About the Art

What's in a Name?

Martial arts names can be confusing, often consisting of multiple syllables that sound like gibberish to English speakers. But names play an important role in distinguishing distinct martial arts styles and methods from one another, and understanding a name can also provide considerable information about the art.

"Kajukenbo" is a portmanteau of "KArate," "JUdo/JUjitsu," "KENpo," and "BOxing," the primary arts from which it was developed.

"Wun Hop Kuen Do" is Cantonese for "Combination Fist Art Style."

About Kajukenbo and Wun Hop Kuen Do

Shoulder Throw

Kajukenbo is martial arts system focused on practical self-defense that was developed in Hawaii in the 1940's. Its founders were each proficient in different martial arts, and together they sought to determine the most effective techniques from each art. These techniques were synthesized into the mixed martial arts system of Kajukenbo. Kajukenbo's techniques were developed in the slums of Hawaii and tested in real-world altercations.

Over the years, Kajukenbo has branched into several different styles, one of which is Wun Hop Kuen Do (WHKD). WHKD was developed in the 1960's and incorporates Chinese (kung fu) and Filipino (escrima) influences to create a self-defense expression that balances hard and soft attributes. Because of the Chinese influence, WHKD is considered to be style of kung fu.

WHKD is not a static art: it is meant to evolve over time as its instructors acquire new knowledge and understanding. Additionally, WHKD's goal is not to create students who are carbon copies of their instructors, but rather for instructors to guide students into discovering their own optimal expression of the art. For these reasons WHKD is often called a "system without a system."