Saturday, May 8, 2021

Bill Ryusaki: Hawaiian Kenpo Karate

 by Terry Wilson for September 17, 2013

Mr. Bill Ryusaki was the founder of Hawaiian Kenpo Karate. During his years as a martial arts instructor Master Ryusaki has trained some of the world's best fighters including the famous Urquidez family.

As a younster living in Hawaii, Bill and his brothers were forced to study Shotokan karate.

"I have 7 brothers, and my father was our teacher," Master Ryusaki said. "He taught us Shotokan karate and Kodokan judo. Training was not an option, it was something he made us do everyday."

Years later while in college Bill got into a fight with several Samoans how beat him up, despite his Shotokan training. It was then that he began searching for ways to improve upon his traditional karate techniques. 

"I started working with Mariano Tiwanak, a famous Hawaiian boxer who also trained in Kenpo Karate," explained Master Bill Ryusaki. "That was my introduction to Kenpo."

Following college Bill moved to California where he met and trained with and taught for Ed Parker, John Leione and Edwin Tibayan. While maintaining his father's roots in Shotokan, Bill Ryusaki began incorporating elements of Kenpo and Judo into his own style of fighting, which eventually became known as Hawaiian Kenpo.

During the 1970's and 1980's Master Ryusaki's karate fighting teams were virtually unstoppable. Today he continues to train and teach his unique style of martial arts. With more than 200 schools worldwide his students continue along the path Master Ryusaki paved decades earlier.

"We are kenpo at heart, however, we are always evolving and accept any style into our system," says Master Ryusaki.


Master Ryusaki passed away at West Hills hospital on December 4th, 2016. He was 80 years old.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Ms. Dian Tanaka on forms

 "When judging forms, to me the most important part of forms competition goes beyond the physical. By this I mean that the judges gravitate toward the person who performs the kata with such intensity that they stop seeing them as a competitor and can actually visualize the opponent getting hit. Moreover, they can personalize the experience, thinking, 'Oh my god, if I was on the other end of that shot, that would hurt?' And so, when I work with people to ready them for a competition, I always say please do not forget this is not just a bunch of moves in the air. Think of the shot. Visualize it. You have to feel this as if the opponent were right in front of your face. And you have to turn your head sharply because there is someone right on your back, and you just can’t lollygag and turn slowly and make it unrealistic. It has to be real, and it has to be so real that the judges actually forget about seeing you. They’re seeing the opponent be the recipient of all of your shots." --Dian Tanaka, "The Journey" (2001)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Potomac Kempo

The Potomac Kempo mission statement, for those who don’t know, is this: “We improve lives by challenging men, women, and children to become healthier, happier, and better. We do this through personalized instruction in the versatile martial art of Shaolin Kempo.” To some of us, this statement is a personal crusade, something that occupies our thoughts every day. This mission stems from our own experiences — our own journey of becoming healthier, happier and better. Anyone who has studied the martial arts has experienced this, and anyone who continues to study continues to experience it.

It is different for everyone; to some it is physical, to some it is mental, to some it's more. To some it is the high they get going home sweaty and exhausted, to some it is calm and patience that seems to pervade their lives. to some it is lower blood pressure, to some it is greater confidence. It is a very real feeling that millions of people have experienced over the years. Honestly, I don't fully understand why doing a form a thousand times improves your life or why sparring and doing push-ups can create euphoria. All I know is that it works, and continues to work. Once you acknowledge that the martial arts can improve lives - making people healthier, happier and better - wanting to share that is almost automatic.

Master Chris Santillo