The Hastings Self Defense Academy Program

The Hastings Self Defense Academy (HSDA) program consist of a melding of the “Original Method” Kajukenbo under Grand Master Greg Harper and Sifu Paula Lofgren and Kajukenbo influence and teaching of Singun Tim Rochford at Empower Martial arts.

History of Kajukenbo:

Kajukenbo is the first truly American karate system, having been founded in what was  then the U.S. territory of Hawaii. In 1947, 5 Hawaiian martial arts Masters, calling  themselves the “Black Belt Society” started on a project to develop a comprehensive self-defense system. These were: Peter Choo (Hawaiian welterweight boxing champion and Tang Soo Do black belt), Frank Ordonez (sekeino Jujutsu black belt), Joe Holck (Kodokan black belt), Clarence Change (Sil-Um Pai Shao-Lin Kung Fu instructor), and Adriano Emperado (Chinese Kenpo black belt and Escrima, Kali, Arnis Master). Emperado received extensive training (5th degree black belt) from William K.S. Chow and James Mitose, the founders of Kenpo. They trained together several hours a day, for 2 years, taking advantage of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to develop their new art. When Holck sparred with Choo, the former was readily able to see his weaknesses in striking techniques, while Choo realized his vulnerability on the ground. Emperado was able to demonstrate how a Kenpo stylist could work inside an opponent’s kick with rapid hand techniques. Chang added circular, flowing techniques of Kung Fu, and showed the others how to evade and strike. Ordonez demonstrated how to go with the attacker’s force and redirect with painful locks and throws.

The 5 instructors agreed to make Kenpo the base on which to build the new style, hence the reason that Emperado is generally referred to as the founder.

The style name “kajukenbo” was suggested by Holck, taking the

KA from Korean karate/Tang Soo Do,
JU for Japanese Judo and Jujutsu,
KEN for “Old Pine Tree Kenpo” and “Hawaiian Kempo,” and
BO for Chinese boxing (Kung Fu).

The philosophical side of Kajukenbo reflects

KA -long life,
JU –happiness,
KEN –fist , and
BO –style, which reads
“Through this fist style, one will gain long life and happiness”.

Emperado said that the goal of Kajukenbo training is the perfection of mind, body and spirit. The principles upon which Kajukenbo is based include: Respect for the human entity, flexibility, and a maximum physical and mental effort. Kajukenbo was developed purely with street self-defense in mind. However, forms (kata) and step sparring (movements with a partner) were included as a learning tool and a way to maintain the system. These kata are based on Japanese Pinan Forms, but may vary according to the instructor’s background. In other words, Kajukenbo did not create new forms, but kept those from the contributing styles. Emperado named his forms “The Palama Sets” after Oahu’s notorious Palama district, where Kajukenbo originated. Kajukenbo is an eclectic (composed of elements drawn from various sources) style, thus techniques will vary with the instructor’s background. Since Kajukenbo selects what appears to be the best from various styles, students will practice what is best for their own individual strengths, physical and mental state. Unlike traditional styles, which are extremely dogmatic, Kajukenbo allows the student to select what is best for them. Students are cautioned not to make this judgment until they can adequately determine their own needs and capabilities. Normally the search for individuality begins after achieving the first black belt. The weakness of the eclectic approach is a tendency toward fragmentation. Thus in recent years there have been more effort to standardize Kajukenbo techniques. The Student is taught a strong set of basic techniques from which to develop a personal set of techniques after much practice.

Kajukenbo self-defense techniques are characterized by a rapid combination of hand and foot strikes, judo type throws, joint locks and holds. The combinations are arranged so that each technique sets up the following technique, by following the reaction of the opponent’s body. While the principle tenet of Kara Te is adhered to, Kajukenbo teaches a variety of weapons forms, the most unique being Kali, a Philippine art using stick, knives, swords, and other instruments. An extensive set of techniques is also taught as defense attacks, such as guns, knives, and bats. In turn, Kajukenbo also shows the influence of Bruce Lee’s Jun Fan (Jeet Kune Do), Malaysian Penjak Silat, and a number of other esoteric martial arts styles. The melding of these arts lends an incredible richness and flexibility to Kajukenbo, making it an enjoyable but effective means of self-defense and way of life. Kajukenbo lends itself to the needs of various segments of society, be they men, women, children, the differently abled, or the weak.