“KEMPO” of the Aibudo Martial Arts System
Back in the late 60’s I tried to study “karate”, which didn’t work out very well. Later on in the Army, I was introduced to a minor degree, some movements of Jujitsu and “long gun”, hand to hand fighting. That was almost worthless as we weren’t given much time to train with it. If my memory serves, at the most we may have worked with it part of one day. My “serious” martial arts beginnings are with a martial arts system of Bojuka Ryu founded by Eddie Stewart. Within it were the principles and applications of Chito Ryu Karate, Kodenkan Jujitsu, Han Moo Kwan Tae Kwan Do, Chinese Kempo, White Crane and Praying Mantis Kung. Under the tutelage of Sensei Robert Leisure, we kind of switched back and forth in the standup fight entity of the postures between Chinese Kempo, White Crane Kung Fu and Tae Kwan Do. Beginners seemed to like the Tae Kwan Do posture more and the seniors Chinese Kempo. Our instructor mixed the postures of White Crane and Praying Mantis a lot. As I became more skilled, I preferred White Crane at the time.
It seems that if you do some research, you will find that there are “godzillians” of Kempo systems in the world. The original Kempo has lost its originality in what we know as Kempo today from one training school to another. What makes some really bad, others mediocre and a few really good are their ideas of mechanics, strategy and philosophy. In some examples, Bruce Lee took the simple Pak Sao and moved the control of the opponent from the wrist or forearm to the elbow which improved dramatically the control of the opponent at that instant in time. It’s a fact that if you attempt to control or move anything at the end of a long lever, it is an extremely weak function, whereas, utilizing a short lever can be tremendously strong. Moving through the years of the arts, I have noticed a good many weaknesses and just knew that there had to be ways to improve on them. The same with the traditional side posture of Tae Kwon Do, of which is the way I was initially trained. As I looked at and trained in this posturing, it became apparent that it only gave you one weapon at a time to introduce to your opponent. After receiving my Kempo Nidan rank, I looked in the dojo Kagami one day and said to myself that there had to be a better way. As happen chance one day, I was visiting my old sensei’s dojo in another town and his wife was also there who was a Kung Fu instructor. During our conversations, which I really don’t remember what they were all about, I was introduced to a unique, for the lack of a better description, a “flipping wrist” technique which seemed to me to be fairly effective in the power that it developed in a small area. In the martial art system of which I came up in, we had trained with a ridge hand technique as a strike, but never “flipping” into it as a “striking control”. As I mentioned above, I looked in the mirror one day and decided to work more with the Kempo frontal posture. This gave me instead of only one weapon with the traditional Tae Kwon Do posturing, the availability of the four of Kempo. Then add to “my closing”, the ridge hand flipping action that I learned from sensei’s Leisure’s wife. Instead of the parrying/blocking action utilizing the pinky side or back of the wrist of which had been trained in the old system, this placed me in a controlling/blocking action of the thumb side of the wrist with the hand palm up and elbow tight to the inside. The weakness in the original method was immediately gone. Now instead of a collapsible arm with the normal bending of my elbow, the arm was now “locked” and couldn’t be moved inward towards myself as easily. This was the beginning of a totally new “system” of which I started to build on. As it turned out, all by accident, what I was starting to do resembled very much a mixture of Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do and Kempo/Kenpo. I started studying all three of them more, trying to figure out what parts of them were the best and others just “flash”, not really being effective at all or not as effective as necessary. As I “tested” those techniques, it appeared to me as a small person that many of them just wouldn’t work against a much larger and powerful individual. This was the beginnings of the Aibudo “Kempo” portion of the system. Adding to the traditional, the strategies of Musashi, made me a totally different martial artist. Bruce Lee took the Wing Chun of which he had trained and modified it in some scenarios to become even more effective. I won’t get into the movements of Jeet Kune Do, but learned a lot from his ideas, which changed up my mindset in regard to closing, control, body movement and striking. I didn’t just take his movements and copy them, but took the ideas of this or that which could possibly work much better than what I was brought up in. Started working with the “this and that” in the dojo, found out what was crap and what was effective. Anything that was effective, I added to another “effective” and so on throughout the years. It is no secret that at the present time of only weighing around 145 to 150 pounds and in my 70’s, power isn’t my strong point. I developed, for me as a small person, a more safe and effective closure along with the particular strategies of “Stickiness” and “Glue and Lacquer” of Musashi. Along with the modification of the physicals of Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Kempo and Jeet Kune Do all wrapped up into one set of movements (as far as the hands go). It’s a good feeling knowing that you’re not going to get “creamed” just trying to enter the fight, let alone once you become in close proximity with your opponent. In the old days, I was always apprehensive about the kicks of my opponent coming at me. Now I couldn’t give a crap about them! I would like for my opponent to start with a kick but if they don’t and I’m inside that range, then I feel extremely comfortable with my hands doing what they need to do to both protect me and control my opponent at the same time. The failure of working from the outside and using “long levers”, except for the initial “entering” contact, is GONE! The choice of being struck with the end of a ball bat or the hand at the grip, made all the difference. Generalized lateral body shifting along with the speed and control of Kempo, earth of Judo/Jujitsu and minor kicking aspects of Tae Kwon Do all put together are the major aspects of the system of Aibudo. That said, I guess that you could really call it “Aibudo Kempo”. I’m not trying to say or insinuate that the traditional martial arts systems aren’t all relevant, but had to put together something that worked better for myself as an older and small person with an additional handicap of being blind in the left eye. Just wish that I had another “life time” to work on it. Not in a commercial way, but privately with a very few good friends as I presently do.