Los orígenes japoneses del Kenpo Kai

The settlement of different races, the ones that nowadays are called Japan (Uraloaltaica, Mongoles, polinesios…), gave as a result a feeling of possession and property to the land, and the attempt of settlement made by other races, made them thought that their land would be invaded. This fact caused continuous confrontations between them.

Among the autochthonous races, we could reckon the following ones: KUMASO, AINU, TSUCHIGUMO.
(Note: depending on the historian, some of these races are considered more autochthonous than others , but we aren’t going to discuss this).
These struggles improve the art of the war in all its aspects, and this improvement takes us to the KASHIMA SHINTO RYU, one the most ancient Japanese traditional school and one of the origins of the current KENPO KAI.

Los orígenes japoneses del Kenpo Kai

One of the most interesting characteristics of this ancient martial art is its comprehensive and holística nature. Although the training is focused mainly in the use of the sword, the practice includes all the military disciplines (BUJUTSU): BATTO-JUTSU ( technique to pull out the sword - ancient form from IAIDO-), NAGINATA-JUTSU (technique of the halberd), SOJUTSU ( Art of the struggle with Lance), KENJUTSU-TACHIAI ( technique of the sword against other weapons), SHURIKEN- JUTSU (technique of flinging darts), JUJUTSU (technique of fighting), KENPO (system of boxing), BOJUTSU ( technique of the long stick), Los orígenes japoneses del Kenpo Kai JOJUTSU( technique of the medium stick), KAIKEN-JUTSU or TANTO-JUTSU (technique of knives and short swords) and TASUKI-DORI or HOBAKU-JUTSU (technique of tying with the rope). These disciplines coexist as the components of the same system. Each one works with the same strategic and movement principles, they’re only distinguished by the interaction of these principles. Each one works with the same strategic and movement principles distinguished only by the interaction of the weapon it’s based on.None of these disciplines is fully completed by itself. The martial art of the KASHIMA SHINTO RYU, with the entity of a simple collection of tricks and strategies to fight, was only BU-JUTSU ( Martial Art).


Los orígenes hindús del Kenpo Kai

The same circumstances that had been described in the previous section, took place all over the world, the consequence of the personality of the human being, without taking into account the race or culture. In this case we go to India and we situate in the fifth century before Christ. In this zone, a religion based on the castes called “VEDISMO”, was practised and its hierarchic summit were the priests “BRAHMANES”.
The warring class of this religion, the “KSHATRIYA”, (they were like the Japanese SAMURAI in the later epochs. KSHATRIYA means “Warrior whose fist is an arm”). The martial art that was practised by this caste of warriors was known as “VAJRAMUSHTI” which means “one whose closed fist is hard”.
This system of struggle is considered by many historian as the first codified martial art, which includes fighting techniques, eastern medicine, breathing and hardening techniques, without forgetting its religious/ philosophical component.

Taking into account the study that was made by a group of Japanese experts who worked for a many years on the research of the martial art’s origin and who published their conclusions in their thesis called “ORIGIN OF THE MARTIAL ART’S CULTURE” in the year 2000, they underline the big influence of some hand-to-hand Indian struggling systems in the martial arts, Los orígenes hindús del Kenpo Kaide los for this, these conclusions are based on the Indian Buddhist’s statues, where the mayor part of the ancient work’s postures have similarities with BUJUTSU’s postures. As a brightest example they refer to the Buddhist mystic deity “KWANNON” and the one which can be seen in many Japanese Buddhist temples.


Los orígenes chinos del Kenpo Kai

Basing on the “LO YANG TEMPLE’S PROTOCOLS” work, written by HSUAN CHIH in the year 547.
BODHIDARMA, in Japanese “DARUMA DAISHI” and the one who Chinese people know as “TAMO”, was the third son of the king SUGHANDA. He was member of the KSHATRIYA warrior caste, and he was a follower of “PRAJNATARA” in the “DHYANA” religion/ philosophy (ZEN in Japanese), achieving to become the 28th successor of SAKYA MUNI (historical BUDA).

BODHIDARMA practised one of the branches of the Buddhism called “MAHAYANA” (which means Big Vehicle). After the death of this master, he decides to go to China in order to transmit in the correct way the Buddhism in this country. .In 527, during the SUNG dynasty, he makes a long and very accidental journey to arrive at the city Cantón, subsequently he travelled to Nanking and he had a meeting with the emperor LIANG WU TI.

Because of this interview, BODRIHARMA was expelled by the emperor of the court and he made his way towards the north of China, reaching by chance the Temple SHAOLIN in HOUNAN.


El boxeo del templo Shaolín

When BODHIDARMA reached the SHAOLIN temple he realized that most of the priests were physically very injured because of the assaults they usually suffered by vandals or thieves. When he saw how the situation was, making good use of his struggling and Yoga knowledge, he started teaching them in order to strengthen their psychic and become more strong in the same time they were also taught self-defence, all this without forgetting part of the philosophy/religion.

The good results that were obtained in little time and the contribution that was given by the militaries who were incorporated into the monastic life in this contents (big experts in the Chinese autochthonous El boxeo del templo Shaolín struggling systems), caused the extension in all over China of the SHAOLIN temple’s priest’s fame and the art of struggling also gained more and more importance in the Temple, until it became a historical and worldwide concerning.

Purifying the spirit and disciplining the body is the principle in which BODHIDARMA worked. To achieve this, he obliged the priests to do distressing physical exercises, combining them with practice of the ZAZEN, establishing the parameters which rule the recent martial arts.

It’s said that in the most culminating moment in the history of this Temple, there were 2000 priests, 500 of them were authentic experts in CHUANFA (KENPO in Japanese) and they were requested by the countrymen, even the emperor got the support of these fighter priests in order to consolidate this power, because of this they gained respect but also distrust from the ones who had the power, thinking that they would wait for the best moment to destroy their power.

El boxeo del templo Shaolín


The candidates who wanted to become fighter priests couldn’t be older than 12 years old and they had to overcome a challenge which lied in sleeping in a bed in 2 metres height made by 5 sticks; if the candidate fell down the bed, he would automatically be rejected.Vida en el temploWhen they were admitted the training started at 4 a.m. and finished at 10 p.m., dedicating 5 hours to the martial training and the rest to the meditation. His teaching ended when they were 20 years old and they had success in the three challenges. (Note: this doesn’t mean that they would go on improving and learning, they would go on doing it all along their lives but not in this rhythm).

The first one was a kind of philosophic/religious exam, which lasted a few days.

The second was to go across the Temple until the door, while he was on his way he was attacked by 36 priests who tried to stop him.

The third and the last was a challenge of the mental control.

Only the one who had success in all the challenges and left the temple from the main door, was considered an authentic SHAOLIN priest.


Between the end of the MING dynasty and the start of the CHING dynasty, one SHAOLIN priest with the surname CHIANG (his pile name isn’t known), travels to the north of China in order to visit his family, but he realizes that some of them have been murdered and the ones who have survived live in a poor situation because of the numerous attacks from vandals. Under the circumstances, he takes a really important decision which will have influence in the future history of his family, teaching them the struggling art of SHAOLIN.

El monje Shaolín ChiangThe SHAOLIN priest will teach and show them the most interesting and useful things of the warrior priests’ boxing, in the same time he gives them protection. When he considers that they’re already prepared, he goes back to his monastic life and he returns, with the CHIANG family, the struggling system he has learned becomes a family secret and this will be taught to a son by his father.

Time makes improvements in this system and as it is deeply rooted in the family, it’s called CHIANG CHUAN (Chiang family’s boxing).


In the TOKUGAWA period an adventurous Japanese man, who was initiated in the art of KASHIMA SHINTO RYU called TAWADA ISHIZAKA, travels to China in order to make fortune.

Introducción del Kenpo Kai en JapónWhile he is in Chinese lands, he studies a variety of different struggling styles, until he reaches the nowadays LUNG KIANG starting to work for the CHIANG family, later on he will marry one of the women in the family and this will allow him to be instructed in CHIANG CHUAN.

In his old age, he decides to return back to Japan with his family.


The ISHIZAKA family’s incorporation to the Japanese life, is quite hard, which causes many familiar problems, until they find a way to survive in this country using their knowledge in CHIAN CHUAN, they start making acrobatic and theatrical performances in villages.

Ishizaka Ha Kenpo el boxeo de la familia Ishizaka

When TAWADA became elderly, because of his age, his son CHIEN (noun with Chinese origin) was the one who used to be make the most spectacular part of the performance, depending on what the history says ( always taking into account that the transmission of the knowledge even of the history, was mostly oral, so many of them have been embellished while time goes by, but they are based on the real facts).

After TAWADA’s death, CHIEN and his son SHUKO made a performance of a confrontation, a fight between a tiger and a monkey, and this was seen by all the people who lived in a village.
Ishizaka Ha Kenpo el boxeo de la familia Ishizaka EAmong the people, there was a SAMURAI, who had been scolding and laughing all along the show; at a given moment the SAMURAI stood up, came up to them and shoved CHIEN, showing him with bad manners how he had to defend from a tiger, SHUKO made a technique to the SAMURAI due to the anger, and the SAMURAI fell to the floor, and injured on his dignity, he took the KATANA and with certain strokes he killed SHUKO, when his father saw this, he threw himself against the SAMURAI, having a struggle which ended with the death of the SAMURAI. After this happening, CHIEN got away of the village with all his family in order to avoid reprisals.

Later on the art known as CHIANG CHUAN, was called ISHIZAKA HA KENPO (boxing of the ISHIZAKA family). While it was shown Ishizaka Ha Kenpo el boxeo de la familia Ishizakain different villages, they had moments of prestige, many youngsters constantly asked to join the Trouppe in order to learn and have adventures. Because of this, a lot f people spent some time with them and someone even years, for example KOZAN, who became an accomplished actor and a big expert in the art of KENPO, but his EGOLATRIA and ambition of being the best, made him challenge his own teacher, thinking that if he won, people would realize that he was the best and he wouldn’t need to learn anymore from his teacher. But all this failed, apart from being beaten, he was also punished. After his expulsion, a new law was created in the ISHIZAKA family, according to this it was forbidden to teach ISHIZAKA HA KENPO to anyone who wasn’t a member of the family.


KAZUO ISHIZAKA (1921-1998) was born in Tokyo.
Creación del Kenpo Kai
His father KYNYO, teaches him and his brother KOISO (1915-1966) the martial art of his family, the ISHIZAKA HA KENPO, since they were children.

After the second World War had happened, he started working as a civil servant for the state.

The 12th April of 1945, while the American troops were bombarding Tokyo, the Master KYNYO died.

In the year 1967 (one year alter his brother KOISOS died) he travels with his nephew SOTOKI ISHIZAKA (1943-1987) to the Chinese city Shangai, in order to train with the master HOU CHIANG (1889-1978) and recover the ancient techniques of CHIANG CHUAN, which were already lost. They do this for 2 years, with continuous trips and long stays.

Creación del Kenpo Kai

In 1969, the teacher KAZUO ISHIZAKA with the help of his nephew SOTOKI finishes the full checking and reorganization of all the techniques and he decided to call it KENPO KAI (gathering of the fist methods), in honour of the get-together of the two schools ISHIZAKAHA KENPO and CHIANG CHUAN. (A young and promising pupil of KENPO KAI, CHIAKI OHASHI-, very involved in the study of the ancient Japanese martial arts, as the KASHIMA SHINTO RYU,-one of the schools which gave origin to the ISHIZAKAHA KENPO-, he contributes his studies and researches, many of them are joined to the nowadays KENPO KAI). From this moment on, the art of KENPO KAI is taught to eastern and western people who are interested in learning it.

Creación del Kenpo Kai


From the year 1972, the master SOTOKI, who is an anthropologist , starts making works of CAMPO (Research), this makes him travel to different countries. In one of these trips, he visits Spain and he falls in love with the culture of this country.

Introducción del Kenpo Kai en EuropaIn 1974 he starts learning Spanish and in 1975 he travels to Spain, particularly to the province of Guipúzcoa, where he hireWhile he’s living in Spain he teaches KENPO KAI to different people, being the most outstanding pupil the Master VIDAL. In his first time in the Spanish province of Guipúzcoa, he is there for 6 months, then he goes back to Japan, continuing his research trips mostly in North America, returning back to Spain almost once a year for a period of 2 or 3 months each time, in 1982 was the last time he visited Spain.

His work since 1982 was based on the Amazonian tribes, this made him spend some time in Brazil, and in this country he formed a group of KENPO KAI.

In 1987 the Master SOTOKI died in a traffic accident in Brazil.

Then, in 1998, the Master KAZUO died, creating an uncertainty about the future of the KENPO KAI.


Historia de la competición en Kenpo KaiIn August of the year 1976, the first championship of KENPO KAI took place in the city of Wajiyama, 60 competitors of Japan participated in this historical event.

In 1990 the Japanese city of Tokyo, was chosen to be the place for the first World Competition of this discipline , in the final the American Mike Robertson and the Spanish Juan Mª Vidal brought face to face, the last one came out victorious, alter that the KENPO KAI became a worldwide potential.

Historia de la competición en Kenpo Kai

Historia de la competición en Kenpo Kai

In 2000, the sportive part of the KENPO KAI became really important, especially in Japan, some new competition rules were developed and a conscientious preparation for referees and judges was carried out, as a result the World competition in 2004, establishing a relation of organizing a championship every three years, being the next one in 2007 and following this way successively.


El Kenpo Kai moderno, comienzo de una nueva era

The master OHASHI takes care of the KENPO KAI all over the world with a new project which is carried out in 2000.

That year the KENPO KAI is reorganized, unifying it with the aim of being considered international and recognized by everyone. To achieve this, one of different things that were unified, was the way KENPO KAI was written, taking into account that there wasn’t a common rule and this could be written in different ways; KEMPO KAY, KEMPO KAI, KENPO KAY, KENPOU-KAI… Another important change was the etiquette of the KENPO KAI based on the KEN NO RI (the reason of the KEN). This is based on the ancient technique of the BUSHI (fighter) Japanese.

With the words of the master OHASHI “ Recent KENPO-KAI is a Japanese BUDO which was created by retrieving the techniques of the KENPO in the Chinese SO period and it was united to the ancient Japanese BUDO”.


The KENPO KAI in charge of de Master OHASHI, is having a big international projection, especially on its sportive side, charming the interest of the youngest ones who are interested in taking part in competitions.

Being nowadays really influenced by the Japanese culture, this martial art attaches the Chinese knowledge with the Japanese pragmatism, proportioning a balanced martial art and a sport for competition, with very high ethical and pedagogic values.

El Kenpo Kai del siglo XXI

In the 21st century, when the technology improves by leaps and bounds, being a martial arte that makes us work the physic part (Self-defence, competition, physic develop…) and in the same way it provides us ethical values, makes the KENPO KAI an indispensable complement for the human being in order to keep in contact with the society and itself.


As is picked up in the official page of the National Commission of Kenpo of the French Federation of Karate and Associate Disciplines, in the section of History in the section Origins of the KENPO in France, one can read the following historical review.

"On dit que le pionnier du Kenpô français est Patrick Lombardo. Pourtant le premier à avoir utilisé le terme Kenpô en France est M. LALANDRE lors de la déclaration au Journal Officiel pour son association, en 1974.
Moins d’un an après le maître Sotoki Ishizaka ouvre un dojo à Paris de Kenpô Kaï".

TRANSLATION: It is said that the pioneer of the French Kenpô is Lombard Patrick. However the first in using the term Kenpô in France was Mr. LALANDRE in an interview to the Official Newspaper on their Association.
In 1974. Less than one year later the Teacher Sotoki Ishizaka opens a dojo in Paris of Kenpô Kaï.

Link: http://www.cnkenpo.com/historique.php

The organization that leads the KENPO KAI in a worldwide way is:

President Shihan Ohashi

Central headquarter: ALL KENPO KAI HONBU
2214-3 Wakabayashi Hamamatsu Shizouka (Japan)

Web: www.kenpo-kai.com
E-mail: ken@righttec.com
Phone: 053-439-7958

In Europe this function is practised, in the way of the IKKO’s delegation, by:

President Shihan Vidal

Central headquarter: EUROPE KENPO KAI HONBU
Calle Huesca 20 - 28020 Madrid - España

Email: europe@kenpo-kai.eu
Telf: (00 34) 915 716 316

Copyright © 2005 Kenpo Kai