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Alexatron
4/05/2014 9:39pm,
Would be interested to hear any background on Robert Gemmell of NZ. About 35 years ago I trained at one of his branches in Kempo Bushido Ryu for a brief spell. I had my doubts back then since I'm guessing RG would have been in his forties at that stage and was calling himself a 10th dan grandmaster. The only thing I have found out is that he attained a black belt with Ed Parker back in the late sixties or early seventies. He's now changed his style from the Japanese themed Kempo to the Chinese themed 'Shaolin Chuan Fa'.

plasma
4/06/2014 2:20am,
Unless are you ready to do some research, this isn't a MABS worthy thread. Moved to YMAS.

Buckman
10/14/2016 9:15pm,
Would be interested to hear any background on Robert Gemmell of NZ. About 35 years ago I trained at one of his branches in Kempo Bushido Ryu for a brief spell. I had my doubts back then since I'm guessing RG would have been in his forties at that stage and was calling himself a 10th dan grandmaster. The only thing I have found out is that he attained a black belt with Ed Parker back in the late sixties or early seventies. He's now changed his style from the Japanese themed Kempo to the Chinese themed 'Shaolin Chuan Fa'.

I trained to black belt with KBR between the mid 80s and early 90s. Mr Gemmell is best described as an outstanding New Zealand martial arts pioneer who iss somewhat prone to exaggeration for the sake of marketing. I am pretty sure that he was never graded to 10th Dan by anybody else, my understanding is that he just declared himself to be one, but after a period of living in training Parker graded him to 6th Dan in the late 70s/early 80s so he had to be pretty good. He learned Kempo from an instructor called Michael McCashin in New Zealand and expanded on his knowledge and curriculum by travelling to Japan, China and the US. By the late 80s he became more interested in Chinese martial arts and the nature of the school changed to reflect that, there were consequently several spin off schools established by black belts who wanted to keep teaching Kempo Karate with it's Parker influenced self defence syllabus.

I think he has probably well and truly earned his tenth Dan by now and if you want to learn Chinese martial arts then you could do a lot worse than attending his current school, but if you want to learn Kempo Karate go to one of the spinoffs.

Buckman
1/05/2019 1:31am,
Would be interested to hear any background on Robert Gemmell of NZ. About 35 years ago I trained at one of his branches in Kempo Bushido Ryu for a brief spell. I had my doubts back then since I'm guessing RG would have been in his forties at that stage and was calling himself a 10th dan grandmaster. The only thing I have found out is that he attained a black belt with Ed Parker back in the late sixties or early seventies. He's now changed his style from the Japanese themed Kempo to the Chinese themed 'Shaolin Chuan Fa'.

I attended KBR and an offshoot school from 1986 for 10 years, I started as a kid and worked out later that Gemmell must have declared himself to be a Grand Master. He started training under an instructor called Michael McCashin in the late 1950s and then when McCashin died, travelled extensively to learn more Kempo, Karate and Kung Fu. Before assuming the title of Grand Master, Gemmell trained under Ed Parker and was graded to 6th Dan. Parker himself wasn't graded to 10th Dan by anybody else, so I figure Gemmell must have decided to do the same thing and declare himself El Supremo in his school.

If you look back at the history of the broad family of Kempo Karate styles that came through Hawaii into Western countries, including New Zealand, they always had a "black sheep" aspect to them, not formally being part of any Karate style and being perpetuated by colourful characters. Motobu Choki, who we think Kempo actually comes from, wasn't entitled to learn the family Karate style so went and learned from others, then tested his style in street fighting. His nephew James Mistose seems to have taken Kempo to Hawaii, claiming that it was a 400 year old family style, when in reality it was most likely learned from his uncle. I guess that might be where the habit of instructors just declaring themselves to be high grades might have come from.

Taught well though, the Kempo styles are better self defence systems than the traditional Karate schools so if you are prepared to put up with a bit of Bullshido, Kempo isn't the worst style you can learn to protect yourself. Gemmell used to teach good, hard Kempo that was probably the best form of self defence available in NZ at the time, he even taught it to both the police and to the SAS. He lost interest in self defence in later years though and really got into teaching Chinese martial arts, focusing more on the artistic and spiritual side of martial arts than actual fighting. There are a couple of offshoot schools in NZ though, led by instructors who wanted to keep teaching Kempo as self defence.

Kriegschwein
1/05/2019 1:08pm,
The only question is whether it had a thumb spear to the neck.... if not....

bullshido.

DdlR
1/08/2019 3:51pm,
I used to drive past Gemmell's school near Porirua all the time. Nice looking place with a Chinese-style training garden equipped with a bunch of wooden man dummies. I wasn't into kempo and never checked it out beyond that, though.

battlefields
1/08/2019 11:17pm,
18052

WTF? Buckman, did you wait 2 fucking years to repeat that you trained with this dude? And they are your only two posts?

Fucking hell. That's amazing.

submessenger
1/09/2019 1:09am,
18052

WTF? Buckman, did you wait 2 fucking years to repeat that you trained with this dude? And they are your only two posts?

Fucking hell. That's amazing.

To be fair, his first post got snagged up in moderation queue... I approved it, this morning. So, the "repeat," was a technical/administrative glitch, but, yes, he waited two years to say it.

battlefields
1/09/2019 8:22pm,
Well then. Still amusing. Delete your comment so he looks like a fool instead of you.