Shaolin Kempo Karate and its Roots
The Original MMA in the USA
The art of Shaolin Kempo Karate was originated and founded by Great Grandmaster Frederick J. Villari. His fighting system of Shaolin Kempo Karate has become widely recognized and respected in the last five decades, and his international organization of martial arts studios has grown to be the largest chain of martial arts studios in the world. His art traces its origin over a thousand years to the Shaolin temples of China and India, and many of the basic methods are still used. The present form has evolved to become famous and popular for its very effective Four Ways of Fighting. These evolutionary changes were necessary due to the cultural development of man and the technological development of many different types of weapons. People are bigger, stronger and much more knowledgeable about weapons and methods of combat; therefore, movements had to be changed and updated to suit the 21st century.
As a result of Great Grandmaster Villari’s varied wealth of experience and his dedication to seeking the ultimate fighting system, he realized each fighting system offered something both unique and special, and each also had its glaring weaknesses that would make a fighter vulnerable. After studying and mastering many different styles and ways of fighting, Great Grandmaster Villari realized that there were only four ways of fighting.
- With your hands (punching, striking — both open and closed-handed) or use of any part of the arms, elbows, forearms, etc.
- Kicking (with the foot, knee or leg).
- Felling — that is to knock an opponent off his feet by throwing, tripping, pulling, pushing, shoving or scooping him.
- Grappling — the secret of grappling is to always have control of your opponent by either wrestling, holding, breaking or locking bones or joints against nerve centers, thereby directing your opponent by delivering excruciating and incapacitating pain.
Great Grandmaster Villari finally discovered that the ultimate in self-defense lay not in one way or style of fighting, but by combining the Four Ways of Fighting. He then devised and developed ways to integrate these methods of fighting into one, thereby eliminating any and all weaknesses and vulnerabilities. This is the CORE, THEORY, and METHOD behind Villari’s devastating and impregnable art of Shaolin Kempo Karate.
Fred Villari’s Shaolin Kempo Karate system also incorporated the venerable art of Chin Na because Chin Na is the ultimate form of controlling your opponent by holding, seizing, locking, throwing, felling and delivering pain that can be controlled. No other art can have such control over an attacker. Grandmaster Villari also favors and teaches moves of the Immortal Monkey, known for its art of illusion. It cannot be hit. Its movements are lightning quick and it has the ability to change direction rapidly. It never exhausts its energy and has superior longevity. The monkey is always happy!
Below is a breakdown of some of the important criteria which makes Fred Villari’s Shaolin Kempo system so unique. Grandmaster Villari’s stances are different from the original stances of Kempo and Karate in that he innovated changes in order to have more fluency and freedom of movement. These are more natural and logical to use. The old stances were suited for people of a different stature and who fought in a low crouched position. Villari Fighting Stances were developed using the way of the upright position, which has been proven to be far superior. This is one of the most important changes that Great Grandmaster Villari has made in the Karate and Kempo systems. No wonder so many other martial art styles have copied and imitated his changes.
KARATE – Empty Hand/Way of the Hand
Forms simulating fighting scenarios, one (1) through five (5) pinon, the unshakable balance of the Crane, mandatory basics, foot maneuvers and fighting techniques.
KEMPO – Fist Law/Way of the Fist
Kempo fighting techniques and combinations, one (1) through six (6) kata, Swift Tigers, two (2) man fist set, Honsuki, basics, and fighting techniques.
SHAOLIN – Young Forest/Young Pine Forest
More advanced forms simulating fighting scenarios, knowledge of all the movements of the Tiger, Leopard, Dragon, Snake and Crane necessary for both health and self-defense.
- Sho Tung Kwok
- Invincible Wall
- Nengli North
- Nengli South
- Tai Sing Mon
- 1,000 Buddhas
- Branches of the Falling Pines (White Crane)
- Wounded Tigers
- Immortal Monkey
- Mandatory basics, fighting techniques, leg and foot maneuvers
- All breathing exercises to strengthen the internal and external
- Plum Blocking System
- The Eleven Hands of Buddha. A way of defending by blocking, trapping and deflecting any attack, countering by delivering many hidden hand techniques. Offense and defense with the use of cutting, deflecting, monkey, pressing, dragon, scissor, upholding, trapping, pushing and pulling hands (once the Eleven Hands of Buddha is mastered, it is impossible to defend against).
- The Blood Palm
- The Poison Finger Techniques of Shaolin (Dotting)
- The Iron Palm
- All 108 combinations and moves passed down from the moves of Shaolin Temple and revised for present day applications (used in fighting situations). (Many of these techniques had to be mastered before a monk could graduate the Shaolin Temple).
- The art of Chin Na emphasizing throwing, twisting, seizing and locking of the joints, escapes and holding techniques. Methods of applying pressure as certain nerve points with different techniques giving you complete control over your opponent. Chin Na can be used to neutralize any attack, once perfected.
- All Twelve Branches of Shaolin are taught and are part of the system.
Great Grandmaster Villari is the pioneer of the martial arts in the Western World. He came to revolutionize and upgrade the martial arts, gearing it toward practical fighting for the 21st century. So, no other master or system can lay claim to or take credit for the unique fighting system of the Grandmaster Villari — the VILLARI SHAOLIN KEMPO KARATE SYSTEM! His contribution to Asian martial arts in the western world cannot be disputed. He taught and has exposed, on a massive scale, the way of the Asian fighting arts to the ordinary layman. Before him, teaching the martial arts on a large scale was taboo — he demystified the myth that only a few selected people could have the ability and intelligence to learn. He showed westerners of all ages and cultures ‘the way of the Asian fighting arts.’ His contribution is undoubtedly a valuable part of martial arts history. Grandmaster Villari’s input and involvement created the turning point in the teaching of the martial arts on a large scale. Therefore, his contribution to the history of the martial arts is of the utmost importance.