Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kempo?

Kempo is the Japanese transliteration of Quanfa, one of the Chinese terms for "martial arts". Historically, Kempo has referred to any martial arts practiced in Japan that have connections to China, or other associations with China. Therefore Kempo is not a martial art, but rather "martial arts of Chinese origin or association".

Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the samurai fell into disfavour in Japan, partly because they had failed to stop the Americans from forcing Japan open to trade, and partly because the lower classes of society (who the samurai had oppressed for hundreds of years) had become much more powerful. From this time up until the revival of the samurai's image in the 1920s and 30s in the lead up to World War 2, Kempo also came to be applied to any martial arts of non-samurai origin, including western arts like boxing and wrestling. Under this definition, Kempo is any martial art that didn't come from the former samurai class.

What is the difference between Kempo and Kenpo?

There is no difference. These are just two different ways to pronounce the same word (拳法) in Japanese. If you say "Kenpo" fast it often comes out as "Kempo".

Where did Kempo come from?

Kempo originated from a combination of Chinese and Japanese martial arts. Please refer to our history page for more detail.

Where does your Kempo come from?

Historically, our Kempo is descended from Master Hao En Guang (this is his Chinese name - his Japanese name was Kaku Onkou). Master Hao, a famous bodyguard and successful prizefighter, was selected by the Chinese martial arts community to teach martial arts in Japan in the early years of the 20th Century. He was famous for cross-training in different martial arts. Like Master Hao, we don't like to put our Kempo in a box, preferring to stay flexible. We use many different methods from more than ten different martial arts, and cross-train frequently with other martial arts.

What is Mishima Kempo?

Mishima Kempo is the name of our Kempo club. The club is named after the Mishima Shrine in Nara Prefecture, Japan.