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History of Kajukenbo

Founders of Kajukenbo

Kajukenbo was created between 1947 and 1949 at Palama Settlement on Oahu, Hawaii. 
The art developed out of a group calling themselves the "Black Belt Society", consisting of five practitioners from various martial arts backgrounds who met to train and learn with each other.  This was the beginning of an evolutionary, adaptive style designed to combine the most useful aspects of the arts. These five men are credited as co-creators of Kajukenbo, and it is from their respective arts that Kajukenbo draws its name.


Style: Tang soo Do
Peter Young Yil Choo

Style: Se Keino Ryu
Frank Ordonez

Style: Kodenkan Danzan Ryu
Joe Holck

Style: Kosho Ryu
Adriano Emperado

Chinese Boxing
Style: Chu'an Fa Kung-Fu
Clarence Chang

Kajukenbo Symbol

The Kajukenbo coat of arms was designed and given meaning by Assoc. Prof. Al Dacascos with the aid of Dr. Sun, Professor of Chinese philosophy and science. It was approved and accepted by Professor Emperado in May of 1965. In 1968 it was adopted by the Kajukenbo Association of America, headed by Charles Gaylord.

It is the most recognized emblem in the Kajukenbo system, appearing in patch or screen print form. Almost all Kajukenbo schools will either use the coat of arms, the clover leaf symbol, or both.

Kajukenbo Colors: Red Black and White

Gold Octagon: eight directions of defense and attack.

Yin/Yang : the hard and soft existing together in harmony.

Red Circle: chi and the continuous flow from hard to soft and soft to hard.

White Clover: knowledge, cleanliness of body, mind and spirit, and Sijo Emperado.

Green Reeds: students striving for knowledge.

Left Characters: "fist way."
Right Characters: "skill learned through time and practice"
The philosophical meaning behind the characters is "Through this fist style, one gains long life and happiness."

KSDI: Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute. 

Uniform History

Back in the 50’s gi's were primarily white uniforms.   The white uniform was a symbol of the Japanese and Korean systems.  
Sijo Emperado wanted his system to be recognized differently so he elected to use the black uniform.  The black uniform represented a Kajukenbo / Kenpo system. 

Students wear red training shirts while black belts (and in some systems brown belts) wear black training shirts.

The Hawaiian flag is worn on the left shoulder to signify the system's origin

Kids Belts










Adult Belts







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