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May 25, 2004 > Briones Karate

Briones Karate

The streets of Palamas Settlement of Oahu in the 1940's were filled with danger. The poor district was a magnet for those looking for trouble. Fights often broke out and often, innocent people were severely injured. Confrontations were unorthodox and could take a variety of forms, so when a group of accomplished martial artists studied the problem of self-defense, they decided to create an amalgamation of techniques drawn from several different disciplines. The group created the "Black Belt Society" and created a martial art called, "Kajukenbo." The name, Kajukenbo, comes from KA (Long Life: Karate); JU (Happiness: Judo, Jujisu); KEN (Fist: Kenpo); BO (Style: Chinese Boxing/Kung Fu). Other influences including American Boxing and Escrima were also instrumental in the development of this martial art.

Sifu (Instructor) George Briones began studying the art of Kajukenbo from Sigung (Instructor of Instructors) Tony Kattengell in 1986. Although several styles of Kajukenbo have evolved, Sifu Briones has followed the traditional "Emperado" or "Old Style" school, based on the core discipline of Kenpo and its representative in the Black Belt Society, Adriano Emperado. The original school, called Kajukenbo Self Defense Institute (KSDI) was based on realism and is the tradition followed at Briones Kajukenbo. Students are not required to mimic an instructor, rather develop their own expression of the art.

Kajukenbo, according to Sifu Briones, "is an art that emphasizes self-defense. It incorporates kicking, blocking and throwing techniques, graceful Kung Fu, hand movements and combat methods of Kenpo. Putting it all together creates the most rounded martial art that I have seen." The goal of Kajukenbo is to find the "Warrior Spirit" within, allowing practitioners to develop discipline, self-respect, focus and confidence. Sifu Briones says that a student of Kajukenbo will realize that there are no personal obstacles in life that cannot be overcome. A true master of a martial art knows the power that has been placed in his or her possession and uses it wisely. Sifu Briones says that each level of proficiency carries with it a "responsibility of knowledge."

An intriguing aspect of Kajukenbo is that it is a "changing art." According to Sifu Briones, "If it works, we use it and if it doesn't, we change it." Training is designed to allow students to think on their feet and adjust to situations as they occur. Practice of forms, self-defense and striking and blocking, called "squat sets," train reflexes to respond instantly to the conditions confronting a student of the art. Each graduation through a set of colored belts, ultimately reaching the black belt "degrees," indicates increased knowledge and proficiency. Sifu George says that when a black belt is achieved, this is actually the beginning of learning and knowledge. The ten degrees of black belt are when students are able to advance by increasing their knowledge, helping others and refining techniques through intense training. He describes this as a plant that has grown a bud. That bud can open up as a flower over time. Reaching the black belt is the bud of the flower and it is only then that the bud can open into a flower achieving true grace and beauty.

Kajukenbo is open to all ages. Sifu Briones says he has students from age 3 and up. He comments, "The techniques are so diverse that it doesn't limit itself to one type of person. The "Tiny Tigers," ages 4 - 6, meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45 p.m. Kajukenbo training gives these young students self-confidence and discipline with a healthy dose of fun. Children are naturally inquisitive and enthusiastic and Sifu George says that Kajukenbo training enhances their ability to focus and direct their natural energy in a positive direction.

Kajukenbo requires an open mind and use of techniques that will work in a given situation. For that reason, Sifu Briones says, "We can work around physical limitations since there are many moves and styles." Because Kajukenbo is adaptive to all situations, Sifu Briones is developing classes for many different groups - teens, disabled, women and mixed groups. A women's class, primarily teens, is held on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. Growth through the stages of Kajukenbo is a function of willingness and ability to absorb and retain instruction, not physical attributes. Kajukenbo was designed from its inception to equalize participants so Sifu Briones says that anyone can use the techniques in a manner that compliments their strengths.

Sifu Briones offers individual training as well as group classes. He says that although these are more expensive, the lessons are intense and focused which may create a faster learning curve.

Briones Kajukenbo is offering a summer camp this year for students from age 7 - 17. Designed to "keep the mind sharp," sessions from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. will include a variety of activities that will compliment Kajukenbo goals. Each student will be required to bring study or reading materials for a portion of the day and weekly outings are planned to expand the dojo location of training to a wider area including Lake Elizabeth and bike rides to areas throughout Fremont and surrounding cities.

Anyone interested in finding out more is invited to call for an appointment or come by the Dojo to see what it's all about. Sifu Briones will be happy to provide additional information.

Briones Kajukenbo
Sifu George Briones
4097 Peralta Blvd., Fremont
(510) 794-8252

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