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KEMPO/KENPO FAQ: People and Systems


version 5.2.0 - December 31, 2013


Maintained & updated by: Mark Urbin


The following FAQ is for the Kempo/Kenpo arts in general and is not specific to one particular Kempo/Kenpo school. Most of the history and information has a focus towards Kempo systems descending from James Mitose's Kosho-Ryu Kempo. There are other Kempo systems mentioned in this document. In most cases, throughout this FAQ, the word "Kempo" is used, though either Kempo or Kenpo could have been used. The reasoning is explained in this FAQ. Remember that this document is a "Frequently Ask Questions" list. It is not intended as in in depth study, just a starting point. Most of the URL's of sites linked in this document can be found near the end of the document. Please send any feedback, questions, complaints, etc. about this FAQ to the maintainer. Please note, that this FAQ, in no way (just in case anyone thinks it is), was not meant to be offensive and if you think it is...well...sorry! Any corrections to any information given, as well as additions, is much appreciated.

People In Kempo

12.0 Is There A Kempo School Near Me?

If you live in North American, the odds are good that there will be a Kempo school in your vicinity. There are over one hundred Villari Martial Arts Centers teaching Shaolin Kempo, as well as hundreds of schools teaching various forms of American Kenpo. As far as Europe is concerned, the scope is a bit smaller, but still numerous.

13.0 Kempo Organizations

* NOTE * Part of this list was taken from Inside Kung Fu, November 1993

Ed Parker's International Kenpo Karate Organization (IKKA)

The IKKA was originally formed in the 1950s as the Kenpo Karate Association of America, but in the 1960s changed it's name as many of his students starting teaching around the world. Ed Parker was the president of the IKKA, till his death in 1990. His wife, Leilani, is now president. The goal of the IKKA is to perpetuate the system, by having the various "Ed Parker" high black belts teaching the system at schools and seminars. The family continues to produce the International Karate Championships and has 11 regions including U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Since Grandmaster Parker's death, there have been a half dozen or so major splinter groups formed from the IKKA.

Chinese Kara-ho Kempo Karate Schools

Grandmaster Sam Kuoha has built a large Kempo organizations with over 60 Kara-ho schools and 5000+ students. Students of the organization keep in touch with the THUNDERFLASH newsletter which is distributed quarterly. To contact the Chinese Kara-ho Kempo organization, 13320 Camino Canada #6, El Cjon, CA 92021; (619) 443-2611

Worldwide Kenpo Karate Association (WKKA)

The WKKA was created in Baltimore on Feb 28, 1991 and has grown to 100 schools in less than two years. President Joe Palanzo is president and created the organization after the death of Ed Parker, due to "philosophical" differences with the IKKA. The WKKA can be contacted at 1400 B Riesterstown Road, Pikesville, MD 21203; (301) 484-7122. American Kenpo Karate is taught.

United Kenpo Karate Association (UKKA)

Headed by Jay T. Will, the UKKA was founded in October 1991, with the intent of further the ideas of Ed Parker, without the worry of political aspects. The group wants to keep the Parker lineage and has the goal, "to be a place to be a part of something." as well as "offering a home, and to be a part of the Ed Parker family tree." The UKKA can be contacted via mail at P.O. Box 5225 Babylon, New York, NY 11707, USA or by phone at (516) 669-7132.

National Chinese Kenpo Karate Association (NCKA)

Founded in 1969, by Steve La Bounty, a member of the IKKA, it was created to form a "small, intimate group, which could interact more with students" and not as a rivalry. The NCKA's goal is to insure integrity of the art through competent instructions, fidelity to the principle of self-denial and humility, and to guarantee promotion through endeavor. The NCKA can be contacted at National Chinese Kenpo Karate Organization, 1630 Pat Brooker Road, Universal City, TX 71848; (512) 658-7437

Nick Cerio's International Martial Arts Association (NCIMAA)

Founded in 1989 with 70 schools and 4800+ students, the NCIMAA was founded to teach Cerio's art of Kempo which includes Shotokan forms, Kung Fu and Kajukenbo forms, TKD kicks, Japanese stances as well as Jujutsu.

Professor Cerio passed away on October 7, 1998. The cause of death was complications from cancer.  No single successor was named. The organization was run by an executive board. That organization has since at least one major splinter group since Mr. Cerio's death. As of 2013, that board has disbanded.

Villari's Martial Arts Centers

An organization of well over 100 Dojos, headed by Grandmaster Fred Villari. Mr. Villari is the head of the Villari Shaolin Kempo Karate System.

United Studio's of Self Defense

A break off from the Villari Martial Arts Centers, the United Studios teaches Shaolin Kempo Karate. Many United Studios of Self Defense are found on the American West Coast.  Since it's founding, the organization has several large groups of dojos leave the system.

United Shaolin Kempo Karate

Founded by a high ranking Fred Villari student, Cal Carozzi. Shaolin Kempo Karate is taught.

Masters Self Defense Centers

A break off from Fred Villari's Self Defense Centers and formed by some of Grandmaster Villari's senior students; including Fred Bagely, James Bryant, and Robert Nohelty.
 The organization is now run by Masters James Bryant and Robert Nohelty, after Fred Bagely left MSDC to found the Masters of Karate chain of Dojos.
The Masters of Self Defense teach the Villari Shaolin Kempo Karate System as the core of their system. Masters Bryant and Nohelty have also obtained instructor status in Nick Cerio's International Martial Arts Association.

Masters of Karate

A break off from Masters Self Defense Center studios. The head of this organization, Master Fred Bagely, held an 8th Dan ranking with the Villari's Shaolin Kempo Karate System before leaving the VSDC organization.  These schools can be found in Massachusetts and upstate New York.

Koga Ha Kosho-shorei Ryu Kempo

Shihan Nemir Hassan of Philadelphia heads up this system. Mr. Hassan was the last full time student of Great Grandmaster James Mitose.

CHA 3 Kenpo Karate Association

Professor Tiwanak was was an excellent boxer, before he became the first official kajukenbo black belt under instructors Sonny Emperado, Joe Emperado, Woodrow McCandless (A black belt under Professor William Chow, who later joined the Kajukenbo system) and Frank Ordonez.  Professor Tiwanak opened his first Kenpo school in 1957.  The CHA 3 Kenpo Karate system has many schools throughout Hawaii, California, Kentucky, and Montana.  The address of the headquarters is: CHA 3 Kenpo Karate Association, 98-1222 Mahipua Street, Aiea, Hawaii 96701

Universal Kempo-Karate Schools

Founded by Professor Martin T. Buell. This organization has schools from Hawaii to New Hampshire.

International Shaolin Kenpo Association

Founded in 1981 by Shaolin Kenpo founder Ralph Castro.


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This page is maintained and operated by Mark Urbin. The contents of the Kempo/Kenpo FAQ may only be reproduced for non-profit, personal use of students and teachers of Kempo. I request that you inform me if you wish to link to this site, as well as mention the site, or reproduce its contents when using this material. If you are going to clone the site anyway, please at least provide a link back, do not remove the version number or author's names, and don't put your copyright on it.


All original material in the Kempo/Kenpo FAQ are Copyright © Mark Urbin, 1995.

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