Tag Archives: james mitose

The Messed Up History of Kenpo Karate

Kenpo History Sort of a Mess

Kenpo Karate is one of the most popular martial arts in the world, and the history is, to put it lightly, a mess.

There are three men who brought Kenpo to the streets of America. These are James Mitose, William ‘Thunderbolt Chow, and Ed Parker.

kenpo karate training manual

What really happened with Mitose, Chow and Parker.

James Mitose learned the art at a temple in Japan. Except, there is no temple there. The area is the home of kosho sect of the Yoshida clan, so maybe. Except…when you think about it, would there be much significance if your instructor learned Karate at a Baptist church somewhere in Illinois?

Yes, there are differences in culture, and there is a potential zen aspect to it all, but churches are basically meeting places.

The second man in this lineage is William ‘Thunderbolt’ Chow. Professor Chow claimed that he originally learned martial arts from his father, a Buddhist priest. Except, there are no records of his father as a priest. And how does that tie in with the Kenpo he learned from James Mitose?

The third man in this saga is Edmund Parker.

Parker brought Karate to the mainland, began teaching martial arts while at Brigham Young University. Except, he is said to have taught his students all he knew – he was only a brown belt – and when he went home and tried to get more to teach…Professor Chow wouldn’t teach him anything because he had been instructing without permission!

Now, there are a lot more sordid details to this story. There are fights and arguments and people slandering one another, and the reader might think, at this point, the this writer is writing black headlines just to sell an article. Except…the real problem here is not the three men, it is the students learning their kenpo karate martial art.

bruce lee kenpo training

How to shift your forms for maximum potentials

People seem to need to bolster themselves up, to give themselves airs, to make themselves sound more important than they are.

So when Mitose says, in an offhanded remark, ‘Yes, my father used to show me tricks when I was a kid. We were living next to a church then, and we would roll around on the grass in the side yard. Lot of fun…’ the student bows deep and realizes that his instructor studied at a zen temple, was beaten with a bamboo rod for dozing, and had to go through rigamarole that would make Gordon Liu envious.

And when Thunderbolt Chow says, ‘Yes, my father had dreams of being a priest, talked about it often. Priests know really great martial arts, you know,’ the student holds his finger aloft as the lightening strikes him, and knows that he studying ancient and arcane mysteries written down in scrolls dating back to the time of Buddha.

And when Parker says, ‘My instructor didn’t have any more to teach me,’ the student catches his breath and claps his hands together, for obviously his instructor has surpassed his instructor, and the student is the real beneficiary of all this light and goodness.

lop sau rolling fists freestyle drill

the last third of 150 Kenpo techniques scientifically analyzed

Yes, there are people who spread rumor and prevarication to make themselves look good, but it is up to the student to be discerning and find out the real truth…and, there is a lesson to be learned here.

The lesson is that man learns best from his mistakes. He learns a little bit from doing something well, but he learns A LOT from messing up. And these three men, James Mitose, William ‘Thunderbolt’ Chow, and Ed Parker, they were human, and they messed up.

So, are we going to make them saints and pretend they made no mistakes? Or are we going to look extra hard at their mistakes and learn, truly learn, from them?

The author began studying Kenpo Karate in 1967. Check out the three volume set analyzing Kenpo Karate (see illustrations above for links). History, forms, and 150 techniques broken down and scientifically analyzed. This will forever change the way you look at and do Kenpo Karate.

The Man Who Killed Kenpo Karate Founder James Mitose

A Legendary Martial Artist!

James Mitose was the fellow who brought Kenpo Karate from Japan to Hawaii, and thence to the rest of the world.

And, who, you might ask, could ‘kill’ a fellow who had studied martial arts for decades? Who introduced Kenpo Karate to the world?

The story is right below, and it is a corker, with one of the most bizarre endings you will EVER read.

James Mitose ~ The Founder of Kenpo Karate

James Mitose was born in Hawaii in 1916. At the age of four years old his family returned to Japan that he might receive a good eduction.

One of the important elements of his education was the study of the martial arts.

The martial arts he studied included Okinawan Karate and Japanese Jujitsu. The training was done at the Mt. Akenkai Shaka-In temple.

In 1935, at the age of 21, James returned to Hawaii, and it wasn’t long before he began teaching Martial Arts. He called his art by the traditional names of Shorinji Kempo, and Kempo Jujitsu. Eventually, he settled on the name Kosho Shorei-ryu Kenpo.

Sensei Mitose taught martial arts for over ten years, but eventually stopped teaching and moved to Southern California, and here is where he met the man who would later ‘kill’ him.

Terry Lee (Nimr Hassan) ~ The Man Who Killed James Mitose

In Southern California James Mitose would teach only a few students, and one of these was a young man named Terry Lee. Mr. Lee changed his name to Nimr Hassan.

In the 70s Nimr Hassan was arrested for the murder of a Mr. Namimatsu. Mr. Namimatsu was stabbed multiple times, had a completely collapsed eye, and was strangled.

The evidence was clear cut. Not only was a footprint of Nimr Hassan on the victim’s chest, but he admitted his guilt in court by saying that he had done the stabbing and strangling, but he wasn’t guilty because when he left Mr. Namimatsu was still breathing.

At this point, the story takes a vicious turn: Terry Lee claimed that James Mitose gave him the weapons, which included a rope and an ice pick, and told him how to commit the crime.

James Mitose was arrested and taken to trial, and the result of that trial was a terrible miscarriage of justice.

Japanese translators were used, and even the court would admit, at a later date, that the translations were inadequate.

James denied inciting Terry Lee to murder, but stated that as his martial arts instructor he was responsible for the crime. On that flimsy ‘evidence,’ nothing more than a pointing finger and ‘he said,’ James Mitose was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

And Terry Lee? Nimr Hassan? For turning state evidence, for accusing the man who had taught him martial arts, he spent three years in prison.

After he was released from prison Terry would claim to be the legitimate inheritor of James Mitose’s martial arts system; he claimed to be the Hanshi of the Mitose family martial arts.

James Mitose would die in prison, while the man who effectively killed him would continue teaching martial arts for many years.

The Real History of Kenpo Karate 

If you liked this story, if you want some more real history, then you really need to read…’The Man Who Killed Kenpo.’ 

Murder and Responsibility in the Martial Arts

James Mitose and Martial Arts Murder!

Excellent work out to you!
Make sure you do extra squats,
and when you do your stretches,
don’t bounce.
Do them yoga style,
just hold and tell your body to relax.
The muscles will suddenly relax,
and you’ll have a better stretch.

It’s mental.
It’s all mental.

came across an interesting bit of info
while I was researching
my latest book project.

The book,
are going to be about matrixing Kenpo.
I’m already done with one,
should be ready to go within the month.

I know,
I’ve always avoided matrixing Kenpo.
Had a LOT of people ask me about it,
but always sidestepped.
But when you’re the only person
in 150 square miles,
then you stop avoiding.

I came across this great bit of data
on one of the people
who caused Kenpo.
James Mitose.

he was a character.
Very zen guy,
real hard core martial artist,
ran a brothel at one time,
and believed in honor.

So he is teaching in the US,
southern California,
and one of his students,
a guy named Nimr Hassan
commits extortion and murder.
The proof is incontrovertible.
whose real name was Terry Lee,
left a footprint on the victim’s back.
He also stated that,
after brutalizing the victim,
he left him alive.
As if that is supposed to excuse him from murder.
It’s not my fault the guy died
because I strangled and stabbed him!
He was alive when I left!’

So Hassan blames James Mitose.
Says Mitose gave him the rope and the knife,
told him to do it.
Court records get obscure,
there’s some bad translations
of Japanese testimony.
And Mitose neglects to defend himself
for a rather simple reason.

He feels responsible for his student’s crime.
He taught him,
so he is responsible.

So Mitose gets sentenced to life in prison.

because he turned state’s evidence,
goes to jail for three years.

here’s the kicker,
when he gets out,
he claims to be hanshi
for the Mitose Family Martial Arts.

this and other great stuff,
is going to be in the books,
but I’m all jazzed,
excited to be working on this stuff,
so I thought I’d share.

having shared,
let me encourage you to check out my books.
They are on amazon.
They include a series on Matrixing Karate
which is based on the Matrixing Karate course.
An encyclopedia of Karate,
from Kung Fu to Matrixing.
a lot of novels.

Novels about bodyguards
who learn martial arts in a prison cell,
and suddenly have the most kick ass sixth sense
you could ever imagine.

Novels about ancient assassins
who save mankind
just because they can.

And lots of other novels.

short newsletter this time,
I’ll yak your ear off next time,
but use the extra time
and do a few extra stretches.
Make yourself feel good and young!

Okey dokey,
go to Amazon,
type in
‘Al Case books,’
‘Al Case Novels,’
‘Al Case martial arts,’
or something like that,
see what comes up.
If you’re a reader,
you’re going to be in hog heaven.
If you’re not a reader,
then do some extra stretches.

Have a great work out!