Author Topic: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate  (Read 52563 times)

Karazenpo

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Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« on: January 17, 2004, 04:15:31 PM »
   
  Grandmaster Fred Villari

Shunning the limelight, Grandmaster Fredrick J. Villari has accomplished much with a minimum of publicity. He's rarely seen in martial arts magazines.

However 10,000 Black Belts and 15 million students after its conception Fred Villari's Studios are now a far cry from the days when Fred Villari taught two students at seven in the morning in a walk-up studio in Waltham Massachusetts. The name Villari and Shaolin Kempo Karate is synonymous with East Coast Kempo. In 1995, annual Villari national tournament, held at the World Trade Center (Boston), drew 10,000 spectators to watch 5,000 participants.

As a young person growing up Villari studied martial arts with his father. Later he was exposed to and studied several martial arts styles. During this period he and Nick Cerio corresponded and trained with Professor William K.S. Chow. Villari's approach to Kempo was to maintain the style as he learned it through Chow and that is how it is presented in the Villari System today. Fred Villari realized, because of his varied wealth of experience and his dedication in seeking the ultimate fighting system, that each method offered something unique, and each also had its glaring weaknesses that could make a fighter vulnerable. Grandmaster Villari concluded that there really were only four ways of fighting.

1. With your hands (punching, striking - open or closed hand) or use of any part of the arms, elbows, forearms, etc.
2. Kicking (with foot, leg, knee, shin)
3. Felling - that is to knock an opponent off his feet by throwing, tripping, pulling, pushing, shoving, or scooping him
4. Grappling - by either wrestling, holding, breaking, locking bones or joints against nerve centers
Grandmaster Villari realized that the ultimate in self-defense lay not in one way or style of fighting. By combining the "Four Ways of Fighting." he devised and developed ways to integrate diverse methods of fighting into one, eliminating weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This is the central theory and method behind Villari's art of Shaolin Kempo Karate.

The backbone of the Villari's style is the Shaolin system since he felt it was the best for promoting overall good health, wisdom and longevity. This system is well balanced, incorporating mind, body and spirit into one.

Villari promoted his ideas well through solid instruction and modern business practices. Eventually his method was spread throughout the world as more than 500 schools have been opened that teach his method. His contribution helped open the way of the Asian martial arts, on a massive scale, to the ordinary layman. Villari is still actively teaching and demonstrating the martial arts in his schools today.


   
 

 
 

Offline Jon Pack

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Re:Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2004, 11:14:26 AM »
GM Villari is my teachers teacher. Presented my Shodan personally. Is responsible for the Chinese influence/direction taken of the following lineage:Villari-Cerio-Pesare-Gascon/Godin-A. Emperado/J. Emperado-Chow-Mitose-Motobu.
Shaolin Kempo Karate is the name of the system and the curriculum is Pinan Forms 1-5, Kata Forms 1-6, Two Man Fist Sets N&S, Stature of the Crane, 8 point blocking system, 10 point blocking system, PlumTree blocking system, 11 Hands of Buddha,Chin-na, Chi Kung, Self Defense Techniques(Combinations) 1-26. This is for Shodan, he is credited with developement of all forms and self defense for advancing in Dan rankings. The Shodan material was developed by the lineage of Masters previously mentioned.
I have mentioned in other posts that an interesting thing in martial arts is parrallel developement. GM Villari has inflluenced his system the same way others in Kajukenbo have theirs, Chuan'fa and other Chinese influenced expressions. Also interesting is the fact that there are 14 forms for Shodan, 26 Techniques. This is similar to Kajukenbo forms and the Alphabet techniques.
This thread can and probably will go in many directions. I would have to say he has influenced generations of practitioners who don't even know who he is.
Chief Instructor
Chippewa Valley Kempo
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Offline East Coast Kempo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2006, 01:20:57 PM »
I'm sure GM Villari is a great martial artist, and I know Professor Rich Fescina trained under him. I was just wondering, you never said anything about where he learned Shaolin from, you also said it was the backbone of his system. Just wodnering on his lineage is all, as most of our material is alot like the Shaolin-Kempo-Karate stuff.

Always Learning,
Matt
Matt Cordella, Probationary Shodan
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sleddog

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2006, 10:50:28 PM »
There is a commonly held misconception that has been spoken about the roots of kenpo in Hawaii going back to Motobu. This was in small measure due to the fact that Motobu tried to visit Hawaii in the days before WWII. The fact is that he had a bad reputation in the eyes of the authorities and was never allowed out of the customs quarantine area as he was deemed unacceptable to visit Hawaii and had to return to Okinawa on the first available transport.

This is recounted in the masters degree thesis by Bruce Haines of the development of Karate in Hawaii. He took some of this information and it became a small book on the history of Karate.


Karazenpo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2006, 10:31:24 AM »
Yes, I've read the same of Motobu. However, research made available to me from Sigung John Bishop and Professor Jaime Abregana states that, although Motobu wasn't in Hawaii, his system was through one of his either first or second generation black belts, Nabura Tanamaha. This information also stated that James Mitose studied under Tanamaha but was never awarded a black belt. For how long he studied I was never told. This would all make sense to the early history. Sijo Emperado stated in his interview with Sigung Bishop that Mitose said his instructor was Choki Motobu. Since these posts are on the Villari extended family, I will use Villari's Kempo as an example. Some of Gm. Villari's black belts could say they made black belt under Gm. Fred Villari when actually they studied under a chief instructor of Villari's Shaolin Kempo. Why? perhaps notoriety as in I heard of Fred Villari but who's so 'n so. Mitose picked the founder of the style rather than a virtually unknown to promote his Kenpo because the name 'Motobu' was easily recognized and carried weight and Tanamaha, well, most would say, 'Who?'  Perhaps Sigung Bishop could add more to this Tanamaha/Motobu/Mitose connection. Sijo has also stated in the past that the old seniors all knew the Kenpo they studied from Mitose in Hawaii was of Okinawan origin. Again, this all seems to make a lot of sense.  Respectfully, Prof. Joe

Offline East Coast Kempo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2006, 01:58:22 PM »
Does anyone know where GM Villari learned shaolin, or karate for that matter? Nothing is ever really mentioned on that part of the lineage.

Respectfully,
Matt
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Karazenpo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2006, 09:39:00 PM »
Here you go, Matt.


The following information was taken from a 1975 issue of Black Belt Magazine:


‘Villari’s martial arts training started early in his life. After being introduced to Western and Chinese boxing by his father Villari went on to study jiujitsu and wrestling with the LeBlanc brothers in his middle teens. By the time he was 18, Villari realized his martial arts training was stagnating and sought out Nick Cerio as an instructor of Chinese kenpo. After completing his requirements as second degree black belt with Cerio, Villari traveled to the West Indies where he traded his techniques for karate and kung-fu training.

While in the islands, Villari also studied under a Chinese-Australian instructor Soo, and gained his third and fourth degrees. After working with another master Len Chou, Villari received his fifth degree and soon decided to open his own school.’
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‘Not surprisingly, a great deal of controversy has been stirred up by Villari and his schools. Shortly before press time, Villari announced, much to the consternation of the New England martial arts community, that he had promoted himself to tenth degree black belt-“…the tenth dan style of my own creation shou tung kwok, which draws from all my martial arts training and includes speed movements I have developed myself. I teach this system to only a handful of my top black belts…,” he emphasized.’
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‘In explanation Villari retorts, “The Chinese masters I have studied under refer to their art as ‘Chinese boxing.’ If you were to ask them what style, they’d be insulted. And these are the true masters. Now there are all these names for kung-fu, but it’s Chinese boxing. That’s the real thing. They’re floating around now with a lot of kata and weapons, but the fistic arts of China are simply called Chinese boxing, that’s it.’
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Matt, all I can add to this is that, yes, there is controversy here but Master John Fritz, 9th dan, Shaolin Kempo whom I knew personally when he lived and taught in Massachusetts is a highly respected and talented martial artist stated he saw Gm. Villari's signed 5th dan master's certificate and believed it was legit. Also, some may say Villari was a shodan under Cerio, not a nidan. Well, not exactly true but I understand why some believe that. Villari started with Cerio in 1967 and in 1971 made his nidan. However, he left Cerio before he completed his one year probation so he is listed in the Cerio records as a shodan. I was a private student of Prof. Cerio and he told me this himself. Back in the late 70's I was also a private student of John Fritz after my original instructor Hanshi Craig Seavey, 9th dan (currently in Mass. & co-head of Nick Cerio's Kenpo, Inc.) moved to California. I was originally tested for my shodan and nidan by Gm. Villari personally in Dedham, Mass. while under the tutlege of Craig Seavey and John Fritz in the mid to later 70's. My point being my information comes first hand. Respectfully, Prof. Joe Shuras

Offline East Coast Kempo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2006, 02:21:53 PM »
Thanks very much, Professor. Lol, it raises new questions now though. Anyone have any backround on these masters, I'd be curious as to what they emphasized in their training, what it was like, etc. Also, who taught the karate and who taught the kung-fu? Please realize that this is not an attack on Gm Villari's rank but just a question from someone who is interested in the components of his art.

Always more to learn,
Matt
Matt Cordella, Probationary Shodan
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Karazenpo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2006, 02:10:57 PM »
No, Matt, I totally understand where you're coming from, I was the same way in my quest. All I can say through my personal knowledge and experience is that Villari's Shaolin Kempo is essentially the Shaolin Kempo of Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu that Professor Cerio taught him up to around 2nd degree black belt. The pinans were added by Cerio (actually #1 pinan was also used by Pesare back then), Statue of the Crane came from Gm. Pesare (Rohai) along with #6 kata. Hansuki  (Honsuki) came from Master Bill Chun Sr. to Nick Cerio to Frank Cerio and from Frank to Fred Villari. Swift Tigers of the Villari system came from Cerio's Circle of the Panther which came from Pesare's #7 kata which he now calls pinans. The Eight Point Blocking System came from Cerio who learned it as a drill from Pesare. The 10 Point Blocking System came from Cerio to Villari and the Plum Tree Blocking System is similiar to a Plum Flower Palm Blocking in Chinese Kung Fu Wu Shu (a book) and parts of the Villari's Plum are identical to 'The Heart' depicted in one of Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo volumes (I think volume 5?), other portions of the Plum are also found in Cerio's #4 and #5 blocking forms and a couple of Ed Parker's blocking forms, I think he called them the short forms

I have studied both northern and southern traditonal Shaolin and all the forms of Villari's after Hansuki, outside of Swift Tiger's (inspired by Circle of the Panther & #7 pinan) seem to be indigneous of the Villari system only.  However, one of my favorite Villari Shaolin forms is Shou Tung Kwok and the techniques found in this form can also be found in Pesare/Cerio's KGS, traditional Chinese Kung Fu and the Chu'an fa branch of Kajukenbo. Despite what some say on the translation, I, myself, was confused at one time because some spelled it Sho instead of Shou), Shou Tung Kwok translates like this: Shou = hand  Tung= Eastern as in eastern dynasty (China) and  Kowk= Country. So, Hand(s) of the country of China, China hands, Chinese fist set," Chinese Boxing" set which totally fits into the interview Villari gave Black Belt magazine in 1975-referring to all styles of kung fu as Chinese boxing. I learned this form from Hanshi Craig Seavey, also Master John Fritz and finally in 1978(?)  Gm. Villari himself in Dedham, Ma. at a 'Black Belt workout. All three taught the  exact same form back then. Gm. Villari described it as 'the first in a series of the Chinese forms' and also used the term 'hands & feet in harmony'. Remember, like the article in Black Belt mag. stated, it's Shou not Sho, so the first word is not Japanese for 'first' which wouldn't make sense to have one Japanese word followed by two Chinese words anyway. The word is 'Shou'.

Professor Cerio also told me personally (unlike what is reported on several websites that Cerio added some of the combinations up to only 26 and Villari the rest) that he taught Fred Villari 'around' 35 combinations and after a close look of Cerio's techniques and Villari's combinations it appears to be up to #39 and then the combinations take on more of a kung fu flavor that Villari favored.

Matt, I don't know what direction to point you toward to find information on the West Indies masters, perhaps try e-mailing Master Mark Grupposo who is second in command of the organization if you cannot reach Gm. Villari himself.  I do know Gm. Villari visited Hawaii after he left Prof. Cerio and I believe he also met with Prof. Willliam Kwai Sun Chow at that time also. The late Mr. Parker told KenpoJoe Rebelo that he never met Fred Villari , however, Nick Cerio told me that when he was the East Coast Director of Parker's International Kenpo Karate Association (IKKA), mid to late 60's, he brought Fred Villari with him to several of their workouts, those in attendance were Ed Parker, Nick Cerio , Fred Villari and Professor Larry Garron of Framingham, Massachusetts.  Hanshi Craig Seavey and Prof. Larry Garron (Goju ryu) can back this up. I have heard others say Villari learned Kung Fu from his brother-in-laws, however, Villari's brother-in-laws were Shotokan black belts, he told me this himself and this can also be verified by Mr. Seavey.  Respectfully, Prof. Joe
« Last Edit: January 07, 2006, 02:12:34 PM by Professor Joe Shuras »

Offline East Coast Kempo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2006, 04:35:09 PM »
Thanks, its nice to know where some of the techniques that we carried over from Villari's system are derived from. I appreciate that you took the time to go into this in such detail.

-Matt
Matt Cordella, Probationary Shodan
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Karazenpo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2006, 10:40:59 AM »
No problem, Matt, my pleasure. I was in your place once and that is what inspired me to 'dig' and seek answers to so many questions. I learned the same way as you are learning now. Take care, Joe ;)

Offline John Bishop

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2006, 08:14:25 PM »
He even has his own action figure ;)
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rcollette

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2006, 08:04:21 AM »
I've got to get me one of those. Where'd you find that?

Offline badsifu

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2006, 10:10:55 AM »
Does that doll have a bobble head?

I am probably confusing him with someone else, but is this the same person who has the BB Mag ad for videos and black belt certification when you purchase his program?  Not that it makes what he teaches any less effective or him less a martial artist, but that would make it easier for me to see the "10,000 black belts and 15 million students..."
Dan Tyrrell

Karazenpo

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Re: Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari-Shaolin Kempo Karate
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2006, 12:20:32 PM »
There are three that I know of anyway that have the Kenpo/Kempo Black Belt video program advertized, Steve Spry-EPAK (was the first), Fred Villari-Shaolin Kempo (second) and Larry Tatum-EPAK (third). Villari may be the one you saw in the ad since he has had many, many schools for the longest time period so far (since 1971) and  therefore has the largest following. Spry and Tatum, you actually test for all ranks including black belt and receive certification through the mail for a high fee. ::)  Villari's, you test by video up to brown belt and have to go in person to test for shodan. Villari's is the least expensive of the two even though you have to test in person and the others are all mail order.  I'm sure many more have jumped on the video training for rank bandwagon since I last checked.

Personally, I'm against all video training for ranking- PERIOD! >:(  I think videos are a great 'supplement' for live training and they're okay if you want a second opinion to critique you but not for rank. Some have argued the point that they live in areas where it is impossible to train any other way in the particular art they have chosen but I'm still uncomfortable with it. Hey, that's just my opinion. To each their own, live and let live. :)  Respectfully, Prof. Joe
« Last Edit: January 10, 2006, 12:24:38 PM by Professor Joe Shuras »