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The History of Kempo at Z-Ultimate Self Defense
Two schools of thought exist regarding the origins of Japanese martial arts. One school insists the art of Jujitsu is originally native to Japan, while the other claims Jujitsu was actually developed from an earlier form of Chinese grappling known as Chin-na. Both Jujitsu and Chin-na stress the grappling and joint manipulation aspects of fighting as opposed to the punching and kicking aspects.Regardless of its origins by the 16th century Jujitsu was widely practiced throughout Japan.  Jujitsu was utilized by the Samurai warriors in addition to their armed fighting methods. In addition many Buddhist and Shinto temples throughout Japan advanced the practice of Jujitsu and Shorinji Kempo. Shorinji is the Japanese word for Shaolin, and Kempo the word for Chuan Fa, which means "law of the fist," or "way of the fist." Essentially Shorinji Kempo was the form of Shaolin empty hand combat that had spread to Japan.

In the 16th century the modern system of Kempo was first developed. This style was originally known as Kosho-Ryu Kempo. This style is different from the Shorinji Kempo mentioned earlier. Shorinji Kempo was directly evolved from Shaolin systems. Kosho-Ryu Kempo was a hybrid of Japanese Jujitsu and Shaolin.Kosho-Ryu Kempo traces its roots to the Mitose family's Shinto monastery.  One story claims the Mitose family had long practiced Jujitsu. Kosho was a member of the Mitose family who trained with a Shaolin monk and added the Shaolin fighting techniques to the family's Jujitsu. This story has two variations; according to one, Kosho traveled to China to train with the Shaolin monk, while in the other the Shaolin monk came to Japan.

The other story claims that the Mitose family did not have any history of practicing martial arts and that Kosho was not originally a member of the Mitose family at all. According to this story Kosho was a Shaolin master who learned Japanese Jujitsu and eventually came to the Mitose monastery to became a member of the family. In any event this time period marked a major milestone in the evolution of the martial arts and the birth of modern Kempo. This was the first time the Shaolin fighting arts, consisting primarily of striking and kicking techniques was fused with Jujitsu, which consisted mainly of joint manipulation and grappling technique.

Kempo continued to be the Mitose family art through the early 20th century. In the 1940's James Mitose relocated to Hawaii. In 1942 he opened his Self Defense Club in Hawaii to teach his family's Kempo. One of his students was the legendary William Kwai Sun Chow. Chow was one of only six students ever to attain the rank of Black Belt from Mitose. He was the only student to master the style.


Karate Terminology
Karate Do The Way of
kara- empty
te - hand
do - way/truth
karate ka - karate practitioner
dojo- training hall
dojo kun - precepts/morals
moku sou - eyes in meditation
dogi- training uniform

Target areas

gedan - lower level
chudan - middle level
jodan - upper level

More Karate Terms
kihon - basic technique
kata - form/formal exercise
kumite - sparing
seiza - knee/sit correctly
hanmi - half front facing position
hidari - left
migi - right
yoi - ready/prepare
hajime - start
yame - stop

Karate Greetings
sensei - teacher
sampai - senior

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