Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute, Honolulu
First a bit for those who don't know the history of the system.
Kajukenbo's inception came about in 1947 when five Hawaiian martial artists calling themselves the "Black Belt Society" started on a project to develop a comprehensive self defense system. These five men of vision were Peter Young Yil Choo, the Hawaii welterweight boxing champion, and a Tang Soo Do (karate) black belt, who also trained under Professor Thomas Young (kenpo jiujitsu), and Danzan Ryu jujitsu under Professor Sam Luke Jr. Choo continued his training throughout his life. His Army carreer spanded 1944 - 1965 (Green Beret), and afforded him the opportunity to train under Jhoon Rhee in Korea and in Japan, Morehei Uyeshib and Koichi Tohei. Frank Ordonez, a Se Keino Ryu Jujitsu black belt. Joe Holck, a Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Judo black belt. Clarence Chang, a master of Sil-lum Pai Chu'an Fa Kung-Fu. And Adriano D. Emperado, a Kara-Ho Kenpo black belt under Prof William Chow, and he had studied Kali and Arnis Escrima (saying a few years ago that Kali was "the art within the art).
Together these men trained for several hours a day taking advantage of each others strengths and weaknesses to develop their new art.
After it was decided that kenpo would be the base to build on, it was a daily three year process incorporating the system. Joe Holck suggested that the name should be "Kajukenbo", ka for karate, ju for judo and jujitsu, ken for kenpo, and bo for Chinese boxing (kung fu).
To test the effectiveness of their origional techniques the five founders would get into fights around the Palama settlements (the worst slum in Hawaii at the time, and still a tad rough). I've heard that the more frequent testing was actually down at the red light district on Hotel Street, fighting servicemen. Some say that the white guys dating local girls and fighting local boys was actually the real big motivation. As one of the old timers said, those were different times - a man took his lumps, win or lose, and was back to fight the next Saturday night. Nowadays we'd get sued or be in jail.
Most of the founders were first generation sons of plantation worker immigrants. Much of the "strangeness" of the system (the Prayer, guards at the doors during opening and closing, the line up moving at closing ceremony, and so forth) results from the blends of Hawaiian immigrant culture. These were mostly not well educated upper class people - they were blue collar "local boys."
From these field test came Kajukenbo's Palomas sets (forms or kata)), Natural laws (sd), Tricks (close-quarters fighting), and grab arts (escapes). Original method Kajukenbo has rather few taught techniques, the emphasis is on training responses, not striking air or doing kata.
Kajukenbo concentrates on being an effective art at all ranges. Kajukenbo stresses sds over the relatively fewer forms in the art.
Kajukenbo stresses the following-up of techniques based on an opponents reactions and not stopping with just one hit. The reasoning is that while one should strive to end a fight with the fewest techniques nessesary, it is important to know how an opponent will respond to attacks, and how best to take advantage of his reactions. A point behind my instruction was, "If he starts the fight, you decide when the fight is over." Another famous Kajukenbo quote is from Emperado, "The workout isn't over until I see blood on the floor."
Most of the guys went to Korea and In 1950, Adriano Emperado, along with brother Joe Emperado, began teaching the new art in an open class. They called the school Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute (K.S.D.I.). The training was hard: students routinely broke bones, fainted, or were KO'd. Local bbs joined and Emperado opened a second school at the nearby Kaimuki YMCA. Soon Emperado had 12 Kajukenbo schools in Hawaii and it soon spread to the mainland and now has tons of schools and split offs. It, like most styles, has been accused of being watered down and many branches bear little resemblance to the "original method."
After Meex told me about this school, I went in to "bring (my) knowledge in for a test drive," and had a great time. These guys are the real thing and anyone on or visiting O'ahu should drop by and ask Prof Emperado permission to work out. The workout was based on attack/response drills - but there was no real "drill." No one told anyone what to do, exactly, just some coaching now and then from Professor and some advice from the bbs I worked out with, but only when asked. I was just expected to respond to all sorts of attacks.
Boxing is and was practiced by many Kajukenbo teachers. In researching this article I kept finding boxing ties. For instance while Choo is credited often as a boxer, Adriano Emperado's father and uncle were both boxing pros, and they trained him. Marino Tiwanak, Emperado's first bb,was the flyweight boxing champion of Hawaii, who studied Kajukenbo after challenging Emperado and getting soundly beaten. Or guys like Grandmaster Jaime Basquez, 9th degree bb Kajukenbo, had 14 pro boxing fights (earned a tittle shot against Sandy Sandler, the Featherweight Champion).
I'm cheating here and I'm going to quote Meex ( a member whose martial arts experiences y'all wish you had!), who described this school well in the thread linked below.
Originally Posted by Meex
"I understand where a lot of the negative comments about this system come from. . .
For those of you who have had a bad experience with Kajukenbo, i say. . .Have you ever been to a sh**ty karate, judo, tkd dojo? same thing applies in this instance.
Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute (KSDI) was founded by the original five mentioned, and incoporated by the Emperado's. Many of the branches claiming Kajukenbo lineage basically teach whatever the instructor first learned (many kempo-karate instructors), and incorporated techniques they think are okay to add. This in no way means they teach Kajukenbo.
Even within the KSDI schools, there is some politics going on, and diversity, and watering down, leaving many (high belt instructors, professors, and the like) unable to actually defend their belt status.
If any of you are in Hawaii, and want to see real kajukenbo?
Check out Clarence (Luna) Emperado's class,
Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30 or 8:00pm
at Royal School (on the Punchbowl exit off the H-1 freeway)
Original tachniques are still being taught, as well as applications and evolutions that have been brought out of the system over the years. Real techniques for the real world. . .no tournaments, no bragging, no bulls**t.
This class is for beginners, as well as advanced students. How often have you heard of a class that 3rd and 4th degree students come to train? NOt teach, train. . .run through drills with the rest, etc.
Anyway, kajukenbo, taught correctly, is as good and complete as anything I've seen out thee in 35 years of ma.
Clarence is the adopted son of Adriano Emperado, and grew up in the wonderful community of Mayor Wright's Housing. Needless to say, his Kajukenbo training was both hard, and battle-tested. His partner, John Pascua is well versed in the game. . .bring your knowledge in for a test drive. Their black belt tests incled a "bull-ring" to demonstrate whether or not they have learned their art. The ring members are all blackbelts, and they give no quarter to pretenders entering their ranks.
(Adriano Emperado and Frank Ordonez often attend class functions.)
If you can't check it out, sorry. I can't speak on all the many variants out there, just the original.
I first met Clarence about 20 years ago when some friends went to try his class. . .they became some of his first black belts. I've had a lot of friends, in all walks of life, go through his system. All are well trained, deadly street fighters. . .whether it was their intent, or not. they are also, to a man, humble, gracious, and rarely openly show off their prowess. (unless their teacher, or a founder asks to see what they've got.)
Anyway, I'm done taking up your time. `~\"
Here is my original post about my experience:
Originally Posted by patfromlogan
I gave the school a 9 for aliveness because they improvise the responses to attacks - no techniques were ordered or numbered. And the three black belts I worked out with seemed quite willing to match me (or to go down to my level!) in speed and intensity.
Here's links to more info:
Adriano Emperado Interview: http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=8865
Kajukebo, what's the general view? (and while giving good info - like Meex's comment above - it also features several now banned members and some of the worst crap ever...): http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=9609
Sijo Emperado's web site: http://www.emperado.com/
Main site: http://www.kajukenbo.org/
Sigung Sam Allred's site has videos, links and is in Spanish and English: http://kajukenbo.info/
Page on Joe Holk: http://www.danzan.com/HTML/PEOPLE/holck.html
Short bio of Holk: http://www.usadojo.com/biographies/joe-holck.htm Mixed race, he'd been turned away because of racism from a dojo, so he ended up with Soke Henry Okazaki (and Professor Sig Kufferath), who taught not only non-Asians, but WOMEN!!
Peter Choo bio: http://www.absolutemartialarts.net/id48.html
Frank Ordenez bio: http://www.absolutemartialarts.net/id47.html
George (Clarence) Chang bio: http://www.absolutemartialarts.net/id46.html