The History of Kenpo

Kenpo is a martial art which traces its origins as far back as the Shaolin temples themselves. It has evolved into a blend of many martial arts from Okinawa, China, Japan, (and in our system) Hawaii. James Mitose was a Hawaiian martial artist who is credited for creating the general style (as it is known in America) in the early 20th century. Since then, it has evolved via several practitioners, the most notable being James Chow, Ed Parker (the “father” of American Kenpo), and Al Tracy (to whom we trace a direct lineage). Al Tracy was one of the first students to be promoted to black belt by Ed Parker. He then went on to develop his own techniques.

Kenpo was one of the first martial arts to be shown openly to Americans, and quickly gained popularity among civilians as well as military personnel. This popularity is mostly attributed to the entrepreneurial spirit of Ed Parker, who was a student of James Chow in Hawaii. Ed Parker brought Kenpo to mainland America in the early 50’s, and was sought out by many in the entertainment industry, the most notable being Bruce Lee. He and other celebrities helped bring our art into the mainstream.

Read more about the kenpo history.