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Striking - Kickboxing / Karate-Do / Muay Thai
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Sensei Travis Boggs Demonstrating Jodan Mawashi Geri 上段廻し蹴り
Kenukan Academy's 拳友館 Atemi 当て身 (striking) training is a combination of classical Karate-Do, Western Boxing, & Muay Thai Kickboxing. It brings together the most practical and realistic techniques and training methods from a variety of striking arts. Over the years, it has been demonstrated that one art does not necessarily have all the tools required to obtain well-balanced self-defense skill. Western Boxing has phenomenal hand punches, but it does not utilize the legs, head, or other striking areas. Karate-Do has several effective hand strikes and kicks, but most traditional styles tend to be very stiff, robotic, and lacking in both practical sparring and self-defense application. Muay Thai has great elbows, knees, leg kicks, and conditioning exercises, but self-defense application against holds, locks, weapons, and multiple attackers are not normally studied. It is our belief that extracting each art’s best qualities and merging those skills together yields the best results for practical application. Therefore, Kenukan Academy utilizes the kicks and hand strikes from Okinawan Kenpo / Shorin-Ryu Karate, the punching and defensive skills taught in Boxing, and the knees, elbows, and leg kicks studied in Muay Thai. The result is a versatile curriculum that creates a solid foundation for use in self-defense and Karate / Kickboxing / Ju-Jitsu / Pankration / MMA competition.
Fighter Connecting With a Hard Left Jab During an Early Kickboxing Promotion Held in Kansas City by O'Sensei Bob Boggs
Kenukan-Ryu Black Belt, Jon Meade, Firing a Guruma Geri 車蹴りto the Head of AAU Karate Champion, Hiroshi Allen (1995 Pan American Games Team Trials - USOC Training Center - Colorado Springs, CO)
Sensei Travis Boggs, Kenukan Budokai President, Bushidokan Yudanshakai Board of Directors Chairman, and Kenukan Academy Chief Instructor, holds black belt certification in several styles of Karate / Kickboxing (including Kenukan-Ryu & Bushidokan-Ryu). Competing in the AAU Karate Program, he became a 5-time State and 3-time Regional Champion. As a member of TEAM USA, he won a Gold Medals in the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia (against the Russian Full-Contact Kickboxing-Karate Team) and the 1995 Mediterranean Games in Athens, Greece. Besides his competitive achievements, Sensei Boggs is recognized as an expert in the practical and effective application of striking techniques. This has led current and former members of the US Special Operation Forces (DELTA, Rangers, Green Beret), Police SWAT Teams, and other elite units, to train under Sensei Boggs. According to Bob Wall, Former National Bare-Knuckle Karate Champion, Bruce Lee's Sparring Partner, and Co-Star in the epic film, Enter The Dragon: "Travis Boggs is one of the best strikers in the country. If you want to learn how to hit hard, train from him! He is the future of the martial arts. My deepest respect to Jim Harrison, Bob Boggs, and our next generation, Travis Boggs!"
Sensei Bob Boggs
Sensei Jim Harrison
Sensei Seiyu Oyata 親田清勇
Kenpukan Dojo 拳風館道場
Kenukan Academy's Striking Lineage
Kenukan Academy Founder, O'Sensei Bob Boggs, began his formal martial arts training in 1966 on the island of Okinawa 沖縄本島. Studying under the tutelage of Sensei Seiyu Oyata 親田清勇 at the Kenpukan Dojo 拳風館道場 in Machinato, and testing under the legendary Sensei Shigeru Nakamura 中村茂, O'Sensei Boggs earned his Black Belt in Okinawan Kenpo Karate-Do 沖縄 拳法空手道 and Okinawan Kobudo 沖縄古武道 (weapons). In 1968, he was issued a Shihan 師範 teaching degree and Menkyo 免許 (teaching license) from the Okinawan Kenpo Karate-Do Renmei 沖縄拳法空手道連盟. At the same time, he was bestowed the dojo name Kenukan 拳友館 (Fist-Friend-School). On Okinawa, O'Sensei Boggs' training consisted of strong fundamental development (kihon 基本), forms (kata 型), weapons (buki 武器), grappling (tuite 捕手), and both bare-knuckle and bogu 防具 (armour) kumite 組手 (sparring / fighting).
In 1968, upon returning to the United States for college, O'Sensei Boggs opened Kenukan Academy and started to compete nationally. In 1973, O'Sensei Boggs began studying under the great martial arts pioneer, Sensei Jim Harrison (founder of Bushidokan-Ryu 武士道館琉). Sensei Harrison, considered one of the most feared Judo, Karate-Do, & Kickboxing competitors, plus, one of world's most well respected self-defense experts, immediately connected with O'Sensei Boggs' hard-nose fighting style. The two established a strong friendship that was solidified by Kenukan Academy joining with Harrison's Bushidokan Dojo in hosting / participating in semi-annual full-contact MMA style tournaments (over 20 years before the first UFC) from 1973-1978. By combining his training from Sensei's Harrison and Oyata, O'Sensei Boggs created his own style of martial arts, called Kenukan-Ryu 拳友館琉 (an evolving blend of classical Asian Judo, Karate, and Ju-Jutsu, plus, Western Boxing and Wrestling, that has been recognized by both the World Union of Karate-Do Organizations and the Ju-Jitsu International Federation - 160 countries around the world). By 1976, O'Sensei Boggs would be ranked as the #1 Midwest Heavy-weight Fighter by Professional Karate Magazine. In 1978, Sensei Jim Harrison moved his personal Bushidokan Dojo to Missoula, MT and handed his Kansas City Bushidokan Dojo (Mission, KS) over to O'Sensei Bob Boggs. Thus, the inseparable fusion between the two Styles / Brands was solidified.
In the late 1970's, "open" Karate tournaments had become increasingly weak, and generally considered impractical as a self-defense supplement. As a result, several fighters decided to blend the punching techniques of Western Boxing with the kicks of Karate-Do, in order to form the sport of American Kickboxing キックボクシング (Sensei Harrison was the 1st US Light-Heavyweight Champion). In the late 1970's and early 1980's, besides producing quality Kickboxers, O'Sensei Boggs promoted the 1st Kickboxing events held in the State of Kansas (giving many future champions their first matches), and served as a national TV commentator for the sport - appearing on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, CBS Sports Spectacular, NBC SportsWorld, HBO, & ESPN. In 1977, O'Sensei Boggs organized and hosted one of the first Midwest seminars for the former World Heavy-Weight Kickboxing Champion, Joe Lewis (who had also trained in Okinawa under Sensei Seiyu Oyata). Besides providing an opportunity for Lewis' revolutionary technical knowledge to be shared with the attendees, O'Sensei Boggs was able to use the event to help garnish additional media exposure for the sport. On January 26th, 1980, O'Sensei Boggs was invited by the WKA (World Kickboxing Association) to serve as a ring-side VIP (along with Chuck Norris) when Benny "The Jet" Urquidez knocked out the Japanese Champion, Shinobu Onuki 大貫忍 at the Tropicana Casino Hotel in Los Vegas, NV. Later that same year, O'Sensei Boggs was the house announcer for the nationally televised PKA (Professional Karate Association) World Middle-Weight Kickboxing challenge match between Bill "Superfoot" Wallace and Raymond McCallum. On January 13th, 1989, O'Sensei Boggs served as the center referee for the 15-round PKC (Professional Karate Commission) World Light-Middleweight Kickboxing title match between Bob "Thunder" Thurman and Mike "Magnum" Winklejohn (who would later team up with Georges St-Pierre (GSP) trainer, Greg Jackson, to form one of the most formidable MMA fight camps in the country). In 1994, the Russian USSR Full-Contact Kickboxing-Karate Federation (фЕДЕРАЦИЯ КОНТАКТНОГО КАРАТЭ CCCP) was so impressed with O'Sensei Boggs' fighters, that they recognized him with a rarely issued 4th Dan Diploma (the highest they could bestow at the time).
Although Kickboxing had exploded onto the competitive scene in the 1970's & 80's, Kenukan Academy students continued to compete in in Karate-Do tournaments for the purpose of enhancing quick-twitch reflexes and timing. In 1989, Kenukan Academy was ranked as the #1 school in the United States at the Diamond Nationals (one of the largest open Karate tournaments in the Country at that time - held in Minneapolis, MN). Concluding that (for the most part) the "open" Karate tournament circuit had abandoned the use of quality and effective techniques, O'Sensei Boggs turned his focus and attention to "traditional" Karate competition. Kenukan Academy students, while competing under the AAU Traditional Karate Program, made their mark on a national level. In 1990, Kenukan Academy had both the AAU's Best Male & Female Athlete of the Year. In 1988, O'Sensei Boggs, recognized as a national leader, was selected by the AAU to serve as the Sports Commissioner for the Junior Olympics. Additionally, in 1991 & 1992, O'Sensei Boggs was selected as the AAU's Coach of the Year.
In 1991, O'Sensei Boggs, realizing that Karate-Do competition was growing internationally, decided to join with the USA Karate Federation (USAKF). At the time, the USAKF, led by Hanshi George Anderson, was the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of Karate-Do - recognized by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The USAKF's parent organization, the World Union of Karate-Do Organizations (WUKO) / World Karate-Do Federation (WKF), was (and still is) the leading international authority on the sport of Karate-Do. Invited by the USAKF to attend the 1991 North American Karate-Do Champonship in Monterey, Mexico, O'Sensei Boggs coached Kenukan-Ryu Black Belt, Alexis Sirulnik, to a Silver Medal victory. In 1994, another Kenukan-Ryu Black Belt, Jon Meade, was selected for the USAKF Team (via elimination process) to compete at the WUKO World Championships held in Malaysia. The USAKF President, George Anderson, believing that O'Sensei Boggs was the USA’s Top Ambassador for the martial arts, appointed him as the Director of TEAM USA that competed at the 1994 Goodwill Games held in St. Petersburg, Russia (which brought home 11 Gold Medals), and the Director of TEAM USA that competed in 1995 Mediterranean Games in Athens, Greece (combination of 57 Gold, Silver, & Bronze medals). At the closing ceremonies of the ’94 Goodwill Games (Ted Turner promotion), O'Sensei Boggs directed the half-time martial arts performance that took place during a soccer match between the Russian All-Star Team and the World All-Star Team at Kirov Stadium that was viewed live across the world by an estimated 30 million people. Today, it is still believed to be the “largest live TV viewing audience” of any martial arts demonstration.
In the late 1990's, O'Sensei Bob Boggs, and his son, Sensei Travis Boggs, were instrumental in bringing the Greek Sport of Pankration (παγκράτιον) to the United States. Entering the Ancient Olympics in 648 B.C., and remaining in the Games for 1,042 years, Pankration served as the original Mixed Martial Arts sport. Appreciating the similarities between Kenukan-Ryu's multifaceted style and that of Pankration, both Boggs' helped promote the sport regionally, nationally, and internationally. In 1999, they hosted a national Pankration symposium, which included such early MMA & UFC fighers as Ken Shamrock, Bart Vale, Keith Hackney, & Walt Lysak. That same year, at the World Pankration Congress held in Lamia, Greece, O'Sensei Boggs was unanimously elected (out of 22 countries) to serve as the 1st Secretary General for the International Federation of Pankration Athlema (IFPA).
With nearly a 50 year history of producing quality strikers, Kenukan Academy has amassed over 300 State, Regional, National, & International Champions in sport competition - ranging from Karate, Kickboxing, Pankration, Ju-Jitsu, and MMA. Although it's success in the competitive world is impressive, it's reputation for maintaining quality and effective street self-defense application remains the style's primary focus!
Meeting of Okinawan Karate Masters at Showa Kaikan Hall, Naha, Okinawa (October 25, 1936). Sitting Lt - Rt: Chotoku Kyan 喜屋武 朝徳, Kentsu Yabu 屋部 憲通, Chomo Hanashiro 花城 長茂, & Chojun Miyagi 宮城 長順. Standing Lt - Rt: Shinpan Shiroma 城間 真繁, Tsuyoshi Chitose 千歳 强直, Chosin Chibana 知花 朝信, & Genwa Nakasone 仲宗根 源和.
Sensei Shigeru Nakamura 中村茂
Okinawan Kenpo Karate-Do Renmei
Brief History of Karate- Do 空手道
The natural need for humans to defend themselves led to the early development of combat throughout the world. Those cultures with an inclination for higher learning, such as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, & Chinese, analyzed these primitive methods, including bare handed and weapon combat, and refined them into Martial (Military) Sciences. Using principles of anatomy, physics, and psychology, they were able to create systems of study that could be clearly taught and transmitted. In some cases, such as with the Ancient Greeks, these methods were also turned into Martial Sports, including Pankration (παγκράτιον), Boxing (πυγμαχία), and Wrestling (πάλη). As the Western and Eastern cultures expanded, there would be an eventual convergence of the unique combat methods each had developed.
In Asia (China and Japan in particular), the Martial Sciences also became Martial Arts. Valuing the aesthetic beauty of how one performs a task, a certain sense of grace, balance, and precision was added to existing functionality. A place that served as a unique melting pot for the Martial Arts practiced in the region was Okinawa 沖縄本島 - the main island of the Ryukyu Island chain 琉球諸島, which stretches from Japan to Taiwan. Strategically located approximately 300 nautical miles south of the mainland of Japan, 300 nautical miles north of Taiwan, and 400 nautical miles east of China, Okinawa was seen as the "gateway connecting Asia to Japan". This caused the Ancient Ryukyu Kingdom to become prone to invasion over the centuries.
According to the historical record, the original native combat art practiced in Okinawa was known as Te 手 (hand). Te was very similar to the Ju-Jutsu practiced on mainland of Japan. It involved the use of Tuite 捕手 (grappling), Atemi 当て身 (striking), and Kobudo 古武道 (weapon) techniques. Primarily taught to the Bushi 武士 (warrior) class, these techniques were a closely guarded secret passed down though primogeniture. In 1609, the Satsuma Clan of Japan invaded and conquered the Ryukyu Kingdom. The Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) would remain a vassal state under Satsuma, alongside its already long-established tributary relationship with China, until it was formally annexed by Japan in 1879 as Okinawa Prefecture. During this 300 year period of mainland Japanese rule, the use of weapons and practicing martial arts was prohibited. This led to the secret accelerated development of Martial Arts on the island - resulting in the conversion of farm implements into weapons (the art of Kobudo 古武道) and the refining of bare-handed (Te 手) techniques.
Around the 18th century, Southern Chinese Boxing, known as Quan-fa (Chinese pronunciation) or Ken-po (Japanese pronunciation) 拳法 (拳 = fist / boxing; 法 = method), began to be taught to the Okinawan population. In 1761, Kusanku, a Chinese Military Envoy to Okinawa, reportedly gave a phenomenal demonstration of his Chinese Art. One of Kusanku's most notable Okinawan students was the legendary Satunushi "Tode" Sakugawa 佐久川 寛賀 (1733-1815). It didn't take long before the indigenous Okinawan-Te blended with the Chinese Quan-fa, to become what the natives would refer to as To-te / To-de / Kara-te 唐手 (唐 = T'ang Dynasty / China; 手 = hand). As students traveled to China to bring back new ideas and training methods, the art of Tode / Karate became more refined. From "Tode" Sakugawa, emerged his protégé, Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura 松村 宗棍 (1809-1896), who would become the chief martial arts instructor and bodyguard for the Okinawan King Sho Ko. Two of Bushi Matsumura's most important students, Anko Azato 安里 安恒 (1827-1906) and Anko Itosu 糸洲 安恒 (1831-1915), would help bridge the gap between old-world and modern-day Karate-Do. Specifically, Anko Itosu, who became a teacher of Tode / Karate at Okinawa's First Junior Prefecture High School, would be credited for developing the Pinan Kata 平安形 series, systematizing the art, and teaching the eventual founders of many of the world's leading Karate styles, such as Choyu Motobu 本部朝勇 (1857–1927), Choki Motobu 本部 朝基 (1870–1944), Kentsu Yabu 屋部 憲通 (1866–1937), Chomo Hanashiro 花城 長茂 (1869–1945), Gichin Funakoshi 船越 義珍 (1868–1957), Kanken Toyama 遠山寛賢 (1888–1966), Chotoku Kyan 喜屋武 朝徳 (1870–1945), Shinpan Shiroma (Gusukuma) 城間 真繁 (1890–1954), Kenwa Mabuni 摩文仁 賢和 (1887–1952), and Choshin Chibana 知花 朝信 (1885–1969).
In 1922, Gichin Funakoshi 船越 義珍, then a professor at the Okinawa Teacher's College, and fighter Choki Motobu 本部 朝基, were invited by the Ministry of Education in Japan to give lectures and demonstrations in the Okinawan Art of Tode (also called Karate). So impressed was the Japanese people, that Funakoshi was swarmed with requests to learn Karate. As a result, he decided to stay in Japan and started teaching at various Universities and at the Kodokan (Judo Headquarters). By 1931, Karate was officially recognized by the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai (DNBK) 大日本武徳会 (Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society). In 1936, he established his own Dojo 道場 (training hall), called the Shotokan 松濤館 (松 = pine tree; 濤 = wave; 館=school). (Note: Funakoshi, who was a poet, used Shoto as his moniker when signing his work - thus, Shotokan, means "the house of shoto") Realizing that the art of Karate had to become standardized if it was to become as popular as Judo & Kendo, Funakoshi consulted with Dr. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. The result of their collaboration was the development of the lighter weight Karate Gi 空手着 (Karate Uniform), the adoption of the colored Obi 帯 (belts), and use of the already established Kyu 級 (class) / 段 Dan (degree) Rank structure. Along with these changes, it was also necessary to alter the spelling of Karate. The old characters, 唐手, pronounced either To-de, To-te, or Karate-te, meant "China Hand". It had represented the merger of the Chinese and native Okinawan arts. However, for the mainland Japanese, it would have been hard for them to accept promoting an art on a national level that paid homage to the Chinese. Therefore, Funakoshi decided to change the first character from 唐 (China) to 空 (Empty). Because both characters are pronounced the same, only the written version had be be modified. The newly written Karate 空手, meaning "Empty Hand" appealed to Funakoshi, as it was both a physical description of the art, and a personification of its philosophical values. According to Funakoshi, "As a mirror's polished surface reflects whatever stands before it and a quiet valley carries even small sounds, so must the student of Karate render his mind empty of selfishness and wickedness in an effort to react appropriately toward anything he might encounter. This is the meaning of Kara, or 'empty', of Karate." In addition, the character Do 道, meaning the way or path, was added to conform to the Bu-Jutsu 武術 (Martial Art) to Bu-Do 武道 (Martial Way) philosophical transition that had occurred in Japan years before. Developing a standard curriculum was also an important step, as the Karate taught in Okinawa was very fragmented and stylized. Canonizing the official Kata that would be taught at the Shotokan, he also changed their names to conform to standard Japanese spellings and pronunciations. For the most part, several of the old Katas on Okinawa were named according to verbal tradition passed down through the years. Many of these names were simply variants of the original Chinese pronunciations - and did not have a standard Japanese spelling. Therefore, Katas, such as Naihanchi ナイハンチ, became Tekki 鉄騎, Pinan 平安, became Heian 平安, & Passai パッサイ, became Bassai 拔塞. Extracted from the Kata, Kihon 基本, or fundamental techniques, were established, named, and categorized. Plus, training exercises, such Yakusoku Kumite 約束組手 (per-arranged sparring), were developed. In 1955, Funakoshi's students established the Japan Karate Association 日本空手協会 (JKA). By 1958, it had been approved as a corporation by the Ministry of Education. That same year, under the leadership of senior Funakoshi student, Masatoshi Nakayama 中山 正敏, the JKA held the first All Japan Karate-Do Tournament. The Japanese development of Jiyu Kumite 自由組手, or free-fighting, was a result of the Japanese need to establish competitive sports for their Budo disciplines, as had been previously created for Judo and Kendo.
All of these changes did not come easy to the Okinawan Karate Masters, who saw them as an attack on their art by the mainland Japanese. In time, the Okinawans accepted the use of the word Karate-Do and the spelling 空手道. Eventually, the use of the Karate Gi, Obi, and Kyu / Dan Rank System was adopted as a standard practice. They did, however, maintain the original Okinawan names for the Katas, continued to teach the use of Okinawan Weapons, and, for the most part, rejected the practice of Kumite (sparring), because they felt that it denigrated an art that was designed for self-defense. Other Okinawans, such as Shigeru Nakamura (Kenukan Lineage), felt differently. As Nakamura was once quoted as saying, “No Fighting, No Karate.” In other words, if someone did not apply the Karate techniques they had leaned in some type of free-style fighting, then the spontaneous reflex and resistance abilities one would need in a real street situation would not be there. Thus, that person’s ability would be the antithesis of what true karate was originally intended to be - a method of self-defense. Another aspect to the art that the Okinawans felt had been stripped away by the Japanese, was the old Tuite (grappling) techniques. Because the Japanese already had established grappling based styles (such as Judo), a decision was made to concentrate on the Atemi 当て身 (striking) parts of Karate. Other Okinawans, such as Shigeru Nakamura and Seiyu Oyata, continued to teach Tuite as part of their curriculum.
With the devastation that WWII brought to Okinawa, many great Karate Masters were killed. The condition of the island was one of destruction and economic despair. However, with the establishment of US Military Bases, and the associated economic assistance, Okinawa was able to slowly rebuild. By the 1960's, thousands of US Service Men were stationed on the Island. Capitalizing on a great financial opportunity, many Karate Masters turned their efforts to teaching members of the US Military (and their families) alongside native Okinawans. As these soldiers came back to the United States, they brought back the training they had received, and several decided to open up Dojos 道場 (training halls). Primarily due to business reasons, most of these early schools were established in the populated areas around Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, St. Louis, and New York. Starting with the establishment of the United States Karate Association (USKA) by Sensei Robert Trias in 1948, and culminating in the first American Karate tournament held in 1963, the art began to slowly spread across America. The same phenomena was seen throughout the rest of world. In the 1950's, the Japan Karate Association (JKA) had dispatched Karate-Do Ambassadors to Europe to help spread the art. In 1965, the European Karate Union (EKU) was established, with the French Karate Leader, Jacques Delcourt, elected as President. In 1970, continuing in an effort to organize Karate-Do at the world level, President Delcourt formed the International Karate Union (IKU). Upon hearing this, Ryoichi Sasakawa, President of the Federation of All Japan Karate-Do Organization (FAJKO), traveled to France to discuss the creation of an international governing body. The IKU was quickly disbanded and a new organization was formed between the EKU and the Japanese federation - called the World Union of Karate-do Organizations (WUKO). Eventually, the WUKO (now called the WKF), amassed membership of around 160 countries, nearly 10 million members, and became (and still is) the only Karate-Do organization recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
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