The following FAQ is for the
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
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.
A common conversation is the Gi's worm by Kempo students. All students beginning in Kempo wear the traditional white gi. But, as they progress, they are allowed to wear a Black Gi as a sign of rank. It is common, for many high-ranks to wear either Black or White Gi and at Black Belt levels to combine the two such as white top and black pants. I can find no historical sense in the use of the Gis, although I know that Mitose often wore a Black Gi and his students wore White.
In Great Grandmaster James Mitose's book What is True Self Defense, he list the color of uniforms as...
If you live in North American, the odds are good that there will be a Kempo school in your vicinity. There are about 130 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. In Toronto, Canada where Bryan lives, he knows of 7 or 8 Kempo schools of various types. In the Worcester, MA area, there are at least four Kempo organizations (Villari's Martial Arts Centers, Masters Self-Defense Centers, Cerio Kenpo, American Kenpo), with at least 10 schools teaching at least three Kempo styles (Villari's Shaolin Kempo, Cerio Kenpo, Parker's American Kenpo).
Older versions of this document are scattered around.
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