Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo History

History of Kajukenbo

The following history is based on the history told to me by Professor Yuson.  It is also based on what I heard from Sijo Emperado, Professor Sid Asuncion, and Professor Marino Tiwanak.  After 40 years in this art, I have learned the history varies depending on who is telling it.

From what I understand when the five founders completed their training after two years.  What they had was more of a fighting concept then a style.  It would later develop into a style and receive a name.  It was Joe Holke who came up with the name, using the first to letters of each contributing style to form the name.

 China’s Shaolin Temple has had the greatest influence on Kenpo and all existing martial arts, the only exception would be the ancient Hawaiian art of Lua.

 

 

Sometime between 520 and 535 A. D. the famous monk Bodhidharma aka Tamo or Da Mo, a prince and warrior of southern India, traveled from India to the Shaolin Temple to spread Ch’an Buddhism.  He was upset with the physical shape and laziness of the monks and developed exercises to promote physical and spiritual health for them so that they could stay awake during meditation.  The resulting exercises were not originally meant as fighting skills, but they hardened the monks and improved their physical capabilities.  The exercises he introduced were called the Eighteen Hands of Lohan (Ship Pa Han Sho.)  The Lohan were the guardians of the Buddha.  Several decades after the death of Bodhidharma, a Master by the name of Ch, Uen Yuan combined these numerous forms of exercises with his own style and system of self defense.

Shaolin Monks

 

Over the next few centuries, monks from the Shaolin Temple spread out to various eastern countries such as Okinawa, the Ryukyu Kingdoms, and Japan.  It was between the Sui and Ming Dynasty that the martial art known as Chuan Fa aka Kenpo or “way of the fist” started spreading. 

 

 

 

 

Yoshida Family

During the invasion of Genghis Khan around 1300, the head monk of the Shaolin Temple fled China and found refuge at the Shinto Temple of the Yoshida family a prominent warrior family in Japan.  (The monk eventually became known as Kosho Bosatsu or old pine tree enlightened one because he regularly meditated under an old pine tree.)

 

In appreciation for the kindness, he helped the Yoshida family add Kenpo to the Jujitsu they had been practicing for generations.  (Jujitsu is a system of unarmed combat using joint locks, throws and submission holds that had developed in Japan independent of other Asian fighting systems.  It was widely practiced in Japan by the middle ages.)  Kosho Bosatsu married into the family and family art, Kosho Ryu Kenpo, was passed down through the generations. 

 

James Mitose

In 1916, one of Kosho Bosatsu’s descendants, a five-year-old Hawaiian-born James Mitose left Hawaii for Japan to study Kenpo from his maternal grandfather, Sukihei Yoshida, and became the twenty first descendant of Kenpo Karate.  It is also said that he learned some Okinawa techniques and katas from his maternal uncle, Choki Motobu.

 

 

      Master Mitose                                      Choki Motobu

 

 

Development in Hawaii

James Mitose returned to Hawaii in 1936 and opened the “Official Self Defense Club” in Honolulu Hawaii.  Mitose retired from teaching because his students were too involved in the violence of the art and not enough in the religious aspects.  He left his Kenpo School in the hands of Thomas Young.  (Later in 1953, Mitose would move to California and became ordained as a Christian Minister.  He earned doctorates in theology and philosophy.)

Another who reached Black Belt under Mitose was William Chow the now known Master Chow.  Master Chow began his training with Master Mitose at the latter’s home before the opening of the Official Self Defense Club.  Master Chow received his Black Belt in 1946 and three years later formed his own school at the Nuuanu Y.M,C.A.

 

Master Mitose center, Master Chow far left

Master Chow had grown up studying the Five Animal Shaolin Kung Fu from his father a Buddhist Monk Hoon Chow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor William Chow

 

Professor William Chow

          This story is about a Martial Arts legend, Professor William Chow who was born July 3, 1914 in Honolulu Hawaii.

 

This man blazed the trails for many of us to follow, not only blazed the trail, but pointed the way down the path that many noted martial artists have followed.  Any martial artist in the world today that uses or can trace their lineage to the name Kenpo, Kempo, Sholin Kenpo or American Kenpo, have this man to thank. 

 

          It is a simple fact, if your great-grandfather didn’t exist, your grandfather would have never existed.  Nor your father or you.

 

These honored masters are like our great-grandfathers and if they didn’t exist or pass down their art to your instructor or his, then you would have never been able to learn the art you are privileged to call your own. 

It is my belief that you must give respect to the ones who came before you.

 

In my opinion, this man’s picture should be somewhere in their dojo and their students should know of him.  Without this man, there may not have been a Kajukenbo, American Kenpo or any other of the well known Kenpo schools in the United States. 

 

       Nearly fifty years ago, in the lawless streets of Hawaii, a man named William Kwai Sun Chow, who later would be known in the martial arts world as Professor William Chow and would become a legend.  He designed training techniques that would work in the tough streets of Hawaii.

       As the years went on, Professor Chow's reputation would grow throughout the world about his brutal fighting style. 

       Professor Chow started his martial arts training with his father, who was an immigrant from Shanghai, China.  His father, Hoon Chow, was reported to be a Buddhist Priest from the temples in China, and taught his son the ways of the Temples.

            When his father went back to China, Professor Chow started training with James Mitose, who was teaching a style known as Kenpo-Jujitsu.  The nature of their training arrangement is unclear, rather he trained under or as a partner with Professor Mitose, many stories have been told.

       At some point, both men parted ways, with Professor Mitose changing the name of his style to Koshoryu Kenpo and Professor Chow teaching his style named Chinese Kempo and later Kara-Ho Karate.

       Professor Chow would later teach several famous students who would go on to become quite well known in the martial arts world, such as Adriano Emperado and Edmond Parker. 

         Professor Chow was known for his explosive and rapid fire techniques to the vital areas of the body, and received the nickname,  “Thunderbolt.” As a result.

         Professor Chow is credited for the active perpetuation of all systems of Kenpo throughout the United States.  His first school was located at the Catholic Youth Organization, during this time; Adriano Emperado was Professor Chow’s Chief instructor at his dojo.

          My Sensei Professor Yuson had the honor of training with Professor Chow many years ago, though my sensei never reached the rank of Black Belt under Professor Chow, he had the greatest respect for the man.

        Sensei told me Professor Chow was a true warrior; his training was very real and very hard.  When you were near him and he didn’t know you, he would never let his guard down.  If you got to close to him he would reposition himself, giving himself the advantage if an attack were to ensue.  Sensei told me about the time when he was visiting Professor Chow at his home, he lived in a small apartment in Honolulu.  Sensei told me Professor Chow had hardly any furniture in his home, that it had all been broken by the Professor practicing his techniques.

       Sensei said that the Professor trained so hard conditioning his hands that all his finger tips were the same length.

       Professor Chow died September 21 1987 in Hawaii.  There is very little known about this great man, and hardly anything in writing.  I’m sure there are some great stories that I’m not aware of, but I tried to do him justice in the best way I can.   Those of us, who study the Kajukenbo or kenpo arts, are better martial artist because of him.

 

 

 

“A true Hawaiian Warrior”

 

After years of studying with Master Mitose and Young, Master Chow went on to combine both his knowledge of Kung Fu and Kosho Ryu Kenpo to form his own Kenpo style.  Master Chow trained prominent martial artists like Adriano Emperado (The driving force behind the founding of Kajukenbo.)  Throughout the rest of his life, Master Chow continued to add even more Chinese influences in his own system called Kara-Ho Kenpo.

 

 

Kajukenbo

It was 1947, the Second World War was over, and Hawaii was a focal point of soldiers and Marines at major bases, as well as native Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos and Koreans.  This multi-national convergence often created conflicts, especially coming out of war, where fighting was instilled for personal survival; what’s more, Hawaii had areas where major settlements of these nationalities were thrown together.  One such settlement was the famous Palama Settlement, on the island of Oahu.  For the residents there, fighting was a part of growing up and holding their turf, so martial arts became a point of interest among the people.  Places like the Palama Settlement better avoided by those unwilling to fight their way out.  The time and place were ideal for five martial artists to form a pact.  Two years later a martial art would be created, one that would make them invincible in the most difficult streets of Hawaii.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Five Founders of Kajukenbo

 

                              

     Peter Choo                                                               Joe Holke

   Tang Soo Do                                                            Kodokan Judo 

 

  Frank Ordinez            Adriano Emperado           Clarence Chang

  Sekeino Jujitsu            Kosho Ryu Kenpo            Silim Kung Fu

 

Professor Emperado’s Kenpo learned from Master Chow (but prior to all of Master Chow’s modifications) was used as the backbone of the system.  Peter Choo, a champion boxer, welter weight division, and a expert in Korean Tang Soo Do; Frank Ordonez, a legend in Sekeino Jujitsu; Joe Holke, an eighth Dan stylist of Kodokan Judo; Clarence Chang, a teacher of Chinese boxing Silum Kung Fu from the northern and southern style.  Professor Emperado was a Kenpo man who received his black belt from William S. Chow and his rank of instructor from James Mitose.   Before that he had studied Escrima on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai, and Judo with Sensei Taneo.  Sijo Emperado was Masters Chows’s first black belt, his Chief Instructor and 5th. Degree Black Belt under him.  Master Chow and Sijo Emperado were close for many years.

 

To test the effectiveness of their original techniques they got into fights.  If the technique succeeded consistently in street fighting it was kept as part of the system.  This organization became known as the notorious Black Belt Society.  They trained together several hours daily for two years, taking advantage of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to develop their new art.  When Holke sparred Choo, the former was readily able to see his weaknesses in striking techniques, while Choo realized his vulnerability on the ground.  Emperado was able to demonstrate how a Kenpo stylist could work inside an opponent’s kick with rapid hand techniques.  Chang added the circular flowing techniques of Kung Fu and showed the others how to evade and strike.  Ordonez demonstrated how to go with the attacker’s force and then redirect with painful locks and throws.

 

The five instructors agreed to make Kenpo the base on which the new style would be built.  They trained in secrecy, constantly moving from one now abandoned military barracks to another in Oahu.  During these initial sessions, according to Emperado, the five men took advantage of each other’s knowledge and expertise.  They worked with floor techniques, Korean-style kicks, immobilization techniques, Kenpo punches and circular techniques of Kung Fu.  They trained together, always looking for and finding weak points in each other’s systems.  An expert in Karate or Kung Fu must rethink his moves if a Judo stylist throws him on the ground and immobilizes him.  For this reason, they combined their understanding of self-defense techniques, intending to cover any situation that might arise.

 

After the Korean War the Black Belt Society disbanded, but Sijo Emperado began to teach his art.  Although several people contributed to the system, it was Sijo Emperado who developed the techniques, tied the loose ends together and opened the first school in the art, in the Palama Settlement in 1948, “The Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute of Hawaii.”

 

 The word Kajukenbo is derived from the letter of the style that contributed to the creation of the art.  Together they make up the Kajukenbo motto:  Through this fist art one gains long life and happiness.

 

KA   (LONG LIFE) Comes from the word

                                         Korean Tang Soo Do, places the emphasis

                                     on hard and powerful techniques, and high

                                     kicking techniques.

 

 

JU (HAPPINESS) Comes from Kodenkan Judo

                                   and Sekeino Ryu Jujitsu.  This emphasizes,

                                   throwing, locking and sweeps.

 

 

 

KEN (FIST) Comes from Kosho Ryu Kenpo,

                           this style stresses the hard and powerful

                           movements, but also emphasizes multiple and

                             fluid hand and foot techniques.

BO (STYLE) Comes from Chinese Boxing

                           Northern and Southern Shaolin Kung Fu.  This

                           system emphasis flexibility and agility, parrying

                           and evasive movements that flow together.

 

 

Training at Sijo Emperado’s school was not for the weak at heart or body for that matter.  Because of Kajukenbo’s emphasis on street reality, full contact self-defense training was the order of the day.  Pulled punches were unheard of.  Protective padding was not allowed.  Protective cups, gloves, and kicks were not around yet.  Broken noses, arm and teeth were common place.  Knockouts were an everyday occurrence.  The training was so violent; many students couldn’t take it and were ordered to leave.  Those who stuck it out and were able to attain the rank of Black Belt felt a strong sense of pride in knowing that their training was as close to reality as any martial art could possibly get.

 

In 1959, Sijo Emperado initiated a major change in the Kajukenbo system, incorporating the Chinese Chuan Fa or Fist Style, which redirected the emphasis of the self defense art from a primarily hard style to a combination of hard and soft.  This brought about more of a well-rounded fighting art, stressing simplicity and practicality in self defense.  It was still representative of a strong street style, yet contained the ideals and philosophies of soft styles in its flowing, repetitive combination techniques.

 

For years the system was taught and practiced behind closed doors to only a select few, and was developed to such that the Kajukenbo students were banned from competition in traditional Karate Tournaments due to their intense training in strictly life and death situations, and not as a game or sport. Kajukenbo students found it very difficult to control their techniques and stop them short. 

 

 

Joe Emperado

 

Joe Emperado, the younger brother to Sijo Emperado was said to have been known throughout Hawaii as one of the best fighters.  In the early years of Kajukenbo, it was Joe Emperado who taught many of the top Kajukenbo students.  Joe was responsible for most of the training in the Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute until 1958.  One night after training several of the Kajukenbo students were at the Pink Elephant, a bar where Joe worked as a part-time bouncer. At closing time Joe and Godin stayed late waiting for Joe’s girlfriend to close.  Three men stayed behind and started trouble with Godin.  Godin suggested that they take it outside.  Joe followed them outside, and before it came to blows, Joe tried to push Godin inside hoping to close the door and lock the men outside.  While Joe’s back was turned, George Shimabukuro stabbed him from behind. Joe wasn’t aware he had been stabbed, but thought he had been hit by a strong punch.  Joe turned and hit Shimabukuro with a hammer fist that knocked him into some parked cars. They fought the three men until the police arrived and broke it up.  Joe later died from his wounds and Kajukenbo lost a great martial artist.

Joe was able to tell his brother Adriano (Sijo) what happened and from that day forward the tradition of escorts was put into effect.  It is a matter of looking out for one another.  The escorts would accompany a higher rank whenever he or she went out in public.  Their job was to go everywhere with the higher ranking, including the restroom, to take care of anything behind him because he can take care of anything in the front.  This tradition is still practiced today.

 

 

Kajukenbo was developed purely with street self defense in mind.  However, forms (kata) and step-sparring (rotations-movements with a partner) were included as a learning tool and a way to maintain the system.  These kata are base on the Japanese Pinan forms, but kept those from contributing styles.  Thus Sijo Emperado would still do Kenpo forms, Choo would do Korean forms, etc.  Sijo Emperado renamed his forms “Palama Sets” after Oahu’s notorious district, where Kajukenbo originated.  Kajukenbo is an eclectic (composed of elements drawn from various sources) style, thus techniques will vary with the background of the individual practitioner.  Since Kajukenbo selects the best from various styles, students will practice what is best for their own physical and mental state.  Unlike traditional styles which are extremely dogmatic, Kajukenbo lets the individual determine what is best.  Students must be careful not to make this judgment until they can adequately determine their needs and capabilities.  Normally the search for individuality begins after the first Black Belt rank.  The weakness of the eclectic approach is a tendency toward fragmentation.  Thus in recent years there has been some effort to standardize Kajukenbo techniques.  There is a strong core of techniques, doctrines, and philosophy that is Kajukenbo that all students must learn and master.  Kajukenbo self defense techniques are characterized by a rapid combinations of hand and foot strikes, Judo-type throws, joint locks and holds.  The combinations are arranged so that each technique sets up the next by following the reaction of the opponent’s body.  Over the years this art would develop into one of the most deadliest martial arts in the world, with schools all over the world.  Today there are many branches of the Kajukenbo system with different names.  But all the branches come back to the roots in Hawaii and Sijo Emperado. 

Professor Sid Asuncion

 

          The late Professor Sid Asuncion was born in Hawaii on September 25, 1926.  He had been involved in the fighting arts for over 45 years.  First as a boxer, then as a judo/jujitsu practitioner.  He started Kajukenbo in the 1950’s; he was one of the handful of instructors who came out of the Palama Settlement School.  His instructors were Woodrow McCandless, and Joe Emperado.  As young men Sid and Joe Emperado were very close friends.  It was Joe who influenced Sid to get involved in Kajukenbo, after he demonstrated his Kajukenbo techniques against Sid’s boxing, judo, and jujitsu techniques.

          After Sid accomplished his black belt ranking, he continued to pass on the intense training of Kajukenbo at his own club in the town of Waipahu.  Professor Asuncion was ranked 9th degree in Kajukenbo, and 10th degree in his own style of Kenkabo. 

 

Professor Asuncion was a man known for his lighting fast hand and foot speed and was known though out Hawaii as a deadly fighter.               

 

 

 

PROFESSOR YUSON

 

Professor Yuson was born on the island of Hawaii, May 6th. 1932.  He started his martial arts training at the early age of six in judo, under Blackie Noreta.  The Professor trained in judo for most of his childhood years.  As he got older he started to take boxing from his two brothers Ray and Paul Yuson.  Both of his brothers were boxing champions of Hawaii.  While he was studying boxing, he was also training in Escrima under his father Roman Yuson.

 

Professor Yuson first Karate training started under Master Okazaki who taught him Okinawain Kenpo.

After studying with Master Okazaki for several years, he started training with the well known Professor Chow in Hawaiian Kenpo.

 

 

Professor Chow

 

Professor Yuson trained for seven years under Professor Chow, where he reached the level of Green Belt.  Professor Yuson was asked several times to test for higher ranks, but not being interested in ranks and more interested in knowledge, never showed up for belt testing.

 

Professor Yuson then went on to train with Hung Gar Master Bucksam Kong, reaching the level of Black Belt.

 

 

At this time a man by the name of Adriano D. Emperado who was one of Professor Chow’s top students was forming a style of his own.  Professor Emperado and four other Masters in their perspective martial arts made a pact that would form one of the deadest fighting systems in the world.

 

Adriano D. Emperado

 

When Professor Yuson heard of this style, he went to train under Professor Emperado.  While Professor Yuson was training with Professor Emperado, he was training in Aikido from Master Nuguchi and received the rank of 1st. Degree Black Belt.

 

Professor Asuncion

At this time one of Professor Joe Emperado student, Sid Asuncion had his own Kajukenbo club and Professor Yuson went to join with him.  Professor Asuncion was a man known for his lighting fast hand and foot speed and was known though out Hawaii as a deadly fighter.  Professor Yuson trained under both Masters for a number of years and later became second in line under Professor Asuncion.             

 

                 

 

YUSON HAWAIIAN KENPO

FOUNDER

 

PROFESSOR JERRY YUSON

 

In 1990, Professor Yuson was promoted to Professor and started his own branch of Kajukenbo.  Hawaiian Kenpo is a name that has been used for Kajukenbo in Hawaii for many years.  Professor Yuson decided that this would be the name that his branch would use.  In the patch that was designed, you will see four symbols:

 

One is the club or three leaf clover.  This shows the roots of Kajukenbo, mind, body, and sprit and our loyalty to Sijo Emperado.  The next is the Chinese writing that means Kajukenbo.  The two shields, one with the crossed hands, open and close fist.  This shows the roots from Professor Asuncion.  The other is the symbol of the Hawaiian warrior; this shows the roots to Hawaii.  In Professor Yuson’s style of Kajukenbo, he trained with many Masters, some of them who had a Lua background.  Since Professor Yuson trained in many different arts under many Masters, he wanted to give his teachers respect in the patch.

 

In June 1999 the Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo met in Las Vegas where Professor Yuson promoted Vern Blevins of Florida his highest ranking student to 8TH. Degree Black Belt and successor of his art. 

In the fall of 1999 Professor Yuson passed away leaving a great void in the art. He also left his art, his teachings, and his love.  At this time Professor Vern Blevins is the head of the Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo and carrying on the teachings of his Professor.

Professor Yuson, Sijo Emperado, Professor Blevins

 

PROFESSOR VERN BLEVINS

 

          Vern Blevins was born in Port Clinton, Ohio on November 9th. 1956.  His first introduction in the martial arts was high school wrestling.  Vern joined the Navy in 1975 where he was stationed on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii.  It was here in paradise, he found one of the most deadly fighting arts known to man.  While working out in the gym at Barbers Point Naval Air Station, he heard of a martial arts school that practiced on base.  It was said the school practiced in secret and only allowed very few people to join.  After searching for a few days, he found the school on the far side of the base in an old wooden hut hidden in some over-grown woods.  When Vern approached he noticed that only Locals (People that lived in Hawaii) were there.  He was to find out later, most of the Navy personnel could not take the hard training.  On this day he met Professor Jerry Yuson, who he would train with for the next 25 years. 

          Professor Yuson a small man by stature had trained with some of the best martial artist in the world.  Professor Yuson told Vern the art was called Kajukenbo and it was developed in Hawaii.  The following week when Vern joined the club, he was tested.  Leaving the class with a swollen eye, blood coming from his nose and mouth, it was thought he would not return.  In fact it was voiced by the local students he shouldn’t come back.  But come back he did, and was accepted as a student under Professor Yuson.

          Professor Yuson trained in the blood and guts era, when the art of Kajukenbo was being formed.  He trained under Professor Sid Asuncion and the founder Sijo Emperado. To say the classes under Professor Yuson were hard would be an understatement.  Classes would start at 6:30 pm., and go until he said “Line up”.  Sometimes classes would last for three to four hours.  The floor was rough concrete, with cracks running through it.  Many nights there were so much sweat on the floor it was almost impossible to keep your footing.  On some nights there was blood mixed with the sweat.  Full-contact was the norm and they protective equipment was not worn.  Professor Yuson believed in realism in his training and all blocks, strikes and kicks were done with full force.  He also believed in conditioning the body to take tremendous punishment, as well as give it.  They would pound their hands and feet into the concrete floor and striking posts hundreds of times a night.  This was to make their hands and feet like weapons.  Professor Yuson would say that your first defense was to look like a warrior, a dangerous person, so the conditioning of the hands would produce large callused knuckles. These knuckles would become a trade mark of a Kajukenbo Master.  There were no mats, and all throws were done on the concrete floor.  You had to learn to fall very quickly or make a trip to the hospital.  There were times when Vern saw some of the older students take shots of whiskey before class.  When he inquired about this, he was told it help with the pain in class.

          As time went by, students came and went.  Vern endured the pain, some nights leaving the class not being able to lift his arms due to the pounding they received.  As time went by he worked his way to the front of the class and one of Professor Yuson’s top students.  They were no soft mats, water coolers, air conditioning, or Jacuzzi’s.  This was the old way of training, the warrior’s way.   There were times when local though guys would visit our Dojo.  They would watch for awhile then ask Professor Yuson if they could try one of his students.  Professor Yuson welcome them in because this would give his students a chance to see what he taught worked, and enhance the clubs reputation.  Professor would ask who they wanted to try.  Since Vern was one of the few white guys in the class, the local Hawaiians always wanted to fight him.  The local boys never came back for a second time and Vern’s reputation grew on the street as a guy to stay clear of.

          There were times when different clubs in the area would have their best students meet at a secret location.  This was known as Dojo wars, where the students would fight for the bragging rights of that area.  Vern was picked to participate in several of these, where he never lost a fight.

          Vern Blevins took his training serious, training twice a day for several hours.  He started competing on the Hawaiian tournament scene where he won tournaments such as:

The Hawaii State Championship

South Pacific Full-Contact Champion (Welter weight)

National Philippines Champion

2nd. In Mas Oyama Bare fist Knockout (As a green belt)

          Vern left Hawaii in 1979 as a Second Degree Black Belt.  Moving back to his home town of   Oak Harbor Ohio where he opened Blevins Kajukenbo Karate.  He continued his training under Professor Yuson for the next 25 years.  While in Ohio Vern continued to compete and won numerous tournaments and received several honors:

Ohio Police Olympic Champion (Weapons)

International Police Champion (Fighting)

Buckeye State Karate Championship (Sensei of the Year)

Kenpo Karate Association Man of the Year

Kenpo Karate Association competitor of the year

Swanton Kenpo Karate Championship Grand Champion

Was featured in the book WHO’S Who in the martial arts

The honor he most values is the day Professor Yuson said Vern’s skills had reached the level of Professor.

          Vern operated his school in Ohio until 1988.  At this time he moved back to Hawaii to study closer with his teacher, and other Kajukenbo Masters.  He left the Ohio Dojo in the hands of his top student Jeff Behm, who still teaches there today.

          In 1988 Vern moved to Florida and continued his career in law enforcement, where he taught self defense to law enforcement and SWAT personnel.  Vern was also a member of the SWAT Team for 10 years. He also taught selective students from other states at his home dojo.  During this time Professor Yuson advised him he was going to start his own branch of Kajukenbo.  Vern was asked to help in this, to come up with the patch and new name of the branch.  Professor Yuson said he wanted to keep the Kajukenbo roots in the patch when it was designed.

          Over the years since Kajukenbo was founded, there were times when it was organized and times when there were little leadership.  At these times, many of the top Kajukenbo instructor’s started their own branches.  Even though most of them kept their ties to Sijo Emperado, some broke away completely.  Professor Yuson did not break away, but kept his loyalty to both Sijo Emperado and Professor Asuncion.

          In 1990, Professor Yuson started his own branch of Kajukenbo, called Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo.  In 1989 Vern returned to Hawaii, and during this time was given the blessing from Professor Yuson to meet with Professor Marino Tiwanek to discuss Professor Yuson starting his own branch.  Professor Tiwanek agreed to assist Vern in this process and validated the promotion of Professor Yuson to 10th. Degree Black Belt and the head of the Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo.  He validated this with his signature on the diploma.  Also on the diploma were the signatures of most all the Black Belts under Professor Yuson.  

          In 1999 Professor Yuson met with all the Black Belts of the Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo in Las Vegas.  While in Las Vegas, Professor Yuson named Vern Blevins as his successor of the Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo and promoted him to 8th. Degree Black Belt (Professor).  In 1999, Professor Yuson passed away, leaving his branch in the hands of Professor Blevins.  He will be missed as a teacher and friend, and his knowledge can never be replaced.

          In 1999 Professor Blevins met Lua Master Olohe Solomon Kaihewalu.  Being intrigued by Lua since his introduction from Professor Yuson in 1977, Professor Blevins asked and received permission from Professor Yuson to study Lua under Olohe Solomon Kaihewalu.  Professor Blevins trained with Olohe for the next 13 years receiving 5th. Degree Black Belt.

In 2003 Professor Blevins journeyed to Afghanistan to teach the Afghan National Police.  After 2 ½ years, Professor Blevins returned to Florida and continued to train local students as well as students from three other states from his home.

In 2007 Professor Blevins founded the Meeting of the Warriors, an annual seminar in honor of Professor Yuson.  This seminar is held in a different state each year, and consists of only Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo students. 

In 2014 Professor Blevins and Sensei Chris Windnagel opened the National Headquarters of the Yuson Hawaiian Kenpo in Hernando Florida.  This Dojo is located on three acres and has a building size of 4,800 square feet. There is also dorm for students who journey from other states to train.