Adriano Directo Emperado
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|Adriano Directo Emperado|
June 15, 1926|
Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii
|Died||April 5, 2009
Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
|Teacher(s)||William Kwai Sun Chow|
|Rank||10th degree black belt in Kajukenbo|
Childhood and Young Adulthood
Emperado had a 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 William K.S. Chow. Emperado trained daily with Chow and soon attained his first black belt. He would later be promoted to 5th degree black belt by Chow.
In 1947 Adriano Emperado (Kosho Shorei-ryu Kenpo and Escrima), Peter Young Yil Choo (Tang Soo Do, Shotokan Karate and Boxing), Joseph Holck (Danzan-ryu Jujutsu), Frank F. Ordonez (Sekeino-ryu Judo), and George "Clarence" Chuen Yoke Chang (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. Emperado has been quoted as saying that a workout was not 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.
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