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RW
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:21 pm    Post subject: Is SKK a "real" martial art? Reply with quote

Background:

As some of you may know, I began training decades ago a traditional karate style. You know how karate goes, kata is basically sacred. No garden variety teacher would dare say "Ok, this is is our "Mike Jones Dojo version of Heian Sandan. Sensei Mike doesn't like blocks, so this kata is now all strikes". If you're going to change a kata you better be the founder of your style (so, you're probably dead by now) or their successor.

Kata are almost uniform across schools of the same style, and they even crossover to other styles, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karate_kata#Kata_performed_in_various_styles

So basically, the guy practicing shito Ryu will know Heian Nidan, and so the guy practicing Kyokushin!

The issue with SKK:

I quit karate because life got in the way, and many years later, after I moved to a different city, I joined a "Shaolin Kempo Karate" school. I didn't expect it to be like a "real" karate school, but I joined it because it was nearby, the people there were good sports and the vibe was very friendly. Fast forward a couple years and I am starting to feel that SKK is not a real martial art.

1) The katas change!!!

Basically you can be taught a kata a certain way and... the same kata will be taught a different way to another student next year. For example when I was an orange belt I was taught to do a shuto uchi to the throat followed by a tate tsuki right after. 2 years later, new orange belts are taught to a shuto uke defense. Why?!?!

Most important, why can kata be changed just like that, on the whims of the dojo owner?! He is not the founder of SKK. He is not even a Hanshi yet, he simply owns his dojo, which is a chain with a couple dojos.

2) Talking about being a Hanshi... who owns this style?

So apparently SKK was founded by Villari, who it seems is a total joke in the martial arts world nowadays. So the SKK schools split into different schools, for example, USSD (United Studios of Self Defense), Z-ultimate and SDSS.

The thing is... studying "shaolin kempo" in any of these branches makes for a wildly different experience. Heian Sandan is almost the same, if not the same across Kyokushin dojos, and even if you change styles, you may still be doing Heian Sandan in your Shito Ryu school. So how come a SKK student in Z ultimate has different katas from the SKK student in a Villari school and a z-ultimate school?

3) Adding to that, exactly what is shaolin kempo karate?

It's cetainly not shaolin, though some schools have added kung fu stuff to their curriculum (e.g. some schools may teach Wu bu Quan & continuous fist). It's not karate either. I mean, I see these guys use some of the same strikes and kicks, and sometimes they even use karate names (e.g. "shuto"), but there are 0 karate katas in SKK. Is it even karate? Could a Shaolin Kempo Karate compete in a karate competition? What about the upcoming olympics?

What is even kempo? There's shaolin kempo karate, there's American Kenpo (with N) Karate, there's Shaolin American Kempo, kosho-ryu kenpo... apparently these are not different styles (e.g. Shotokan and Goju Ryu are still karate), but different arts altogether?

Is Kempo/Kenpo even a real style? Apparently it's something that was put together around the world war 2 years in Hawaii? Apparently there's yet another Kempo (Shorinji Kempo), which comes from Japan and is a very ancient, traditional style, but that is NOT the same style that ended diverging into kosho ryu, american kenpo karate, shaolin kempo karate, shaolin american kempo, etc.

What are your thoughts?

BTW I have been practicing SKK for years now, and I enjoy it. I am by no means trying to insult or offend the art or its practitioners, I just have a healthy curiosity about its true nature.
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RW
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh! adding to this, any schools that splinter from other schools in SKK usually change all their katas because of... copyright??!

Imagine a copyright over Heian Sandan...
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OneKickWonder
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Martial arts is big business now. Even the name Shaolin has come to mean corporate circus. Does that mean it's not a real martial art? Do they teach principles that could work in combat? And do you come away fitter, faster, stronger, and more coordinated than you started?
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JR 137
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kenpo/Kempo is as generic a term as kung fu, jujuitsu, karate, etc. If I’m not mistaken, Kenpo translates as “law of the fist” or “fist law.” Thinking about the definition of the term, and it can easily be interchanged with karate, which means empty hand, or kung fu, which means time spent at skillful work/hard training.

Regardless of the semantics, which names of organizations and styles usually really boil down to, focus on it the training itself is genuinely effective for your needs and expectations. If it’s what you’re looking for, are the changes every now and then significant enough to detract from its effectiveness? Have the changes brought what’s being taught from something you believed in to something that’s fundamentally different?

As sensei8 says, the proof is on the floor. If what’s going on on the floor fits your needs and expectations, stay. If what’s going on on the floor has come to the point where it doesn’t align with what you’re after, then you’ve got some decisions to make.

People argue the terms traditional and real all the time. You can make the argument that training exactly as Funakoshi taught Shotokan, Miyagi taught Goju Ryu, etc. isn’t traditional (argument goes it’s not old enough, among other things). Others consider newer founders’ training, such as Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin traditional.

What’s traditional and/or “real” is irrelevant if it works and/or fits what you’re after. Every kata was made up by someone at one point or another. If you’re Chojun Miyagi’s student and you see him teach Sanchin differently to different classmates, do you question how real his training is? According to his senior most students, Miyagi tailored kata to the individual rather than teaching it as a set in stone standardized way of doing it, hence we see variations in that kata and others within various Goju Ryu organizations and styles that trace their lineage through Miyagi’s Goju Ryu, like Kyokushin.

I’m not saying your teach is on Chojun Miyagi’s level. I’m just saying that things can be changed effectively. What’s truly important is if those changes are acceptable to you.
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RW
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OneKickWonder wrote:
Martial arts is big business now. Even the name Shaolin has come to mean corporate circus. Does that mean it's not a real martial art? Do they teach principles that could work in combat? And do you come away fitter, faster, stronger, and more coordinated than you started?


Great point. I knew I would find good answers here at KF (The same goes for JR 137's reply, I found it most helpful too).

I definitely feel fitter, faster, stronger and more coordinated than when I started.

I guess my main concern is feeling that I am learning a style developed by some dude and that no one outside that chain of dojos has the same katas and drills.

The training itself isn't that different from what I used to do at karate, with some added circular movements and softer katas here and there to make it more kung fu-ish I guess.
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RW
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
Kenpo/Kempo is as generic a term as kung fu, jujuitsu, karate, etc. If I’m not mistaken, Kenpo translates as “law of the fist” or “fist law.” Thinking about the definition of the term, and it can easily be interchanged with karate, which means empty hand, or kung fu, which means time spent at skillful work/hard training.

Regardless of the semantics, which names of organizations and styles usually really boil down to, focus on it the training itself is genuinely effective for your needs and expectations. If it’s what you’re looking for, are the changes every now and then significant enough to detract from its effectiveness? Have the changes brought what’s being taught from something you believed in to something that’s fundamentally different?

As sensei8 says, the proof is on the floor. If what’s going on on the floor fits your needs and expectations, stay. If what’s going on on the floor has come to the point where it doesn’t align with what you’re after, then you’ve got some decisions to make.

People argue the terms traditional and real all the time. You can make the argument that training exactly as Funakoshi taught Shotokan, Miyagi taught Goju Ryu, etc. isn’t traditional (argument goes it’s not old enough, among other things). Others consider newer founders’ training, such as Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin traditional.

What’s traditional and/or “real” is irrelevant if it works and/or fits what you’re after. Every kata was made up by someone at one point or another. If you’re Chojun Miyagi’s student and you see him teach Sanchin differently to different classmates, do you question how real his training is? According to his senior most students, Miyagi tailored kata to the individual rather than teaching it as a set in stone standardized way of doing it, hence we see variations in that kata and others within various Goju Ryu organizations and styles that trace their lineage through Miyagi’s Goju Ryu, like Kyokushin.

I’m not saying your teach is on Chojun Miyagi’s level. I’m just saying that things can be changed effectively. What’s truly important is if those changes are acceptable to you.


This puts things in perspective a lot, thanks very much.

My art right now is as effective and realistic as my karate was when I was doing karate.

Truth be told I have some issues on how effective I think traditional martial arts are in general (e.g. who punches in zenkutsku dachi? Who chambers their other fist while punching? Isn't punching in and waiting to get counter attacked a terrible reflex to have when it comes to fighting?) , but I have a huge appreciation for their personal development and health benefits, with an added bonus of self defense/fighting on the side
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JR 137
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RW wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
Kenpo/Kempo is as generic a term as kung fu, jujuitsu, karate, etc. If I’m not mistaken, Kenpo translates as “law of the fist” or “fist law.” Thinking about the definition of the term, and it can easily be interchanged with karate, which means empty hand, or kung fu, which means time spent at skillful work/hard training.

Regardless of the semantics, which names of organizations and styles usually really boil down to, focus on it the training itself is genuinely effective for your needs and expectations. If it’s what you’re looking for, are the changes every now and then significant enough to detract from its effectiveness? Have the changes brought what’s being taught from something you believed in to something that’s fundamentally different?

As sensei8 says, the proof is on the floor. If what’s going on on the floor fits your needs and expectations, stay. If what’s going on on the floor has come to the point where it doesn’t align with what you’re after, then you’ve got some decisions to make.

People argue the terms traditional and real all the time. You can make the argument that training exactly as Funakoshi taught Shotokan, Miyagi taught Goju Ryu, etc. isn’t traditional (argument goes it’s not old enough, among other things). Others consider newer founders’ training, such as Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin traditional.

What’s traditional and/or “real” is irrelevant if it works and/or fits what you’re after. Every kata was made up by someone at one point or another. If you’re Chojun Miyagi’s student and you see him teach Sanchin differently to different classmates, do you question how real his training is? According to his senior most students, Miyagi tailored kata to the individual rather than teaching it as a set in stone standardized way of doing it, hence we see variations in that kata and others within various Goju Ryu organizations and styles that trace their lineage through Miyagi’s Goju Ryu, like Kyokushin.

I’m not saying your teach is on Chojun Miyagi’s level. I’m just saying that things can be changed effectively. What’s truly important is if those changes are acceptable to you.


This puts things in perspective a lot, thanks very much.

My art right now is as effective and realistic as my karate was when I was doing karate.

Truth be told I have some issues on how effective I think traditional martial arts are in general (e.g. who punches in zenkutsku dachi? Who chambers their other fist while punching? Isn't punching in and waiting to get counter attacked a terrible reflex to have when it comes to fighting?) , but I have a huge appreciation for their personal development and health benefits, with an added bonus of self defense/fighting on the side


How effective the stances, chambered fist, and anything else like that are really depends on how it’s taught, or better yet, if it’s explained properly. This can be a really long conversation with a lot of people expressing differing opinions, so I’ll be pretty brief...

Stance is your foundation. The stronger it is, the stronger your techniques are. But IMO people focus way too much on the end of the stance, or better yet the pose. During kata, a teacher counts and the students complete the step. What’s focused on and gets corrected? The end pose; stuff like “deeper stance” “the block ends here” and so on. IMO where it ends up is irrelevant; it’s how you got there. Take a 180 degree turn from and into zenkutsu dachi while performing a low block. If you’re familiar with Pinan 1 or Taikyoku 1, you know exactly what I mean here. If you interpret the low block as a joint lock, and the strong step backwards and twist/pivot into zenkutsu dachi as spinning/throwing/unbalancing your attacker, it all makes sense to use that stance. If you’re interpreting that move in that kata as turning around and blocking a kick from a guy behind you, that move is just dumb. If you look at kiba dachi/horse stance, it’s all about dropping your weight, especially when you’ve got someone all joint locked up.

What I’m getting at is the emphasis of stances should be while they’re in motion and not at the end pose. If the teacher is focusing on the end pose, the stances are not worth much more than aesthetics.
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RW
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JR 137 wrote:
RW wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
Kenpo/Kempo is as generic a term as kung fu, jujuitsu, karate, etc. If I’m not mistaken, Kenpo translates as “law of the fist” or “fist law.” Thinking about the definition of the term, and it can easily be interchanged with karate, which means empty hand, or kung fu, which means time spent at skillful work/hard training.

Regardless of the semantics, which names of organizations and styles usually really boil down to, focus on it the training itself is genuinely effective for your needs and expectations. If it’s what you’re looking for, are the changes every now and then significant enough to detract from its effectiveness? Have the changes brought what’s being taught from something you believed in to something that’s fundamentally different?

As sensei8 says, the proof is on the floor. If what’s going on on the floor fits your needs and expectations, stay. If what’s going on on the floor has come to the point where it doesn’t align with what you’re after, then you’ve got some decisions to make.

People argue the terms traditional and real all the time. You can make the argument that training exactly as Funakoshi taught Shotokan, Miyagi taught Goju Ryu, etc. isn’t traditional (argument goes it’s not old enough, among other things). Others consider newer founders’ training, such as Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin traditional.

What’s traditional and/or “real” is irrelevant if it works and/or fits what you’re after. Every kata was made up by someone at one point or another. If you’re Chojun Miyagi’s student and you see him teach Sanchin differently to different classmates, do you question how real his training is? According to his senior most students, Miyagi tailored kata to the individual rather than teaching it as a set in stone standardized way of doing it, hence we see variations in that kata and others within various Goju Ryu organizations and styles that trace their lineage through Miyagi’s Goju Ryu, like Kyokushin.

I’m not saying your teach is on Chojun Miyagi’s level. I’m just saying that things can be changed effectively. What’s truly important is if those changes are acceptable to you.


This puts things in perspective a lot, thanks very much.

My art right now is as effective and realistic as my karate was when I was doing karate.

Truth be told I have some issues on how effective I think traditional martial arts are in general (e.g. who punches in zenkutsku dachi? Who chambers their other fist while punching? Isn't punching in and waiting to get counter attacked a terrible reflex to have when it comes to fighting?) , but I have a huge appreciation for their personal development and health benefits, with an added bonus of self defense/fighting on the side


How effective the stances, chambered fist, and anything else like that are really depends on how it’s taught, or better yet, if it’s explained properly. This can be a really long conversation with a lot of people expressing differing opinions, so I’ll be pretty brief...

Stance is your foundation. The stronger it is, the stronger your techniques are. But IMO people focus way too much on the end of the stance, or better yet the pose. During kata, a teacher counts and the students complete the step. What’s focused on and gets corrected? The end pose; stuff like “deeper stance” “the block ends here” and so on. IMO where it ends up is irrelevant; it’s how you got there. Take a 180 degree turn from and into zenkutsu dachi while performing a low block. If you’re familiar with Pinan 1 or Taikyoku 1, you know exactly what I mean here. If you interpret the low block as a joint lock, and the strong step backwards and twist/pivot into zenkutsu dachi as spinning/throwing/unbalancing your attacker, it all makes sense to use that stance. If you’re interpreting that move in that kata as turning around and blocking a kick from a guy behind you, that move is just dumb. If you look at kiba dachi/horse stance, it’s all about dropping your weight, especially when you’ve got someone all joint locked up.

What I’m getting at is the emphasis of stances should be while they’re in motion and not at the end pose. If the teacher is focusing on the end pose, the stances are not worth much more than aesthetics.


You're 100% right.

Who's going to chamber a punch (pulling your other hand to your waist or ribs), or move using zenkutsudachi transitions in a real fight though? Even in karate sparring we adopt a more natural stance and keep our hands up...
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OneKickWonder
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RW wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
RW wrote:
JR 137 wrote:
Kenpo/Kempo is as generic a term as kung fu, jujuitsu, karate, etc. If I’m not mistaken, Kenpo translates as “law of the fist” or “fist law.” Thinking about the definition of the term, and it can easily be interchanged with karate, which means empty hand, or kung fu, which means time spent at skillful work/hard training.

Regardless of the semantics, which names of organizations and styles usually really boil down to, focus on it the training itself is genuinely effective for your needs and expectations. If it’s what you’re looking for, are the changes every now and then significant enough to detract from its effectiveness? Have the changes brought what’s being taught from something you believed in to something that’s fundamentally different?

As sensei8 says, the proof is on the floor. If what’s going on on the floor fits your needs and expectations, stay. If what’s going on on the floor has come to the point where it doesn’t align with what you’re after, then you’ve got some decisions to make.

People argue the terms traditional and real all the time. You can make the argument that training exactly as Funakoshi taught Shotokan, Miyagi taught Goju Ryu, etc. isn’t traditional (argument goes it’s not old enough, among other things). Others consider newer founders’ training, such as Mas Oyama’s Kyokushin traditional.

What’s traditional and/or “real” is irrelevant if it works and/or fits what you’re after. Every kata was made up by someone at one point or another. If you’re Chojun Miyagi’s student and you see him teach Sanchin differently to different classmates, do you question how real his training is? According to his senior most students, Miyagi tailored kata to the individual rather than teaching it as a set in stone standardized way of doing it, hence we see variations in that kata and others within various Goju Ryu organizations and styles that trace their lineage through Miyagi’s Goju Ryu, like Kyokushin.

I’m not saying your teach is on Chojun Miyagi’s level. I’m just saying that things can be changed effectively. What’s truly important is if those changes are acceptable to you.


This puts things in perspective a lot, thanks very much.

My art right now is as effective and realistic as my karate was when I was doing karate.

Truth be told I have some issues on how effective I think traditional martial arts are in general (e.g. who punches in zenkutsku dachi? Who chambers their other fist while punching? Isn't punching in and waiting to get counter attacked a terrible reflex to have when it comes to fighting?) , but I have a huge appreciation for their personal development and health benefits, with an added bonus of self defense/fighting on the side


How effective the stances, chambered fist, and anything else like that are really depends on how it’s taught, or better yet, if it’s explained properly. This can be a really long conversation with a lot of people expressing differing opinions, so I’ll be pretty brief...

Stance is your foundation. The stronger it is, the stronger your techniques are. But IMO people focus way too much on the end of the stance, or better yet the pose. During kata, a teacher counts and the students complete the step. What’s focused on and gets corrected? The end pose; stuff like “deeper stance” “the block ends here” and so on. IMO where it ends up is irrelevant; it’s how you got there. Take a 180 degree turn from and into zenkutsu dachi while performing a low block. If you’re familiar with Pinan 1 or Taikyoku 1, you know exactly what I mean here. If you interpret the low block as a joint lock, and the strong step backwards and twist/pivot into zenkutsu dachi as spinning/throwing/unbalancing your attacker, it all makes sense to use that stance. If you’re interpreting that move in that kata as turning around and blocking a kick from a guy behind you, that move is just dumb. If you look at kiba dachi/horse stance, it’s all about dropping your weight, especially when you’ve got someone all joint locked up.

What I’m getting at is the emphasis of stances should be while they’re in motion and not at the end pose. If the teacher is focusing on the end pose, the stances are not worth much more than aesthetics.


You're 100% right.

Who's going to chamber a punch (pulling your other hand to your waist or ribs), or move using zenkutsudachi transitions in a real fight though? Even in karate sparring we adopt a more natural stance and keep our hands up...


That's the thing with 'traditional martial arts'. The training is full of lies. But the lies are there for a reason (an outdated reason in my opinion but the intention is well meaning).

Stances are not meant to be used in combat. Stances train muscles to be strong and flexible, and teach principles that support good balance and agility. The classic front stance with all its variants for example. It's not very natural. But what does it teach? It teaches us that a bent front knee for example is harder to break, and a locked out back leg makes you harder to knock backwards. And it teaches us to lower our centre of gravity. That makes us more stable and agile, and is important because it goes against the natural instinct to make ourselves big, like you see drunken idiots do when they have a stand off and they stretch their chest out and practically go on tip toes and basically do everything to look big while in fact making themselves very vulnerable. Probably why do many drunken fights end after a single untrained punch.

Chambering after a punch has many purposes. One of which becomes immediately obvious if you look at a grappling style like aikido, or even tai chi. The chambered hand is not about to do something. It is there because it has just done something. Imagine intercepting a punch with an in to out block, trapping it, pulling it down to the hip, which takes advantage of the momentum already in the punch, while putting you on the outside of the line of attack, where you are now in a position to go for an arm bar, or simply strike the side of the head.
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MatsuShinshii
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Is SKK a "real" martial art? Reply with quote

RW wrote:
Background:

As some of you may know, I began training decades ago a traditional karate style. You know how karate goes, kata is basically sacred. No garden variety teacher would dare say "Ok, this is is our "Mike Jones Dojo version of Heian Sandan. Sensei Mike doesn't like blocks, so this kata is now all strikes". If you're going to change a kata you better be the founder of your style (so, you're probably dead by now) or their successor.

Kata are almost uniform across schools of the same style, and they even crossover to other styles, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karate_kata#Kata_performed_in_various_styles

So basically, the guy practicing shito Ryu will know Heian Nidan, and so the guy practicing Kyokushin!

The issue with SKK:

I quit karate because life got in the way, and many years later, after I moved to a different city, I joined a "Shaolin Kempo Karate" school. I didn't expect it to be like a "real" karate school, but I joined it because it was nearby, the people there were good sports and the vibe was very friendly. Fast forward a couple years and I am starting to feel that SKK is not a real martial art.

1) The katas change!!!

Basically you can be taught a kata a certain way and... the same kata will be taught a different way to another student next year. For example when I was an orange belt I was taught to do a shuto uchi to the throat followed by a tate tsuki right after. 2 years later, new orange belts are taught to a shuto uke defense. Why?!?!

Most important, why can kata be changed just like that, on the whims of the dojo owner?! He is not the founder of SKK. He is not even a Hanshi yet, he simply owns his dojo, which is a chain with a couple dojos.

2) Talking about being a Hanshi... who owns this style?

So apparently SKK was founded by Villari, who it seems is a total joke in the martial arts world nowadays. So the SKK schools split into different schools, for example, USSD (United Studios of Self Defense), Z-ultimate and SDSS.

The thing is... studying "shaolin kempo" in any of these branches makes for a wildly different experience. Heian Sandan is almost the same, if not the same across Kyokushin dojos, and even if you change styles, you may still be doing Heian Sandan in your Shito Ryu school. So how come a SKK student in Z ultimate has different katas from the SKK student in a Villari school and a z-ultimate school?

3) Adding to that, exactly what is shaolin kempo karate?

It's cetainly not shaolin, though some schools have added kung fu stuff to their curriculum (e.g. some schools may teach Wu bu Quan & continuous fist). It's not karate either. I mean, I see these guys use some of the same strikes and kicks, and sometimes they even use karate names (e.g. "shuto"), but there are 0 karate katas in SKK. Is it even karate? Could a Shaolin Kempo Karate compete in a karate competition? What about the upcoming olympics?

What is even kempo? There's shaolin kempo karate, there's American Kenpo (with N) Karate, there's Shaolin American Kempo, kosho-ryu kenpo... apparently these are not different styles (e.g. Shotokan and Goju Ryu are still karate), but different arts altogether?

Is Kempo/Kenpo even a real style? Apparently it's something that was put together around the world war 2 years in Hawaii? Apparently there's yet another Kempo (Shorinji Kempo), which comes from Japan and is a very ancient, traditional style, but that is NOT the same style that ended diverging into kosho ryu, american kenpo karate, shaolin kempo karate, shaolin american kempo, etc.

What are your thoughts?

BTW I have been practicing SKK for years now, and I enjoy it. I am by no means trying to insult or offend the art or its practitioners, I just have a healthy curiosity about its true nature.


First off Kenpo/Kempo is a generic term like Karate. It mean fist law. It is not a new term nor was it invented in Hawaii although some styles with this name were.

Whether Villari (And I'll hold my personal opinion) is legit or not isn't the issue. Whether SKK is considered legit by some is not the issue.

The issue is do you feel it's effective? If they are teaching you sound and effective techniques that you can translate to real life then who care's where it came from, who invented it or whether it's Shaolin, Kempo or Karate? If it works for you then continue to train. If it doesn't then find an art that does.

I have no idea what this art is or if it's effective. I do recall seeing this man when I was younger in one of the martial arts magazines (I think black belt). Having said that he is not the first to combine more than one art into a singular art. Do I believe it's legit? I have no idea.

What I would be researching is a few things if I were concerned with the legitimacy of the art I was studying.

1. What grade did Mr. Villari hold in each of these arts and how long did he study them?

2. You said that Kata and requirements continue to change... I would look into whether there is a curriculum for the art. Maybe your teacher is the issue and not the art. Wouldn't be the first time someone studied for a time and decided to open their own school and started teaching without knowing the art past a certain grade (usually a low one).

3. Is it effective? Do you trust or have you used what is taught to defend yourself in a real fight (not in the Dojo). Did it work or did you get the you know what beat out of you? If what they teach is not effective then you probably need to move on unless of course your not taking the art to learn how to defend yourself. Maybe you enjoy the camaraderie and exercise.

4. Do you trust your teacher and what he teaches? Based on your post I would say you are questioning both.

And on a side note: no, Kata usually do not change with the wind nor are they done or taught differently to each new class of students. They are the one true constant. If you have learned a Kata and they are now teaching it totally differently from what you learned I think I would be questioning the teacher. But that's me.

Just my 2 cents.
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The person who succeeds is not the one who holds back, fearing failure, nor the one who never fails-but the one who moves on in spite of failure.
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