Oberlin Martial Arts
Oberlin Martial Arts
133 South Main Street
Oberlin Ohio 44074
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Primary Instruction under Sifu Mellody Porter.
Assistant Instruction Sibak Elizabeth Jackson
The Development of Kajukenbo
Article written by Professor John Bishop
and used by permission
Kajukenbo is a prime example of American ingenuity. It is also America's first martial art system, having been founded in 1949 in the U.S. Territory of Hawaii. One of today's foremost instructors in Kajukenbo is Gary Forbach from San Clemente, California. According to him, kajukenbo's inception came about in 1947 when five Hawaiian martial arts masters calling themselves the "Black Belt Society" started on a project to develop a comprehensive self defense system. These five men of vision were Peter Choo, the Hawaii welterweight boxing champion, and a Tang Soo Do black belt. Frank Ordonez, a Sekeino Jujitsu black belt. Joe Holck, a Kodokan Judo black belt. Clarence Chang, a master of Sil-lum Pai kung fu. And Adriano D. Emperado, a Kara-Ho Kenpo black belt and Escrima master.
Together these men trained for several hours a day taking advantage of each others strengths and weaknesses to develop their new art. When Joe Holck and Peter Choo would spar Holck could see his weaknesses in striking techniques, and Choo would realize his vulnerability once he was on the ground. Emperado was able to show Choo how a kenpo man could work inside a kicker with rapid fire hand techniques. Chang in turn, showed the others how the circular flowing techniques of Sil-lum Pai were used to evade and strike. And Frank Ordonez showed everyone how to go with an attackers force and then re-direct it against him with painful locks and throws.
After it was decided that kenpo would be the base to build on, it was a daily three year process incorporating the tang soo do kicks, jujitsu joint locks, judo throws, and sil-lum pai circular techniques into a complete system. Now all the system needed was a name. Joe Holck suggested that the name should be "Kajukenbo", ka for karate, ju for judo and jujitsu, ken for kenpo, and bo for Chinese boxing (kung fu).
Today kajukenbo is practiced all over the world. The principal organization for kajukenbo is the "Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute of Hawaii, Inc. based in San Diego, California.