This article is from the Martial Arts FAQ, by Matthew Weigel firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
(Contributor: Stephen Kurtzman - email@example.com)
Note: In the Japanese language, the consonants "n" and "m" have the
same symbol, thus the English spelling can be rendered either "Kempo"
or "Kenpo". There are several arts in this family, but the spelling
of "Ken/mpo" is not of significance in distinguishing between them.
This art is also called Kenpo Karate. American Kenpo is an eclectic
art developed by Hawaiian Ed Parker in the 60s. The art combines the
Kara-Ho Kenpo which Parker learned from William Chow with influences
from Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, and Western Martial sources.
American Kenpo blends circular motions and evasive movements with
linear kicks and punches. The art is oriented toward street-wise self
defense. A big emphasis on basics, sparring, and kata. It is similar
to most Karate styles in its training mechanisms.
The Tracy schools of Kenpo teach Parker's style, but are a
"politically" separate organization.