Kempo is an art derved from Japanese Kyosho Ryu Kempo and Chinese Hung Gar Kung Fu.
In simple terms it is: Kung Fu, Karate & Jiu Jutsu.
The linear Japanese movements were blended with more circular chinese movements to create Kempo. The Chinese influence also incorporates the movements of the Tiger, Leopard, Crane, Snake and Dragon. Each of the animals has it's own physical and mental characteristics which our students employ to develop their own Martial Arts Style.
Kempo means: "The Law of the Fist"
Japanese martial arts are more straight line fighting styles, than the circular techniques of their Chinese cousins. Commonly call karate by those of us in the West, Japanese arts range from empty hand martial systems to joint locking and throwing systems to styles devoted entirely to weapons' practice.
The art of karate (kara-te), which means empty hand, is commonly believed to have come to Japan from the island of Okinawa, where fighting with weapons was banned for many years. Ancient Okinawan traders visited China's Fukien Province and brought back the martial techniques of China's southern Shaolin temple. The Okinawans developed such an effective self-defense system that many Japanese masters wanted it as their own. It was brought to the Japanese mainland in 1922 and eventually became the best known Japanese martial art. The karate arts of the All-Japan Karate Association Go-ju, wado, Shorinji Kempo, and Shito ryus are among the best known karate systems
History of Kempo
Kenpo, also written as Kempo, is unique as far as its history goes in two respects; it is considered by many the first eclectic martial art, as well as having its founding roots stretch back to 520 BC. The catalyst of the way of Kempo was a prince and warrior of southern India called Bodhidharma. According to the records of the Lo-Yang temple, Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk under the tutelage of Prajnatara and it is presumed that upon his death bed that Prajnatara requested Bodhidharma to travel to China where he felt the principles of Buddhism where in decline, and that the knowledge of dhyana (Zen koans) should be known.
Kempo is a unique martial art having been founded several centuries ago in the Chinese Shaolin temple, thus bringing with it a certain air of mystery. As a martial art, Kempo is referred to as a Do. The Do is referred to in Buddhist Zen scripts as a path towards enlightenment. Lao Tzu, a priest of Taoism said "Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self requires enlightenment.." This phrases sums of the full circle of what Kempo strives towards. Although on its surface Kempo can be seen as a unique form of self-defense, hidden beneath its physical exterior are levels where characteristic centralization of mind and body form. At this level, Kempo's practitioners move from a simple form of fighting to a higher level of ability and a higher level of enlightenment. Ying Kuchan, a Shaolin monk and master of Kempo after a lengthy period of meditation in a Zen rock garden spoke of Kempo saying "Kempo is the power of adaptability and yielding; the harmony of all things working together."
On the surface, Kempo's uniqueness lies in its comprehensive and diversified means of unarmed defense. For example, Shaolin Kempo Karate is both an armed and unarmed system of combat incorporating applications in varying appearances and method. On an external level, Kempo is a no holds barred fighting system of offensive and defensive methods with equal emphasis of striking techniques with the hands and feet; immobilization and controls; projections and take down; as well as weaponry and various spiritual and healing arts. Shaolin Kempo is a street wise defensive art that does not restrict its students in methodology. Clawing hands evolve into slashing feet. Cunning joint locks turn into devastating hip throws. Evasive blocks turn into breath closing chokes.
The possibilities are endless. The only true fighting systems are those where there are no rules applied. From the books of the Han dynasty we learn "Nothing is impossible to a willing mind." And it is from this saying that we can derive the upper principles of Shaolin Kempo. What sets Kempo apart from boxing, wrestling, and Sunday night football is an emphasis on centralization of body and mind, a concept understood by very few. Many people are quiet happy with only the surface value of Kempo taking its studies for reasons of physical health, self-defense, or a Monday night hobby. But for what level of imperfection will you settle for in yourself? If there is more to Kempo why not grasp it. Kempo tries to build a persons psychological persona as well as turning the ego self into the egoless self. The true Kempo is not a means of felling an opponent by force of hand or weapon, nor was it originally intended as a means of arms. Kempo calls for a bringing of inner peace to the self, and the universe around us.
A master of Kempo is not only a master of self-defense, but a master of himself. In the end, the direction of Kempo was best described by Bruce Lee when he commented on his art of Jeet Kune Do; "To have no way as a way; To have no limitations as a limitation."