WHAT IS KENPO?
Kenpo is a karate style that utilizes circular movements in rapid succession to overwhelm one’s opponent. We emphasize the use of hands and legs equally. The word Kenpo in Japanese means “fist law”. Kenpo is geared toward self-defense, and since physical strength is not of utmost importance, it is an ideal system for men, women, and children of all ages.
SHAMBURGER’S CHINESE HAWAIIAN KENPO
Due to Sifu Jack’s lineage and innovation in the style, he was given his own system of Kenpo by the Tracy organization in 1990. He has studied many forms of martial arts, including Hapkido, Taekwondo, Shorin Ryu, Jiu-jitsu, and Judo, which he integrates into what we practice today.
Our philosophy is to always look for ways to improve our martial art, and not to adhere to any notion of “purity”. It is a common misconception that any martial art has remained static and without innovation or influence from other styles. Our teaching focuses on positive values and encourages all students to develop themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually.
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.
THE MEANING OF OUR LOGO
Our Chinese character name, which appears on our patch above, literally translates character by character as ‘Middle Kingdom Summer Majestic Foreigner Fist Law Study Courtyard’.
Not that that helps a whole lot – in fact, the characters are actually grouped.
The first two, ‘Zhong Guó’, or Middle Kingdom, is the traditional combination meaning China or Chinese.
The next three are pronounced ‘Xià Wei Yí’, literally Summer Majestic Foreigner, means Hawaii or Hawaiian – and are a transliteration as opposed to having anything to do with the literal meaning. One of the interesting things given that Chinese characters are originally pictograms is that when trying to match a pronunciation of a foreign word, the ‘designer’ often has interesting and evocative meanings to choose from, as in this case.
The next two characters, ‘Chuán Fâ’, or Fist Law, mean Boxing – these same two characters are pronounced ‘Ken Po’ by the Japanese, which is where the name of the art comes from, despite its Chinese origins.
The last two characters ‘Xué Yuàn’, Study Courtyard, mean Academy or Institute.