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      Backyard Jujitsu is a school of Kajukenbo & Jujitsu teaching basic techniques of grappling, striking, and weapons for street self-defense.  The American Street Jujitsu, because it all started by training for the streets in the backyard. The first MMA from the streets and for the streets.  Learn more about what we train here at Backyard Jujitsu by reading the history of Kajukenbo.

The History Of KaJuKenBo

Karate,Judo/Jujitsu, Kenpo & Boxing

There are many styles of martial arts these days, the earliest dates that have been found are of the drawings of battles, date back around 3,400 BC in the Ancient Egyptian paintings.  

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Kajukenbo was developed around 1947-1949 when five martial artists from Hawaii called themselves the “Black Belt Society” and developed the Kajukenbo self-defense system.  The five founders are Peter Young Yil Choo, a Master in Tang Soo Do Karate, and also the welterweight boxing champion. Frank Ordonez, a Black belt in Sekeino Jujitsu.  Joe Holck, a black belt in Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu (Judo).  Adriano D. Emperado, a black belt in Kosho Ryu Kenpo and Escrima master.  Clarence Chang, a master in Sil-lum Pai kung fu. These five men trained together to evaluate the advantages, strengths, and weaknesses of each other’s art to build the foundation for Kajukenbo.  With its Kenpo base it took a few years to incorporate the Tang Soo Do Kicks, Jujitsu joint locks, Judo throws, and Sil-Lum Pai circular techniques.  Joe Holck came up with the name “Kajukenbo” Ka for karate Ju for Judo and Jujitsu, ken for Kenpo, and bo for Boxing.  The first workout together was in the backyard of Peter Choo’s Mothers' house.

History is good to know about where the art you are studying comes from and how it got the basic fundamentals and development of the art it's self.  Let's look at a few martial artists that helped shape the art of KaJuKenBo that isn't one of the five founders.  By taking history back to the beginning of where the founders of KaJukenbo got their ideas and basic martial arts training to develop KaJuKenbo as it is today.  KaJuKenBo is an art that keeps evolving through each martial artist who keeps the martial art going and this is why it is important to keep some of the original forms to its teachings to keep it's history.   I have a short description of each martial artist and their history, if you would like to find out more about them click their picture and it will take you to other locations on the web that will go more in detail about them.

The Jujitsu in KaJuKenBo

Seishiro Okazaki


Okazaki Seishiro was born on January 28, 1890 in Japan.  Seishiro Okazaki moved to the Big Island of Hawaii in the town of Hilo with his family in 1906.  In 1909 Seishiro was diagnosed with Tuberculosis.  In 1910 Seishiro Okazaki was cured of Tuberculosis and devoted his life to train Jujitsu, and took lesson from Master Yashimatsu Tanaka at the Shinyukai Dojo in Hilo.  For the next 7 years Seishiro Okazaki mastered varies Jujitsu techniques at the Yoshin-Ryu, Twaga-Ryu and Kosogabe-Ryu Schools.  Seishiro Okazaki then combined Karate techniques from the Ryukyu Island with his Jujitsu to develop his system. He also used Philippine Knife techniques to form his Danzan Ryu Jujitsu School.  In 1917 Seishiro Okazaki studied the Hawaiian secret killing art called Lua and also western boxing, wrestling and Dirk throwing.  In 1922 Seishiro Okazaki beat Heavyweight American boxing champion Carl Morris.  In 1924 Seishiro Okazaki took a trip back to Japan for five months mastering 675 Jujitsu techniques and getting his black belt in Kodokan Judo from Jigoro Kano.  In 1929 Okazaki moved to Honolulu on the island of Oahu and opened the Okazaki “Seifukujutsu In” At the same time he opened his Kodenkan Dojo where he taught his Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.

To keep Okazaki history a part of our KaJuKenBo at our school Backyard Jujitsu for all KaJuKenBo we teach the Yawara, Shime, and Nage Te techniques to our students as a history lesson.  Below this paragraph, I have YouTube videos of myself demonstrating these Jujitsu techniques from Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Jujitsu that I spent many years learning as I have studied the art itself.  In these videos, I have also added other jujitsu basics that I have learned from the studies of the martial art of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, which you will see that it comes from Kodokan Judo in the short history lesson of Jujitsu below these videos.

Nage Te

Full list of techniques

Short History of Jujitsu

Jujutsu is a Japanese martial art that was developed among the Samurai of feudal japan to defeat an armed opponent when unarmed or using a short weapon.  The old-style jujutsu ( Nihon koryu Jujutsu) dates back to 1333 - 1532 AD and was founded by Takenouchi Hisamori, a military tactician and lord of Mimasaka Province. Jujutsu began during the Sengoku and Muromachi periods.   Jujutsu is an art that focuses on, throwing, Immobilizing, joint locks and choking.  Striking techniques were infused to use as a setup to get a throw, choke or lock.  In 1882 in Japan Jigoro Kano developed a sport called Judo where they used the throws and takedowns to pin or submit an opponent with a joint lock or a choke.  Later on in 1910 Aikido was developed by Morihei Ueshiba.  Aikido is a martial arts that was developed to prevent harm to either the attacker or the defender.  Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was developed shorty later in 1914 when Mitsuyo Maeda brought Judo to Brazil and taught it to Carlos Gracie.  Carlos Gracie developed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to be more on Grappling and Submission martial art.  In 1929 Okazaki Seishiro Developed an art Called Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu in Honolulu Hawaii an art of Judo and Ju Jitsu, and later Okazaki's martial arts founded the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation, the (AJJF).  There are now many different styles of Ju Jitsu in the world like Wally Jays Small Circle Ju Jitsu an off spring of Kodenkan Danzan Ryu Ju Jitsu.  Okazaki and Sig Kufferath were Joe Holcks teachers where Holck also named the art Kajukebo and was one of the five founders of the art.  Ju Jitsu keeps growing and evolving world wide.     

The Grab Arts

KaJuKenbo has a set of its own of Jujitsu techniques called the Grab Arts and most schools have about 20 different grab counters that you will learn to get your black belt.  Here at Backyard Jujitsu for American Street Jujitsu KaJuKenBo, you will learn the first 10 Grab Arts to get your orange belt.  I have a YouTube video right here for you to see myself demonstrating these first 10 Grab Arts for you.   


Ukemi is your break fall and rolling movements that help you to prevent hurting yourself when you fall or just taking space to create a safe distance between you and your opponent.  In KaJuKenBo we practice many different falls.  There are multiple variations of Ukemi that come from the art of Jujitsu to learn and you will find that each variation is meant for different applications.

The 3 Co-Founders Of KaJuKenBo That Trained Jujitsu

In the development of KaJuKenBo there were three martial artists that trained in Kodenkan Danza Ryu Jujitsu and other Jujitsu arts like Kodokan Judo.  These three artists are Joseph Holck, Frank Ordonez, and Peter Choo.  You can find out more about these two martial artists by clicking on their photo. 

Joseph Holck
Frank Ordonez
Peter Choo

I will be talking more about these three martial artists in this history lesson because as we also have two other martial artists to talk about of the five co-founders of KaJuKenBo.  This will give you an idea of how they developed KaJuKenBo. To truly get a more detailed history lesson about KaJuKenBo and it's founders I have links to YouTube videos and to books you can buy from big-name masters in the art that I will reveal to you later in this history lesson.  Now let us get on to the art of Kenpo.

The Kenpo in KaJuKenBo

James Mitose


James Masayoshi Mitose (Masakichi Kosho Kenposai) was born in Kailua-KonaNorth Kona DistrictHawaii on December 30, 1916. On October 22, 1920, at the age of four, he and his two sisters were taken by their mother back to Japan to be given formal education and upbringing with family living there. While there, in addition to their schoolwork and university studies, they trained in the art of Kenpo. James returned to Hawaii on February 25, 1935, arriving at Honolulu on the SS Tatsuta Maru at the age of 21. His martial arts practices contained marked similarities to Okinawan karate and Japanese jujutsu. Mitose always claimed his art was Japanese rather than Okinawan.

Mitose began teaching Kenpo in Hawaii in 1936, and in 1941 set up a martial arts school. He gave the style he taught a number of different names during his lifetime, including "Shorinji Kenpo" and "Kenpo Jujutsu," (both names of recognized Japanese martial arts), but over time, settled on the name Kosho Shōrei-ryū Kenpo. The word "Kenpo" (or "Kempo") is the Japanese pronunciation of "Ch'uan Fa."

The Beginning of Kenpo Karate

William K.S. Chow

If you clicked on James Mitose's photo you would have found information about William K.S. Chow.  Chow studied several types of martial arts as a young man. These styles most likely included: boxingwrestling

jujutsu, and karate. Though he stood no more than 5’2” tall, he was well known for his powerful breaking techniques. Chow eventually studied “Kenpo Jiujutsu” or “Kosho Ryu Kenpo” under the direction of James Mitose. As he progressed he often tested his prowess against US military personnel in street fights. In spite of this, it was never recorded that Chow ran afoul of the law.


William Chow became one of five people awarded black belts under Mitose. Chow's black belt certificate was signed by Thomas Young. Young was Mitose's senior student and instructor

Adriano Emperado

By clicking on William K.S. Chows photo you would have read about his legacy with Kenpo Karate in America.  In the information about Chow, you would have learned that Adriano Emperado was one of Chow's head instructors who later on became one of the co-founders of KaJuKenBo.  Who later on becomes Sijo of the self-defense system.   

Kenpo was known for its Pinans and Katas where KaJuKenBo developed its own sets of these forms.  Along with punching counters called Punching Defenses that were very Kenpo-based.  KaJuKenBo has hard sets, soft sets, and blend of hard and soft set forms.  Below I have a few videos of myself demonstrating these forms along with a video on basic strikes, kicks, blocks that you would see in Kenpo.  American Street Jujitsu system of Kajukenbo has its own basic counters which I have put a video up of myself demonstrating them as well.  These counters are meant to add your own expression of follow-up.  Seeing I told you about those Punching Defenses I will add a video below of my friend Sifu Dean demonstrating Punching Defenses 4.  I also learned 15 of these Punching Defenses from my first Kajukenbo Sifu Grande Master Kenneth Johnson who goes by Sigung Johnson, and maybe at a later time, I will have videos of myself demonstrating them all for my YouTube channel for a history lesson. 

Katas, & Pinans
Striking, & Blocking
Basic Counters
Punching Defense 4

Punching Defense 4 is a counter to a straight punch by parry blocking across your body hook punching the bicep along with snap kicking the groin simultaneously.  As you advance forward you will take your opponent down with a standing key lock you then brake the arm of your opponent over your knee then racking the ribs, hammer fist the solar plex, hammer fist the noise, and stomp the head.   

Short History Of Kenpo & Karate

The Chinese people have been practicing martial arts before the establishment of the Shaolin temple.  The Chinese martial art Shuai Jiao which is a wrestling art dates back to 2697 BC that was used by the Yellow Emperor's army to attack Chi You's rebel army and also for sport.  The Shaolin temple was built in 495 AD in the Songshan mountains, and two different Indian monks Buddhabhadra and Bodhidarma travailed to China to teach Buddhism around 527 AD.   The first three Chinese Shaolin Monks, Huiguang, Sengchou, and Huike became trained martial art experts. During the period of the Sui dynasty (581-618) the foundation of Shaolin kung fu was created and the Shaolin Monks started to create martial art systems of their own.  In 1644 the southern Shaolin temple was destroyed by the Manchurian soldiers.  The Manchurian Emperor tried to collect taxes from the Shaolin monastery and the Monks refused to pay the Emperors tax. The Shaolin priests then started to teach knowledge for food and shelter and this is how Ch' uan fa became a self-defense art (fist way).   


The art of Okinawa Karate is a descanted of the Ch' uan-fa or Kempo (fist way) that was developed by the monks in China to defend themself when the use of weapons was taken from civilization.  Karate was developed in the Ryukyu Kingdom.  Funakoshi Gichin was the man who was responsible for bringing Karate to Japan in 1922, and in 1948 he became the chief instructor of the Japan Karate Association for self-defense and sport Karate.  In 1957 Funakoshi passed away at the age of eighty-eight years old.  


The Yoshida and Komatsu clans of Japan are the ones who are the founders of Kempo in Japan. Kempo is a Japanese name for Ch'uan fa.  James Mitose was apart of the Yoshida family and learned Kenpo and started to teach his own style called Kosho Shorei-ryu Kenpo in Hawaii in 1936. Mitose was William K.S. Chow teacher who became the legacy in Kenpo that came to the mainland of the United States.  William Chow was Adriano Emperado's teacher and Adriano soon became Chow's first black belt and later became Chow's head instructor and got his 5th-degree black belt under him.  In 1947 Adriano Emperado was later kicked out of Chows school and became one of the five founders and Sijo of the art Kajukenbo. Emperado died april 4, 2009

The Karate In KaJuKenBo


Peter YY Choo Sr. was Peters father who taught him Tang Soo Do Karate.  I myself do not know much of this history but have found the information from GM John Bishop who has a very extended history about KaJuKenBo and all of those involved in its creation.  What I do know about Peter Choo is he was the best boxer of the five co-founders and he is as apart of bringing boxing to KaJuKenBo.   


KaJuKenBo brought in kicks from Tang Soo Do Karate.  Karate is a martial art that is known for its kicking and Tang Soo Do was founded in Korea.  Seeing that Karate is known for its kicks I have two videos on YouTube for you teaching the basics of kicking.   In these videos, you will learn the front kick, back kick, roundhouse wheel kick, and side kick.  You will also see combinations of kicking and footwork to set up a kick. 

Front Kick & Back Kick
Roundhouse Wheel Kick & Side kick

The Boxing In KaJuKenBo

Chinese Boxing & Boxing
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George 'Clarence' Chang - 1926-2003
George Chang was also known as Clarence Chang.
He contributed the "BO" in the KaJuKenBo system known as the Chinese Boxing - Gung-Fu style.

His family, friends, and co-founders know him as a refined individual, a outstanding martial artist and Korean War veteran.

At the early age of twelve, George spent a few years in his father's native land, the province of Kwangtung, prior to World War II. While in China he got his initial start in the "hard / soft" system of Sil Lum Kung-FU (Shaolin).

He retuned to Honolulu in 1941 when Hawaii was U.S. territory and not yet a state.

Sil Lum 6

In KaJuKenbo we have the Shaolin Sil Lum 6 Form that we teach to our students in teaching in building flow in their movements.  Here is a video of myself demonstrating Sil Lum 6.

Jab - Cross

To have effective self-defense you need to know how to box because it is some of the best basic movements you should know.  In this history lesson that you learned about Kajukenbo, I am going to leave you with a video on how to throw a jab-cross the basic one-two boxer combination, and below that video, you will find more information on the history of Kajukenbo by Grande Master John Bishop!  

For More Information

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This is the most comprehensive book that has ever been written on the American martial art called, Kajukenbo. This book (Third Edition) is the result of over 20 years of research, and numerous interviews with many of the early pioneers of this art, including four of the founders. It is a full size (8 ½ " X 11") paperback book with 243 pages, 17 chapters, over 32,000 words, and 686 photos. This third edition has a plastic laminated cover, for more durability. CHAPTER 1 Sijo Adriano D. Emperado. CHAPTER 2 Kajukenbo History CHAPTER 3 The Branches CHAPTER 4 Kajukenbo Basic Techniques and Training CHAPTER 5 Rapid Fire Hand Strikes CHAPTER 6 Kicks, Knees, Sweeps, Stomps CHAPTER 7 Break Holds CHAPTER 8 Punch Defenses CHAPTER 9 Club Defenses CHAPTER 10 Facing The Blade CHAPTER 11 Multiple Attackers CHAPTER 12 Emperado's Advanced Alphabet Techniques CHAPTER 13 Gun Encounters CHAPTER 14 Kajukenbo and Women CHAPTER 15 Kajukenbo and Kids CHAPTER 16 Who's Who In Kajukenbo CHAPTER 17 The Kajukenbo Ohana (photo gallery)

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Interview in 4 parts with 3 of the founders of Kajukenbo created by Vince Black

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