Saturday, December 24, 2011

What is Kenpo Karate?

Some of you who are coming to my blog may be interested in what kenpo karate is. I realize that not everyone visiting is a martial artist and I would like to share with those visiting a little of the history of kenpo karate.

Kenpo is a martial art that takes its roots from China by way of Zen Buddhist monks. In ancient Japan, the Yoshidas were a prominent, warrior family, having influence with the emperor as well as significant control over the shinto religion--the popular religion at the time. In the 13th century Zengo Yoshida embraced Rinzai, a sect of Zen Buddhism, and eventually his branch of the Yoshida family built their own Zen temple to practice the warrior arts.

For the next 800 years the arts of the Shaolin Temple and the philosophy of Zen would intermingle with Shintoism and the way of the samurai to create the karate and kenpo karate that martial artists practice today.

Ed Parker is one of the founders of modern kenpo karate, but it did not begin with him. The art passed down the Yoshida line to Sakuhi Yoshida, who was the teacher and grandfather of James Mitose, who trained William Chow who was the first to ever call the art by it’s modern name: kenpo karate.

Ed Parker was a student of William Chow and is now credited for the formation of the art under its new name. Though the name isn’t originally his, his master William Chow gave up the name for the name Go-Shinjutsu, though his students continued to call it kenpo karate. Later Ed Parker opened up his own school and called it original kenpo karate.

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