There are a range of Kenpo Styles which may lead to confusion for those who are interested in learning about Kenpo for the first time. For this reason we have complied a list of the most well known Kenpo Styles from around the world. There are four primary Kenpo styles, as explained below. Please note the difference in spelling Kenpo or Kempo (different styles have different ways of pronouncing this).
Kenpo Styles List
Kosho Ryu Kenpo - This Martail Arts style of Kenpo was first introduced by monks to the Mitose family in the 15th century. Over the centuries the form of Shaolin Chuan Fa was combined with forms of Ju Jutsu that where common to the area; as well as Rinzai Zen philosophy, Kyudo, and other arts. Kosho, the name of the Mitose clan, means "Old Pine Tree" and the Kempo art is referred to as "The Old Pine Tree Style."
Shaolin Kempo Karate (Chuan Fa Kempo) - The Shaolin Kempo Karate system was founded by Fred Villari, a student of Kajukenbo. Fred Villari's system tends to lean more towards Kung Fu element and utilizes the techniques of the 5 animal Chaun Fa to a large extent. Added to the Kempo system was White Tiger Chin Na techniques, as well as various Aikijujitsu projections and immobilizations. Shaolin Kempo Karate is taught across the United States and Canada.
American Kenpo Karate - A very popular among Kenpo styles, this originates from Chinese Kenpo Karate. It was founded by the Hawaiin Edmund Parker. Parker took what he learnt from Chinese Kenpo Karate, what he learnt from William Chow, and the techniques into a system that could be easily broken down into levels for all students. It is argued that Parker's innovations make up around 85% of this style and therefore it was renamed American Kenpo Karate. The American Kenpo system can be seen in such movies as: The Perfect Weapon, and "Street Knight".
Shorinji Kempo - is a another style of Kempo that was founded by Doshin So (宗道臣, 1911-1980) in 1947, who incorporated Japanese Zen Buddhism into the techniques. This form of Kempo was regarded by many as being both a fighting and religious form. More recently, since circa 2005, a distinction is clear between the religious aspect of the martial art and the technical side of the martial art. An example of this is that branches of the style in Japan can be regarded as a 'doin' (道院, dōin) temple, where in contrast the branches outside of Japan can only be formally recognized as a dojo.
Kajukenbo - This style was created in the Palama settlements of Hawaii between 1949-1952. Five practitioners of their respective martial arts developed Kajukenbo to complement each others styles, to allow effective fighting at all ranges and speeds. The person credited with the founding of Kajukenbo is Siju Adriano D. Emperado, who also had considerable experience in Kempo and Escrima.
More on the styles of Kenpo
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