Frequently Asked Questions

People often have questions about our programs, and these questions usually pertain to the start of a martial arts program along with general inquiries about Kempo. We have organized and presented some of these questions and answers for your consideration.

Absolutely not! Our students learn that self-defense material learned in class stays in class.

We emphasize conflict avoidance as the best way to avoid a potentially violent situation and that our Kempo is to be used in only the most dire situations.

Our focus on self-defense teaches tools for personal growth and development. Children learn to treat others as they want to be treated and to respect both adults and peers alike. So no, Karate won’t make your child violent!

We have programs for children who are age 3 years old all the way up through the teenage years. Further, we have multiple programs available for adults that range from Kempo and Kung Fu to cardio pumping Kickboxing classes!

Simply, every age is appropriate. No student is either too young or too old--and we have something that will benefit everyone.

Many children find pride in things like dance, gymnastics, musical prowess, scholastic achievement, etc.. However, we’ve found that when children enter talent shows or perform in front of friends and family, to show off their Karate skills, the crowd is completely blown away every time! There’s simply something exhilarating and awe-inspiring about watching Martial Arts. Your child will take great pride both in his or her abilities and the time spent mastering them.

Often children who don’t find success in team sports come to martial arts--and they love it! Essentially, Karate allows student to progress at his or her own pace. Team sports, in our society, can harm the self-esteem of children who aren’t very athletic. When children don’t do well on a team other kids can mock or ridicule them, and this can really leave a child feeling discouraged (and probably wishing he was never on the team in the first place). In Martial Arts, students can’t let anyone down and they are always in a positive and supportive learning environment. Everyone progresses at their own pace – but the children who advance quickly are not valued more than those who advance slowly. Everyone is greatly encouraged – regardless of his or her athletic level. Additionally the teaching methods we use create systematized drills that the students follow and these will increase both the kinesthetic awareness and confidence of every student.

When parents take their children to appointments, the parent normally has to run around and struggle to get their children to the event on time.

“Hurry up!” they shout, “We are going to be late!” (How many times have you said this?)

But with martial arts, something amazing happens. Often the children are the ones yelling these things! They don’t want to be late, and they never want to miss a class, test, party, tournament, camp day or other event.

In fact, some of our parents actually use Martial Arts as an incentive to get chores done: If their children are well-behaved, listen, do their chores, and do their homework, then they get Karate as a reward.

That’s because martial arts are fun. Your child will be laughing and smiling throughout the entire class. And because martial arts students are constantly setting and reaching goals they want to stick with the program.

Martial arts will become an integral part of your child’s life.

We have had children and adults come to our programs for years without ever obtaining a single injury. This is actually the case with most students.

Have people gotten injured in our Martial Arts classes? Yes, some have. But the injuries were no different than those which can be obtained from baseball, soccer, and other sports or activities.

Our instructors pay attention to detail when it comes to safety and are experienced with our curriculum so much so that they are able to take preventative actions and precautions against injuries. From padded floors, to proper gear, to step-by-step instruction-– we do everything in our power to insure the safety of you and your child.

We can tell you that almost no one receives injuries in our program--and that’s because we take student safety very seriously.

Quite simply, there are just as many girls in many of our classes as there are boys. Girls love Karate just as much, and get the same fulfillment out of it as boys do. They can be as tough as boys and in many cases even thougher!

You don’t have to worry about your girl getting hurt or feeling scared because she’ll be practicing with boys. Our classes are a big family and everyone treats each other with respect and dignity.

Kempo is a unique martial art having been founded several centuries ago in a Chinese Shaolin temple. As a martial art, Kempo is referred to as a Do. The Do is referred to in Buddhist Zen scripts as a path towards enlightenment. Lao Tzu, a priest of Taoism, said "Mastering others requires force, mastering the self requires enlightenment." This phrase sums the full circle of what Kempo strives towards. Although on its surface Kempo can be seen as a unique form of self-defense, hidden beneath its physical exterior are levels where characteristic centralization of mind and body form. At this level, Kempo's practitioners elevate from a simple form of fighting to a higher level of ability and enlightenment. Ying Kuchan, a Shaolin monk and master of Kempo, after a lengthy period of meditation in a Zen rock garden, spoke of Kempo saying Kempo is the power of adaptability and yielding, the harmony of all things working together.

Kempo is a unique art form of spiritual growth, health, and personal responsibility. It is a comprehensive and diversified means of unarmed self-defense, though it encompasses both an armed and unarmed systems of combat with techniques of varying appearances and methods. On an external level, Kempo is a no holds barred fighting system of offensive and defensive methods, with equal emphasis of striking techniques with the hands and feet, immobilization and controls, projections and take downs; as well as weaponry, various spiritual, and healing arts. Kempo, as developed in America, is a streetwise defensive art that does not restrict its students in methodology. Clawing hands evolve into slashing feet. Cunning joint locks turn into devastating hip throws. Evasive blocks turn into breath closing chokes.

The possibilities are endless. The only true fighting systems are those where there are no rules applied. From the books of the Han dynasty, we learn "Nothing is impossible to a willing mind." And it is from this saying that we can derive the upper principles of Shaolin Kempo. What sets Kempo apart from boxing, wrestling, and Sunday night football is an emphasis on spirituality of body and mind.

Many people are quite happy with only the surface value of Kempo, taking its studies for reasons of physical health, self-defense, or a Monday night hobby. Yet, Kempo tries to build a person's psychological persona and betterment. Kempo is not solely a means of felling an opponent by force, but it teaches an inner peace to one's life and to the universe around us.

The art of Kempo, also written as Kenpo, is unique as far as its history goes in two respects. First it is considered by many to be the first eclectic martial art (i.e. made up of several other martial arts), and second it finds its roots stretching back to 520 BC during the Chou Dynasty. According to Chinese history, one of the first noted catalysts of the way of Kempo was a prince and warrior of Southern India called Bodhidharma. According to the records of the Lo-Yang temple, Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk under the tutelage of Prajnatara. On his deathbed Prajnatara requested Bodhidharma to travel to China, to re-teach the principles of Buddhism and share the knowledge of Dhyana (Zen Koans). Prajnatara was concerned that the principles of Buddhism were on the decline and its ways were being abandoned.

It is estimated that in 520 BC, during the southern dynasties, Bodhidharma entered China and traveled northward to the kingdom of Wei. Here the fabled meeting with Emperor Wu of the Liang Dynasty began. This meeting is recorded due to the intense conversation and discussion of Buddhism and Dhyana that took place. The meeting was to no avail, his words to the worldly emperor meant nothing and, thus, disappointed with the futility of his attempts, Bodhidharma left the palace of the Emperor and traveled to the Honan province, where he entered the Shaolin temple. It is at this point that he began a new era in martial arts history.

Bodhidharma's depression grew once he reached the famed Shaolin temple. It turned out that Prajnatra's concerns were true. The monks were both physically ragged and mentally diminished due to the excess amount of time they were spending in meditation. Many of the monks would often fall asleep in meditation, while others were so feeble physically that they needed assistance in the basic necessities of life.

For an unknown period of time, Bodhidharma meditated in a cave at the outskirts of the temple, seeking for a way to renew the ways of Buddha's light as well as letting the monks regain control over their lives. Upon his return to the temple, Bodhidharma began to instruct the monks in the courtyard, explaining to them and working with them in the art of Shih Pa Lo Han Sho (the 18 hands of Lo Han). Ironically, while these techniques have become the foundation for almost all of the martial arts today, they were never to be utilized as methods of fighting. They were a manner in which the monks could attain enlightenment, while preserving their physical health.

There is no difference:

The different spellings come from the translation of the Kanji to its English form. The rules of Kanji hold that when a character (written word) ends in an "n," the "n" is pronounced when spoken. The one exception is that when the "n" is followed by another character (word) that begins with a "p," the two characters are unchanged in the written form but the "n" should be pronounced as "m". Ken-po follows this rule. So, if following the correct Kanji translation, it is spelled "Kenpo" and pronounced "Kempo". It is only in transliteration that Kenpo is written Kempo. The words Kenpo and Kempo are both pronounced the same and both mean "Law of the Fist." It's sort of like saying "Qi" or "Chi", "Gung" or "Kung", “Ji” or “Chi.” Kenpo is also the Japanese translation of the Chinese for Fist Method/Path/Law. The old style Mandarin (Wade/Giles) would be Ch'uan Fa. The modern Mandarin (PinYin romanization) is Quanfa. Remember that Quanfa is a completely generic term (like Wushu or Kung-Fu today) and does not refer to a specific system or style. In Cantonese, it's Kuen Fat. Kuen means the fist and is often expanded to mean Boxing or Boxing style. Fa means a method, path, or law.

The Five Animal Forms of Shaolin Kempo are the Tiger, the Dragon, the Leopard, the Crane and the Snake.

The Tiger is noted for its courage, tenacity and power. Physically, it is the strongest of all five animals; using straight ahead attacks, ripping and tearing as it moves, always pressing. The movements of the Tiger develop strong bones and a strong back.

From the Dragon, we learn to “ride the wind” meaning the Dragon is especially noted for its flexibility even through it is the only mythological creature of the Shaolin Art, it is the only one that can fight on land, water, and in the sky. The Dragon uses rising and falling motions as well as twisting and turning movements to overcome its adversaries. The Dragon helps develop your inner strength.

The Leopard teaches us timing and speed as well as coordination and footwork. Although smaller than the Tiger, the Leopard is actually stronger for its size, because of its long smooth muscle structure and sleek body frame. The Leopard’s power is primarily produced from a loose, relaxed, whip-like action generated by speed and balance as well as limber waist and hip movements. The leopard helps conditioning of the skin, tendons and bones.

The Crane is noted for its balance, gracefulness and agility. It represents longevity and teaches us concentration and patience. With a calm, quiet nature, its movements are soft, relaxed and circular. However, they are also explosive and can be used in close or at a distance. The Crane helps develop strength in the arms, fingers, wrists, and ankles as well as overall leg conditioning.

The Snake is noted for its suppleness and rhythmic endurance. It has the most internal strength (Chi) of all five animals, and is also cunning and deceptive in its fighting. The Snake can coil, zigzag and use a rapid twisting motion to compensate for his lack of limbs. The Snake helps develop Chi or internal strengthening of the body and spirit.