American KenpoKenpo has also been appropriated as a modern term: a name for multiple martial arts that developed in Hawaii due to cross-cultural exchange between practitioners of Ryukyuan martial arts, Chinese martial arts, Japanese martial arts and multiple additional influences.* In the United States, kenpo is often referred to as Kenpo Karate. The most widespread styles have their origin in the teachings of James Mitose and William Kwai Sun Chow. The American East Coast features a branch of Kenpo created by George Pesare a student of Karazenpo co-founder Sonny Gascon. This branch was later built upon and redefined by Fredrick J. Villari. The Villari system integrated the strengths of American Kenpo with the larger scope of movement and grappling available in Shaolin Kung Fu and Chin Na to create a unique American Kenpo offshoot system.*The form of martial art developed and taught by Mitose and Chow also includes Kajukenbo, an art that does not use the kenpo name itself, but which possesses recognized offshoots that do. These arts have spread around the world through multiple lineages, not all of which agree on a common historical narrative. The system of Kenpo taught by founder James Mitose employed hard linear strikes and kicks, pressure point manipulation, circular movement patterns, and joint locking and breaking.
Ed Parker is the most prominent name in the Mitose lineage. A student of William Chow in Hawaii for nearly six months, Ed Parker moved to the US mainland to attend Brigham Young University. In 1957, he began teaching the Kenpo Karate that he had learned from Chow, and throughout his life modified and refined the art until it became Ed Parker's American Kenpo. It employs a blend of Chinese circular movements and hard linear movements, which come together seamlessly to form an effective self defense system. Parker created techniques with names such as Thundering Hammers, Five Swords, Prance Of The Tiger, and Flashing Mace to provide a memorization tool to the student.
Dr. John La Tourrette is also a famous name in the Kenpo circles. Whom trained and was friends with Ed Parker for a time during his youth and is well known for creating the How to hit a man 11 times in less then one second videos and books as well as other publications as well.