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Kajukenbo Today By GM Al Dacascos

Kajukenbo Branches > Wun Hop Kuen Do

Kajukenbo Today By GM Al Dacascos


Prof. Ben Fajardo:
By Sifu (Grandmaster) Al Dacascos

We need not go into a detailed history of the original beginning of Kajukenbo.  Bear in mind that there have been many interpretations of the history of KJKB.  Depending on the source, the history is fairly the same.  What we are interested in is the other major sections that Sijo (Founder) Adriano. D. Emperado sanctioned.  Let me begin with my observation first hand into the creation of the other three.  Yes, three.  There is no doubt of the mentality of the credited co-founders of Kajukenbo back in the late forty‚Äôs (1947-49) when they compounded their experiences to devise the very first true American Mix Martial Arts system, hence, 

The Black Belt Society prior to the name of KJKB- Kenpo-karate.  From this, the other branches of this fine premier art of Hawaii sprouted forth. I had a few teachers in the striking arts, ,‚Ķbut the credit would definitely go to Chief Instructor Sid Asuncion (decease in 1995), who developed many of the shakers and movers and their off springs in Kajukenbo.  Sid Asuncion eventually branched out to call his form, Kenkabo. At  that time, late 50‚Äôs and early 1960‚Äôs we where just called the Waipahu Kenpo-karate Club on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.  We wore white karate top and bottom with a red tee shirt on the inside.  All the beginners at that time used only white bottoms and Red T-shirts. For some of us who couldn‚Äôt afford those nice white bottoms, we acquired some of those formed fitted white bottoms from Navy sailors who returned back to their ships at Pearl Harbor wearing only their underwear.


It was not until a visit to our club by A.D Emperado in 1962 that we started the change of color of uniform from red and white, to red inside and black outside.  Back in 1963-64, Al Dela Cruz commenced his classes at Palama Settlement, Honolulu, Hawaii.  I assisted in his classes.  The three of us hung around a lot and Chief Instructor Adriano D. Emperado as he was called then, was ready for a different direction of his art of Kajukenbo. The state of mind of A.D. Emperado at that time while working as a Police Officer for the Harbor  Patrol was that he foresaw Kung-fu coming into its own in world recognition very soon, as well as his vision on the Filipino martial arts, the Korean arts and the grappling arts, although not coming out in that order.  Judo was already well established in Hawaii.


In 1963, while Emperado visited Al Dela Cruz‚Äôs Palama Settlement Kenpo-karate club, he claimed that a new name called Tum Pai was developed out of KJKB using Southern style of Kung Fu and Tai-Chi Ch‚Äôuan.   Al Dela Cruz helped in converted the first two original Kajukenbo Kenpo-karate Pinion‚Äôs (Katas or Kuens) to soft hand movements but the foot pattern remained the same.  Many of the hard solid horse stances, were replaced with deep and very low cat stances only typical of the Southern Chinese Sil-lum systems. According to Emperado, Professor Wong a.k.a. ‚ÄúOld Man Wong‚Äù of the Honolulu Chinatown Kung fu Association recognized Emperado as a lethal force in the Martial Arts movement in Hawaii and gave Emperado his blessing to develop this ‚ÄúNew Direction‚Äù as well as having the Chinese Physical Cultural and Kung-fu Community honoring him his ‚ÄúProfessorship‚Äù.  While Emperado spearheaded the Tum-Pai section, Al Dela Cruz and myself, Al Dacascos, became involved and were credited as being the Co-founders of the Tum-Pai section.  I was also studying

Sil-lum Pai Kung fu with Si-hing Eugene Ho as my primary Instructor under Sifu Buck Sam Kong before he moved to Los Angeles.  I was just a novice in Sil-lum Pai but learned fast, as I was intrigued with this new form of fighting skills and as the third man on the totem pole, gave my input to Tum-Pai.  Adriano D. Emperado‚Äôs mindset at that time was his frustration with Kajukenbo Kenpo-karate as it was going through growing pains with other Students and Instructors who were going off in other directions. 


In the winter of 1964, I moved to Northern California, Bay Area, first to Daly City than over to Hayward, California from Honolulu, Hawaii.  I started a club in a garage but that soon became too small as word got out that this strange oriental fighting art was being taught.  In my first club in a dance Studio in Hayward, a place called Cherryland Hall, the ‚ÄúSchool of Chinese Kempo-Kung-fu‚Äù got its official start.

In this location, it was acknowledged by Adriano D. Emperado as a section of Kajukenbo soft style called Tum-Pai.  Within two years, I had developed technically in my martial arts training methods as I became involved with a group of Chinese in San Jose in their club called the San Jose Chinese Physical Cultural Center.  The instructor at that place was a guy they called Sifu Paul Ng who was instructing us in the Southern style called ‚ÄúFu-chow‚Äù an element out of the Hong-Ga Kin system.  Also in that class was Kam Yuen, later known for his choreography in the ‚ÄúKung Fu‚Äù series of the early 1970‚Äôs with David Chow director and main character, David Carradine.  Ron Lew who now has the Tai-Mathis style of Kung fu in San Jose became a very close associate.  In this tight group, I was the only part-Chinese in a group of the original ten members.  Our focus was to learn the Northern style of Kung- Fu called Northern Sil-lum or Northern Pak-Pai from Professor Wong Jack Man, the person mentioned as the Kung-fu Instructor that fought Bruce Lee in that controversial fight between the two back in Oakland in the early 1060‚Äôs.  I was competing heavily in Northern California winning in form competition using my Northern Pak-Pai forms, But fighting as a Kajukenbo fighter with my own expression of kung-fu thrown into it.  My expression of fighting had not fully developed yet but my fighters were beginning to make a name for themselves in Northern California. Emperado and Dela Cruz came up to visit my school during the summer of 1965 and I sat with both of them explaining  that we should not use the term of Tum-Pai anymore and we should use the name Ch‚Äôuan Fa instead.  My reason for this was that the Tum-Pai system was limited to the southern style and Tai Chi thus using the ‚ÄúNew‚Äù name, Ch‚Äôuan Fa would give us more lee-way because now we had the Northern style forms as well as the Southern style representation of various and selected Kung fu movements.  After my demonstration of long-range movements, high jumping butterfly kicks, full circle sweeps as used in the Northern style, Emperado and Dela Cruz realized that it would be appropriate to have the name of Tum Pai completely eliminated and finally changed to Ch‚Äôuan Fa.  Thus, Ch‚Äôuan Fa in 1966 became sanctioned as the second branch of Kajukenbo.  Ch‚Äôuan Fa as many of you are now familiar with, is a direct translation of Kempo, with an ‚Äúm‚Äù instead of the ‚Äún‚Äù.  The name change also gave us a more intense Chinese appeal. In the winter of 1966, the Kajukenbo Association of America (KAA) was being formed in Northern California and the School of Chinese Kempo-Kung-Fu Emblem and Logo was selected to be the emblem of Kajukenbo compared to the other five submitted.  It was also at this time frame that I told A. D. Emperado that it was time for a major change in the system of proper titles to use. From this point on, in the year of 1966, the respectful uses of the Chinese titles were being integrated.  Emperado was now properly called ‚ÄúSi-Jo‚Äù (Founder), and the use of Sifu, and the titles were beginning to get a strong foothold in the Kajukenbo system.  With Tum-Pai being dropped in 1966, the name would not officially be brought back under the Kajukenbo wing until April 14, 1984, in Portland, Oregon.  Sifu Jon Loren, unbeknownst to us, had picked up the name and started to develop it by using the first two forms as the original and then began to add more with a heavier influence of Tai-Chi, Hsing-hi, Chi-kung and the Chinese healing arts.   


Prof. Ben Fajardo:
Al Dela Cruz and A.D. Emperado and I, were now leading the ‚ÄúResearch and Development Department‚Äù of this ‚ÄúNew‚Äù branch of Ch‚Äôuan Fa even though at that time, it wasn‚Äôt called the R and D Department.  Here in this phase, all three of us realized the creativity and wealth of knowledge that the Chinese Kung Fu systems could readily bring into Kajukenbo.  The Kajukenbo of that era, mainly, the KSDI of Hawaii, under Robert ‚ÄúTwinkle‚Äù Kawakami, President and Chairperson; The Kajukenbo Association of America, the brain-child of Charles Gaylord along with its other founding fathers; Al Reyes Sr., Joe Halbuna, Tony Ramos, and myself, all fully recognized the influence of the ‚ÄúSoft‚Äù style in Kajukenbo and Ch‚Äôuan Fa which was accepted along with the ‚ÄúHard‚Äù style Kenpo-karate.  Kajukenbo Kenpo-karate and Kajukenbo Ch‚Äôuan Fa were now officially the main stay.  Only two schools were teaching the Ch‚Äôuan Fa style.  Al Dela Cruz in Hawaii, and my school in the East Bay Area of Northern California.  The KAA at that time held everyone together and we as Kajukenboists, were strong for a few years.  However, the direction and goals within the founding five members of the KAA and their second generation Black Belts became apparent when some of the members became hard core ‚ÄúHard‚Äù stylist and would not give the ‚ÄúSoft‚Äù stylist any due respect.  Needless to say, old time feuds began to creep back into the memories of the old timers.  Not wanting to be involved with this kind of politics, Al Reyes and myself decided to form the International Kajukenbo Association three years later in1969.  Our goals deferred from the others as we realized that the KAA was limiting itself to North America only and that we need to expand internationally.  With my departure from the KAA and being one of the main co-founders of the Ch‚Äôuan Fa section, many of the younger generation Black Belts within the KAA ‚ÄúHard‚Äù style Kenpo-karate began to seek learning other forms of Kung fu to enhance their own personal expressions and still call themselves ‚ÄúCh‚Äôuan Fa‚Äù.  The problem with that is that we had already established the criteria with set requirements to become the Ch‚Äôuan-Fa practitioners as developed by the three of us, Emperado, Dela Cruz and myself. Interesting enough is the fact that GM Tony Ramos would drive down from Fairfield and take private lessons from me so he could fully understand the Ch‚Äôuan Fa concept.  So were SOME of the students of the ‚ÄúHard Style Kenpo Section‚Äù without their instructor‚Äôs full knowledge of their doings.   I handed over the baton to Leonard Endrizzi and Bill Owens to continue the development and research of the Ch‚Äôuan Fa section in Kajukenbo here on the mainland when I found favor in Wun Hop Kuen Do in 1968-69. Endrizzi passed away in 2005 and Bill Owens had tendered his affiliation with Kajukenbo back in 1999.  This left only the only original Ch‚Äôuan-Fa co-founder, Al Dela Cruz in Hawaii who had taken on the full responsibility of that sector.  Compounding this vacuum is the fact that Emperado is not active in the development of this branch and has pretty much left it up in the air or to Grand Master Al Dela Cruz to do as he pleases.  Another factor is the fact that over the years, there has been no real leadership in this sector and as it is now, nobody and everyone uses the name, claiming they have some sort of ‚Äúsoft‚Äù style techniques or Kung fu forms incorporated into there Kenpo-karate.  The reality is, Al Dela Cruz is the only co-founder of that sector that has the original concept as when we designed it back in the 1965-66. As for WHKD, it was maturing into its own identity.  Mainly my personal expression of the Kenpo-karate, Tum-Pai, Ch‚Äôuan Fa and other martial arts learned along the way, and the expressions of the 25 Technical Fighting principles applied to combat. The political growing pains that was happening within Kajukenbo and my move away from the West Coast to the Mid-West, Denver, Colorado, made it easier for me to focus on my own growth and development.  In 1968 before the name Wun Hop Kuen Do became sanctioned as the third branch of Kajukenbo, much consideration was taken into account.  I was becoming more known to the martial arts community because of bringing out and representing Kung fu and Kajukenbo to the public forum.  My own students, the likes of Ted Sotelo, Eric Lee, Malia Bernal Dacascos, Bill Owens, Karyn Turner, Karen Shepard, Ken Lambert, Fred King, Mike Sandos, my son Mark Dacascos, Art Camacho under Eric Lee and the many top Germany WHKD individuals such as Christian Wulf, Emanuel Bettencourt, were continuing to make names for themselves, and these names only are just a small portion of the vast pool of talents coming out of this sector alone.  ‚ÄúWun Hop Kuen Do‚Äù means ‚ÄúCombine Fist Arts‚Äù.  I was in conflict with myself, as the Ch‚Äôuan Fa section became more disarray.  I wanted to separate my group from all the political infighting and growing pains so I copped out with a name change rightfully so with a friend by the name of Billy Liu in Denver.  What made WHKD different at that time was the fact that many of the martial artists were traditionalist.  Kajukenbo, even if it was classified as an eclectic style or system, was by the nature of keeping order, became traditional within its system.  WHKD philosophy was ‚Äúanchored to the rock, but geared to time‚Äù.  We were making changes in the 60‚Äôs and 70‚Äôs while others panicked and criticized.  I was called the ‚ÄúRebel‚Äù in the East Coast Martial Arts magazines and Black Belt magazines, naming me the Vince Lombardi of the martial arts because of my coaching and teaching methods and the personalities that immerged from Kajukenbo-WHKD.  I was the very first Kajukenbo Black Belt to be listed as a top ten fighter in the USA in the prestigious Black Belt Magazine back in the early 1970‚Äôs and realizing that or not at that time, did give Kajukenbo a push forward.  But Sam Allred of Albuquerque, New Mexico was the very first Kajukenbo practitioner to be in the prestigious Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame, and as ‚ÄúMan of the Year. ‚Äú   


April 14, 1984 in Portland, Oregon, during a seminar that was host by the Portland, Oregon Kajukenbo Group, Sifu Jon Loren presented Sijo Emperado with Tum-Pai and the requirements and criteria that would cause Emperado to sanction that section.  It was the re-birth of Tum-Pai under a new leadership and direction of Sifu Jon Loren.


The years of 1947-49 was said to be the birth of Kajukenbo, via the Black Belt Society and its version of Kenpo-karate with the co-founders of known five co-founders.  Current Status: Active


From 1963- 1966, the development of Tum-Pai was under Adriano D. Emperado, Al Dela Cruz and Al Dacascos.


In 1666,  the name of Tum-Pai was dropped and replaced with Ch‚Äôuan-Fa with the direction of A.D. Emperado, Al Dela Cruz and Al Dacascos.  Current Status, Al Dela Cruz Head of Original Ch‚Äôuan Fa Section


1969 Wun Hop Kuen Do comes into its own status under the direction of Al Dacascos.  Current Status: Active


1984 Re-birth of Tum-Pai under the direction of Jon Loren.

Current Status: Active

By Gm Al Dacascos

WOW, that's a lot to take in all at once, I need to read it a few times....I like those history lessons form those that were there.......


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