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In 1919 a three year old James Mitose (1916-1981) left Hawaii for Kyushu Japan to study his ancestor's art. In 1937 he returned to Hawaii to open the "Official Self-Defense Club" in 1942. Before he left teaching to pursue his religious studies, he promoted six students to black belt level; among them were William Kwai Sun Chow and Thomas Young.
William K. S. Chow (1914-1987) is perhaps the most notable person responsible for promoting Kenpo into the United States. William Chow had grown up studying his family style of Kung Fu which he learned from his father. After years of studying with Mitose, Chow combined both his knowledge of Kung Fu and Kosho Ryu Kempo to form his Kenpo Karate. In 1949 he opened a Dojo ("the place of the way") a training hall of his own in a local YMCA in Hawaii.
In 1954 one of Chow's more prominent students, Edmund Parker, earned his black belt. He brought Kenpo Karate to the mainland and would eventually be known as "the Father of American Karate".
Another student of William Chow was Adriano Emperado(Kenpo), who along with Walter Choo (Karate), Joe Holck (Judo), Frank Ordonez (Jujutsu), and George C. Chang (Chinese Boxing), combined to form Kajukenbo in 1947. (Ka) Karate (Ju) Judo & Jujutsu (Ken) Kenpo (Bo) Chinese Boxing.
Grandmaster Victor (sonny) Gascon, a student of Adriano Emperado from 1948-1952. In 1953 he was stationed in Hawaii with the Air Force and resumed his studies in Kalihi. In 1965 he was discharged from the Air Force and moved to California. In 1960 he departed from the kajukenbo system and founded the Karazenpo Go Shinzutsu system. Victor Gascon closes his school in 1963 and returns to Hawaii in 1968.
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Kempo Karate has its roots in Okinawa. As taught at the Mullaney Center, it is a blending of Okinawan Karate with elements of Shaolin Kungfu and Jujitsu.