Kenpo is a name given to several Japanese martial art forms. It is a system of self-defense and is all about ending a fight as soon as possible. It employs a belt ranking system similar to that of karate and has a number of governing bodies around the world. Keep reading to learn more about the most influential kenpo organizations.
Ed Parker’s International Kenpo Karate Organization (IKKA)
IKKA was founded by Ed Parker. Until the early 1960s, it was known as the KKAA (Kenpo Karate Association of America), but once its students started teaching kenpo outside America, a more international name was necessary. It governs the International Karate Championships and has multiple schools around the world in locations such as Europe and Canada as well as in the United States.
Worldwide Kenpo Karate Association (WKKA)
This organization claims to be American kenpo’s sanctioning body and was founded by Ed Parker protégé Joe Palanzo. Its mission is to preserve the art of kenpo as well as helping it to grow internationally. More than 500 martial arts schools have joined the WKKA since it was founded in 1991, and the organization has certified thousands of black belts to date.
International Kempo Federation (IKF)
This is a non-profit organization that is composed of National Kempo Federations acting as members. It is a global institution and promotes the Kenpo 5.0 System, which helps the IKF remain on the cutting edge of self-defense. It hosts a number of tournaments throughout the year, including the IKF World Kempo Championships, which are hosted in different locations around the world. The 2014 Teams Championships took place in Vagos, Portugal, for example.
United Kenpo Karate Association (UKKA)
The UKKA was developed by Jay Will in 1991 with the goal of ensuring the ideas of Ed Parker were spread without the sideshow of internal politics. The UKKA wants to give practitioners of kenpo an opportunity to be part of a family.
The Kwai Sun Company
Kara-ho Kempo was created by William Chow in the 1930s, and one of his best students, Sam Kuoha, helped Chow create in 1978 the Kwai Sun Company, which was designed to oversee the creation of hundreds of Chinese Kara-ho Kempo schools. There are currently more than 10,000 students in over 150 schools around the world, though the majority are located in America.
American Kenpo Karate Systems (AKKS)
The AKKS was founded by Jeff Speakman, one of Ed Parker’s most famous students. Speakman has starred in movies such as “The Perfect Weapon” and “Street Knight,” which showcases kenpo to the world. The AKKS has more than 50 schools and is an international organization. Speakman also hosts annual camps to help students learn more about American kenpo.
When trying to learn more about kenpo, it is important not to focus too much on the different organizations and simply do what you can to improve your kenpo skills. There is likely to be a school belonging to one of the aforementioned organizations in your area, so check it out and see if it is the right fit for you.