Through this fist art one gains long life and happiness

Another system of influence in our training is that of Kajukenbo. During the late 40’s Kajukenbo was born in the Palama Settlement on Oahu, Hawaii. The streets of Oahu were a violent place with many fist-fights being commonplace. From this environment a group of martial artists gathered, calling themselves the “Black Belt Society”, to train and learn with each other creating an adaptive style designed to combine the most useful aspects of what they respectively trained in. The core of the new art centred around Kenpo as known by Adriano Emperado from William Chose andJames Mitose.


KA – Karate, Tang Soo Do
Contributing Founder: Peter Young Yil Choo

JU – Judo, Se Keino Ryu & Jiu Jutsu, Kodenkan Danzan Ryu
Contributing Founder: Joe Holck & Frank Ordonez

KEN – Kenpo, Kosho Ryu (William Chow & James Mitose)
Contributing Founder: Adriano Emperado

BO – Chinese Boxing, Chu’an Fa Kung-Fu
Contributing Founder: Clarence Chang

Like Kenpo, Kajukenbo incorporates a blend of striking, kicking, throwing, takedowns, joint locks, and weapons disarmament. The philosophy was and still is simple. If a technique worked consistently on the street then it stayed in the system, if it did not then it was discarded. This allows the system to maintain a self-defence focus. The primary focus is on realism and practicality.

They realized that the striking arts of American boxing, Kenpo, and Karate were great while they were standing but when a Judo/Jiu-jitsu man would get a hold of them they did not know what to do if caught in painful holds and chokes both standing and on the ground, while the traditional Judo/Jiu-jitsu guys had a problem with strikers that could punch and kick in quick combinations, moving and keeping them at a distance. With that, they came together with the intention to modernize a new art.

There are now four officially distinct branches recognized in Kajukenbo.

The original “Hard Style” Emperado Method.

The softer “Chu’an Fa Method” of Professor Al Dela Cruz (and Al Dacascos),

The internal “Tum Pai Method” of Professor Jon Loren.

The continually evolving “Won Hop Kuen Do” of Professor Al Dacascos.

These branches can be further broken down into other subdivisions that are recognized as individual expressions of the art.

Kajukenbo continues to grow internationally. The standard curriculum features counter-attacks to punches, kicks, grabs, as well as using knives, sticks, and guns to counter back. While this base of common knowledge will keep schools’ styles similar, there is plenty of room for variation. Kajukenbo encourages an openness for schools to incorporate other arts into their practice. The primary concentration of all Kajukenbo schools remains real-world self-defense because protecting one’s self in a street-fighting situation is primary.

At it’s core is Kenpo, just like Okinawa te Karate and America Kenpo.