Author Topic: The Influence of Jujitsu and Judo on the Early Development of Kajukenbo Part 4  (Read 1101 times)

Offline Mitch Powell

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The Influence of Jujitsu and Judo on the Early Development of Kajukenbo
By Mitch Powell (Part 4)


William Kwai Sun Chow began training in kempo-jujitsu under Professor James Mitose about 1942. That training took place at Mitose’s home along with Mitose’s senior student Thomas Young and a few other students. Chow and Young were awarded their shodan (1st degree), and about that same time, Mitose opened a commercial dojo called the “Official Self Defense Club” (Bishop, 2003). Chow became an assistant instructor at the dojo where he taught others students such as Paul Yamaguchi (Moore). Chow then began teaching students of his own at the Catholic Youth Organization. Adriano Emperado joined that class and quickly became Chow’s top student. Chow went on to teach at the Nu’uanu Y.M.C.A. and the Kaheka Lane gym with Emperado assisting him (Bishop, 2008A). Emperado became Chow’s first black belt (Bishop, 2009A).


Adriano Emperado was born June 14, 1926, in Honolulu, Hawaii. At the age of eight Emperado began training in Western boxing under his father and uncles, who were professional boxers. By age eleven, Emperado began to learn the Filipino art of escrima. In 1940, Emperado began training in judo under Sensei Taneo at the Palama Settlement gym. In 1946, Emperado became a student of Professor William Chow, learning the art of kenpo-karate and going on to become Chow’s first black belt. In 1947, while also training under Chow and teaching classes for Chow, Emperado began collaborating with Joseph Holck, Frank Ordonez, Peter Choo, and George Chang, on a creation that would later become known as Kajukenbo (Bishop, 2009A).

Also in the later part of the 1940s, Emperado began training students of his own, including his brother Joe and Marino Tiwanak, a professional flyweight boxer. In 1950, Emperado moved his students to the Palama Settlement gym where they were joined by Woodrow McCandless, who was a black belt in kempo-jujitsu under Mitose ( At that time, Joe Emperado was a green belt in kenpo-karate under Chow, having started training from Chow in 1945. In 1952, Emperado promoted his brother Joe to the rank of black belt (Bishop, 2008E). In 1955, Emperado promoted Tiwanak to the rank of black belt. Tiwanak was the first student of Emperado to start at white belt and earn at black belt. A year or so later, Tiwanak left and started CHA3 kenpo-karate (

In the mid-1950s, Emperado expanded his knowledge of escrima, training with his step-father Alfred Peralta, and began training in Choy Li Fut kung fu under Professor Lau Bun, and Northern Shaolin kung fu under Professor Wong. In the years that followed, Emperado went on to open additional schools, be credited with the creation of Kajukenbo and receive the title of professor and the rank of 10th degree from Professors Bun and Wong. In addition, Emperado is credited with co-founding Kajukenbo Ch’uan Fa and Kajukenbo Tum Pai along with Al Dela Cruz and Al Dacascos (Bishop, 2009B).


Kajukenbo founders Holck, Ordonez, and Choo can all trace their judo lineage to Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo, through their training within Danzan-ryu and their exposure to Okazaki, who obtained a black belt in judo from Kano. Holck also trained in judo under Sensei Inouye and Emperado trained in judo under Sensei Taneo. While I was unable to locate the judo lineages for Inouye and Taneo, I believe it is reasonable to say all judo leads back to Kano.

Continued on part 5...
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