Is Kajukenbo the first mixed martial arts (MMA)?
Kajukenbo is a modern eclectic system developed in Hawaii. It was founded in 1949 and could be considered the first “mixed martial arts”.
The art of Kajukenbo was developed out of 4 primary systems (and some minor systems):
Korean Karate – Ka
Judo / Jujutsu – Ju
Kenpo Jujutsu – Ken
Chinese Boxing (Sil Lum Pai) – Bo
There are also two minor systems that influenced the original method of Kajukenbo: western boxing (4 of 5 founders boxed) and Escrima (Filipino martial arts).
The founders of this eclectic system were:
- Adriano Emperado – a Kempo black belt under Professor William Chow and an Escrimador.
- Peter Choo – a black belt in Korean Karate (Tang Soo Do) and a Hawaii boxing champion
- Joe Holck – a Judo black belt
- Frank Ordonez – a Jujutsu black belt
- Clarence Chang – a teacher of Sil Lum Pai Kung Fu
The influence of these arts can often be distinguished within their techniques.
Even the influences from the minor systems, such as the Filipino martial arts, can be seen in many of the destructions (gunting) and angling movements in the various crisis rehearsal techniques of Kajukenbo.
Because the founders of Kajukenbo were not interested in aesthetic parts of martial arts, you will not see traditional weapon and punching defenses; instead you will see attacks from boxing type of attacks, or more typical “street” oriented acts of physical violence (including defensive techniques against club and knife attacks).
In this video, you will see Professor John Bishop, an 8th degree red/black belt in Kajukenbo and a Kempo / Kajukenbo historian explains some basic principles and concepts of Kajukenbo and the influences the various arts have on technique.
For more information on Kajukenbo training, DVD’s, and schools, Professor Bishop’s website at: kajukenboinfo.com
Filed in: Kempo - Kenpo Karate