Top nationally rated U.S. black belt competitors of their day, competing in Sam Allred's 1972 National Black Belt Grand Champpionships. Try to find: Al Dacascos, Fred Wren, Chuck Norris, Malia Bernal, Bob Alegria, Byong Yu, Pat Johnson, Bill Wallace, Joe Hayes, Ralph Alegria, John Natividad, Jim Hawkes, Steve La Bounty, Jim Harkins, Darnel Garcia. For a larger version of this photo, CLICK HERE

Below is an interview with SGM Sam Allred, extracted from Prof. John Bishop's 2011 tribute to Kajukenbo's founder, Sijo Adriano Emperado.

Book's cover shown at the above left.

Interview Questions for GM Allred

1. What do you feel is the main difference between Kajukenbo and other martial art styles or systems?

The main difference was formulated during the development of Kajukenbo in the 1940's by its founders. They based their new martial art concept on street fighting, and designed numerous unique but functional combination techniques, which when dominated, create a near-instinctive ability to execute strong rapid defenses and reflexive sequence counter attacks during street fights.

In traditional Kajukenbo, emphasis is on those combination techniques; named basics, grab arts, alphabets, tricks, two-man attack defenses, knife defenses, and others, performed on both left and right sides. These are the foundations from which Kajukenbo has grown, and it is these techniques that differentiate Kajukenbo greatly from other martial arts. The founders developed the concept, and their techniques representing the concept should be perpetuated in every Kajukenbo club, not only for Kajukenbo tradition, but also because they are exceptionally effective.

Unfortunately, each person moves differently, and the original combinations are becoming adjusted and distorted to the extent that in the future they may be lost. Additional skills of individual instructors hav e led Kajukenbo to transform and evolve in mostly positive ways. Furthermore, now there are different methods or branches of Kajukenbo, but for me it is predominantly those awesome original combination techniques that distinguish Kajukenbo from other styles and help account for it's excellence.

2. What do you feel is the main strength of the Kajukenbo system?

To isolate only one main strength is difficult. From my point of view, the Kajukenbo System's strengths are: concentration on real-life street situations, its acceptance (ever since it was developed) of functioning techniques from other styles and systems for incorporation into the curriculum of Kajukenbo clubs, and its uncompromising commitment to rigorous and rugged training.

3. How important is sparring? What type do you teach or recommend?

Sparring ís indispensable for proper training. Sparring helps to develop defenses and responses to the infinite number of attack possibilities, and prepares the practitioner for both encounters on street and for participation in tournaments. Tournament competition then encourages a winning attitude and motivates the practitioner to train more seriously. Tournament involvement and tournament wins lead to pride in one's organization and a team spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood, which leads to more determined training. Students of Jukensa Kajukenbo México train in free-fight sparring with and without protective gear, sparring on the ground, and multiple sparring.

4. If you teach forms; why do you? If you don't; why don't you?

Forms are regarded by some as the basic instructional tool of the martial arts, and by others as a waste of time. Since they are definitely not a prerequisite for street fighting, some Kajukenbo instructors do not consider them very important.

Jukensa Kajukenbo's chief instructor and leader in México, O-Sifu ("O-Sifu": all requisites earned for "Sigung" except rank of 6th degree) Sadoc Sierra, requires Jukensa instructors to introduce beginning students to Kajukenbo's Pinan's 1-5, and since many of his instructors also have black belt ranking in some other martial art, instructors may include a favorite form from other martial arte(s) in their Jukensa Kajukenbo classes.

Forms offer the practitioner an opportunity to demonstrate the quality and extent of his or her technique and give others the opportunity to study his or her capabilities and degree of domination of proper technique. Through work on forms, practitioners can attempt to perfect basic and advanced aspects of the art, and forms may be practiced alone and outside formal classes. Those who become "habituated" to the discipline of developing forms find additional motivation to strive for superior skill. Forms are also one of the ways of passing specific skills from generation to generation.

5. Have you added any techniques to the Kajukenbo method your instructor taught you? If so, what? And why?

The method of my instructor, Alii SGM Don Nahoolewa, was "pure and original" traditional Kajukenbo, as he had been taught in Hawaii by 1st generation Kajukenbo founders and other pioneers, but due to my earlier training in Kodokan Judo and Jujitsu, additional techniques from those arts have always been induded in the training of my students.

In Kajukenbo, instructors who are trained in other martial arts may include the best of those other styles in their classes, but without discarding any traditional Kajukenbo. O-Sifu Sierra also has high rank in Kenpo and Ninjitsu, and is an experienced kick boxer. He has extracted techniques from these for indusion in Jukensa Kajukenbo, while maintaining the skills and techniques that he learned frorn me. Our yearly seminars featuring top level instructors have provided still more skills for the Jukensa Kajukenbo student, and some have been selected to become part of the Jukensa curriculum. To not do this would represent a loss. That's one of Kajukenbo's strong points - as long as the original tradicional style is not lost, additional skills are acceptable for incorporation, i.e., "frosting on the cake".

6. What kínd of mindset should someone have in a street fight?

Mindset can be studied, learned, and practiced--but when a fight occurs, the individual's natural instincts, education, legal knowledge, intelligence, social structure, upbringing and adrenalin may eclipse the mindset. A good fighting mindset to me means that first you recognize that it is stupid to become unnecessarily involved in a fight, because such conflict might possibly result in a legal problem or further conflict with friends or family of the one who you have injured ... if you win the fight. If you lose, there is no limit to the pain, damage, humiliation, and suffering that may be inflicted on you.

But if you absolutely must fight, there are wel1 known "mindset" possibilities. Your mindset may be that in your mind the aggressor becomes the victim. If you make the aggressor feel that you are the aggressor, he is no longer in charge of the incident because you are; and that could be advantageous to you. Either your opponent will mentally / physically control the fight or you will.

Personally, I can't do that. The concept is valid, but the nature of my personality doesn't permit me to intimidate my opponent prior to the fight nor to "go for the kill" during a fight. I might be smiling and trying to minimize anger or controversy prior to a fight, but during a fight I become all serious.

7. What Is your definition of a Kajukenbo Warrior?

I don't care for the term very much, and have known few people who could honestly be called "warriors," using the true definition of the word. The age of the Samurai is long gone. We live in modern times, and most real warriors are either in war, in jail, or have been. After a street fight, if a judge or jury should discover that that one of the participants considers himself to be a "warrior," the decision may more likely go against the warrior.

To O-Sifu Sierra, however, the term "warrior" can mean anything that requires fighting-for; i.e., warrior in school, warrior in business, warrior for a career, warrior at heart, Kajukenbo Warrior, etc., and that also makes sense.

8. What is your single most fondest life experience that came about from your years of Kajukenbo?

My "fondest" experiences in Kajukenbo have been and still are any thoughtful considerations shown to me by former students, the most significant being from now Senior Grand Master Gerald Chavez, a student of mine since he was 14 years old, who travels to México every year to visit me.

9. What would you like to see as Kajukenbo's future?

A single centralized worldwide governing body, manned by an educated and informed professional administration, dedicated to the standardization, authentication, and registration of all Kajukenbo black belts. Judo has that, but although Kajukenbo never can, 1 would like to see at least key components of that concept as a central part of Kajukenbo's future.

1O. What advice do you have for those in Kajukenbo, new and old?

You are most likely going to develop physically and technically in Kajukenbo, but you should also contribute to the promotion and growth of the Kajukenbo System. Articles that you write and events that sponsor which promote Kajukenbo are important, but those who contribute to the promotion of Kajukenbo are relatively few. Help get the "word" out! To paraphrase former U.S President John Kennedy, "Ask not what Kajukenbo can do for you; ask what you can do for Kajukenbo." There are too few in Kajukenbo like John Bishop!


First posted Oct.2012

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