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Thread: What is Japanese Kempo?

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    Default What is Japanese Kempo?

    What is it? What makes it different from all the other "ken/mpos" out there?

    How many styles are there? Who is a noted practitioner?

    Where can one find it?
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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    In Japanese, KeMpo is a generic term, used to refer to any of the fighting arts, vaguely. Generally, two to three groups identify with it as referring more to their own gig, then to vague generalities (i.e., "Car", vs. "Ford" vs. "My 66 ford mustang").

    1. After WW2, many jujjutsu practitioners who had also been exposed to either okinawan karate or it's recent imports; judo/taijutsu/jujutsu practitioners who, in travelling abroad, picked up some boxing or kiung-fu skills to add to their jits; and other such incarnations...these guys would rename their new eclectic arts "Kempo", to identify them as Japanese in practice, but not as a specific koryu.

    2. Some family systems use the generic phrase to represent their cirricula. Once in a while you see it surface: Some of the "uncles" of the ninjutsu/taijutsu crew come from backgrounds loosle referred to as "kempo". Again, they remain vague as to the lineage of their arts, so it's tough to say why they chose what they did as titles (try, "Sato Kimbei" or Dosshin Sho" as searches for guys who tip in and out of each of these categories. Also, Mas Oyama referred to his gig as kempo for awhile...in general, again, it seems to be a vague reference to what gets created when you blend karate with judo or jujutsu. Many of the sport karate systems that emerged as early splinters after the war called themselves kempo.

    3. I heard this as a quote from a Japanese Kempo instructor in Hawaii, from Japan: "For generations, my family has been training in sword, staff, bow. My Grand-father was with the kodokan very early under Kano, and my father studied Goju under Yamaguchi. We all teach it to all our kids. What do you suggest we call it?"

    Looking at Okinawan kempo, you see some of the same general look/feel...karate, combined with jits. Some versions/lineages are more sophisticated than others; some with perhaps more viable claims to their histories; all pretty much share the "slap, grab, then beat" modality.

    Just my experience; I'm likely wrong.

    Regards,

    Dave
    Clear mind, clear movement. Mastery of the Arts is mastery over the Self. That in this moment, this motion, the thoughts, memories, impulses and passions that cloud the mind must yield to the clarity of purpose, and purity of motion.

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    interesting article by Kano Jigoro
    http://judoinfo.com/kano6.htm

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    Smile Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Hi Shawn,

    Good article. Thanks for sharing.

    Gary

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    Smile Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Hi Dave,

    Kempo comes from India, by way of China. Chinese are quite old and have had writing for a long time before others in the area.
    Japan, Korea,Okinawa borrowed their writing.
    Then it is explained in English, gets pretty twisted.

    The book 'Bubishi' explains it pretty well. Patrick McCarthy wrote it, along with the help of his Japanese wife.

    Since quite a bit of what came through Hawaii is Okinawan, (it is why it got twisted around) and took many years to finally figure it out. 65 years is a short period of time, 1940 in Hawaii till now. Quite a bit of politics and other typical stuff. But they are finally figuring it out.

    With so much misinformation that came over with the first wave of Kenpoist's
    that hit the main land it was awhile for it to be given its true base. Parker acknowledged it with his MON.
    Kajukenbo confused things with the kata's that they first had and then changed to there current name 'paloma' after the area they came from in Hawaii.

    Then many East coast groups attempted to put their slant on it. Now it is getting cleared up. But will still be argued in the dim light of camp fires and on webs sites.

    Gary

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Dr Dave

    Interesting and thought provoking look at the "history" of kenpo

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    paragraphs 3, 4, 5, are quite interesting in the article i posted the link for.
    he states, "Jujutsu has been known from feudal times under various names, such as yawara, tai-jutsu, kogusoku, kempo and hakuda. The names jujutsu and yawara were most widely known and used. "

    i think its interesting to note that kempo is one of the many names that jujutsu went by in feudal japan.

    he also makes another interesting statement as to the problem with tracing an arts roots.
    he states, "Further, it is to be noted that the interest of its students was devoted more to success in the practice of the art than to a knowledge of its rise and progress in the country."

    statements like this would lead me to believe that books like "bugei ryuha daijiten" while being extensive could never be complete.

    the history's of most arts tend to be legends that have a date of origin which probably isnt entirely accurate.

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    Smile Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Hi All,

    I believe it is like all things depending on who you want to believe, when you are friends with someone you believe them or you believe your enemy. (not likly)

    I really would like to think that, that way is not true but it is. I will bring up in my circle other thoughts and it is a sacrilege. I believe what Shawn posted is very true from a stand point of a person telling a story. Not wrong or totally right, but I try to go to a historans point of view and read more then just one side.

    One of the problems I run into is when you stray outside the Dojo and try to learn other stuff, you are treated like you are stinkey and need a bath. I believe that is pretty much life.

    One of the things I have found in the FMA circle as well as other arts, there's is always best. I wish we could get past that and try and find the real ground but it is a hard find.

    I have a tendency to go to the historian. But even that can get muddied.
    I have recently read quite a bit on the various systems that came out of Japan what an eye opener. So much misinformation, but same with FMA and others.

    Rambling and not on topic? I think I will watch what transpires over the next few.

    All good post's in my opinion whether it means anything is not important. Just wanted to say that.

    Regards, Gary

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    hi gary


    its pretty much a given that history is written by the winners. in the case of japan...one could say unwritten.
    in feudal times it was common enough to have someone fall out of favour and have their entire family wiped out and removed from the books.
    so while they may have been great at keeping records, they were probably equally great at removing all traces of them too.

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Given the extensiveness of the records, it could be pretty hard to erase a family with a lot of influence

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    Smile Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Hi Shawn,

    Yes that is the truth. I was just reading a couple of books that the movie 'the great raid' was taken from and then put on the screen. Battle for POW's that were American's as a majority. Interesting.
    I think when you have a war with a country such as we did with Japan we should not be Showing the stuff they did in that movie, it has reignited much hatred.

    I am surprised, it only lasted a few weeks in the theater's (wait I am not surprised). You know the Shinto religion of Japan was abolished after the war by Gen Mc Arthur. Also we have never had the problems we had with China that we had with the Japanese. The Korean conflict had something to do with our distrust. Now we are buddies with the Russians and Japanese and the Chinese. But when it comes to making a decision one of these days over there, we are going to be in a world of Problems.

    Back to Kempo and Kenpo. If you have not read the Bubishi You really should.

    And as far as legends go, you should also read about the Dravidian Culture and the ice age effect on that area. Pretty interesting.

    I hope we can keep this going in all the new forums. I will try and agree where I can but you know it is hard for me to not bounce around a little I hope I don't irritate to many. LOL

    Regartds, Gary

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    agreeing and disagreeing are all part of interesting discussion.
    yes....i need to get a copy of the bubishi.

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Gary, have you read George Alexander's (Matsumura Shorin/Kuda) translation? I have his video on it. Fun stuff. He is all over the place but shows some neat stuff and how it might pertain to whatever art one practices; various points and bunkai. Amazon I think has his version as well as his own company: Yamazato videos. They offer what little is to be seen of masters like Uechi, Funakoshi, Ohtsuka, etc. Collector stuff.
    He had a broom in his hand Bill.

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kai
    Given the extensiveness of the records, it could be pretty hard to erase a family with a lot of influence
    i dont think it would......because no matter how much influence you had, you wanted your family line to survive.
    so if someone told you to shut up, i would wager they did.

    in communist russia at the height of the coldwar, there was one KGB informant for every 12 people.......i read that figure when i was a kid and i never forgot it.
    in feudal japan, everyone was looking to raise their class level or increase their share.....i bet the informant ratio was much higher.

    influence in japan was given and taken away on a whim.
    if you fell out of favour, you fell out of favour with everyone, influence or not.

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    Smile Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Quote Originally Posted by monkey-a-go-go
    Gary, have you read George Alexander's (Matsumura Shorin/Kuda) translation? I have his video on it. Fun stuff. He is all over the place but shows some neat stuff and how it might pertain to whatever art one practices; various points and bunkai. Amazon I think has his version as well as his own company: Yamazato videos. They offer what little is to be seen of masters like Uechi, Funakoshi, Ohtsuka, etc. Collector stuff.
    Hi Monkey san,
    I have not seen or read either. But if it is as good as you say and other recommendations have been good I will follow up on it. Funny I loaned my copy of the Book By Craig, about the Okinawa secrets.

    I also had paid for numerous private lessons, which I never got. So I told him to refund my money on the lessons, throw in 20 bucks for the book. Keep the book. I am serious. What a deal.
    I think I will order both from Amazon. Maybe I will get a deal I can not refuse?

    Thanks for the tip.
    Always good to hear from you.

    Shawn, same thing in todays society, belong to church or organization and you are expunged for saying or thinking (outloud by actions) your freedoms that are given you in our society, or be deleted from some of the forums. You are gone, History, no Mas hard to find anyone who remembers or a post. LOL

    I remember when I was taking Psych 101, (long time ago in a faraway place) and the Professor talked about how most of the worlds problems are about power and how power is very addicting. Many have heard the saying about power and corruption??? Right???

    Gary

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbonz
    i dont think it would......because no matter how much influence you had, you wanted your family line to survive.
    so if someone told you to shut up, i would wager they did.

    in communist russia at the height of the coldwar, there was one KGB informant for every 12 people.......i read that figure when i was a kid and i never forgot it.
    in feudal japan, everyone was looking to raise their class level or increase their share.....i bet the informant ratio was much higher.

    influence in japan was given and taken away on a whim.
    if you fell out of favour, you fell out of favour with everyone, influence or not.
    Whether you were in favor or not it would hard to erase every scrpa of info about a large family, group or clan. taxation, land, travel permits, food bills etc are all foot prints

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    Smile Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Kai
    Whether you were in favor or not it would hard to erase every scrpa of info about a large family, group or clan. taxation, land, travel permits, food bills etc are all foot prints
    Hi Kai,

    The footprints in the cooling volcano dust have been revealing, still debating about that also. I like the tar pits pretty hard to try and say that did not exist.

    History you either love it or hate it. I guess it depends on whose ox is getting gored.

    Those travel permits are real sticklers, or so it seems. HHMMM how can I get around that? Assassinate his character or there's as a whole is a good one.

    The guys that really like to debate are gone and now we have one liners.

    Oh well take what you can get.

    Gary

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hubbard
    What is it? What makes it different from all the other "ken/mpos" out there?

    How many styles are there? Who is a noted practitioner?

    Where can one find it?
    My opinion:

    The art of karate was called kempo in Okinawa. When brought to Japan, it was originally called kempo. It was/is the art of manipulating the vital points of the body, broken into kyusho-jitsu and tuite-jitsu. According to Pat McCarthy's Bubishi, the knowledge of the vital points came from a white crane monk from China, named Kusanku or Koshokun. (Kosho-kun, in my opinion, is from where we get Kosho Shorei Ryu).

    The japanese began teaching kempo nationally to everyone, including school children, and in doing so, left out much of the knowledge of the vital points, blunting the knuckle strikes and finger tip strikes into punches and palm heels, and making the limb destructions into blocks. The "movement" stayed basically the same, but the knowledge was taken away. In essence, the hands were "emptied." Around 1920, the name was changed to karate, or empty hand.

    Anyway, my opinion is that Japanese Kempo would basically be very similar to Japanese Karate, with a focus on vital point manipulation. It is my opinion that James Mitose used the name Kosho Shorei to explain that he was teaching Shorei Ryu karate with an emphasis on the vital point knowledge taught by the monk Koshokun.

    A prominent Japanese Kempo stylist would be George Dillman, or if we want to go japanese, Seiyu Oyata, the man who is given credit for teaching Dillman the kempo that he was practicing without knowing it in his karate. I also think it would be difficult to differentiate Japanese Kempo from Okinawan Kempo visually, although the japanese curriuculum may be more structured. Samurai ryus taught kenpo-jitsu as a substyle of jujitsu.

    Unless of course, we are to include Shorinji Kempo, which is a recent stylization founded by Doshin So, that may fall under the heading "Japanized" Kempo, the way that most kempo/kenpo styles practiced here in America are considered "Americanized Kenpo."

    How many styles are there? I think that any form of Japanese Karate has the potential to be Japanese Kempo once the knowledge of the vital points is inserted into the training. A good example is that Dillman changed the name of his art to kempo after his exposure to the teachings of Oyata.

    How does one find it? Shorinji is easy to find. Dillman practitioners are easy to find. So, of course, are con men teaching parlor tricks. There are many books on the subject of pressure points, and I think that any practitioner of karate can at least learn enough from the wealth of material available to make an informed decision regarding instruction. More gifted practitioners may even "find" kempo within the art they already know with a little guidance.
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    how are you dave?

    i posted a link to an article that was written in part by kano.....near the beginning of this thread.

    its interesting to note that he said that kempo was one of the names that jujutsu went by in feudal japan.
    i have read other articles that stated this as well......and im trying to find a link for one that i read recently. it stated that the term kempo was used in japan pre-1500.

    another few interesting statements from the article:
    "In the Taiiroku it is denied that Chingempin introduced jujutsu into Japan-but while affirming that Akiyama introduced some features of the art from China, it adds, "it is a shame to our country" to ascribe the origin of jujutsu to China. In this opinion we ourselves concur. It seems to us that the art is Japanese in origin and development for the following reasons:

    1.An art of defense without weapons is common in all countries in a more or less developed state, and in Japan the feudal state would necessarily develop jujutsu.

    2.The Chinese kempo and Japanese ju-jutsu differ materially in their methods.

    3.The existence of a similar art is referred to, before the time of Chingempin.

    4.The unsatisfactoriness of the accounts given of its origin.

    5.The existence of Japanese wrestling from very early times, which in some respects resembles jujutsu.
    6.As Chinese arts and Chinese civilizations were highly esteemed by the 7.Japanese, in order to give prestige to the art, jujutsu may have been ascribed to a Chinese origin.
    8.In ancient times teachers of the different branches of military arts, such as fencing, using the spear, etc., seem to have practiced this art to some extent."

    "There are various ways of gaining victory, such as throwing heavily on the ground; choking up the throat; holding down on the ground .......twisting or bending arms, legs or fingers in such a way that an opponent cannot bear the pain, etc............. Besides these, in some of the schools special exercises, called atemi and kuatsu, are taught. Atemi is the art of striking or kicking some of the parts of the body in order to kill or injure the opponents."

    this article was written in 1888.....fairly close to the meiji restoration, so i imagine that there was plenty of info and people around for kano to draw from. he also seems to make a distinction between chinese kempo, and the japanese equivalent.
    he does say that in the book "Bugei Sho-Den", kempo is described as an art of gaining victory by pliancy.

    interesting stuff.

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    Default Re: What is Japanese Kempo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbonz
    how are you dave?

    <snip>

    interesting stuff.
    Shawn, I am well, thanks. And thanks for the info. You are right, this is fascinating stuff!
    Dave

    "I consider that the spiritual life is the life of man's real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern." - Thomas Merton


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