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Kenpo Kai is a traditional form of Japanese karate.
The name essentially translates to “society of the fist method.” Though it takes its inspiration from the martial arts of the Shaolin, Kenpo Kai was developed within the Ishizaka family in Japan. A Shaolin monk by the name of Chian, in order to stop the repeated home burglaries his family was suffering, taught “Shaolin Kung Fu” to his family. The art was handed down inside the Chian family and thus called “Chian Quan” (boxing of the Chian family).
During the Tokugawa period, the Chian family took in a Japanese traveler named Tawada Ishizaka, who was an expert in the Japanese martial art of Kashima Shinto-ryu. Ishizaka remained with the Chian family for 20 years, and while a member of their household he learned the art of Shaolin Fist, which he took with him to his homeland. Upon returning to Japan, he codified his knowledge, creating the art that would be handed down in the Ishizaka family, the “Ishizaka Ha Kenpo” (boxing of the Ishizaka family).
In 1967, Kazuo Ishizaka and Sotoki Ishizaka traveled to Shanghai in order to recover old forms and techniques lost with time. They contacted Hou Rou Chian, who had inherited his family’s art. After two years of training with Hou Rou Chian, Kazuo and Sotoki returned to Japan. They recovered the lost forms and techniques, but felt it was not fair to go on calling their art Ishizaka Ha Kenpo and therefore decided to rename it “Kenpo Kai.” In 1970, Kazuo Ishizaka and Chiaki Ohashi made an in-depth study of the Chinese and Japanese martial arts, joining the inheritance of both cultures together and taking the teachings of the Bushido code.
In August 2004, the first official Kenpo Kai World Championship was organized in the Japanese city of Hamamatsu.