Kajukenbo Kenpo Jujutsu Association

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Lineage Masters

Short Bios

William K.S. Chow Founder of Kenpo-Karate

The "Professor" had many names such as William Kwai Sun Chow or William "Thunderbolt" Chow and others. He taught the pioneers and many seniors within the now extended Kempo family (Ohana) especially his most senior student Sijo-Adriano D. Emperado who in 1947 formed America's first mixed martial-art of "Kajukenbo." This is the same year that Robert Trias opened the first commercial karate school in the United States mainland making him the "Father of American Karate". Ed Parker came along a few years after these pioneers and opened successful schools and became famous for creating what he eventually called "American Kenpo."

Professor Chow's primary teacher was James Masayoshi Mitose who taught a system he eventually called Kosho-Ryu Kenpo-Jujutsu. Professor Chow's new personal system was also heavily influenced from the Jujutsu of Henry Okazaki, street fighting methods and Philippine martial-art styles. He was the first to coin the term "Kempo-Karate" and taught these concepts as a new "style". His techniques were such a departure from other traditions including Mitose that he is rightfully credited for founding the original Kempo-Karate as we know it

Adriano D. Emperado Founder of Kajukenbo

Adriano D. Emperado was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 16, 1926. He was born to Filipino-Hawaiian parents in the poor Palama section of Honolulu. He started his self-defense training at the age of 8. At this time in his life both his father and uncle were professional boxers, so of course he was taught how to box. Then he learned the basic 12 strikes of escrima. At age 14 he trained in judo under Sensei Taneo at the Palama Settlement Gym. A few years later at the age of 20 Emperado undertook the serious study of kenpo at the Catholic Youth Organization in Honolulu. These classes were taught by the legendary Professor William K.S. Chow. Professor Chow had been a student of kenpo-jujutsu instructor James Masayoshi Mitose, and also held a 5th degree black belt in judo. Adriano Emperado trained daily with Professor Chow and soon became his first black belt. After many years Emperado attained the rank of 5th degree black belt and became Professor Chow's chief instructor.

In 1947 Sijo-Emperado formed the original Black Belt Society and worked with five other martial-art instructors from Korean Karate (Tang Soo Do) Japanese Jujutsu and Judo and Chinese boxing or Gung Fu to form a new system using the acronym "KaJuKenBo".

Because he had been exposed to many fighting systems Sijo-Emperado always welcomed innovation. Unlike most of the traditional systems, his Kajukembo continues to evolve. Kajukembo KEMPO-JUJUTSU Association represents an expression of Grandmaster Park's experience in mixed martial-arts and root traditions of Kajukenbo.

Jim Kaleohano Roberts Sr. Direct Black Belt of Sijo-Emperado

In Hawaiian language "KALEOHANO" means the voice of authority and respect. He first experienced martial arts in 1947 when he joined the boxing club at Kaimuki Park and judo at the famous Henry Okazaki's dojo in downtown Honolulu. In 1957 he joined Kajukenbo at the old Japanese school in Wahiawa where they were teaching this "mysterious" art. The classes were small because the training was brutal in those days. At first he was intimidated by the training even though he was a physically tough, 24-year old, Korean War veteran. GM Roberts got his black belt after about three years and started teaching Kajukembo for Sijo Adriano Emperado. Among those training at the Wahiawa school at that time were Joe Black, Alapac, Tokamoto, Tony Ramos, and Aleju Reyes Sr. GM Roberts went on to open Roberts School of Karate[1] and become a well known karate teacher on the east coast and is now retired and living in his native Hawaii.

[1] The school in northern Virginia was closely associated with Ki Whang Kim, the famous Tang Soo Do grandmaster. Grandmaster Robert's son, Jim Roberts Jr. later assumed ownership of the Kim School.

Don K. Nahoolewa American Kajukembo Chief Grandmaster

Chief Grandmaster Alii-Don Nahoolewa began Kajukenbo training in 1959 under the legendary Great-Grandmaster Aleju Reyes in Sui Sun, California while stationed at Travis Air Force Base. Mr. Nahoolewa was the first Black Belt promoted by GGM Reyes. CGM Nahoolewa is the founder of the American Kajukembo Association and the American KEMPO Association which is inactive under the leadership of grandmaster Jerry Wright.

The AKA consists primarily of martial artists descending from GGM Aleju Reyes, who brought the Emperado method also known as the Original Kempo method to the U.S. mainland in 1959. This lineage represents the "hard style" of Kajukembo often referred to as the Kempo-Karate branch. The use of the "M" in place of the "N" in Kajukembo was originally incorporated by Don Nahoolewa in the early 1970's. In 1974, Don Nahoolewa and Richard Peralta met with their instructor, Aleju Reyes and the founder of Kajukenbo, Adriano D. Emperado to discuss the forming of the American KEMPO Association and the use of the "M" in Kajukembo. Both Sijo Emperado and great grandmaster Reyes agreed and gave them a signed letter recognizing the new Kajukembo branch. The reason to change was twofold. First, kempo is pronounced as an "M" sound in Japanese, and this is the Romanized Chinese spelling. Second, CGM Nahoolewa and GM Peralta wanted their joint endeavor to have a unique identity.

***Grandmaster Park continued this tradition with the Kajukenbo Kenpo-Jujutsu Association (Park Method).

Al Tracy Great Grandmaster / Kenpo International Yudanshakai

Grandmaster Al Tracy and his brother Jim began studying Kenpo with Ed Parker and James Ibrao in 1957 and each were promoted to black belt in 1962. Over time the Tracy brothers developed a close relationship with Mr. Parker, and soon began teaching all the beginner and intermediate classes. The Tracy brothers would also run Mr. Parker's studio when he would periodically return to Hawaii.

The Tracy brothers created belt manuals (which contained 40 techniques per belt at that time) and gave the techniques names, like Attacking Circle, Raising the Staff, etc. Ed Parker turned the Kenpo Karate Association of America (KKAA) over to the Tracy brothers and then formed the International Kenpo Karate Association (IKKA). The Tracy brothers then agreed to join the IKKA, on the condition that they could keep the standards of teaching for their own students. The Tracy brothers later opened schools throughout California, as well as other states, and formed the Tracy's International Studios of Self-Defense.

By 1982, Ed Parker had changed what he was calling American Kenpo, so much so as to make it in Parker's own words, "no more than 10% Kenpo." It was around this time that the Tracy's completely broke from Ed Parker. Al Tracy's Kenpo Karate remains to this day teaching the "original" Kenpo as first taught to him by Ed Parker.

The Tracy's International Studios of Self Defense is a worldwide organization, based out of Lexington, Kentucky, comprised of over 1,000 schools. It is the largest system of affiliated schools and the longest-running self-defense chain in the world.

Grand Master Al Tracy organized the largest "gathering" of Kenpo Karate members in the world. A true historic event called "The Gathering of Eagles" in 1999. That first Gathering brought together over seventy masters, representing Kenpo, American Kenpo, Shaolin Kenpo, Wun Hop Kuen Do, Lima Lama, Kajukenbo, etc., and included some of the biggest names in the Kenpo Karate / Kajukenbo family of black belts.

Grand Master Al Tracy is one of the few remaining patriarchs within the Kenpo-Karate family and should be honored as an innovator for his work in spreading this martial-art style throughout the world and bringing the community together with the Gathering of Eagles.