History of Malone’s Kenpo Karate



The Okazaki Influence on Modern-Day Kenpo

Everywhere you go today, you see martial arts schools using the words “kenpokarate.” The late Ed Parker opened one of the first commercial kenpo karate schools in the continental United States in 1964, and he was probably the foremost exponent on the kenpo system when he died last December (year??)

Parker was originally taught kenpo by Frank Chow in Hawaii, and later learned from Chow’s brother, Williams K.S. Chow, who was Parker’s most influential instructor.

For a closer look at Williams K.S. Chow, take a step back in time to 1943 on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. About 30 students are training under instructor Siq Kufferath at the Kaheka Lane dojo (training Hall) in Honolulu. Observing the class is Williams Chow. Kufferath, currently the kodekan danzan-ryu jujitsu headmaster, was an instructor under Professor Henry S. Okazaki the founder of danzan-ryu jujutsu.

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Chow was a frequent visitor to the Kakeha Lane school and also observed classes occasionally at Okazaki’s dojo. According to Kufferath, Chow would watch a class and afterward discuss techniques with him. Chow had studied Chinese martial arts under his father and at that time was studying under kosho-ryu kenpo jujitsu instructor James Mitose. Mitose didn’t refer to his style as kenpo karate, believing that kenpo and karate were two different things. He felt kenpo jujitsu described the art far better than kenpo karate.

Chow was not your average martial artist. He had calluses on every knuckle and made regular visits to Honolulu Chinatown to challenge the Chinese in-structors and test his art.

Chow’s youngest brother, John A. Chow-Hoon, eventually studied jujitsu under Kufferath and believed that danzan-ryu’s joint locks and arm bars were more effective than those of his brother’s kenpo. Chow-Hoon earned black belts in both styles, and later relocated to the mainland United States, where he taught for many years in Monterey, California, before his death. Chow-Hon was instrumental along with Wally Jay in forming the Jujitsu America organiza-tion.

William Chow eventually became one of Mitose’s top instructors in Hawaii until around 1949, when he broke away from Mitose and began calling his art kenpo karate.

From this lineage evolved arts such as kajukenbo, founded by Adriano Emperado, a student of William Chow. Emperado was aided by jujitsu stylist Joseph Holck, boxer Peter Choo, and martial artists George Change and Frank Ordonez in putting kajukenbo together. All five were influenced by Okazaki, who blended a number of styles to form a complete system.

Most of the kenpo schools and practitioners on the Hawaiian islands were members of Okazaki’s American Jujitsu Institute, which Okazaki founded in 1939. This included Mitose’s Official Self-Defense Club. Kufferath also had a good relationship with Mitose, and they exchanged information freely on each other’s styles.

One thing that separates kenpo jujitsu from kenpo karate is that, in kenpo jujitsu (as in danzan-ryu jujitsu), practitioners do not kick above the waist, excluding drop kicks. Kenpo karate, on the other hand, utilized high kicks, including some to the head. Kufferath, however, believe if you want to kick someone in the head, you should first kick his knees, causing him to bend down and making his head more accessible. For self-defense purposes, Kufferath said, it is best to stay with low kicks, incorporating them with vital-point strikes, joint locks, throws and grappling when appropriate.

According to the danzan-ryu jujitsu mokuroku (instructors scroll), written by Okazaki, kenpo was combined with the jujitsu or Japanese yawara arts around A.D. 1600, when Chinese emigrants brought kenpo and other techniques to Japan. Once again this demonstrates the combination of kenpo and jujitsu, not kenpo and karate.

Karate is an Okinawan import, brought to Japan by Gichin Funakoshi in 1922. Okazaki’s dojo was the site of the first karate instruction in the United States, as Thomas Mlyashiro taught the art to the Japanese and Hawaiian community, keeping with Okazaki’s tradition of teaching anyone regardless of race, sex, etc. In 1934, Chojun Mlyagi, the patriarch of goju-ryu karate, visited the islands and taught at Okazaki’s dojo during his stay.

Mlyagi was not the only notable martial artist to visit Okazaki in Hawaii; others such as judo founder Jigoro Kano also taught at the Okazaki school. Okazaki promoted the teaching of other arts as well, including kendo and sumo.

Many notable celebrities came to Okazaki for either jujitsu training or physical therapy for their ailments. Included among these were President Franklin D. Roosevelt and actors Johnny Weissmuller, George Burns and Charlie Chaplin. Okazaki’s liniments and formulas for special injuries were especially popular with the islands’’ martial arts, teachers, regardless of their styles. Mitose, Mlyagi, Kano and William Chow were all familiar with Okazaki’s restoration therapy.

But one fact cannot be ignored; the roots of nearly all kenpo in the United States lead back to Mitose and kenpo jujitsu in Hawaii. Mitose pioneered what has today be-come known as kenpo karate, and his students, such as Williams Chow, further advanced the art, just as instructors like Kufferath and Wally Jay did for Okazaki’s danzan-ryu jujitsu. These men are the true forbearers of modern-day martial arts, and as such, are owed a debt of gratitude by today’s practitioners.




The 20th Century’s Greatest Martial Arts Innovator

While many of his former students, such as Ed Parker, Adriano Emperado and Ralph Castro have become legends in their own right, Williams Chow died in relative obscuri-ty. Just who was this man, and what made his Kenpo system so enduring?
William Kwai-Sun Chow was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 3rd, 1914. Being the oldest son of a Chinese father and a Hawaiian mother, it was his birthright to inherit his father’s kung-fu system. His father, “Hood Chow” had migrated to Hawaii from Shanghai, China. In his homeland of China, Hoon had been raised and trained to become a Buddhist Monk. This training include his family’s kung-fu system, which was based on Shaolin Chuan-fa (law of the fist, “Kenpo” in Japanese) and had been handed down from father to son for generations. When Hoon left China for Hawaii, he left behind the monastic life and became a tailor to support his family.

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At the age of seven, Chow began his kung-fu training with his father. As was customary in the Chinese culture, outsiders were not taught the martial arts, so when Chow started teaching in the 1930’s, his class was limited to a few select friends. His first school was under a fig tree in the backyard of his Queen Street home in Honolulu.

In Williams Chow’s lifetime, Hawaii had become a cross-culture blend of conflicting nationalities and ideas and violent encounters were a part of daily life. Martial arts knowledge meant survival, especially to the small Asians who had the bad luck to meet the occasional drunken U.S. serviceman. Chow stood a mere 5’5” in height. Adri-ano Emperado (founder of Kajukenbo) was not much bigger at 5’6”. Without martial arts training, these men would never have been able to defend themselves against American and Samoan men who often stood over six feet tall.




Although Williams Chow was very proficient in kung-fu by the time he met James Mitose in 1942, he welcomed the chance to expand his martial arts knowledge. Together they formed the “Official Self-Defense Club.” Mitose was elected by Chow and the other people involved in the training to head the club. Mitose’s family system was called kosho ryu kempo jujitsu. Like Chow’s system, it was based on Shaolin Chuan Fa.

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Mitose, who was born on December 30th, 1915 in Hawaii, starts that he was taken to Japan by his maternal grandfather at the age of four, because he was destined to suc-ceed his ancestors and become the 21st head of kosho kempo, a religious group, which trained Buddhist ministers and kenpo instructors. This temple was located on Mount Kinkai, in Kumamoto, Kyushu, Japan. It was called the Koshoki temple and taught the Rinzai Zen Buddhist philosophies. According to Mitose legends, Shaolin Chuan Fa (Shoriniji kempo in Japanese) was brought by monks to the Koshoki temple prior to the Tokugawa period (1600 A.D.). Over a period of time the Chuan Fa was blended with jiu-jitsu and later to fit the needs of the Japanese people. This system was divided into the physical arts and the spiritual arts. The spiritual arts followed Buddhist philosophers. The physical arts were divided into three independent fighting systems. One of the fighting systems consisted of the punching and kicking arts, the kata of the system, and the striking of vital areas. The second fighting system, the “push-pull” arts taught how to defend oneself by making use of push-pull patterns an strikes to the extremities. The third self-defense art makes use of jumping patterns to escape from danger.

At the age of 14, Mitose became the 21st generation grandmaster of kosho ryu (old pine tree style) kempo. In 1936 he returned to Hawaii. It has been said by some that he also trained in Okinawan karate and judo at S Henry Okizakils dojo in Honolulu during this time period.

At the Self-Defense Club, Chow and Mitose spent three years exchanging ideas and improving techniques. Chow, along with Thomas Young, was assistant instructor. Young also had akung-fu background. Sometime around 1946 (dates differ from source to source) Mitose awarded Chow a black belt in the kosho ryu system.

Shortly after that, Chow and Mitose parted company. Although they may not have parted as the best of friends, they both learned a lot from each other and visited one another’s schools until Mitose left Honolulu in 1953.




When Chow left Mitose’s school, he called his system Chinese kenpo karate. Mitose had used the proper Japanese spelling of Kempo (spelled with an M). Chow changed the spelling to kenpo with an N to show that his system was not Japanese, like Mitose’s. He also called it karate.

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Mitose never called kosho ryu kempo “karate” because it was a term used to designate systems in Okinawa or Okinawan systems in Japan. In the 1980’s when the ke(n)po spelling became commonplace, Chow started using the Japanese spelling of Kempo, to separate his “Chinese Kara-ho kempo” system from the Kara-ho subsystems.

The change to kenpo was not the only change Chow made. Although Mitose’s system had many techniques, they were mostly circular. Chow added the linear tech-niques. He was a constant innovator, who always experimented with new techniques. Chinese kempo emphasized techniques thrown in rapid succession to the vital are-as of the body and kicks were kept low and simple. The long, flowery movements of kung-fu were not used. Hands were kept in close to the body when defending. Katas were not taught in the early days of Chinese kempo. Basics were drilled over and over again to develop speed and power. Chow designed 12 “lines” (2-man sets) to sim-ulate actual self-defense. The defender would respond to the attack with multiple, rapid fire strikes, kicks and takedowns. Because most of the training was full contact, free-sparring was considered too dangerous.




Chinese kempo continued to evolve over the years. In the 1970’s one of Chow’s black belt students, Samuel Alama Kuoha, a police officer in California, began to make frequent trips back to Honolulu to continue his training under Chow. Kuoha, who put his training to regular use in the rough streets of San Diego, had begun to study several other arts, and had also earned a black belt in aikido. He shared what he had learned with Chow, and the result was the addition of free-sparring techniques, kata and “soft” techniques.




When discussing the development of Chinese kenpo, Adriano Emperado (who trained with Mitose and Chow) said that “Chow made the old kempo faster.” Chow himself acquired the nickname ”Thunderbolt” due to his lightning speed and fierce fighting ability. Because his martial arts knowledge and fighting ability made him a legend in Hawaii, martial artists across the country falsely claimed training with and receiving rank from the great Chow, in hopes of cashing in on his reputation. It should be un-derstood that Chow was not a violent man by nature, but the violent times he lived in sometimes required an equally violent response.

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William K.S. Chow never had school outside of Hawaii, yet there are hundreds of thousands of kenpo stylists worldwide who can trace their roots t him. Chow, the great innovator, trained students who would become founders of their own kenpo systems.

Adriano Emperado trained with James Mitose and Chow in the early 40’s and received his black belt from Chow in 1947. Together with Walter F.Y.Y. Choo, a tang soo do stylist; Frank Ordonez, a jujitsu stylist; Joseph Holck, a judo stylist; and Clarence Chiang, a sil-lum, kung-fu stylists, Emperado formed the Black Belt Society. For three years they trained together developing the “kajukenbo” system that combined karate (ka), judo and jujitsu (ju), kenpo (ken), and Chinese boxing (bo). This system had become a very popular self-defense and tournament system.

Kajukenbo has given birth to other systems, such as Sid Asuncion’s kenkabo, a combination of kenpo, karate and Chinese boxing. Asuncion’s student Al Dacascos is proba-bly as famous as Emperado. He was the first kung-fu tournament star. He founded his system of wun hop kuen do in 1959. This system had a very strong kung-fu influ-ence. He went on to train many tournament starts like his former wife, Malia (Dasascos) Bernai.

Probably the most famous of Chow’s student was Ed Parker. Parker, a native Hawaiian, trained with Chow in the late 40’s. He received his black belt from Chow in 1951. In 1954, while attending Brigham Young University, Parker introduced kenpo to mainland America. He started by teaching fellow Hawaiian students. Eventually, he was asked to put on a kenpo demonstration at a B.Y.U. basketball game intermission.

His student enrollment grew to the point that he started teaching commercially at a Provo gymnasium. In 1956, he moved to Pasadena, California. Being a master show-man, he had little trouble attracting some of the most famous actors in Hollywood. Over the years, he altered and added to Chinese kenpo until he had a system of his own called American Kenpo Karate. To this day, Parker is still adding to his kenpo system. His system may be the most widely practiced form of kenpo.

Of Parker’s students, probably the most well-known for developing subsystems were Ralph Castro and Tino Tullosega. Castro, who had been a student of both Chow and Parker, received his black belt from Parker in 1958. He would begin to combine both systems with his own innovations. He called this system shaolin kenpo.

Tino Tullosega, another black belt in Parker’s American Kenpo system, founded the Lima Lama system in 1968. Although some have said that Lima Lama was made up of thirteen different Polynesian arts, its Kenpo roots are obvious when on sees that the other two leading exponents (Richard Nunez, Saul Esquival) of Lima Lama were also kenpo black belts.




On September 21, 1987, Williams K.S. Chow passed away suddenly and unexpectedly due to a reaction to prescription medication. The leadership of his system passed to his senior student, Samuel Kuoha, currently residing in California. Under Kuoha, Kara-ho kenpo has experienced unprecedented growth. While the systems of Parker, Castro, Emperado and Kuoha continue to grow, they are all a testament to the insight and greatness of the foremost martial arts innovator of the 20th century – William Kwai-Sun Chow.




Professor Marino Tiwanak was born in Honolulu, Island of Oahu, on March 3, 1927. During 1944, he received the distinction of being the State of Hawaii A.A.U. Fly-weight Boxing Champion. In the same year he fought Dado Marino in Honolulu, who at the time was the Flyweight Champion of the World. His fighting experience continued throughout the mainland, where he fought may renowned fighters.

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After retiring from professional boxing in 1947, he studied the Martial Art of Kenpo Karate under the tutorship of Professors Williams Chow, Adrian Emerado and Woodrow McCandless. After earning his Black Belt Instructor’s Certificate, he started the CHA-3 Kenpo-Karate Schools in 1956. The schools are now located in the Hawaiian Islands, West Coast and as far inland as Kentucky.

In closing, our founder stresses this point to all students and instructors, “TO ALWAYS RESPECT YOUR FELLOW BEING, YOUR COUNTRY AND A MAN’S HOME AND FAM-ILY: AND “HE IS A GREAT MAN WHO CAN WALK AWAY FROM A FIGHT.” In the early 20’s, hitting hard and throwing fast knock-out punches, (in order to be a contender for the Flyweight Championship of the World), Marino Tiwanak was to face Dado Marion, the reigning Boxing Champion.

Because of Tiwanak’s excellent boxing record he was prepared for the championship against the title holder, Dado Marion. That night proved why Dado was still the champ. Tiwanak possessed a never quit attitude. Always looking for a way to improve his own fighting skills, the instinct of survival led him to another young fighter of a different sort. Tiwanak had only heard of this art called Kenpo, but had never seen it in motion. He heard that Emerado was quick, but no one could stand up to Tiwanak’s fast hands. The time of confrontation was now at hand; a friend had arranged a sparring match at Adrian Emperado’s house. This was a match that chal-lenged a Boxer and Kenpo stylist. The confrontation was unexpectedly brief. A quick kick to the groin, followed by a chop, was all that it took for Marino Tiwanak to be converted to study this art. Little did he know that destiny with Emperado would forever change his life as far as the martial arts were concerned.

Born March 3, 1927, Marino had been boxing since the year 1944. He knew that Kenpo would someday sweep the world. Befriending Adrian, he began training at the Old Halawa Housing with Adriano’s younger brother Joe, Frank Ordonez and a select few students. Eventually, the training site led the group to the famous Palama Settlement. Joe Emperado and Tiwanak became the best of friends. Tiwanak either volunteered or was elected by Joe to be his dummy. Tiwanak, eager to learn the finer details of the art, eventually became the first person to receive a Black Belt under Adriano Emperado in 1955. He and Woodrow Mc Candless, a former Black Belt from Professor Chow were promoted at Dot’s Drive Inn in Waihewa, the local hangout for the group.

In the mid 1950’s the “Emperado Group,” had several other instructors such as, Paul Sorenio, Tony Ramos, and Woodrow Mc Candless. They would travel between schools to keep up with the interest of Kenpo on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Some went from military installations to local YMCA’s, and public gyms.

Chow had his students using colored uniforms according to their belt rank. For example, white belts would wear white uniforms, purple belts would wear purple uni-forms, and so on. It was not until 1962 – 1964 that Kajukenboist were instructed to wear all black uniforms. However, some schools also wore red t-shirts on the in-side. A gesture that eventually became a standard with Kajukenbo practitioner’s all over the world.

Tiwanak maintained his loyalty, appreciation and respect to the men that passed the art down to him. He confesses to teach the true meaning of Kenpo Karate as taught by James T. Mitosi, William K. Chow, and Adriano D. Emperado. The only professor in his organization, Professor Marino Tiwanak at age 67, has been grooming his son Michael, who is the 1st Assistant Professor to carry on the tradition of the CHA-3 clan.

Prof. Tiwanak has been credited as being the first person to develop the half-color belt rank, i.e.; white/purple, blue/green etc. The usage of the “big” white belt, which is only used to his top instructors, signifies purity in the art. According to Prof. Marino Tiwanak, while the black belt is the symbol for knowledge, the Red belt signifies leadership.

He also states that it meant a lot to him when he received every color belt that was used by Joe Emperado when he himself moved up in ranks. The tradition is still prac-ticed by many Kenpo stylists, but this one is only shared between Joe and Marino. They had a special treasured friendship that was only understood and shared be-tween the best of friends.




Grandmaster, Ronald B. Malone, was born on August 16, 1947 in Montclair, New Jersey. In 1960, as a freshman at Weequahic High School, he and some friends, were introduced to the disciplines of karate. In 1965, after graduating high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From 1967 until 1969, he was stationed in Hawaii. During this time, Grandmaster Malone began training in Kenpo Karate under Florentino Panci Panci and Professor Marino Tiwanak. They trained intensely 7 days a week for 3 hours a day and attended special bi-monthly Sunday classes typically lasting 12-14 hour days. Having proven his dedication and love for Kenpo Karate, he was permitted to open his first school on the base as a brown/black belt. He had eighteen students the first day and five months later, he was promoted to black belt. Throughout the years, Grandmaster Malone has taught thousands of students and has 56 black belt under his lineage.

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After spending 10 months in the bushes of Vietnam, he was honorably discharged and returned to California in1970. In 1971, Grandmaster Malone opened his first school to the public in Hillside, New Jersey. Accompanied by his wife and his first black belt, Barbara Malone, they opened numerous schools and taught thousands of students. Grandmaster Ron Malone was promoted to Chief Instructor 9th Dan 4th level in 1990 and appointed as head of the East Coast by Professor Marino Tiwanak. At that time, he was the highest ranked black belt under Professor Tiwanak on the East Coast. During his years of teaching, he has received numerous awards. In 1992, he was inducted into “THE WORLD MARTIAL ARTS HALL OF FAME” and received a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1993, Grandmaster Malone was inducted in the World Sokeship Council with the title of “Professor”. One year later, Professor Malone was recognized as founder and head of his own system by Professor Tiwanak.

  1. Head and Founder of Malone’s Kenpo Karate
  2. President and Founder of The World Christian Martial Arts Hall of Fame
  3. President and Founder of Malone’s Crusaders for Christ
  4. Formally Head of East Coast for C.H.A. – 3 Kenpo Karate
  5. Inducted in the “World Martial Art Hall of Fame” 1992 (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  6. Member of World Head of Family Sokeship Council
  7. Member of International Association of Martial Arts
  8. Member of International Tao of the Fist Martial Arts Fraternity
  9. Features in “Who’s Who in the Martial Arts Elite” 1992 Edition
  10. Honorable Discharge U.S. Marine Corps
  11. President of the Hakimiman Federation
  12. Formally Vice- President of New Jersey Martial Arts Federation
  13. Formally Vice-President of North American Kickboxing Federation Masters Board