The Shaolin Temple was first built around 495 ad, by the Chinese emperor Hsino Wen. It was in the first great Shaolin Temple that Buddharama, a sixth century monk first introduced Buddhism and a form of meditation and fighting techniques. In addition, he introduced a form of breathing exercises based upon animal movements designed to strengthen and condition the body as well as the mind.
The art of Shaolin Kempo Karate has developed from numerous styles of the martial arts and includes SHAOLIN TEMPLE BOXING, JU JITSU, KUNG FU, KEMPO,KARATE, as well as the secret art of the WHITE TIGER (CHIN NA). Each fighting system offers something both unique and special, yet each also has inherent weaknesses that may make a fighter vulnerable. The ultimate in self defense lies not in one way or style of fighting, but by the integration of these methods of fighting into one that is unique and powerful.
Shaolin Kempo Karate incorporates the movements of the five animals: TIGER, LEOPARD, DRAGON, CRANE and SNAKE.Our system is based upon the proven method of fighting that combines STRIKING (to use any part of the arms - open or closed hands, elbows or forearms); KICKING ( to use any part of the leg - foot, shin or knee; FELLING (to knock an opponent off his feet - by throwing, pulling or shoving); and GRAPPLING (...to clutch or grip - wrestling, holding or locking joints...) resulting in a complete system of self defense with graceful movements for the development of the internal energy and balance of the body’s external strengths.
William “Thunderbolt” Chow
Chow, a Hawaiian kempo pioneer and instructor, began the study of martial arts at age 7 under the guidance of his father ( a kung-fu master). During his youth, Chow also studied boxing, wrestling, jiu jitsu, sumo, and karate. He learned Kempo from James Mitose and became one of only five students to attain a black belt under him. Chow started teaching in 1944. His first school was at the Nuuano YMCA in Hawaii.
In his new school Master Chow made several modifications to the kempo that he learned from Master Mitose. These modifications enhanced the system’s fluency, power development, and versatility. Chow went on to award the rank of black belt to a number of students since 1949. Among those, the most notable are Ralph Castro, Edmund Parker, Nicholas Cerio, Paul Pung, and Adrian Emperado.
James M. Mitose (1916-1981)
At the age of five Mitose was sent from Hawaii to Kyushu, Japan for schooling in his family’s ancestral art of self defense (kempo). From 1921-1936 he studied and mastered his families teachings which were based directly on Bodhidharma’s Shaolin Kung-fu. According to Mitose family tradition, clan members in Kumamoto and Nagasaki brought the knowledge of Shaolin Kung-fu from China shortly before 1600. This art was modified by successive masters until Kempo was born. After completing his training in Japan Mitose returned to Hawaii in 1936. In 1942 he organized the official Self-Defense Club at the Brestania Mission in Honolulu. Only five of his students (Thomas Young, William K.S. Chow, Paul Yamaguchi, Arthur Keave, and Edward Lowe) had attained the rank of first degree black belt.