Kenpo History. Where we originated.

The history of Chinese Kenpo dates back to ancient China. Bodhidharma, a monk from India, traveled to China around 515-530 A.D. He was to spread the Zen philosopy, i.e. be one with nature and all in it. He started his teachings at a Shaolin Monestary.

While teaching, he noticed that the monks would fall asleep during the meditations. Bodhidharma started incorporated exercises to try to help the monks with the training. He also began teaching the '18 Hands of Lo Han', which was closely related to Hatha Yoga, to the monks to help them be able to defend themselves. This style would be called Chuan Fa. In later years, many monks left China in an attempt to spread Buddhism to neighboring areas. The migration of monks brought Chuan Fa (fist law) to other areas. Because of the different clans studying, they would add their clan names to the style they practiced.

Much later, an hawaiian born man named James Mitose, was sent to Japan to learn his ancestors' art, Kosho-Ryu Kenpo, at the age of 5. After finishing his training 15 years later, he came back to Hawaii to open his own dojo. Mitose opened the "Official Self-Defense" club in Honolulu. William K.S. Chow was to be one of his students.

William K.S. Chow was known for his lightning fast and accurate strikes to vital areas. Mr. Chow mixed his art of Chuan Fa, which he learned from his family, with Mitose's Kosho-Ryu Kenpo to form what he called Chinese Kara-Ho Kenpo. He opened his dojo in a local YMCA and called it Kenpo Karate.

Mr. Chow taught an Hawaiian born Edmund K. Parker. Ed Parker opened a dojo in 1956 in Pasadena, Ca. He is considered the 'Father of American Karate' and is credited for Americanizing Kenpo for effective street defense.