Kajukenbo - Who Knew?

January 28th, 2010

Kajukenbo - Who Knew?

Who knew that the world renowned mixed martial art called "Kajukenbo" was created in the mid 1940s right here at Palama Settlement in Honolulu?  Developed by a group of men who called themselves the "Black Belt Society" they all held black belts in various martial arts and in classic Hawaiian style they shared.  They met to train and learn from each other and then formed a "hui". From this collaboration the beginning of an "evolutionary adaptive style" was born.

There were five men credited as co-creators of Kajukenbo, and it is from their respective arts that Kajukenbo draws its name: Peter Young Yil Choo, Frank Ordonez, Joe Holck, Adriano Emperado and Clarence Chang. KA, JU, KEN, BO: Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, Kenpo, and Chinese Boxing. And for those who are familiar with martial arts the styles are: Tang Soo Do, Se Keino Ryu, Kodenkan Danzan Ryu, Kosho Ryu, and Chu'an Fa Kung-Fu.
According to the members of Kajukunbo the philosophical meaning behind this "grandfather of mixed martial arts is " Through this fist style one gains long life and happiness."  Enjoy this brief clip. For more visit Pacific Network at
Posted in 1 | 11 Comments »

11 Responses to “Kajukenbo - Who Knew?”

  1. teeth whitening:

    I usually agree with your article content, but in this case I am sorry to say that I do not share your views.

  2. Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc.:

    Yes Hawaii is a great hub for martial arts. Just check the parks at night and you can see all the little groups training

  3. elee:

    Hi Teeth Whitening,

    Would like to hear from you as to what you might find disagreeable. Is the historical info we provided
    not accurate? If so please feel free to correct. thanks

  4. Moke Young:


    Is Life Good?

    You betcha!

    Getting ready today for my weekly trip to NYC Times Square to absorb some vibrant big city energy & looking forward to meeting new folks during the train ride.


    Like many from Hawai'i, I was always impressed with Ed Parker & his Kempo art along with surfer, David Nuuiwa's Dad, whom was renown in a fierce Philipino art that allowed him employment as manager of security for Disneyland in SoCal.

    My ex-bosses brother was famed Hawai'i boxer, Andy Ganigan, whom I worshipped along with Eichi Jumawan who was simply electric. Later on in my life, I got to work for, Sam Taylor, an ex-Golden Gloves champion from Brooklyn, NY whom was in possession of one of Bruce Lee's Karate Gee's that I wanted to possess in the worst way.

    I enjoyed viewing the clip & attached article because it hit home in so many ways as was the case growing up in Kaneohe where in my neighborhood there were so many proficient advocates such as wrestler Tosh Togo, Golden Glove Boxing sensations Conrado Martin & Frank Hesia, Power Lifter William Valdez, Roughneck Gary Keawe-Aiko & today my nephew, Kala "Kolohe" Hose, whom is somewhat of an example of a mixed martial artist doing a fine job.

    Then, there was my Uncle Sonny Young, whom I admired for he was a brave US Green Beret specialist that trained vietnamese troops & literally went head hunting sending images home to my Dad that I got to get a quick look at that authenticated the fact that this was real and no fun or games!

    Hawai'i is loaded with talent all around & in all artforms including the no name backyard folks where some were as tough as nails!


    For me and others, we took the pledge of allegiance seriously knowing too that America is home of the brave that became a lifelong quest personally & martial arts an avenue to gain a true sense of bravery, at the same time, fear is simply a state of mind.

    I applaud the Ohana concept portrayed in the clip & kudo's to the 5 Sensei's for joining forces taking while their arts into another positive direction that stands alone as an awesome display of innovation that even the great Sun Tsu would smile upon in agreement.

    The absense of Innovation within the problem solving arena, in my mind, is a fundamental application that is elusive that appears inventive in politics, our society & we need more positive examples such as those found in the Kajukenbo art of discipline & self-defense.

    Definitely impressed too with prayer to maintain strong ties with the sacred world that each human being is deeply connected with; hana hou!


    In 1988, my friend & co-worker, Ruben Reynaga ( an iron worker), owned a renowned Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate Dojo in Oceanside, CA where his wife Terry & son Gabe were dedicated advocates promoting the sport in a town that supported many service men & women stationed at Camp Pendleton, a United States of America Marine base.

    Both Black Belt title holders took their show on the road making the pilgramage each year traveling the competition circuit throughout the USA where they then discovered an eight dan Sensei named Morio Higaonna whom trained under Sensei Anichi Miyagi, a direct student of the founder of Okinawan Goju-Ryu Sensei Chojun Miyagi, and thus continues the legacy of a pure style that is relevant today as a highly effective fighting system.


    Now a 9th Dan, Sensei Morio Higaonna, dubbed as the most dangerous man on this planet by martial artist/writer, Don Warrener, was an honorable human with an intense sense of humility & compassion.

    He never agreed with training his students for any competition stating that it was against the will of his forefathers but made an exception for Gabe Reynaga only 16 at the time & now one of America's finest examples and especially in Kata formations.


    At the time, I was 28 years old & my instructor Gabe Reynaga was only 16? I was quite sceptacle at first but today I knew my intuition was correct because Gabe had a great vide & outlook. Today, he is one heck of an artist!

    They say that master Higaonna could make a wooden floor screetch & crackle with his foot grip where so much bodily force was focused in such a small area that is literally unheard of, at the same time, this well mannered human being never sought the lime light nor fame but intead was content in spreading his artform there in SoCal in the traditional manner.

    Like many from Hawai'i, I was introduced to numerous art forms through friends & family taking a strong liking to Bruce Lee hoping one day I could have the same ripped body & well conditioned mind; perhaps overwhelmed & possessed by martial arts movies such as "Fists of Fury" or "Enter the Dragon."

    I've always wondered about what artist would over power & out smart the other and today conclude that all arts have their high points & effective techniques but very few have the direct backing of years of cultivation, tradition & with a strong spiritual base backed with masters whom live pure by the standards set forth eons ago that in my mind is the ultimate sacrifice in the world we live in today that is extremely rare requiring lifelong dedication not many can contend with.

    This video clip is a great example of a school I would consider joining because so many of the schools both past & present are off-shoots of the most famous arts, at the same time, there is very little or no direct connection to a sea so vast in lessons learned & cutting edge technology born way back when that was a way of life & routine function like attending school for the earliest practicioners.


    Spiritual nourishment is of great importance to each being & the sooner we become tightly knitted & entwined with our spiritual self, we will be well positioned & possess life coping skills to achieve & ascertain success in this extremely challenging world we live in today as necessary to cultivate kindness, love, joy, peace, vision, wisdom & generocity as is the case with nearly every religion in this country.

    Looking back, I wished that I would have taken martial arts at an early age because the life lessons contained within a solid program flooded with tradition can make a huge difference for any young individual & free their soul from captivity that is so elusive that applies to so many youngsters and the sooner they become nourished, the better our communities will be able to serve one another through proven & exemplary efforts.

    There are so many other pathways at our disposal to understand the game of life, at the same time, many lack tradition, strong systemmatic approach, living experts with storng spiritual ties equipped with a burning desire to pass along information with Aloha.

    When one can imply the powerful forces of the Aloha spirit & the Ohana concepts to an already striving system, it will promote growth 10 times over & welcome innovation as is the example I was thrilled to understand while watching the subject video clip.

    One famous teacher from the Palama Settlement area was my hero, Ben Aipa, whom coached many great surfers and known in the surfing world as the surfboard shaper whom shaped the most boards & a stickler for detail.

    Keep up the great works with Kajukenbo.

    "Life is Good!"

    With Aloha,

    Moke Young

  5. elee:

    I wish you could join us on Feb 21 at the Sheraton's new place (The Edge of Waikiki). A tribute to the icons of Waikiki.
    Beachboys, beach girls, entertainers. 4pm on... like the old days, a kanikapila on a Sunday afternoon in Waikiki.
    Check out details on Connections. You would so love this. Getting these very special people together just to capture
    the conversations, photos, stories... will be an honor. We are filming concurrently for Aloha Waikiki (the series) not intrusive all voluntary but what a party this is going to be. When is the last time you were back home?

  6. Moke Young:

    Dear Edgy,


    Mahalo's for the good words & information regarding the event at the Sheraton Waikiki where I once spent quality time while visiting my bell hop friends & enjoying the tourist scene every Friday & Saturday night.

    My close friend's Dad, Mr. Haraga, was Sheraton's controller for so many years. We use to visit with Ledward Kaapana & Alika Odom as they played there on a longterm basis.

    One of my last wishes in this life, that I have yet to see, was to realize my teenage dream that was to play solo Hawaiian music at the Sheraton Waikiki Pool performing during Happy Hour as was the case with Uncle Moe Keale whom was a mentor to many of my professional music friends & a man whom was an awesome conversationalist & knew how to make folks feel like a Million dollars; we would meet after my friends gig's weekly with Uncle Moe during the wee hours down the Pali in Maunawili near the lowest lookout point & relived the nights performance that was so full of laughs, giggles & smiles!

    I left in 1981 at a the tender age of 21 & I've not been home since 1994. When I last left the Honolulu International Airport I cried for days, could not stay focused, was willing to give up everything & vowed that the next time I return home it will be for good.

    I love Hawai'i like I've never have but always felt that Hawai'i is in my heart, He Hawai'i Au, & left with tons of energy, the determination of an Ox, the love of God while willing to apply the examples of many before us & sought to spread Aloha along my adventure with every opportunity while learning the ways of other American's & their cultural habits at an eye-to-eye grassroots level hoping one day that the experience would be passed along to those young Hawaiian's kids with limited direction & a soft voice.

    At the moment, I am a single parent & have a commitment to my youngest child whom is fixing to graduate high school this summer & after that, I will be making my way home & can't wait to engage in activities as mentioned by your comment above & have a strong desire to write about those things that need to be presented to the world since Hawai'i is home to some of the finest folks in the world & I feel that I am now qualified to say so having examined the subject for nearly 30 years.

    I've always had the ability to connect folks and how I made my living as a health physicist remdiating some of America's worst Nuclear & Radiological sites such as Three Mile Island & the Connecticut Yankee Atomic facility.

    Today I owe so much to so many in Hawai'i like Mike Kaawa, Chucky Boy Chock & Krash Kealoha whom I learned from at age 16 & two months ago, after reuniting with Krash on facebook, I got to tell him thanks in public because of all the Hawaiian's that I admire, he was one of the finest examples of the Aloha spirit & can't wait to work with him!

    I washed my hands of my old profession as a radiological engineer & find myself as an advocate of the Aloha spirit helping to popularize a surfing scene here in Long Island as a way to promote Aloha & Hawai'i culture doing whatever it takes to promote awareness but more important is the fact that folks here in my communities need to realize how powerful the Aloha spirit is & how it will rebuild our community that has been fighting one another like cat's & dog's for too long & the 911 event was our catalyst bringing many down to earth and off their high horses.

    A great analogy are Dems vs. the GOP where Barack Obama is fueled by the Aloha spirit with unrelenting energy & a brilliant mind. There are so many others like him in Hawai'i & can't wait to write about them!

    I feel that I still have one or two job's to finish here in NY & more good to share despite my longing desire to return home & was invited a second time to help a good cause this coming Sunday performing Hawaiian music solo at the American Green Festival at the State of New York's Farmingdale, LI campus donating my time & as I was practicing the other night, I told myself to remain humble & just get out there & channel the "Spirit of Aloha" in my soul vice trying to impress anyone with vocals knowing wholeheartedly that projection of mana to an audience is the underlying lure of Hawaiian music & why it has enormous healing properties that extracts vast amounts of euphoria & love that each being holds very close to their hearts while in need of a catalyst to extract it.

    Don Ho & his charismatic charm is a fine example. Upon his passing, I've felt strongly & still beleive that it will take over 1000 of us to fill that huge gap & made a commitment to take my game from the beach to the public stage that has been a struggle but today I have become comfortable.

    One of Don Ho's wishes was to get the pizzaz & glamour back into the Waikiki music scene playing those tunes that have for years raised so many spirits filling visitor glasses with a living example of Aloha & how Hawaiian's have learned how to laugh with one another vice at each other & why I wished more entertainers would put their egos to the curb for a moment & resurrect traditional Hawaiian music that is the most matured of all folk music example out there & so many of the lyrics down to earth & real!

    Last February, I was set-up by my pal, Jimmy Buffett, and was to play music in Waikiki while employed at his new restaurant museum & greet patrons as an attempt to support the wishes of Don Ho bringing a surfer & musical sense of Aloha to the mix to charge up visitor spirits.

    Also, I had a second job opportunity working with Dane Kealoha as a Waikiki Beach Boy only to see it vanish by the huge economic wave created here in Manhattan's financial district that made the transition near impossible & was quite freightened with Hawaii's then dwindling visitor projections.

    I sulked for days on end with my head between my knees at times!

    Today, I am looking for solid Hawai'i opportunities so that I have employment upon my return home.

    If you hear of any credible entities that could use an assistant, I'd like to hear about it.

    I possess a long list of intellectual & hands-on skills of experience but more important I hold a burning desire & vibrant spirit to help Waikiki get back on a track to prosperity while applying innovative solutions, bringing together a group of talented folks & using a personal network of spirited souls to project a sense of Aloha like never before!

    I never like revisiting what I write in a blog & try to expel my guts with every writing experience to move on to other tasks & am happy today that I revisited this past entry.

    Mahalo's for the heads-up & invite.

    Keep up the awesome works revealing the sometime elusive & exemplary works of Hawai'i community members because our children need to better understand all of the innovative examples out there & how to use it to grow with & harness the power of the Aloha spirit that is our main staple for future success in the near & longterms.

    Speaking of music, I have a date with my Ukulele in a few hours & am excitted about the tune Mi Nei by Dennis Pavao that is a classic example & powerful!

    "In order to preserve Hawaiian music & those things Hawaiian, we must give it away!" Stated in simmular context by the wife of the late Dennis Pavao; my hero!


    Thank you for your time reading my note.

    With lot's of Aloha,

    Moke Young


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  8. elee:

    Daniel please contact us at Media@PacificNetwork.tv. thanks

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