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Kenpo used interchangeably with Kempo has possibly been made most popular in the US as American Kenpo or Kenpo Karate. Kenpo’s roots and lineage are traced back to Hawaii and Okinawa. The most common Kenpo today normally has been passed down from Hawaii, although reportedly there are still several Okinawan Kenpo masters living within the US.
A recent surge in interest of studying Kenpo no doubt comes from the fact that it is the core martial art style associated with UFC legend Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell. Certainly Chuck has put it to awesome use and has earned a formidable reputation of one of, if not the best fighter to ever step into the octagon. Chuck Liddell picked up his Kenpo training at the ‘Pit’ training center in California, which has now spawned several other MMA fighters.
Kenpo is distinguished as a striking/ stand up martial art even though in training elements of wrestling and Jiu Jitsu are practised. So for those of you who love stand up slugging away and amazing KOs, this is definitely a style you want to look into. Kenpo is far from limited and is said to feature over 700 techniques plus 72 kicks! That’s a lot of learning and not something that can be mastered overnight. Definitely not a black belt in 6 months type deal. Still this should be evidence that much development and thought has gone into perfecting Kenpo’s fighting style and that it has been constantly updated to meet a changing environment.
While Kenpo can be found around the world and across the US, the main concentration of the best schools appear to be in California. So next time you are on the West Coast make time for a stop at the Pit in Arroyo Grande. There is also a Kenpo seminar being put on by the Tracey brothers in Sacramento in July of 2010.

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