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  1. #1

    American Kenpo or Kajukenbo

    I have searched for years in oklahoma to find a school of American Kenpo and finally one opened here. It is affiliated with Brian Duffys American Kenpo Federation. I have also always been fascinated with Kajukenbo and found a school here that is taught by 8th dan Dan Frazier. His credentials are pretty legit and his students all train hard and seem very helpful. I was impressed by what I saw at this school. My question is which style would fit what I'm looking for the most. What I want is a style that not only fascinates me but has a rich history and something I can make a part of my life. I want a really good challenge physically and mentally and i think both these styles can offer that. The Kajukenbo school was very impressive when I went to check it out and I'm going to check out the Kenpo school this weekend and then decide. Anyone with insight into these styles I would appreciate hearing from. I'm torn between both styles right now and am going to commit one way or the other. Thanks

  2. #2
    patfromlogan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Hilo Island of Hawaii
    Kyokushinkai / Kajukenbo
    Have you worked out as a guest in both schools? First of all see if it's a fit - personalities are way more important than styles. If you are having fun, you keep training.

    That said, in Hawaii I've never heard of AK, anywhere, ever. As a certain large mean Hawaiian guy told me, "Ed Parker had to leave Hawaii because here he was just another idiot." Meaning he was just another black belt. There are good AK schools, but there are lots more good Kaju, and Kaju gets you to go to Vegas and train, fight, and meet all the nice and not so nice Kajukenbo ohana. The best Kajukenbo teaches improvisational responses based on karate, ke?po, JJ, Judo, Kung Fu, Western Boxing, Filipino kali and escrima, and Hawaiian Lua. It's a much broader and deeper art than AK. AK is one guy's style from Chow with a lot of made up stuff to a large degree. If you have Clyde for a teacher, AK is fine, but he's in Arizona.
    "Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Soo Hwa/BBT
    Like fug said, check out both schools and see what suits you best. I trained in Soo Hwa kung fu for a number of years and a lot of the techniques and forms were from AK(TaiSigung Portnoy and Sijo Hard both met in AK) and we did a lot of sparring and reflex/resistance training as well. Where as fug has good things to say about Kajukenbo, my experience, albiet only 3 months I got as a christmas present, consisted of a lot of tournament training, aka 1/2 kata, 1/2 point sparring. Out of the 3 months I think we spent only 2 weeks ever learning techniques or doing anything else. That being said, I'm not saying Kajukenbo is bad and AK is great. I'm just saying that each "dojo" trains their own way and because my experience made me not want to continue in that school doesn't mean the school by you is the same.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the input! What I'm looking for mainly is something combat oriented, something that will work in a real life situation, not tournaments. I think I'm gonna take your advice and just check both the schools out and see where the vibe is. Both styles fascinate me so whichever school focus's more on real fighting more I think I'll go with, and the guys at the kaju school said they crosstrain in BJJ like once a month at another school which I think is pretty cool.thanks again for the input, anyone else with experience with either art I would love to hear from!

  5. #5
    Punisher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Sacramento, CA
    Five Animal Fighting
    Quote Originally Posted by kevinthewalker View Post
    My question is which style would fit what I'm looking for the most. What I want is a style that not only fascinates me but has a rich history and something I can make a part of my life. I want a really good challenge physically and mentally and i think both these styles can offer that.
    I've done kenpo in one form or another for almost 25 years and have a 2nd degree BB in American Kenpo. Based on what you were describing in your first post I think either AK or Kaju can offer what you said you were look ing for, however so could pretty much any other martial art.

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinthewalker View Post
    What I'm looking for mainly is something combat oriented, something that will work in a real life situation, not tournaments.
    This is something completely different. Based on this, I would not recommend American Kenpo, and would really have to see how the Kaju school trains to give a good recoomendation.

    My main reservation is the method on how most kenpo schools teach and train self-defefense. Basically most kenpo styles consist primarily of prearranged self-defense techniques (SDTs) where your partner throws a known attack and stands there like a statue as you hit him 20 or more times.

    Good kenpo schools add in things like spontaneous drills, bag work, and sparring, however in vast marjority of them the SDTs are the bulk of the curriculumn and are what you test on advance in rank.

    Most Kaju schools I am familar with do offer a wider variety of training and are more likely to do things like full contact sparring. However many of them still train self-defense in similar way to to kenpo schools, where the bad guys just stands there while you do whatever routine you were suppposed to memorize that day.

    I will also caution you that although and you are more likely to learn things like grappling at a Kaju school, the depth and quality of that training may be lacking.

    Last year I attended the "Gathering of Puple" which was basically a kaju tournament. On top of the point sparring tournament for kids, there was a throwdown for adults. The kaju guys did well standing and grappling against people from kenpo and kung fu schools, but were almost always out classed by anyone with even a few months of MMA, kick boxing, or BJJ training.

    Here's a clip of a fight from the gathering. In this fight a kaju guy against a guy from a MMA school. You'll notice the kaju guy is wearing foam dipped sparring gear like kids wear. The quality of the video isn't great, but I saw the fight in person and the kaju gets beaten bloody. I give the guy credit for staying in there and fighting, but he was clearly outclassed.
    YouTube - Pupule Fight

    The thing is, while obiviously being strong and aggressive, the guy from MMA school wasn't super skilled and doesn't do anything that I wouldn't expect to see in realistic self-defense situation.

    When I first started this post my intent wasn't to be overally negative, but honestly the first thing that pops into my mind when someone says American Kenpo is "fat guys who like to talk about fighting, but don't like to train or fight." Conversly when someone says Kajukenbo I think "tough tatooed, biker type guys that like to fight, but aren't particularly skilled".

    The good news is there ARE exceptions that defy the sterotypes and finding a school where you fit in with the other students and you enjoy the type of training that they do is the really the most important thing.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Actually, both guys are kajukenbo. The so called MMA guy is from GM Mitch Powells school and the other guy is from GM Woody Sims. As was mentioned earlier, some schools have different emphasis or focus.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Kenpo Karate
    Hmm, in the video, the Kaju guy seems to do ok...just gassed out in the last third of the fight. But, lets face it, there is no techniques in this fight, it just the typical "kick boxing" that most karate folks fall back on in non point sparring.

    GOOD karate is based on the "cheap shot" that is, strikes to vital points, throat, inside of the knee, groin, claws to the eyes, etc.

    If this is the kinda of action that ur looking for, go to an MMA gym or kick boxing gym.

    There is nothing wrong with AK self defense tech., its just not the kind of stuff u can throw in this kind of fight.

  8. #8
    first ill admit there is some bad kenpo out there patty cake and slap schools.
    but i keep hearing on these forums is how fma dont work and kenpo is guy a doing a whole lot to another guy standing.
    u guys realize the whole system isnt what u see on u tube.
    when i first jump into bjj. i thought gotta step my game up these guys are no joke. and itll be alot more almost real life action. uuuuhhhhhh no it wasnt that. i was taught almost the exact same why i learned kenpo.
    except instead of a guy standing for me i had a guy laying for me runnin me thur perfect world senericos. there are times were it seems the teach would get the armbar or choke in for me.

    "Ed Parker had to leave Hawaii because here he was just another idiot." Meaning he was just another black belt.
    yeah that must be right big mean guy scared u so u belive what ever he says.
    i cant be 100 percent on why mr parker left hawaii but i heard it was to go to college. but to be honest any young man in late teens maybe early 20s is most likely just another black belt.
    the guy(mr parker) did more in his system (not mr chows system.) then any one here has done to help there own system. he branched out all acorss the country. even made new homes for american kenpo in eroupe and south america. for that he should just get automatic respect. he is on of the few tru gm's of martial arts. again i wont lie there a to many slap happy kenpo schools that should not be putting up utube videos.
    i ask please show the man and his system respect. its not his or the system fault if bad students dont make it work.
    as for the video the first 20 second where theres a cup check thats the fight boys and girls. not much world class kickboxing and great jj is going to do for u when ur bent over holding ur nuts. all im saying is dont brag about how tough ur leg kicks are when my groin shot doesnt even need to be full on to work. jj muy thai and boxing are all great sports that can save your life if ur good at them but they are sports.

    sorry for the grammer and spelling im kinda a pot head
    but a pot head that can back his **** up
    im new to this board and hope to learn alot and help my jui jistsu

  9. #9
    Meex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Tao Ga
    A few things to remember. . .
    - Ed Parker trained under Emperado
    - For whatever reason he left Hawai'i, Ed Parker created an American ma.
    - EPAK is theory-based, and sometimes complicated in application.
    - EPAK is Parker's personal expression of Ke?po as seen through the
    critical lens of his ability and his intelligence.

    In the case of the sparring vid, many techniques get left behind when
    your training does not extend to full contact sparring. A lot of traditional
    MAs, and self-defense arts all look like kickboxing when the safety gear
    goes on, and sparring begins. I often wonder where all the technique goes.


  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Kenpo Karate
    You are absolutly right. In point sparring, things do look like "soft" kickboxing, but in continuous sparring, there SHOULD be an occasional technique but you almost never see one. I sure looks like a big hole in EPAK training. Something, I hate to say, I am guilty of myself, lol.

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