What is Kajukenbo?

Kajukenbo is an eclectic martial art that was created in Hawaii in the late 1940s and invented in 1947 on Oahu, Hawaii, in the settlements of Palama, to deal with local crime, as well as to help people to fend off the US Navy sailors who would drink and fight the locals. The inventors were Sijo (“founder”) Adriano Emperado, Peter Young Yil Choo, Joe Holck, Frank Ordonez, and Clarence Chang, who called themselves the Black Belt Society.

The Kajukenbo system

Brutal, deadly, exaggerated, effective on the street.

These and many other similar terms have been used to describe the martial arts system known as kajukenbo.

Kajukenbo earned a reputation for being brutally effective decades ago in the US territory of Hawaii. In the Hawaii of the 1940s, the enemy was not the old battlefield soldier, it was the common street criminal. Instead of swords and spears, he armed himself with knives, clubs, and pistols. Even when he was unarmed, he did not fight by any rules. It struck, kicked, tore, bit and stomped. If you came across one of these brutal street fighters, a life and death battle awaited you. Kajukenbo was designed to win such a battle.

Since then, his eclectic use of five martial arts and no-nonsense approach to self-defense has contributed to his rapid growth and solid reputation as a highly effective self-defense system.

Two forms of the name

The name works in two ways: “ka” (“long life”), “ju” (“happiness”), “ken” (“fist”), “bo” (“style”) or “ka” (“karate “),” ju “(” judo “/” jujutsu “),” ken “(” kenpo “),” bo “(Chinese boxing Kung Fu), leading to the philosophical meaning of art:” Through this style fist, one gains long life and happiness. “

Kajukenbo techniques

Combining techniques of tang soo do, judo, jujitsu, kenpo, and kung fu, the kajukenbo stylist can defend himself in many ways. You can use gentle circular kung fu techniques to evade and attack. Or you can use judo or jujitsu to throw an attacker to the ground or hold and control him. Forbach feels that the strength of kajukenbo is in how these techniques are combined. For example, if the attacker hits, the kajukenbo stylist can step into the attack at a 45 degree angle while blocking with a soft palm block. He then counterattacked with several quick kenpo hand punches followed by a foot judo sweep. Once on the ground, the attacker could be hit again or controlled with a jujitsu block. Unlike most traditional systems, kajukenbo relies heavily on combination techniques. These combination techniques are organized so that each technique establishes the next following the reaction of the attacker’s body. Although some martial artists may describe this as an exaggeration, Forbach feels that an attacker cannot be stopped by a strongly focused strike. Therefore, the theory behind kajukenbo is that it is better to counter with a multitude of techniques that can be terminated when the threat is gone, than to rely on one technique and find that it is not enough.

Kajukenbo training

Seattle Kajukenbo practices the Gaylord Method of Chuan Fa Kajukenbo Kung Fu, which includes elements of Teng Su Do Korean Karate, Kodokan Judo, Ju-jitsu, Kara-Ho Kempo, and Chinese Boxing or Kung Fu. Designed as a comprehensive art, Kajukenbo emphasizes close street fighting strategies, including refinement of judgment and self-defense techniques, as well as practice in more traditional fighting forms and ensembles. Chuan Fa Kajukenbo incorporates the soft and hard characteristics of martial arts training, from classical Kempo movement to classical Chinese Kung Fu.

Today kajukenbo is practiced all over the world. Kajukenbo’s main organization is the “Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute of Hawaii, Inc. based in San Diego, California.

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