How It works; The Styles
By Prof. Al Dacascos
The four major recognized styles (sometimes called sections) within the Kajukenbo systems are Kenpo-Karate, Chuan-Fa, Tum-Pai and Wun Hop Kuen Do. These are the styles recognized by the founder of the system, Professor Adriano D, Emperado.
The Kajukenbo-Kenpo-karate style, as most everyone knows had a pre-development period from 1947- 1949. Within this section or style, the emphasis was its strong power punching technique. Seventy percent of all its techniques were snapping. The front, side, back and roundhouse kicks were snap kicks, usually below the solar plexus. It was not until the first group of Kajukenbo instructors landing on the mainland from Hawaii that we began to see the thrusting extension, hyper-extension, or double hyper-extension kicking techniques come into play. It was this period, the mid 60's to the mid 70's that they emphasized these innovations with the legs.
One of the best coaches of that era in Kajukenbo was the late Aleju Reyes from northern California. His step-lunge roundhouse kick to the lower region (solar plexus to groin), became public through his talented fighters like Phil Cornan, Phil Paloma Bill Rodriguez and his son Alan Reyes. The use of the lunge-reverse punch, back-fist and drop kicks came out of fighters like Bill Owens and Lionel Seals from the Ch'uan-Fa section. Carlos Bunda of Los Angeles brought in footwork.
Kajukenbo made its reputation because of the early pioneers and instructors, who presented their fighters in tournament competition on the west coast. The name alone drew much attention when demonstrated, or when its fighter hit the tournament circuit.
The Tum-Pai section or style was the creation of Professor Emperado back in Honolulu, Hawaii. He began to incorporate southern styles of kung-fu into Kajukenbo from 1961 to 1967. The first person to work with Emperado on this section was Al Dela Cruz. I joined them later in 1964. The majority of their sessions occurred wherever they happened to get together. They integrated elements of choy-li fut, and tai-chi into Tum-Pai and a systematic method developed.
A major change of ideas took place when I moved from Hawaii to the bay area in northern California. My pursuit to integrate kung-fu into Kajukenbo, lead me to kung-fu instructors like Ron Lew, Paul Ng, Wong, Jack Man, and Kam Yuen.
I was greatly influenced by the northern styles of kung- fu. Communications between Emperado and myself during that time had both of us going back and forth between California and Hawaii comparing and dissecting the integration. It was evident that the high kicking long range attacks and its leg sweeping techniques of the northern styles of kung-fu drew away from the goals of Tum-Pai. They replaced the name Tum-Pai with Ch'uan-Fa in 1967. Ch'uan-Fa loosely means fist way, but has many interpretations.
One of Emperado' s goals, was to have the knowledge of Ch'uan-Fa within the hands of the Kajukenbo - Kenpo stylist. The doors were left open for them to fill that gap. Not all instructors were receptive to Emperado's wishes and some went off and integrated their own kung-fu into Ch'uan-Fa. While the name Ch'uan-Fa is greatly used more than 65 percent in the Kajukenbo, it is not the method of learning that was set down as the method to learn in Kajukenbo. As a result of this, Ch'uan-Fa is the section that has many styles. Sifu Bill Owens and Sifu Leonard Endrizzi have been entrusted with this section to bring about a uniform method of teaching Chuan as it was meant to be.
Before 1969, only two recognized sections existed in Kajukenbo, the Kenpo section and the Chuan-Fa section. However, the name Tum-Pai was not entirely forgotten. Jon Loren was a solid internal practitioner of Tai-Chi, Pa-kua and hsing-I, as well as Kajukenbo when he began to integrate, innovating his style of Kajukenbo for the next decade. After many trips back to Hawaii, and training with Professor Emperado, Tum-Pai was rejuvenated. However, it was not until April 14, 1984 in Portland, Oregon, did Professor Emperado officially acknowledge Tum-Pai as a legitimate section of Kajukenbo with Sifu Jon Loren as its section leader. That style emphasized more of the internal arts than the other two sections.
In 1969, I approached Emperado that it was time for a move into what I called Wun Hop Kuen Do, "Combination Fist Art," which means to blend in with other arts. This was my expression, and after explaining the major difference with Emperado, I was blessed with permission to carry on with this work and for the next twenty-odd years, Wun Hop Kuen Do made many innovations.