Aplomb Martial Arts on the Origins of Kempo Karate

Kenpo or Kempo Karate has a long, deep, and rich history. Karate altogether has storied origins that every martial arts practitioner would do well to know and appreciate so that they could understand why they do the training they do and from where the discipline and its tenets first stemmed.

The Art of Te”

The practice started as “Te,” performed by indigenous people in the Ryukyu Islands. It slowly grew over time and was influenced by Chinese martial arts practices as well. A number of the first varieties of Kempo were affected by these unarmed combat styles. The primary use of these martial arts (and remains true of Kempo karate today) was effective and practical self-defense. Often, the practitioners would use them against other forms of self-defense styles. These variants were used by the Yoshida and Komatsu Clans.

Evolution of Kempo Karate

As the years progressed, karate began to evolve beyond its initial forms and influences. For the art to remain effective against other forms of unarmed combat, instructors made modifications and adjustments. It began to turn into the karate that people practice today, taking particular root in the island of Okinawa in Japan. Before too long, the practice made its way to Hawaii in the year 1940. James Mitose, who had grown up in Japan, brought the tradition over, calling it Kenpo jiu-jitsu.

Growing the American Style

Kempo karate eventually kept evolving in the American style. The development of American Kempo still adopts the discipline and ideals of its origins in Japanese karate. However, some scholars may argue that it’s a more modern and slightly more aggressive style than its Japanese counterpart. Its focus is firmly towards self-defense and unarmed combat instead of the more philosophical directions of Japanese styles.

Modern American Kempo karate is a finely honed means of exercise, discipline, self-defense, and skilled unarmed combat. It’s an art form and a way of discipline as it is a tool to defend yourself should the occasion call for it.

Learn more about the origins of Kempo Karate by heading to Aplomb Martial Arts to talk to one of the professional instructors today.