below are descriptions of essentially the most practiced Kenpo types.


Okinawa-Kenpo is a variation that was developed a little bit after Kenpo Karate. It was developed by Shigeru Nakamura in 1960 and is a mixture of Karate, Kenpo, and Ti.

Nakamura wished to create a mode that was nearer to the Okinawan model of Karate. He felt too many types had been branching off of Karate and wished to create a unified faculty.

Grasp Shigeru was capable of discovered the Okinawa Kobudo Kyokai earlier than he died, but it surely dissolved after his passing. Okinawa-Kenpo continues to be practiced at present, however the method has modified together with many off-shoots shaped.

Kosho-Kyo Kenpo

Koso-Kyo Kenpo could arguably be one of many very first types of Kenpo that had been developed. It’s mentioned that this martial artwork was shaped throughout the fifteenth century, properly earlier than even Karate was created.

It combines the traditional JuJutsu, Kyodu, and Shaolin Chaun Fa that’s taught beneath the Rinzai Zen philosophy. Quite a few different strategies had been added to the model in its 600 years of existence.

This was the model that James Mitose discovered whereas residing in Japan and refined as soon as he moved again to Karate. If Kosho-Kyo Kenpo hadn’t existed first, there can be no Kenpo Karate.

Shorinji Kempo

Shorinji Kempo was a Kempo model developed by Doshin So within the early Forties. This model of Kempo added to the sooner educating by including psychological preparation and Japanese Zen Buddhism.

The combating facet of Shorinji Kempo is mostly taught individually from the pseudo-religious facet after which introduced collectively.

As we speak, there are a lot of variations of this model taught, however one factor separates the types. Types of Shorinji Kempo which are developed in Japan will be known as “doing” temples, whereas elsewhere, they’re known as dojos.


Kajukenbo was created in Hawaii at the very same time as when Kenpo Karate was developed and coined. One other scholar of William Chow named Adriano Emperado would go on to create Kajukenbo.

Emperado would credit score the types of 5 completely different martial arts masters that impressed him to create his martial artwork. Chow, Peter Choo, Frank Ordonez, Joe Holck, and Clarence Chang.

Together with the strategies, Emperado additionally took elements of every identify to create the identify Kajukenbo.

Ka: Karate

Ju: JuJutsu/Judo

Ken: Kenpo

Bo: Boxing

One of the well-known practitioners of Kajukenbo is MMA legend Chuck “The Iceman: Liddell. After his head tattoo, the opposite tattoo that Liddell is understood for is the Kempo tattoo on his arm.

The Strategies Of Kenpo Karate

Ed Parker’s strategies are a lot completely different than what his trainer Chow discovered from James Mitose. What Mitose and Chow taught was extra Karate based mostly on linear actions that Karate was based upon.

Ed Parker’s model of Kenpo Karate was extra popularized Kenpo Karate altered the model. Including extra round actions from completely different Chinese language martial arts and extra kinds of kicks.

A number of the strategies which are taught embody:


Open Hand Strikes


Throwing Strategies

Joint Locks

Finger Strikes

Are Weapons Used In Kenpo Karate?

The usage of small weapons can be practiced inside Kenpo Karate. A number of the weapons which are practiced inside Kenpo Karate are quick staffs, knives, and golf equipment.

One particular knife model practiced inside Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate is Kenpo Lengthy Kind 7. Strategies developed used a specialty knife that Parker had made for his model.

Kenpo Karate Belt System

Ed Parker’s model of Kenpo Karate has 18 completely different belts that college students undergo throughout the system. The eighteen belts are separated into six completely different belt teams.

Yellow Belts

Orange Belts

Purple Belts

Inexperienced Belt

Brown Belt

Black Belt

Is Kenpo A Kind Of Karate?

Though Kenpo Karate has Karate within the identify, lots of the strategies taught in its fashionable type are usually not Karate. What James Mitose and William Chow taught is extra aligned with Karate than what Ed Parker developed afterward.

Mitose would name his model Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu however by no means used the phrase Karate when describing his model. If Kenpo Karate

Is The Origin Of Kenpo Chinese language Or Japanese?

A hotly debated subject of Kenpo types is whether or not they’re a Chinese language or Japanese martial artwork. The reality is that types of Kenpo, like Kenpo Karate are each Chinese language and Japanese martial arts.

These types of Kenpo took types from each Chinese language and Japanese martial arts. Some types of Kenpo are nearer aligned to Karate, whereas others look extra like types of Kung Fu.

Kenpo vs. Kempo

It’s widespread to see the phrases Kenpo or Kempo used for various martial arts types. Some surprise if there’s a distinction between Kenpo and Kempo; truthfully, there isn’t one.

Each phrases come from the identical Kanji phrase that quite a few martial arts use. The distinction in spelling is because of makes an attempt of transliteration that resulted within the completely different spelling.

Is Kenpo Karate An Efficient Martial Artwork?

From the teachings, it might appear that Kenpo Karate is a fairly efficient martial artwork. Throughout the martial artwork, placing strategies are taught, in addition to grappling and weapons coaching.