Adriano Directo Emperado
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|Adriano Directo Emperado|
June 15, 1926|
Honolulu, Hawaii, US
|Died||April 5, 2009
Honolulu, Hawaii, US
|Teacher(s)||William Kwai Sun Chow|
|Rank||Kajukenbo10th degree black belt in|
|Notable students||Carlos Bunda, Al Dacascos, Malia Bernal|
Childhood and Young Adulthood
Emperado had a very difficult childhood living in Honolulu. He was born to Filipino-Hawaiian parents in the poverty stricken Palama/Kalihi section of Honolulu. Like many poor areas, the Palama/Kalihi district settlement was a violent place to live. Confrontations and fights were a daily occurrence. Because of this Emperado started his self-defense training at the age of 8. His father and uncle were professional boxers and at the age of 11 he learned the 12 basic strikes of escrima. Then at the age of 14 he came back to his old familiar neighborhood in Palama. There he trained in Judo under Sensei Taneo at the Palama Settlement gym. Then at the age of 20 Emperado undertook serious study of Kenpo at the Catholic youth organization in Honolulu. These classes were taught by the legendary Professor William K.S. Chow. Emperado trained daily with Professor Chow and soon attained his first black belt. He would later be promoted to 5th degree black belt by Professor Chow.
Then in 1947 Sijo Adriano Emperado (Kenpō and Escrima), Peter Young Yil Choo (Korean Karate or Tang Soo Do and Boxing), Joseph Holck (Danzan-ryū Jujutsu), Frank F. Ordonez (Se KeinoRyu Judo), and George "Clarence" Chuen Yoke Chang (Chinese Boxing or Chu'an Fa Kung-Fu), came together and called themselves the Black Belt Society. They began training together and exploring and developing the weaknesses of each martial art to create a fighting style that did not suit the ancient warrior but the American citizen to help him or her in their fight against the common criminal.
Emperado died on April 4, 2009.
After the other four founders were drafted off into the Korean War, they left Emperado to start the first Kajukenbo school at the Palama Settlement Gym in 1950. Many of the students who trained there were poor, so at the Palama school students could train for $2.00 a month. The workouts that took place there are legendary for their brutality. Kajukenbo train strong to remain strong. Professor Emperado has been quoted as saying that a workout wasn't over until there was blood on the floor. When a reporter went on to ask him about this he went on to say that "you have to experience pain before you can give it. You have to know what your technique can do. We lost a lot of students in those days, but we also got a lot from other schools, including black belts. These students would look at what we were doing and realize that we had a no nonsense effective system." In order to be invincible on the streets they had reasonable, but very serious, full contact training.