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KENPO JIUJITSU
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KENPO JIUJITSU

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The art of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu is a well known Martial Art for self defense. It has origins that date back hundreds of years, and is known as one of the most efficient self defensive Martial Arts on the planet. The combat jiu jitsu techniques in Kenpo can be extremely brutal, as the art of Kenpo is all about defending yourself by any means necessary. Kenpo has mostly been a striking Martial Art, as it uses predominantly more hand striking then feet strikes. The art uses a circular motion to avoid attacks, before striking straight down the line with linear counter attacks. This Martial Art does incorporate a significant grappling aspect, as the use of throws, chokes and joint locks have become extremely successful.

What This Article Covers:

The art of Kenpo uses a system of laws that help keep the Martial Artists on track to achieving the core principles. Kenpo uses a law of no block, meaning rather than blocking opponents strikes they will tend to avoid contact altogether, before using a rapid succession of strikes to counter attack. There are of course moments where blocking is necessary, so there they do train in counter attacking straight off of a block. Usually the first two strikes in Kenpo are used to stun the opponent, before landing more comprehensive and powerful strikes later on in their combinations. It is quite common to see Kenpo practitioners land 4 or 5 really fast strikes followed by a throw, and then finishing with a submission lock of some kind.

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THE ORIGIN OF KENPO JIUJITSU

The origins of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu dates back as far as 520 BC, when Bodhidharma the founder of Zen Buddhism travelled to China from India. Bodhidharma descended from original Buddhism, as he was a prominent teacher in the early spread of the Martial Arts. Bodhidharma believed in perseverance, as his teachings were humble and inspiring. After traveling to China, he found some monks in a state of poor health, as they were unable to meditate with any real purpose. Bodhidharma implemented a series of exercises that were basically movements from yoga, as they became the cornerstone for future physical arts that helped many others with spiritual development. Centuries after Bodhidharma’s time, these same exercises became more adapted to a combative Martial Art form. This development came about after many of the monasteries were attacked by brazen criminals. During these battles, there was a man known as the begging Monk, who utilised a series of striking techniques derived from Bodhidharma's teachings. Many other Monks within the monastery were impressed by the defense of this Martial Art, as they all began training in this method of self defense.

By the 16th century a Shaolin monk by name of Ch'ueh Yuen, extended the teaching beyond the original 18 exercises to incorporate a further 54. These newly developed 72 exercises were attributed to a much more combative Style of Martial Arts. Ch'ueh Yuen began travelling the world to find other Martial Arts in order to extend the development of his core principles. As the word spread about Kenpo Jiu Jitsu, many Japanese and Okinawa practitioners took many trips to China, in order to learn this fabled Martial Art. As the art form developed, many warriors would adopt Kenpo Jiu Jitsu, including Samurai warriors from feudal Japan. After the prolonged war conflict, the Samurai brought home extensive knowledge of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu, as they began to develop the art of Jiujitsu and Aikijutsu. This was the time that was said to have brought the greatest development of the Kenpo Jiu Jitsu principles.

It wasn't until 1919 that a young American from Hawaii named James Mitose was sent to Kyushu in Japan, to learn his ancestor's art of Kosho Ryu Kempo. After his extensive training period in Japan, he returned to Hawaii 18 years later, as he opened his first self defense Academy in Honolulu. James Mitose coined the term Kenpo Jiu Jitsu, as he began teaching many Hawaiians this formidable self defense system. James took on a student named William Chow who was one of his father's previous students. William had previous extensive knowledge about many of the circular, and flowing motions involved in various Martial Arts. The core principle behind many Chinese Martial Arts is circular motion, thus is compared to the more linear attacks of Japanese Martial Arts. As a result, James and William combined these slightly different styles of jiu jitsu to create a broader Kenpo Jiu Jitsu. As the more developed system incorporated circular movements and linear attacks.

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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KENPO JIUJITSU AND KENPO KARATE

The difference between Kenpo Jiu Jitsu and Kenpo Karate, stems from the circular movements of Chinese Martial Art, and the linear attacks from Japanese Martial Art. William Chow was a formidable Martial Artist, who was also heavily invested in street fight jiu jitsu techniques. William would make regular visits to Chinatown in Honolulu, so he could test out other Chinese instructors, and consolidate the effectiveness of his own Martial Art. This was further tested, as he took on US military personnel to test the combative self defense component against real life combatants. William understood that a street fight was a no holds barred situation, so he trained his style accordingly, as to distance his art from James Mitose's version of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu.

There have been suspicions that the word Karate was only included into William Chow's version of self defense, as a way to market his Martial Art. The term Karate is more well known around the world, and seemed like a good way to promote his art. The term Karate means "empty hand" which applies to the notion of not using weapons. The meaning of Kenpo Karate translates to "way of the fist, and empty hand", this was a way that William could differentiate from the Japanese style of Kenpo Jujitsu which translates to "way of the fist, gentle art". Both Williams and James incorporated a black Gi, as the uniform represents the art of war, as opposed to the more sports orientated white Gi in Karate. One of Williams' students named Ed Parker, was extremely innovative and helped refine the Martial Art to suit the more american jiu jitsu style. Ed Parker brought Kenpo to the United States mainland from Hawaii, as he opened his first school in 1954. The art would then gain significant notoriety as many Americans began practising the Martial Art, which helped spread its principles throughout the world.

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MODERN DAY KENPO JIUJITSU

In the modern form of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu, the artform is not trained for sport, but instead for self defense principles. The Budo Shin-Ryu Kenpo Jiu Jitsu Academy was founded by Shihan Mark Watson, and has been evidently popular since its beginning in 2004. Mark Watson teaches a modern style of Kenpo Jujitsu that focuses intently on real life self defense conflict situations. Even though kenpo means "way of the fist" and jujitsu means "gentle art", this formidable fighting system is quite brutal in its proficiency. This Martial Art is a combination of many different styles, as it incorporates different forms of Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing Arts, throwing techniques based off of Judo, and a similar ground fighting system to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Kenpo also teaches extensive weapon defense systems, which makes this artform one of the most all rounded forms in the world.

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SELF DEFENSE USED FOR REAL SITUATIONS 

In this day and age self defense combat systems must be foolproof, as any weakness can result in death when it comes to a war conflict. Kenpo Jiu Jitsu uses extraordinary grappling methods that have helped Japanese Warriors dominate for centuries. The Japanese grappling skill became the foundation of close quarters combat techniques for many other forms around the world. New methods of grappling have become extensively effective due to the close proximity of its core principles. The more outdated methods of striking Martial Arts were proven to be ineffective against warriors wearing armour. This is the same principle in combat today, as not only do soldiers have armour, they also carry Firearms. Many Martial Arts may work well inside the academies of today, but in a real life situation it may hinder any real chance of self defense. Martial Arts needs to be simplistic in its nature, and has to have a freedom to execute no matter what a practitioner is wearing. This is why Kenpo Jiu Jitsu is used by many Armed Forces including SAS commandos, even jiu jitsu for law enforcement has become necessary, as they have a need for close quarters combat due to the heaviness and positioning of their equipment.

The use of grappling in armour became a necessary implication for warriors that engaged in war conflicts. Some instances would have seen soldiers losing their weapons, or running out of ammo, and for this reason they needed to understand how to use an extensive grappling system. Soldiers would also need to learn how to use grappling principles while holding heavy weapons in their hands. Soldiers would utilise hips and limbs as frames so they could counter any kind of attacking formation. This practise would help soldiers develop a greater sense of balance, leverage and mobility, so they could effectively defend themselves in a high pressure situation. Further development was made into the positioning of their bodies compared to where their weapons were attached, as many soldiers had knives on their left hip. The practise of keeping your weapon safe, or being able to access your weapon in a hand to hand combat situation became increasingly important.

Best Kenpo Karate Techniques for Self Defense

Kenpo Karate stands out with its unique blend of strikes, kicks, and blocks, making it a potent art for self-defense. One of the best Kenpo techniques is the rapid hand strikes, aiming for the opponent's vital areas such as the eyes, throat, and groin, enabling you to incapacitate the attacker swiftly. The art also emphasizes fluid movements and evasive footwork, helping practitioners to dodge attacks and position themselves advantageously. Kenpo's combination of circular and linear movements makes it highly adaptable, allowing for quick responses to threats. Practicing these techniques consistently enhances muscle memory, ensuring that you can react effectively in high-pressure situations.

Kenpo Karate also incorporates powerful kicks, aimed at destabilizing the attacker by targeting the knees and shins. The use of knee strikes and elbow strikes in close quarters makes it an excellent choice for self-defense, as these techniques can be delivered with devastating force even in tight spaces. Additionally, Kenpo places a significant emphasis on awareness and anticipation, teaching practitioners to read the situation and act preemptively. By mastering the best Kenpo Karate techniques for self-defense, you equip yourself with a set of skills that can be life-saving in critical moments.

Is Kenpo Effective in MMA

When it comes to mixed martial arts (MMA), the effectiveness of Kenpo is a subject of debate. Kenpo's diverse striking techniques and quick movements can be advantageous in stand-up fighting, providing fighters with a varied arsenal to surprise their opponents. However, Kenpo practitioners might find challenges when faced with the grappling aspects of MMA, as the art primarily focuses on striking. To maximize its effectiveness in an MMA context, practitioners would need to complement their Kenpo training with grappling skills, ensuring a well-rounded combat readiness.

Despite these challenges, there have been fighters who have successfully incorporated Kenpo techniques into their MMA game, showcasing its potential when blended with other martial arts. The key to making Kenpo effective in MMA lies in adapting its techniques to the versatile demands of the cage, ensuring that practitioners can hold their own both on their feet and on the ground. With proper training and adaptation, Kenpo can certainly add a unique and effective layer to an MMA fighter's skill set.

Kempo vs Kenpo

The terms "Kempo" and "Kenpo" are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different martial arts styles, each with its unique characteristics. Kempo typically denotes a Japanese martial art that incorporates both striking and grappling techniques. It is known for its emphasis on practical self-defense and its integration of various martial arts principles. Kempo practitioners learn a balance of offensive and defensive skills, aiming to end confrontations quickly and efficiently.

On the other hand, Kenpo is often associated with the American adaptation of these martial arts, influenced heavily by Ed Parker in the development of American Kenpo. This style puts a greater emphasis on fast, fluid striking combinations, and it often incorporates more elaborate and flashy techniques. While both Kempo and Kenpo share a common ancestry and have similarities in techniques and philosophies, the distinction lies in their individual evolution and areas of focus. Understanding the differences between Kempo and Kenpo is crucial for martial artists looking to study these arts, ensuring that they align their training with their personal goals and preferences.

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WHY CLOSE QUARTERS COMBAT EXISTED IN AN AGE OF WEAPONS

To grasp the true understanding of why close quarters combat had a significant need for development, you must understand the relationship between unarmed combat and armed combat. The ideology of unarmed combat was extremely rare, as most warriors wore significant armour and branded vicious weapons. The idea of attacking someone without a weapon was unheard of, so the age of weapons continued to dominate the landscape. Soon the realisation that the only way to defend yourself against an armed attacker was to use principles of grappling, as opposed to various striking techniques. The fact that most warriors wore armour, heavily influenced the need to use weapons to attack. Soon when circumstances prevailed where victims would use grappling principles to unarm their assailants, the rise of a grappling based Martial Art began to grow.

The basic term that signified the graphing method of combat was Kumi Uchi, which suggested two combatants contesting at close proximity. This new grappling based principle spawned a new warrior wearing minimal armour, this was so they could be light on their feet, which gave them a greater chance of utilising head to hand combat skills. As the necessity for this grappling method grew, so did the way it was being taught, as many of the principles of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu would incorporate weapons defense, and a strategic way to unarm an opponent.

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WHY DID KENPO BECOME ABOUT THE PRESERVATION OF LIFE

The art of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu had been heavily linked as a Martial Art that relied upon any means necessary to subdue or kill an opponent. Kenpo possessed many similarities to Japanese Jiu Jitsu, but was totally different as the practise was pure self defense, meaning it had a necessity to kill. As the new regime took control of Japan the practise of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu in its full form of combat, was declared an illegal practise.

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jiujitsu kenpo

This paved the way for the art of Kenpo to simmer down its savagery and focus on subduing an opponent. Another defense system known as Tori was well known in  parts of Japan, and was basically an extension of Kenpo Jiu Jitsu. Tori utilised many components of ground fighting, including positional holds and submission locks. So the art of Kenpo began adding elements of Tori into their combat system, as the need to preserve life wasn't just for goodwill, but became aspects of the law. With the fundamental system of grappling techniques, a practitioner still had the means to injure or kill their opponent, but in most cases the submission lock was enough to force their opponent to submit. 

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