Ch’uan-Fa Kung-Fu



Adriano Emperado felt that the Chinese martial arts had an abundance of technical diversity to offer to the kajukenbo system. One thought he entertained was a complete evolution to a kajukenbo style with a much stronger Chinese emphasis. This brought about the development of kajukenbo ch’uan fa in the 1960’s. Aiding in this development was Al Dela Cruz and Al Dacascos, both black belts from Sid Asuncion’s kajukenbo school.

During this time Al Dacascos was also training with Eugene Ho, a Siu Lum Pai Association instructor who was a student of Buck Sam Kong. This kung fu training provided Dacascos with knowledge that he also contributed to the tum pai development.
Professor Wong, a.k.a. “Old Man Wong” of the Honolulu Chinatown kung fu Association was also a strong influence on, and supporter of Emperado efforts in this endeavor to incorporate more kung fu into the kajukenbo system.

In the winter of 1964, Dacascos moved to the San Francisco Bay area of California. Over the next couple of years he established associations with many of the Chinese martial artists in that area. One group in particular was the San Jose Chinese Physical Cultural Center. The instructor there was Paul Ng. Ng taught a southern style called fu-chow, a element of the hong-ga kin system. Also in the group was Kam Yuen and Ron Lew of the tai mantis system. One of the focuses of this group was to learn the northern sil-lum or northern pak-pai system from Professor Wong Jack Man.

In 1965, Al Dacascos held a meeting in California with Adriano Emperado and Al Dela Cruz to discuss the state of the tum pai branch. Dacascos explained to them that he thought the tum pai name was no longer applicable to the new branch, because it had now evolved to also include northern kung fu techniques. After he demonstrated to them the long range northern techniques that he had learned, like high jumping butterfly kicks, and full circle sweeps, they agreed with him that a more appropriate name should be used to describe this evolving branch of kajukenbo.

They agreed to replace the name tum pai with the name ch’uan fa. Dacascos developed a written system of 82 training exercises, drills, and requirements to teach the concepts and principles of the new kajukenbo ch’uan fa. And a number of Chinese forms like, fua yip, limpo, and pak sil-lum were also added to the ch’uan fa branch. Ch’uan fa became a official branch in 1966.

At the time it was Emperado’s desire to have all the existing kajukenbo schools convert to the new ch’uan fa style. Al Dela Cruz was given the assignment to teach the new ch’uan fa techniques to the kajukenbo instructors in Hawaii, and Al Dacascos was to do the same with the instructors in California.
The conversion to this new style of kajukenbo was met with some resistance by a number of instructors who preferred the original “hard style” kajukenbo. Emperado allowed those instructors to continue to teach the original style.

While some other instructors choose to develop their own methods of ch’uan fa.
One change Emperado did require of all schools was the adoption of Chinese titles to replace the Japanese titles that were used previously. Sifu, the Chinese title for teacher, replaced the title of sensei. Professor Emperado took the title sijo, which is the Chinese title for founder. Later, other Chinese titles like sigung were also added to the kajukenbo rank structure. As will be discussed below, more branches of kajukenbo evolved, and methods of those branches evolved even more.

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