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What is KAJUKEMBO?

Kajukenbo / Kajukembo Self Defense

Kajukenbo is the first American Martial Art and the first original mixed martial art. It was created between a two year period 1947-1948 at the Palama Settlement on Oahu, Hawaii. Five martial arts black belts, each from a different style and background, would meet to train with and learn from one another. These five would soon come to be known as the Black Belt Society and be credited with developing Kajukenbo. The five men are:

Peter YY Choo - added the KA segment Ka - From Korean Karate - Tang Soo Do "Kicking and Leg strikes" and basic blocks and stances

Joe Holke (Jujitsu) and Frank Ordonez (Judo) - added the JU segment.JU- from Jujitsu and Judo "Throwing and locking "or off balancing your opponent.

A.D. Emperado - added the Kenpo or Kempo segment.KEN or KEM - Kenpo and Kempo Karate system "rapid multiple contouring striking of the body"

Clarence Chang - added the Kung Fu or Chinese Boxing segment.BO - from Chinese Boxing "Kung Fu" Choy lei fut. Hung gar - mixed Kung Fu: and American Boxing. "Flowing and yielding heavy penetrating strikes, which are designed to destroy from within the body"

Whether the art is spelled with an N or an M it is the same system. The letter N is a representation of the Chinese interpretation of the Kenpo system, and is translated to mean Fist way. Whereas the letter M is a representation of the Japanese interpretation of the Kempo system, which when translated means Fist Law.

Sijo Emperado signed a document giving our Late Grand Master Richard Peralta the right to use the spelling with an M - KAJUKEMBO. Peralta wanted to pay respect to the Mitose family line of Kempo, because the Mitose family brought Kempo to Hawaii - Without James Mitose we would not have the Kempo we have today. Therefore using the Letter M in the spelling.The system is designed for Self Defense utilizing 5 martial arts: Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Kenpo and Kung fu. The self defense techniques created were tested out on the street for the effectiveness. If it was found that the technique did not work, the founders would not put it into the system. Therefore, at one point all of the original self defense techniques were put to the test.

The system is designed to condition the student for street combat. The original method of Kajukenbo / Kajukembo was tough and hard on the student. The students received there "Training" more like Beatings in order to understand the true nature of self defense. Sijo Emperado the founder of the system is quoted as saying "Make pain your friend." He intended the training to be street effective and if you were afraid of pain you wouldn't last on the street. The training was as realistic as it could get. Broken bones and busted out teeth, were the norm. Sijo would sometimes lock the doors to the training hall and not open them until he witnessed blood on the floor.

The Hawaiian's wanted to create a tough and skill full system of combat. At the time there goal wasn't how many students they could get in the door, it was to teach the students that walked in how to survive an attack. Once a student was accepted they became part of the "Ohana" or Family. Kajukenbo and Kajukembo are still practiced today with the same training and defensive mind set.

Kajukenbo is and will always be a strong and effective Martial art.

The system uses Black Gi's (Uniforms) for training. There are many reasons quoted for the use of the Black Gi. One Kajukembo master was quoted as saying, "If you attack a Kajukenbo stylist, we are ready dressed to attend your funeral", and "it's hard to see blood on a black GI." The truth is back in the 50's there were only white uniforms and the white uniform was a symbol of the Japanese systems and Korean systems. Sijo Emperado wanted his system to be recognized differently so he elected to use the black uniform to make a statement. If you wore a black uniform then you represented the Kajukenbo / Kenpo system. Black uniforms used to be unavailable for purchase, so many of the Kajukenbo schools would purchase white gi's and dye them black. Traditional Kajukenbo/Kajukembo schools today wear the solid black uniform. This is to pay respect to a tradition of Kajukenbo / Kajukembo Kenpo Karate.

The Kajukenbo system is a system of Self Defense. The system trains the student for attacks against grabs, punches, kicks or attacks with a bladed or blunt weapon. The system requires contact conditioning, both to learn how to give and to receive contact. Sore muscles and bruises are something of a common occurrence when attending a Kajukenbo school. The one thing you can be sure of with Kajukenbo / Kajukembo training, is that you will have the confidence and knowledge to defend yourself.

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