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The History of American Kenpo
A lot has been said about Kenpo and its origins. Some true and some not so true statements are everywhere. Seems the truth is many different things to many different people, AS WITH ALL MARTIAL ARTS SYSTEMS THAT HAVE SURVIVED THE MANY MANY YEARS OF EVOLUTION. So
Shaolin Temple, Yes ? YES..
Ed Parker is given credit for developing the art of American Kenpo Karate.
Whatever Mr. Parker’s path was to get to HIS KENPO ,the truth is… the Self Defense SYSTEM he developed and re-developed become and is still becoming the Most Common sense self defense street fighting art to date. That is, in my circle of the world. I do notice (out there) the existence of a few kenpoist who would stagger the perpetuation and growth in the name of “Tradition” and the simple fact some of them dont know how to grow it for themselves. Bless their hearts, it is still a very effective art, even in their hands. There are also those who are trying to jump on every new fad and “add” it to the kenpo they love. They will soon discover there is ,was and will be foundations for the battle sense of the “latest discovery” hidden in the growth that would be Their Kenpo anyway.
Today with the my travels and through the Internet, I have been able to witness Many Great Kenpoist in the world. The Kenpo Movement is not only in Kenpo schools, but MANY other martial art styles are trying to keep up by adding what look like kenpo techniques to their curriculum. Even when someone only has it partially right and they honestly keep moving forward they will soon discover Kenpo’s AWESOME Scientific alphabet of motion. With the guidance of a qualified master of Kenpo of course.
My path was laid out by GM Ed Parker, Lonny Coots, George Mosson, and Dave Devault Each one had a profound affect on my life and Kenpo.
In the early 1990’s I reached out to Grand Master Larry Tatum to see if he would accept me as his student, I never realized the Magic and Mastery that awaited me in his guidance through the higher ranks. He has blessed me with an understanding of the True Perpetuation of Kenpo that I am sure only a few are privileged to understand but ALL are welcome to chase.
I only hope to stand strong in my teachings and growth so my students will have steady shoulders to stand on and grow their own kenpo from there.
The modern history of American Kenpo began in the 1940s, when Great Grandmaster James M. Mitose (1916-1981) started teaching his ancestral Japanese Martial Art, Kosho-Ryu Kenpo, in Hawaii. Mitose’s art, later called Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu, traditionally traces its origin to Shaolin Kung Fu and Bodhidharma. Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu emphasizes punching, striking, kicking, locking, and throwing. Mitose’s art was very linear, lacking the circular motions in American Kenpo.
William K. S. Chow studied Kenpo under James Mitose, eventually earning a first-degree black belt. He had also studied Chinese Kung Fu from his father. Chow began teaching an art, which he called Kenpo Karate, that blended the circular movements he had learned from his father with the system he had learned from Mitose. Chow experimented and modified his art, adapting it to meet the needs of American students.
Ed Parker learned Kenpo Karate from William Chow, eventually earning a black belt, though Chow was later to claim Parker had only earned a purple belt. Others have claimed Parker had only earned a brown belt from Chow, possibly because this was his rank when he started teaching in Utah in 1955. Al Tracy claims that Chow promoted Parker to sandan (3rd-degree black belt) in December 1961.
Grand Master Ed Parker
The system known as American Kenpo was developed by Ed Parker as a successor to Chow’s art. Parker revised older methods to work in modern day fighting scenarios. He heavily restructured American Kenpo’s forms and techniques during this period. He moved away from methods that were recognizably descended from other arts (such as forms that were familiar within Hung Gar) and established a more definitive relationship between forms and the self-defense technique curriculum of American Kenpo. Parker also eschewed esoteric Eastern concepts (e.g. qi) and sought to express the art in terms of scientific principles and western metaphors.
As a USMC Veteran, My discipline and education is Very Important to me. Building Confidence and Staying healthy are my top priorities. That being said, In the almost 2 years i have had the HONOR and PRIVILEGE of learning from Master Sifu Jim Adkins and the other instructors and fellow students at White Tiger Martial Arts, I have grown exponentially in many ways that i was unable to grow in any other Martial Arts Style. I have spent almost 30 years practicing Various Martial Art systems such as American Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Jeet Kune Do, Other Kenpo styles, and Some other temp college courses of Aikido, and Judo/Jujitsu. WHITE TIGER MARTIAL ARTS is by far the best fit for anyone looking to better themselves in any approach. Mental, Physical, philosophical, survival, preservation, Great health, Self Discipline, Sportsmanship, Unity, Fellowship, Teamwork, and growth. Master Sifu Jim Adkins in my opinion is the Greatest instructor and a True Master of the Martial Arts. He is the best of the best in my own opinion. May peace and tranquility be with you all. -OSS
I have been a student of Master Sifu Adkins for over 20 years. Private lessons are geared towards each individual's needs and learning style. His classes are enlightening and engaging and I always leave with increased knowledge no matter how many times I have heard the subject matter. White Tiger Martial Arts is the school to join!
I am a Taekwondo Master (Certified, Kukkiwon 4th degree BB). Sifu Adkins is a Master Teacher of Teachers in the truest sense of the word. I can rant and rave about this man, but the only original phrase I can muster is this; He can truly hear the Grasshopper at your Feet. Do not deny yourself the privilege of his tutorage.
I have known Master Adkins for many years. He is a fantastic role model for people of all ages. As for White Tiger Martial Arts, his dojo is one of the best. He has a genuine compassion for his students. He makes classes fun and engaging while making the hard task of learning new skills seem like a game. If you are looking for a fun, energetic, and exciting martial arts learning environment White Tiger Martial Arts is the place to be.
Old school training where respect, discipline and self improvement are corner stones of this school along with a self defense system that gives the students the ability to defend themselves in today's world. Headed up by Grand Master Jim Adkins who has over three and a half decades of teaching experience, Mr. Adkins currently holds the rank of 9th degree black belt in American kenpo, a black belt in ninjutsu and a black sash in shaolin kung fu. The curriculum is as diverse as his students and Master Adkins is always available to assist his students with whatever difficulties they may face with their training or the day to day problems life throws their way. The lessons taught and learned are not just how to punch and kick but how to become a better more confident person with the ability to achieve any goal you choose to strive for. "The true goal of martial arts lies not in victory or defeat but in the perfection of one's character"
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Jim Adkins is one of the best martial artists in the world, as well as a friend like none other I've met so far. You can trust him to have your best interests at heart. I've been a part of his school for the last nine years, and the amount of personal growth I have experienced in that time leaves me with the greatest gratitude for having found it.
White tiger martial arts has been the best thing that i have ever been apart of! This school feels like a family. With Master Sifu Jim Adkins instruction I and many others have obtained goals that i didnt even think possible. No matter what your reasons are for seeking out a martial arts school,this is the one to go to!!!
I spent 3 years at White Tiger Martial Arts. It was an amazing time. Sifu Jim Adkins is highly qualified and one of the best men I have ever met in my life. He is caring, patient, and incredibly kind. He is a wonderful teacher for ages and skill levels. The family you gain through White Tiger is a family for life. I would highly recommend this dojo for anyone who wants to really learn the art of self-defense.
White Tiger is the best experience I've ever had, Master Sifu Jim Adkins is the best instructor you'll find when searching for a school. Going beyond punching hard or kicking fast, he teaches respect and morals and life lessons that have helped me and many other students he's had and has change for the better. The dojo becomes home and feels very welcoming, I'm glad I get to be a part of It all.