What is Kajukembo?


Kajukembo -often spelled Kajukenbo- (we'll get to that later) is considered the original mixed martial art. It was formed in the late 1940's in the Palama Settlement of Hawaii and takes its name from the five styles that constitute its core.

KA = Karate
JU = Judo/Jujitsu
Kem = Kempo
Bo = Chinese Boxing (Kung-Fu)

Although not included in the name, Kajukembo also includes elements of Escrima and American Boxing.

Founders of Kajukembo:

Peter Young Yil Choo: Karate
Frank Ordonez and Joe Holck: Judo and Jujitsu
Adriano D. Emperado: Kenpo and Escrima
Clarence Chang: Kung-fu

Kajukenbo or Kajukembo?:

The original spelling of Kajukenbo indicates the Chinese origin of Kenpo, while Kempo refers to the Japanese interpretation of the style. GM Peralta was authorized by Sijo Emperado -the system's founder- to use the Kajukembo spelling to pay homage to the Mitose family who brought Kempo to Hawaii. It is this spelling that will be used throughout this site when referring to the style itself. The original spelling will be used when referring to specific schools or methods, or for historical purposes. 


Kajukembo is a self-defense system that does not concern itself with sport, competition, or mere flourish. In fact, several of the fundamentals of Kajukembo are banned in sporting martial arts; groin, throat, and eye strikes are key elements of Kajukembo because they are highly effective in neutralizing an attacker on the street.


Training involves contact so the student learns to both give and take punishment and gains confidence in the effectiveness of the techniques. The original training methods were brutal, with students often enduring black eyes, lost teeth, and broken bones in an attempt to condition them to the reality of street fights and self-defense. It is said that Sijo Emperado would lock the doors to the dojo and not unlock them until there was blood on the floor. Although modern training methods have reduced this brutality, there is still contact made and bruises, swelling, and joint pain are to be expected when training in Kajukembo.


Although rooted in traditional martial arts,  one of the fundamental aspects of Kajukembo is the willingness to adapt or change the style to meet specific needs; tradition simply for tradition's sake is frowned upon. It was this willingness to change that led Sijo Emperado and the other four founders to create Kajukenbo in the first place. They found that their traditional styles were not very effective when defending against untrained street brawlers and knew there had to be a better way.

Vickers, Burt (n.d.), Retrieved from http://www.kajukembousa.com/page1.php
Bishop, John (n.d.), Retrieved from http://www.kajukenboinfo.com/kajukenbohistory.html 
Walton, Charlie (2000), Retrieved from http://www.kajukenbo.org/history

No comments:

Post a Comment