MAC's Student Guide to Nippon Kempo

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MAC' s Student Guide 


Nippon Kempo (Karate)
This Student guide is designed to be a reference to all materials taught at the MAC and Karate Class at CSULA.  It is not a substitute for regular attendance, but is designed to reinforce and expand on what you are being taught.

What is Kempo?

     Kempo is a MARTIAL ART -- A fighting system based on techniques of striking, kicking, throwing, reverse holds and ground combat.  Unlike other martial arts, Kempo is practiced with protective gear.  Kempo is a full-force sport, consequently a reality.

The ancient art of Nippon Kempo has become widely known, especially in Japan, in recent years.  Its origin traces to India 5,000 years ago.  Through transmission to different cultures, Kempo has gradually and continues to develop its present form: Kempo is a martial system based on techniques of striking, kicking, throwing, reverse holds and ground combat.  Unlike other disciplines of self-defense, the Nippon Kempo practitioner fights and practices these techniques with protective gear.  Kempo is a FULL FORCE art and consequently a reality.  Kempo makes this reality immediately felt by the fact that protective equipment is used, enabling the participants to fully complete his actions and fill them with his spiritual and physical strength.

The teaching soft the school of Nippon Kempo are founded on this philosophy: inward that radiates outward, combines gentleness with hardness and compassion with strength.  The symbol of a circle with eight small circles is the visual representations of the philosophy which in present days is shown by a patch which every Kempo practitioner has on their uniform.  Each circle represents a part of the philosophy: mind, body, spirit, power, technique, skill, way rule.

Nippon Kempo is a way of life based on the realization of the interrelation and interaction of all things and knowledge.  Its ultimate objective is to cultivate a state of balance in man, not the cultivation of strength and power to be exhibited in competition or to be used violently just for the sake of injury.  Kempo emphasizes the cultivation of a balanced body and mind in which love, wisdom, courage and health abide.

The aim of cultivating the essential mental attitudes and values relevant to a well balanced life, of the inseparable union of mind and boy of the theory and practice; teachings are embodied in practice in the form of a martial art to insure their expression in action.  Similar to the art of driving a car, the mastery of which depends not only on known about the mechanism of the car, proper driving techniques and rules of the road, but on actually sitting behind the wheel and experiencing what driving is like for oneself, the way of Kempo and empirically in its martial art.

In the teaching of Kempo, there are three known variables: the individual, nature, and society, that determine the condition of man's survival as well as his fulfillment and happiness.  But because it takes individuals to exploit nature and individuals to make societies, Nippon Kempo asserts that the individual is both directly and indirectly responsible for his/her own welfare and happiness.

Nippon Kempo teaches that man learns through a long evolutionary process and his unique body and mind interact to endow him with vast potentiality to which every individual must turn and cultivate for the answers in life.  Man must bear the burden of his individuality.  Kempo asserts that individual is his own witness and his own responsibility in both good times and bad.

Nippon Kempo teaches of the significant of the unity of matter and spirit (matter signifies the body of action and the spirit signifies the mind or composure).  These two are inseparably united in man and enter into sequences in which either can affect the other.  Kempo asserts that the training of the body disregarding the spirit of the training of the spirit disregarding the body cannot lead to the formation of a complete man.

Nippon Kempo and the Law of Nature -- survival of the fittest -- is applicable to all living creatures.  Although strength is the decisive factor in the animal world, among men the fittest are those who excel both physically and mentally.  The mental capacity in man accounts for the fact that he is at the top of the evolutionary pyramid.  It would be ideal indeed if men did not resort to strength to settle conflicts among themselves as physical violence as opposed to the contest o reason as a final means of settling disputes.  The obvious case of this is simply: the person who depends on force is actually stronger than the one relying on theory for the former can totally destroy the latter, whereas the latter is physically helpless unless he too resorts to force.  Merely being right is not enough.  Justice, unfortunately, must be enforced by strength.  The laws and social codes of any society are significant only to the degree to which they are physically enforced.  Nippon Kempo thus emphasizes the importance of strength, not for killing and destruction, but for preservation of life.  Strength is to be used only as a final measure and only for preserving and defending oneself when one is threatened.  It is to be used to prevent violent attack.  With righteousness enforced by strength and forgiveness backed up by the power to punish, one can stop an aggressor while protecting one's own life.  One must not confuse Kempo with other schools of martial arts prevalent today.  Many of these center on cultivating sheer strength., which is then measured by how many bricks one can break in a blow or whether one can fight a bull bare-handed, etc.  Unlike these schools, the martial art of Nippon Kempo is characterized not by the cultivation of brute force of strange powers nor by competitions in which one loses or wins.  The cultivation of a balanced man in harmony with others is the objective of Nippon Kempo and its martial art is strictly in line with this aim.  The original meaning of the term "martial art" (Japanese term "Budo") is the way to suppress violence and to return to the way of man or more generally to promote peace and understanding between rivals.
The reason why Budo has deteriorated into a man sport on the one hand or into a means of inflicting injury and inciting violence on the other lies in man and not in the nature of BUDO itself.  For as a knife can be used either to pare an apple or to kill, man is responsible for the constructive of destructive consequences of any potentiality.

Most of the techniques employed in martial arts are based on the application of three body movements: circular, straight and bending.  Thrusts, kicks, throws, twists, block, eluding and pinning all originate from these movements.

The effectiveness of the techniques of Kempo is not determined by strength of size but rather by knowledge and application of rational, scientific and medical principles.  Using these techniques, persons o either sex and of any age, size or strength can effectively protect themselves.  By applying pressure to certain "switches" or pressure points, located in the muscles, bones or nerves of any person can effectively subdue an opponent of greater size and strength.

In order to master Nippon Kempo or attain its ranks of achievement, one must train in an orderly manner form the most fundamental steps through increasingly higher levels of mental and physical development.  Mastery of Nippon Kempo is similar to the process of developing any potentiality.  The sequence of practice and ranking system of Kempo teaches that the realization of man's potentialities is not achieved over night, nor is mastery an inborn talent; it is instead a cumulative process depending on great effort, discipline, patience, endurance, and unbending will.

The Martial Arts Club

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events that the MAC is evolved in

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History of Kempo

   The origin of Kempo may be traced back to Nomin-Sukune and Toma-no Kerihaya, legendary founder of the Sumo style of wrestling.  It was not until 1932 that Nippon Kempo was founded in Osaka, Japan by Master Muneomi Sawayama.  Master Sawayama was one of Kenwa Mabunis Shito-Ryu students.  He studied various other martial arts during his college days but none of them seemed what he was looking for.  After much study, he felt convinced of the need to enlarge the scope of the arts beyond just KATA (form) and he established his own school --- Nippon Kempo. Nippon Kempo was brought to the United State in 1960 by Master Goki Kinuya.

Philosophy of Nippon Kempo

Kempo is aimed at the development of the mind and body, a strong character and self confidence.  Through the study of self defense techniques, the student of Nippon Kempo comes to appreciate and understand the mental and physical aspects of the art and the harmonious relationship between them.  It is through the study of this martial art that one realizes the weakness yet the magnificent strength of the human spirit and one learns respect for the human body and mind.

Orientation Class and Basics



     Here's a list of the terms used in Nippon Kempo and their explanations.

Promotion Requirements

     For each belt level, there are different requirements. These requirements may change as more is added to the curriculum.


     They should be used for general guidance only. All students are expected to learn the poomses from class, not from these illustrations. These illustrations and descriptions are for reference purposes only. The ultimate reference is the instructors, not this, or any other web site.

Links to other interesting sites

    Other Nippon Kempo resources on the Web!

All Comments and Suggestions are welcome.

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This Student Guide is just that, a guide.  Many sources and hours have gone into the design and upkeep of this site.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please don't hesitate to ask.

This Student Guide was created to assist the student at Cal State LA in there training in Taekwondo.  This guide is not a replacement for actual instruction by an instructor.

© Copyright 2002 by MAC@CSULA

Course Outline (for Karate class) Beginning
Course Outline (for Karate class) Intermidiate
History of Nippon Kempo
Philosophy of Nippon Kempo
Amer. Nippon- Kempo Handout
Kata (Forms)