“The blocking hand must be able to become the attacking hand in an instant. Blocking with one hand and then countering with the other is not true bujutsu. Real bujutsu presses forward and blocks and counters in the same motion.” — Motobu Chōki, circa 1920’s-1930’s
Pressing forward… Blocks and strikes with the same motion… Sounds familiar.
It is very likely that James Mitose’s real teacher –if any– was Motobu Chōki, Mizhuo Mutsu or even, Kamesuke Higashionna. Mizhuo Mutsu was originally a student of Gichin Funakoshi and later trained with Motobu Chōki. Kamesuke Higashionna’s mother is said to have lived on the Big Island, where Mitose was from. Mitose also lists Kamesuke Higashionna (also known as Kamesuke Higaonna, Hiroshi Higashionna, and Hiroshi Higaonna) as a “master of Karate Kenpo”. Higashionna was a student of Motobu in 1933 and they both went to Hawaii in 1933 at Motobu’s urging.
The point is, that Mitose’s “kempo” training –if any– was probably from the Motobu Chōki lineage. He would have had considerable exposure to Seishiro Okazaki‘s danzan-ryu as well. This does not imply that he earned any sort of black belt or instructor’s credentials from any of them.
Simply put, the origins of “kosho-ryu kenpo” as told by Mitose is very likely a complete lie & fabrication.
It is almost certain that the kenpo/kempo styles that originated in Hawaii with James Mitose and William Chow — Ed Parker’s Kenpo, Kajukenbo, & all of the others — are of Okinawan descent andnot from some hidden Japanese temple.
Did Mitose learn from Motobu or his students?
B. James Mitose only taught the Naihanchi kata – at least in the days of Chow & Emperado. The oldest known reference to Naihanchi are in the books of Motobu Choki. Why would a Japanese system that was supposedly around 700 years old use a 200 year old Okinawan kata?
C. It is said that Motobu Chōki sometimes used the 3-hand symbols as in the Mitose crest (left).
D. Mitose demonstrated ‘makiwara‘ use (an Okinawan method, neither Japanese nor Chinese).
E. Mitose gave Chōki Motobu and Kamesuke Higashionna prominent pictures and credits as a masters of Karate-Kenpo in his first book, ‘WHAT IS SELF-DEFENSE? (Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu)‘
Do some research and come to your own conclusions.
“Mitose called his art Kenpo Jujitsu. He told us that he had learned it from Choki Motobu. I never heard the term “Kosho Ryu Kenpo” until he went to prison and some other instructors visited him and got master certificates in Kosho Ryu. I also never heard from him the story about the Kosho family temple.” — Adriano Emperado, in a recommended interview for ‘Centuron Negro’ by John Bishop, archived here at: https://www.cqbkajukenbo.com/the-sijo-emperado-interview-from/