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Thread: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    "... and "The Professor" had decided to elevate himself to 15th degree."

    Do you know that on the Kara-Ho membership card I have it lists Mr. Kuoha as 10th degree and Professor. Chow as 15th?
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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    "... and "The Professor" had decided to elevate himself to 15th degree."

    Do you know that on the Kara-Ho membership card I have it lists Mr. Kuoha as 10th degree and Professor. Chow as 15th?
    Yeah, Sam became the man in what is called "Chow's" Art, promoted to 10th by Chow. Apparently no one took that 15th degree serious except the people in his "new" art. A lot didn't take that 10th seriously either. Many suggested that Chow had simply "lost it," and would babble nonsense, often contradicting himself in the same conversation. Not befitting the legacy of the man who almost singlehandedly ushered in the era of martial arts as pure self defense having spawned Ed Parker's work, the concept of combined arts to that end, as well as the first official mixed martial art, Kajukenbo.
    Last edited by Doc; 08-29-2014 at 10:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    So why did Mr. Parker keep step through punch defenses in his system?
    "To be, rather than to seem"

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    So why did Mr. Parker keep step through punch defenses in his system?
    Maybe nobody hears me but, he didn't. He didn't dictate attacks or defenses. I know when he came over to my place, we didn't do them. He never said, "Hey, what are you guys doing?" He knew what I was doing, and like all of his students he either did, or didn't give his approval of what you were doing. If he thought you were doing something unproductive, he would make suggestions to remedy it. He focused on end results within the framework. The step through punch he inherited from the "karate" portion of Chow's Training, and for many it was and apparently is, just the way its done. No one ever seems to think that perhaps it is not likely to be an attack seen in the streets. I know that he knew better because we talked about it, and all aspects of street assaults drawing on our collective experiences in urban warfare. He acknowledged for some, it was simply "easier." But teachers did a lot of impractical things. Just look at some of the techniques in the manuals. Some of them were rediculous, but were taught anyway. Many had their head up their collective butts, and never questioned anything. They just didn't think. The number one thing Mr. Parker was trying to promote.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Prof. Chow has always interested me and I have tried to find out as much as I could about his art and training.

    I can't remember who it was that I had talked to, or maybe even a commentary by someone who knew Prof. Chow. But, they talked about that video that Mark posted and said that Prof. Chow was kind of lost when it came to doing demonstrations because his experience and his training would end it in about 3 moves. He didn't know how to draw it out and make it "look good".

    Also, in digging around, the Kara-Ho Kenpo that we see now is not just Prof. Chow's art but a group effort with GM Kuoha. Prof. Chow and him would talk about ideas and GM Kuoha would put something together, like a form/kata, and Prof. Chow would give his approval for it, or would make changes to it.

    The closest (I believe) to Prof. Chow's street oriented approach and art that made him famous is carried on through Bill Chun (there are probably more as well, I just don't know their names). This approach featured lots and lots of basics and drilling of those basics and exploring technique ideas through that method.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Yep. Bill Chun is easy to talk to and a very nice guy. One day I hope to see him in person again. He will talk on the for for quite a while and has some interesting information and stories and Professor Chow.
    His organization's webpage is here:
    Go Shin Jitsu Kai Chinese Kempo Welcome Page
    "To be, rather than to seem"

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    Prof. Chow has always interested me and I have tried to find out as much as I could about his art and training.

    I can't remember who it was that I had talked to, or maybe even a commentary by someone who knew Prof. Chow. But, they talked about that video that Mark posted and said that Prof. Chow was kind of lost when it came to doing demonstrations because his experience and his training would end it in about 3 moves. He didn't know how to draw it out and make it "look good".

    Also, in digging around, the Kara-Ho Kenpo that we see now is not just Prof. Chow's art but a group effort with GM Kuoha. Prof. Chow and him would talk about ideas and GM Kuoha would put something together, like a form/kata, and Prof. Chow would give his approval for it, or would make changes to it.

    The closest (I believe) to Prof. Chow's street oriented approach and art that made him famous is carried on through Bill Chun (there are probably more as well, I just don't know their names). This approach featured lots and lots of basics and drilling of those basics and exploring technique ideas through that method.
    I would tend to agree sir.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


    www.MSUACF.com

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    You remember our communications about these very subjects when I was training with some of these guys a few years ago sir, and my frustration with the unrealistic movie style self-defense techniques.
    Watching this brings up a question I've pondered in the past. Many, if not most martial arts schools in the past, and still today, practice against stepthrough right punches. In spite of this, some actually become able to fight, and to defend themselves. Professor Chow , Mr. Parker...there's a pretty good list of men who can be seen practicing and teaching defense against these kinds of stylized attacks, yet they have the reputation of being formidable streetfighters.
    I tend to think this is in spite of, rather than because of the practice against stepthrough punches. But what possible benefit could be realized from it, other than in the very beginning stages allowing a beginning student the time to execute newly learned techniques against slow, telegraphed punches?

    Here's the video we've all seen of Professor Chow demonstrating. Although not exactly the classic stepthrough attack, still not very realistic...


    Just my two cents... Some Chinese Martial Arts particularly those descended from the Northern Shaolin Temple arts use larger movements during training to help students discover power generating sources as well as developing dynamic action and later Korean, Okinawan, Japanese and Hawaiian Martial Arts mimicked these Chinese Martial Arts, this is part of the reason why the step through punch is in Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kenpo and so on. Yes, other useful applications can be devised from these larger frame movements but even as stand alone basic movements they serve a teaching purpose. This is one of the hardest things to understand for the "I am so practical and street realistic" crowd, when a movements usefulness is not immediately apparent they dismiss it as impractical foolishness or outdated methods. Much like Doc's stomping movements while working techniques seem robotic and impractical but actually serve to reinforce alignment of the upper and lower platforms, aside from that it helps develop footwork in the same way that physical therapists retrain the injured to walk by having them step over a low hurdle. Large dynamic movements are a part of the progressive learning cycle, much like the numerous benefits derived from the training horse stance. While I rarely drive a step through punch into an opponent or throw a head high kick or fight from a deep horse stance, I will on occasion work larger more exaggerated movements and deeper stances, I find that as I age it helps me maintain my full range of motion.
    ~Sami Ibrahim

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    ....
    "To be, rather than to seem"

    "Fix your rear foot ... What the hell is wrong with you?"

    "...I already watched the videos, and quite frankly, they're bullsh*t."

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    I noticed that the original video has been taken down... but thought I'd perhaps share my experience as a practitioner and teacher of another branch of Professor Chow's Kempo Karate to what was shown in the video.

    First off, I thought I'd mention that Master Kuoha's Kempo is his interpretation of Professor's Kempo. I have heard him say that his forms and techniques are his creation with some input from Professor Chow. I think the system is good on its own merits, but I'd say it's become removed from Professor's Kempo as it was taught by Professor in the late 70s until his death in 1987.

    What my teacher was taught by Professor Chow during the later time period (1978 - 1987) was very heavy on conditioning exercises, e.g. calisthenics, iron hand, hard qigong (iron vest) and body conditioning type training (similar to kote kitae in Okinawan Karate).

    Professor also taught many forms during this time. They had more of a Chinese flavor and were often taught in low stances to prepare leg strength and flexibility for explosiveness and to teach the body to rise and sink (for power generation). It was also taught in deeper stances to help isolate the basic upper body movement without worrying about advanced footwork.

    Quite contrary to most other styles of Kempo / Kenpo from Professor Chow's lineage, we do not have pre-set / pre-arranged techniques / combinations we HAVE to learn. Everything revolves around how well one knows the form and how well you understood the principles contained within it.

    This is because all of our techniques (we call them "tricks") are pulled from the form. Each movement do not have just a singular interpretation, but typically have at least 3 different interpretations. From these movements the concept of rearrangement is used to build the tricks. Also, while the forms are done in lower stances (initially) the application of the techniques are done in more natural postures. The natural stances and postures are also taught as part of an advanced timing pattern of our most basic form.

    Some other characteristics are: quick footwork (using angles), level changes, low line kicks (as opposed to Master Kuoha's Kempo you don't see kicks above the waist in our tricks), striking and seizing vital points, limited blocking, and fast strikes (with a lot of clawing, knife edge, cross, hooks and uppercut type strikes).

    Hopefully I've shed some light on Professor Chow's art and aided in the discussion here.

    All the best,
    Steven

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Steven, where did the forms come from, were they created by Professor Chow himself ?
    Last edited by MarkC; 10-19-2014 at 12:54 AM.
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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Mark,

    As far as I know the forms that were taught to me by my teacher were made by the Professor.

    I also know he taught other forms in the 80s but these were not passed on to us (these were Sil Lum animal type forms). He is known to have created some forms in collaboration with his students as well, including the Hansuki form (with Professor William Chun) and the Kwai Sun form (with Master Sam Kuoha). He also taught the "Monkey Dance" (Naihanchi Shodan) which he learned from Mitose and later discarded.

    The problem with finding the origin of his material is that we only have anecdotes in regards to Professor's early training, but it is evident that he did learn some type of Chinese martial arts (along with other arts like boxing, jujutsu, wrestling, Lua, Karate, Kempo etc.).

    The popular story has been that his father was a Shaolin monk... I don't necessarily dispute the claim that his father was a monk since many young people during that time spent time in temples as "monks" instead of primary school. But a "Shaolin monk"... probably not. I've also read his father was an "interested layman" in martial arts. Yet others have explicitly said his father was NOT a monk and did not teach martial arts of any kind.

    Others have said he spent a decade learning from a Chinese master in his youth. And yet another that he was taught a Shaolin derivative of Wing Chun by another member of his family (his uncle or other relative).

    Then there's his links to Sil Lum Kung Fu through one of his own students, Shihan Bobby Lowe. Bobby Lowe's father was a master of Southern Shaolin Kung Fu (sil lum pai kung fu) and had taught his young son Bobby the art; so it could very well be that Professor and Shihan Lowe exchanged information. Where the Professor traded Kempo for his Kung Fu knowledge. (Shihan Bobby Lowe later became a student of Mas Oyama and the first person to setup a Kyokushinkai school outside of Japan). By the way, this is simply a theory of mine... and not published elsewhere.

    Professor Chow also met Grandmaster Lau Bun (the father of Choi Li Fut in America) through an introduction by Master Ming Lum. Ming Lum stated in an interview that "Both (Professor Chow and GM Lau Bun) had great respect for the other and they exchanged techniques" during his visit in Northern California, which to me would indicate at least some knowledge of Chinese martial arts by Professor Chow at the time of their meeting. For what it's worth, there are photos circulating of them together (I have a couple of them in my possession).

    To make a long story short...

    What we do know is:

    1. Professor taught forms
    2. He taught already established forms (like the Naihanchi).
    3. He created forms (like Hansuki and his tension sets, as well as the forms we teach).

    While I wish I knew the roots of his arts, my guess is simply that like the culture he lived in - the melting pot that is Hawaii - he was exposed to many systems and kept, discarded or rearranged material to fit his needs.

    All the best,
    Steven

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by KempoGuy View Post
    Mark,

    The popular story has been that his father was a Shaolin monk... I don't necessarily dispute the claim that his father was a monk since many young people during that time spent time in temples as "monks" instead of primary school. But a "Shaolin monk"... probably not. I've also read his father was an "interested layman" in martial arts. Yet others have explicitly said his father was NOT a monk and did not teach martial arts of any kind.

    All the best,
    Steven
    My theory, again stressing "theory" about Prof. Chow's father and the kung fu connection is that it is/was probably similiar to here in the US how many youths in that time period were taught western boxing by their fathers when growing up. Most father's probably only had a basic passing knowledge of it themselves, but they would still pass it on to their sons to protect themselves and know how to handle themselves. So technically, you would say that you learned boxing from your dad. If we as westerners were told that, we would not make the automatic assumption that your father was a master trainer in boxing or necessarily highly skilled without other facts. But, for some reason when we hear that someone learned "kung fu" or "karate" from their dad there seems to be that assumption that the father was a skilled and trained instructor passing on complete knowledge.

    I think that IF Prof. Chow learned something from his father it was more a basic knowledge of basic techniques and not systematic training. The reason I believe this is that Prof. Chow's brother was a student of Danzan Ryu JJ and there was no mention from his brother about extensive kung fu training.

    PS: that is NOT to take away from Prof. Chow's martial genius, just a theory on where/how things might have been picked up.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    My theory, again stressing "theory" about Prof. Chow's father and the kung fu connection is that it is/was probably similiar to here in the US how many youths in that time period were taught western boxing by their fathers when growing up. Most father's probably only had a basic passing knowledge of it themselves, but they would still pass it on to their sons to protect themselves and know how to handle themselves. So technically, you would say that you learned boxing from your dad. If we as westerners were told that, we would not make the automatic assumption that your father was a master trainer in boxing or necessarily highly skilled without other facts. But, for some reason when we hear that someone learned "kung fu" or "karate" from their dad there seems to be that assumption that the father was a skilled and trained instructor passing on complete knowledge.

    I think that IF Prof. Chow learned something from his father it was more a basic knowledge of basic techniques and not systematic training. The reason I believe this is that Prof. Chow's brother was a student of Danzan Ryu JJ and there was no mention from his brother about extensive kung fu training.

    PS: that is NOT to take away from Prof. Chow's martial genius, just a theory on where/how things might have been picked up.
    I agree with you with the "layman theory" concerning his father, Chow Hoon, and his Kung Fu prowess. Professor's Chinese Martial Art knowledge is sure to be mostly from other sources both in Hawaii and on the Mainland (during his visits there).

    We already know Professor met Lau Bun and knew Ming Lam (who was originally from Hawaii). And I recall hearing that Professor traveled quite frequently to the mainland (San Francisco area, for the better part of a decade) to learn and exchange knowledge with Chinese martial artists since he had siblings who lived in the area. He clearly had contact with other Chinese martial artists as well since guys like James Yimm Lee (better known as a student of Bruce Lee) gave Professor a prominent position in his book: "Modern Kung-Fu Karate" (a book on iron hand / poison hand training), originally published in 1957.

    Regarding John Chow Hoon, this is just my guess, the possible reason he did not receive training from his father was because he was the youngest of his siblings and by the time he "came of age" his father had already moved back to China. I've heard stories that his brother, Professor William Chow, taught martial arts out of their house (prior to him becoming a member of the Official Self-Defense Club) where John Chow Hoon received Kenpo training. Professor John Chow Hoon received his shodan in Kenpo in 1943 (as a member of the Official Self-Defense Club), and received his Shodan in Danzan Ryu in 1945 from Okazaki sensei.

    All the best,
    Steven

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