I have had detailed
conversations with Master Tony Lasit, an 8th degree Kenpo Karate black belt
under the Kajukenbo Self-Defense Institute. This is a brief summary of
what he has told me, information obtained from watching an interview with
Adriano Emperado, and other sources. More information can be found on the
subject through various internet search engines.
In 1947, the Palama Settlement of Hawaii
was a dangerous place. Five martial artists from different styles got
together and started trading secrets to combine not only a devastating
street-effective martial art, but also an American martial art. These five
men were Frank Ordonez, P.Y.Y. Choo, Joe Holck, Clarence Chang and Adriano
Emperado. This organization became known as the Black Belt Society. In the
beginning they had to train in private because martial law was declared in
Hawaii. So, they kept their training a secret among them. However,
later they began to teach this style to the public and the name of the school
was called the Kajukenbo Self-defense Institute. The Black Belt Society
eventually split up because many of the members were enlisted in the military.
Adriano Emperado helped spread the style. There are currently four
branch styles within the Kajukenbo system including: Kajukenbo Kenpo, Tum Pai,
Ch'uan-Fa and Wun Hop Kuen Do. The system has grown such that there are
currently 100's of Kajukenbo schools and it is taught in many countries
throughout the world.
The word Kajukenbo is derived from the
first two letters of the martial art styles that contributed to the creation of the art. Together they
make up the Kajukenbo motto: "Through this fist art one gains long life and
(long life) - comes from the word Karate, a Japanese martial art that places an
emphasis on hard and powerful techniques punches and kicks. The karate influence
was from Tang Soo Do brought by P.Y.Y. Choo.
(happiness) - comes from Judo and Jujitsu, Japanese martial arts that emphasize
throwing, wrist and elbow joint locks and leg sweeps. The judo and jujitsu
influence was from Kodenkan Danzan Ryu brought by Joe Holck and Se Keino Ryu
brought by Frank Ordonez.
(fist) - comes from Kenpo, a form of karate that not only stresses the hard and
powerful movements of karate, but emphasizes multiple and fluid hand techniques.
Movie actor Jeff Speakman has a black belt in Kenpo and his devastating hand
strikes can be seen in his movies such as The Perfect Weapon. The kenpo
influence was from Kosho Shorei Kenpo brought by Adriano Emperado.
(style) - comes from Chinese and American boxing. Chinese boxing means Kung Fu,
which puts emphasis on flexibility and agility, parrying and evasive movements
that flow together. The Chinese boxing influence was from Northern and Southern
Sil-lum styles brought by Clarence Chang.