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Like a tree our roots have many turns, and branches that reach out in different directions. We have a lineage to the Chinese kempo of 600ad; we have another to Okinawa where some of our Weapons katas, pinans, and fundamentals of weapons come from. We also have a line to the Japanese influences that come to us through Shotokan, which had Okinawa, and kempo influences, and the James Mitose connection who received his training in his ancestral art of kosho-ryu kempo, which is based directly on Shao-lin kung-fu, which came to us through the Hawaiian influences. Lastly we have an American lineage that comes down to us through people like Ed Parker, Sonny Gascon, George Pesare, Fred Villari, Larry Sullivan, and Nick Cerio as well as other influences that would affect the development of all martial arts in the U.S.


If you are a practitioner of any type of kempo/kenpo that has or had a connection to Thomas Young, William K.S.Chow, Paul Yamaguchi, Author Keawe, or Edward Lowe, you have a direct lineage back to James Mitose. It doesn't matter how many times removed, or if certain organizations try to say your lineage is broken because you are no longer in their organization. They are only acting out of frustration and animosity, and in doing so are only dishonoring themselves, their art, their master, and the martial arts code of Bushido. In all families children grow up and leave the home, but not the family. In most cases they end up adding to the family with their own family. Even if they tried to leave the family because of a disagreement, it would not change who their parents, grandparents or lineage is in any way. Not for them or their siblings. The same is true for the martial arts.


Our lineage has several roots back to James Mitose. The first by way of kajukenbo, Adriano Emperado, one of the five original founders of kajukenbo, in 1947. Emperado received his black belt from Chow. In 1950 Sonny Gascon studied under one of Emperado's black belts. In 1950 Emperado founded Hawaii's first and largest chain of karate schools. It is unsure when Sonny Gascon received his black belt, or if he did, but according to his path we should assume that he did. He went on to Pasadena California in 1956 and started teaching with John Leoning, another kajukenbo black belt. At this time they began to revise the system, according to my research, but I cannot find any evidence to substantiate this claim. George Pesare went to California in 1960 and started training with Sonny, He received his black belt and opened his school in 1963 in Providence R.I., it was that year Nick Cerio started training with George Pesare. Cerio went on to teach Fred Villari; in 1969 Villari opened his first school in Dedham Ma. There he taught Bill Fitzgerald, who opened his school in N. Attleboro Ma., in the 1970's. Soon after that Larry Sullivan, and his brothers began their training. In 1982 Larry Sullivan opened his first school in Pawtucket R.I., with his brother Tom.


A second way is more direct. In 1966 Cerio received his black belt and opened his first school. In 1971, (according to research) he was able to train directly with Chow who in 1973 promoted Cerio to master rank of 5th. In 1988 Larry Sullivan who was a third degree Black belt started training with Cerio. Cerio promoted Sullivan to fourth in 1989, and licensed him to be a certified instructor of Nick Cerio's Kenpo. By 1992 Cerio promoted Sullivan to sixth degree Black belt. In 1996 he was awarded his seventh by Cerio, but was never given his certificate due to the break up. In 1995 Sullivan became the only person to become Cerios business partner. They formed a corporation (C&S Management Co.), for the sole purpose of selling, opening, training, and management of Nick Cerio's schools. Sullivan was Cerio's highest ranking black belt, the vice president of the Nick Cerio's international martial Arts Association, the co-founder of the International Team Karate league, his only business partner, and the person who he had chosen to be his Soke-di (second in line for the head of family) of the Nick Cerio Kenpo. In 1996 after having a very successful year and finally bringing organization to the group Cerio and Sullivan went their separate ways. Several of the most successful schools went with Sullivan, and Sullivan's USA Karate was formed. Sullivan then began to create his own system, not just modifying technique and kata, but actually creating all new material. In 1998 Cerio died. In 1999 Sullivan finalized his system and became the Soke, 10th degree Master of Sullivan's American Kenpo.


A third way to link our heritage back to Mitose is: Mitose promoted Chow, who promoted Ed Parker who promoted Cerio, who promoted Sullivan. This is your link to Ed Parker.


The last is the simplest and most direct: Mitose promoted Chow, who promoted Cerio, who promoted Sullivan.

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