Kempo: Law, way of the fist
Karate: empty hand
Kempo is both an old and modern method of self-cultivation and self-defense.
It’s a mix of inner and outer power and an uninterupted flow of movements.
Kempo is flexible and dynamic so that it’s easy to adjust to circumstances as those you can encounter in a real-life fight.
To control the energy of Kempo you have to be able to control yourself.
The basic movements descent from animals: tiger, dragon, snake, leopard, crane,.. A kempoka has to be mentally strong, control multiple weapon techniques (stick, knife, sword) and have a good condition.
Next to that, natural weapons are used (fingers, hands, elbow, feet, legs, knees,…)
Kempo (or Kenpo) is a unique Martial Art with a rich history, it originates from China around 520 before Christ.
The founder of Kempo was a Buddhist priest from India: Bodhidarma (Tamo in Chinese and Daruma in Japanese).
Bodhidarme crossed China to preach the Buddhistic teachings and came to the Hunanprovince where he entered the Shaolin Temple.
There he found monks with no mental or physical condition.
To help them he suggested 2 series of exercises to follow:
I-Chin-Ching (The book of the changing of the muscles)
Hsi-Swi-Ching (The washing of the marrow)
It is said that he also teached a Kata: “the eighteen hands of Buddha”, called the eighteen hands of Lohan. only handtechniques are used, no techniques involving legs were used at that time. This methode was later called Chuan Fa or way of the fist (Kempo in japanese).
These techniques are the foundations of a great part of the Martial Arts we know now. A Chuan Fa master, Ch’ueh Taun Shang, increased the original 18 techniques to 72.
He also crossed the land to preach his Art and this way he came in contact with master Li.
They trained together and the Chuan Fa increased to 170 techniques that were separated in 5 animal paterns.
Through the years the Chuan Fa evolved to Kempo.
In the beginning of the 17th century the families Kumamoto and Nagasaki brought the knowledge of Kempo to the Japanese Kyushu.
The style was adapted and changed, with that change it recieved the name Kosho Ryu Kempo or Kempo of the Old Pine Tree School.
Most modern schools have evoled from this.
In 1916 James Mitose was send from Hawai to Kyushu to learn the Kosho Ryu Kempo.
After he completed his training after 15 years, Mitose returned to Hawai and there he opend his club in 1936.
There he trained his first blackbelts, Thomas Young, William Chow, Edmund Howe, Arthur Keawe, Paul Yamaguchi and Jiro Nakamura.
Either of these contribute to modern Kempo and that way a wide variety of different styles came to be.