Kempo Karate Guys

Has anyone been on the NHB fighting scene that is a Kempo Karate guy? Just wondering as I am sparring with a guy who is a brown belt in Kempo Karate and he is pretty good but don't know how well he would do with gloves and "sport fighting" rules.


kempo is a fine style i think, it just depends on how the guy trains it. Same goes for just about any martial art with combative applications... if you train it learning how to fight, you will gain at the very least some semblance of how to fight; if you train only floor drills and kata, you'll obviously be good at that but not the "martial" part.

or they could have come from karate, muay thai, savate
or any other of a host of martial arts. They're
pretty basic skills anyway you slice it. Kempo in
application always struck me as boxing with some
elbows and backfists, a few kicks, some stand up
grappling and some rudimentary takedowns.

A lot of the standup (barring the leg kicks) I see in
MMA competitions looks like it could have come from a
kempo school. Granted I've never seen a kempo guy
shoot or grapple, but standing up I don't think they're
much different than anyone else.

lol, Liddell, lets see...

Big KEMPO tattoo on sholder

Says he trains Hawaiian Kempo

His instructor has been on ths very forum saying that he teaches kempo,but tampaNHB knows thats not the case, Chuck is a boxer (/sarcasm)

think before you speak

Liddell has trained with John Hackleman(sp?) in Hawaiian Kenpo and kickboxing for years. Not your average Kenpo/Kempo school. He also wrestled in college.

There are others in mma on that team too.

Hackney (back in the day)

There are WAY too many branches and styles of kenpo/kempo to say one way or the other about how good it is. Some styles or offshoots are very street oriented with lots of hands on sparring. Others are just McDojo's where someone jumped from one organization to another and suddenly found themselves called a "master" when they were only a 1st degree blackbelt to start with.

So you really have to check on who they are affiliated with and how they train at that school to know if they would be good or not.

If Lidell says its Kempo then its F'n Kempo!!! :)

Besides that, wasnt American Kempo started in Hawaii or am I mistaken???? I forget.

To Tailiu:

Yes, American Kenpo started with Ed Parker who grew up in Hawaii and later moved to the mainland. Kenpo itself is a generic term meaning "Fist Law", the Chinese version is Chuan Fa. It was used to refer to any number of styles that emphasized empty hand techniques.

So AMERICAN kenpo can't have boxing in it when it was modified and changed by an american and is not an oriental art? Most styles of kenpo that are in the US are derivatives of the Ed Parker version or William Chow version (kajukenbo)

Punisher 73 is correct

"how is that Kempo then?" Look into the history of kempo. It always has been an evolving art where the core ideas remain the same, but each person who teaches it will bring his own expeareance and knowledge of fighting into the art. John Hackleman was a boxer in his youth, so his kempo will obviuosly have a strong boxing element. John McSweeny had a judo and boxing background, so the kenpo he taught has more throws than other branches of the family tree. But there always will be a core philosophy about street fighting that points back to what was taught by James Mitose and William Chow in Hawaii back in the mid part of the last century.

Punisher73 is right. tjmitch is right. Swift is right.
As far as Tampa, well, we've all read the posts so I need not help him along his way. Kempo is just a term, just as NHB is in Tamps profile. It's a blend, whatever works put it in the toolbox and call it Kempo.

SO basically what you guys are saying is that you can do anything and just call it kempo (as long as the "core ideas" are still there and you came from a legit kempo lineage)? I'm sorry, but I don't think that makes practical sense. Fighting is fighting, but if you want to get into classifying styles, then you need a concrete measure of classification. You can classify muay thai because MT fighters all use a base set of principles and techniques such as their kicking method and clinch strategy. Boxing, Bjj, wrestling, classify these disciplines by their specific techniques and strategies. If the art is a hybrid style and different instructors and lineages use whatever the hell they personally favor (whether it be the crane kata, or boxing and submission grappling), then why bother to call it by the same name in the first place? If that's the case with Kempo, then the name doesn't mean jack$hit. Because as far as I can tell right now, being a "Kempo" guy might mean you do katas and chop bricks in half while yelling "kiai!", or it might mean you're an MMA kickboxer, or it might mean you'll throw sidekicks at me and then try to take me down and finish me off with sloppy bjj. It just doesn't make any damn sense.

I'm not an expert, but Kempo has a pretty big family
tree, and it covers a lot of things. Various Kempo
schools can have vastly different training and fighting
styles, but there's generally a similarity in "flavor"
to the techniques.

The best comparison I can try to make is that if you
took bjj, judo, small circle jj, and danzan-ryu jj, and
compared the side by side you'd see some pretty big
differences, but you could also see how they all must
have come from a common source.

Your comment about how saying someone is a "Kempo Guy"
is a pretty broad statement is also true. Saying a
guy is a "Kempo guy" is kind of like saying somebody
is a "streetfighter." It can mean all kinds of
different stuff. Just like saying someone did "some
kind of jujitsu" can cover a lot of bases as well.
Saying someone does kempo is only slightly less vague
than saying someone does "kung-fu."

Basically all you can safely say about a kempo trained
guy is that he's learned how to strike with his arms
and legs, probably learned how to roll, fall and throw,
and more likely than not, learned some stand up
grappling skills like joint locks and breaking grips.
I used to do kempo, and am now at a different kempo
school... the difference is night and day. As big a
difference as say koykushin and tkd. Weird thing is
the kata are very similar.

You'll have to look into specifics like what style of
kempo and what school he trained at to get specifics
on techniques, and intensity.

I did wing chun for years, but if I throw a jab-cross-round kick it's not wing chun, even if I have a wing chun tatoo and still hang out with my old sifu and even if I say it's wing chun. Lidell seems like a nice guy trying to rep a buddy. He looks like a sprawling kickboxer, to me. If Lidell is using Kempo, then Belfort beat Silva with JiuJitsu...and all those chants were correct.

Again, there is NO SUCH THING as "pure kenpo". It was a name from japan used to describe ALL hand styles. Chow used the term and then Parker did as well. Both of whom took things from other styles when creating their "kenpo".

There are even some offshoots of Parker's kenpo that use boxing only punches and still have it as kenpo. WHY??? One of the main foundations of Parker's (American) Kenpo was all on concepts and using what works. If you find a technique that works and doesn't violate the basic concepts of the art than you use it, and it is considered kenpo.

Vitor's win is a little different. I've never done bjj
but from what I understand it's primarily a ground
style. It'd be analagous to Lidell pulling guard and
finishing off someone with a triangle... that would be
kind of a stretch to call it kempo.

I've been to kempo schools where they trained all the
stereotypical open hand kempo techniques like the
palm strikes, eye rakes, and back hands but all their
closed fist strikes looked a hell of a lot like boxing
punches. As for sprawling, I was actually introduced
to it in a kempo school, so I do know it's taught.

The Wing Chun comparison doesn't work so well simply
because WC is a single well defined style, rather than
a family of somewhat related arts. If you said JKD
rather than WC that would be closer. Though Kempo is
not to my experience quite as open as JKD.

"Fighting is fighting, but if you want to get into classifying styles, then you need a concrete measure of classification"

Kempo isnt a style, it's more of a "name" for fighting.

"If the art is a hybrid style and different instructors and lineages use whatever the hell they personally favor (whether it be the crane kata, or boxing and submission grappling), then why bother to call it by the same name in the first place? If that's the case with Kempo, then the name doesn't mean jack$hit."


You're right. For example, the title of the thread is "Kempo Karate guys". Kempo really wouldnt be a type, ryu, class, or style of karate. Nor would karate be a type of Kempo. I think Kempo would be an Okinawan translation of Chuan fa, however since Okinawa was occupied and or visited by many different people from different places over centuries (Chinese,Japanese,etc.) Kempo is a very diluted blend of many "styles".


Many of the "americanized" Kempo schools do teach katas, eye rakes, and all kind of crazy shit. But then again some don't. As Maxximus said "It doesn't make sense", but then again they use that to confuse the enemy while they steal their "chi".

How did you learn about our stealing other people's
chi? That's our most closely guarded secret....
I've notified the secret council of secrecy... the
ninja assasins are on their way... ;-)