What is Shaolin Kenpo Karate?

“Shaolin Kenpo” is the name of the art developed by Great Grandmaster Ralph Castro (also called Shaolin Kenpo Karate, and Ralph Castro’s Shaolin Kenpo). On the other hand, “Shaolin Kempo Karate” was developed by Grand Master Fred Villari, while “American Kenpo Karate” was developed by the late Grand Master Ed Parker. Both Shaolin Kenpo and Shaolin Kempo Karate incorporated the name ‘Shaolin’ to acknowledge their inclusion of martial arts techniques whose origin was the Shaolin Temple in China.

All three arts have distinguished founders and lineages. As to lineage, Ralph Castro was a student of the late Great Grandmaster William Kwai Sun Chow. (Also known as ‘Professor’ Chow, he was the first Great Grandmaster of Shaolin Kenpo). Ed Parker was an earlier student of Professor Chow. We understand Fred Villari was a student of Nick Cerio, who was a student of George Pesare, who was a student of Sonny Gascon, who was a student of Adriano Emperado [Kajukenbo], who was also an early student of Professor Chow.

Today, a few still innocently propagate this same unfortunate spelling error that was first made by their seniors. They give the impression, by misspelling the name this way, that they practice the art of (Ralph Castro’s) Shaolin Kenpo. In fact, they have no connection to Shaolin Kenpo and are not from the lineage of Great Grandmaster Castro. Rather, they use the name of his art without permission. They should investigate their history, and correct their error out of respect for their lineage.

The International Shaolin Kenpo Association was established in 1981 by Great Grandmaster Ralph Castro to be the only governing body over his art of Shaolin Kenpo. The Association regulates the technical quality of Shaolin Kenpo and governs its members. It determines rank promotion criteria and maintains standards and ethics. The Association determines who are certified Shaolin Kenpo instructors and sanctioned schools, and it requires that they are subject to inspection, review, and revocation.

The Association represents Shaolin Kenpo, so it mediates and resolves issues that are the interests of Shaolin Kenpo. The Association holds and promotes competitions, seminars, demonstrations, and other events.

The Association currently requires members to be practitioners of Shaolin Kenpo — students and teachers, and Shaolin Kenpo schools. Currently in discussion is a proposal to allow a class of non-voting members or associates who are former students, former instructors, parents, local business persons, or community leaders who have a special interest in supporting Shaolin Kenpo. Other such associates in the future might be a few prominent martial artists (of other systems) who are carefully selected and invited to collaborate with the administrators of Shaolin Kenpo to organize joint events.

For more FAQ’s please visit www.shaolinkenpo.com

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