An eclectic martial art that is a blend of Karate, Judo, Kenpo, and Boxing, from which it takes its name.


Kajukenbo was synthesized in the Paloma settlements of Hawaii during the years 1949-1952. Five practitioners of their respective martial arts developed Kajukenbo to complement each others styles to allow effective fighting at all ranges and speeds. The man credited with the founding of Kajukenbo is Siju Adriano D. Emperado who practiced Kenpo and Escrima. It was decided that Kenpo would be the scafolding around which Kajukenbo was built. The arts drawn upon to found Kajukenbo are Karate, Judo, Ju-jitsu, Kempo, and Chu'an Fa Gung Fu (Chinese boxing); hence the name Ka-ju-ken-bo.

To test the effectiveness of their origional techniques the five founders would get into fights around the Palomas settlements (the worst slum in Hawaii at the time). If the technique succeeded consistently in streetfighting it was kept as part of the system. From these field test came Kajukenbo's Quins (known as the Palomas sets (forms or kata)), Natural laws (self-defense), Tricks (close-quarters fighting), and grab arts (escapes).


Kajukenbo concentrates on being an effective art at all ranges of fighting, kicking -> Punching -> Trapping -> Grappling. While many schools of karate and Korean martial arts concentrate on kata, Kajukenbo stresses the self-defence movements over the relatively fewer forms in the art. The reasoning behind this is that a practitioner must be capable of defending himself in streetfighting situations before turning inward to perfect the 'art' of Kajukenbo. At higher levels there is meditative and chi training, but the author cannot comment further at his level of experience.

Kajukenbo stresses the following-up of techniques based on an opponents reactions and not stopping with just one hit. The reasoning is that while one should strive to end a fight with the fewest techniques nessesary, it is important to know how an opponent will respond to attacks, and how best to take advantage of his reactions. A major ethical point behind my instruction was, "If he starts the fight, you decide when the fight is over."


The training is physically intense and very demanding. Exercise is a part of the class structure to insure that practitioners will be physically capable of defending themselves outside of the dojo. The warm-up and callistenics typically last 1/3 of the class period. Emphasis is placed on bag work (kick, punching, elbows, and knees) as well as sparring and grappling (contact with control). After a certain amount of time training, students begin to throw real punches at each other and their partner is expected to react appropriately or face the consequences. Learning to absorb and soften an impact is also a major facet of training. Quins (kata) are performed to fine-tune a person's movements while working with partners for self defense teaches a student how to manipulate an opponent and follow up on his reactions.

The five orginal founding members were:

  1. Peter Choo - Karate
  2. Frank Ordonez - Sekeino Jujitsu
  3. Joe Holke - Kodokan Judo
  4. Adriano D. Emperado - Chinese Kempo and Escrima
  5. Clarence Chang - Sil-lum Pai Kung-Fu

Text from the Rec.martial-arts FAQ.
For more information, try Jeffrey D. Cirillo's Kajukenbo homepage
Kempo/Kenpo FAQ

Eclipse's Martial Arts & Kempo Home Pages
Ringsurf version
Kajukenbo Webring
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