Dragon Kenpo Street Combatives

Ed. Hutchison 'Dragon Kenpo Was Actually Derived From Shaolin Gung Fu'! The Truth Shines Below:


Dragon Kenpo;  An Ancient Path To Modern Warriors; 'Seng Ping Tao /  'Path Of The Warrior Monk':












By: Soke Reginald Hoover

World Martial Arts Masters Society

Welcome to D.K.K.C.I.,. This article lecture will address the long overdue examined issue of whether Ed. Hutchison Dragon Kenpo is actually Kenpo / Kempo or Ch’uan Fa in Chinese, or what others would like to call “Mixed Martial Art”!

First I would like to quote the actual words of DK Founder Ed. Hutchison. He states that ‘Dragon Kenpo Is Derived From Shaolin Kung Fu’. Is Dragon Kenpo really a martial art with Shaolin Temple heritage?

To prove such a question to be true, we must first examine Shaolin’s origin as it relates to ancient practice of ‘Fist Methods’, [1].  I will at this time introduce a Chinese Martial intellectual authority on the Shaolin Arts and Ranking Master of the Shaolin Martial Way! This lifelong student, author, instructor, and highly ranked Master within the Shaolin arts has studied “integral mind-body training systems, including several yogas and martial arts of India, China, Tibet, and Japan”. He began training in the Asian martial arts in 1963, studying Burmese kick-boxing or Bando while in college. In 1970, further training began in the arts of Shaolin Kung Fu, and T’ai-Chi Ch’uan. After training in the three previous martial systems; further martial training studies began in the styles of Kempo/Kenpo, Chi-Kung/Qi-Gong, Baguazhang/Pa-Kua Chang, and Xing-Yiquan /Xing-I Ch’uan. The author of the ‘ESOTERIC MARTIAL ARTS OF ZEN TRAINING METHODS FROM THE PATRIARCH’. Producer and creator of over fifty training videos on the topics from “Northern Shaolin for the Mature Athlete; Northern & Southern Shaolin Hand and Weapons Forms; Childrens Kung Fu  Series; Iron Warrior Series; to T’ai-chi and Pregnancy”. Author of the critically acclaimed Shaolin Training Manual Of No Holds Barred Warrior Monk Techniques and Methods, ‘SENG PING TAO: PATH OF THE WARRIOR MONK’; Dr. Edward Orem stands firmly rooted into the Way Of Shaolin with over 35 years of martial arts experience in the Asian martial arts systems. Dr. Orem holds the distinguished Ph.D in Education, Anthopology, Linguistics and Tibetan Health Practices. Voted into the prestigious “World Martial Arts Masters Society” (of which myself is an honored and proud member), as Ranking Societal Member! Dr. Edward Orem is a true Shaolin Martial Arts Historical Pioneer in the west.

We will now examine the reasoning behind Dragon Kenpo having true Shaolin lineage.

Quoting from Seng Ping Tao, ( Introduction Page 1);

“ This is a training manual for those that are tired of being victims when it becomes ‘Show Time’, on the street. These 340 maneuvers have been tested on countless battlefields by professional warriors, for hundreds of years. The objective of these techniques is to win, quickly and efficiently”[1].

  1. Was this not the purpose of the present existence of Dragon Kenpo?  I will examine this issue further, later in our analogy. Continuing from “Seng Ping Tao”;

“Obviously this is no crash course. Don’t kid yourself. You didn’t really believe you could put in a few hours and still walk the streets with confidence, did you”?

“These techniques insist on the development of the capacity for fluid adaptation according to circumstance, practitioner, and opponent. There has been a deliberate attempt in the Manual’s lay out to allow for you to modify these suggestions for resolving ‘git down’ conflict in your favor”[1].

  1. Does this not remind the DK practitioner of the “Tailoring Principle”?
  2. Does not the last sentence suggest that their existed room for Martial Creative Freedom, even many years ago within the knowledge base of the Warrior

Monks in travel from temple to temple and student exchanges between China,

Okinawa, etc,?

  1. Does this also not lead one to assume there existed some form of ancient Kenpo

that the warrior monks used in there journey from place to place outside the temple grounds, to villages, towns, and cities etc,?

     This sheds some light on Dragon Kenpo methodology of creative unlimited freedom

      of martial physical expression. Continuing from the “Seng Ping Tao”;                                  

      “The idea here is to place the onus of responsibility directly on the practitioner where

        it belongs. Adaptability and resourcefulness are sought, not robotic response”. The

        technique names “themselves are holdovers from a time when men ( and even a few

        women) depended on hand-to-hand combat skills to save their hides. The

        nomenclature reflects their heritage from Shaolin Ch’uan Fa, AKA Chinese



     Quoting Ed. Hutchison, DK Founder;

      I founded Dragon Kenpo for two reasons:

  1. To create a place where those willing to make themselves into the ultimate martial artists that only they, as a unique individual, could do so.
  2. To create a place free from the collective untruths of mainstream martial arts education”[5].

Therefore, both styles suggest transferring the burden of martial physical skill upon the practitioner. Not the teacher/instructor, etc,.

Further, quotation from the Seng Ping Tao page 3, paragraph 6 and page 4 paragraph 1; answers the question in [1]. ‘Is Dragon Kenpo really a martial art with Shaolin Temple heritage’?

“However, Da Mo’s system did add a depth of new understanding regarding intrinsic human energy as his vigorous psycho-physical exercises were later wedded to the traditional combative skills known as ‘shaolin shu’ (“temple boxing”) and ‘ch’uan fa’ ( “fist methods”). The pronunctiation of the Chinese ideographs for ‘ch’uan fa are rendered “kempo” in Okinawa and Japan”[1].

“At this point we can suggest a tentative, theoretical construct based on our observations. For example, we can see that few of Kempo’s moves resemble the Long Fist styles characteristics of China’s provinces of the Han north or Muslim east. And conversely, many of the movements have much in common with several southern styles of pugilism, e.g. White Eyebrow and White Tiger (both infamous underground “tong” styles). We may therefore deduce that ‘Kempo’ is a more “remote ancestor of ‘Southern Ch’uan Fa’, brought from south China to the southern Japanese islands”[1].

 Thus, in answer to the ultimate question of ; Is Dragon Kenpo really a martial art with 

 Shaolin Temple heritage? We will refer to the “Evolution Of Modern Kenpo” and  Ed.

 Hutchison’s statement in his Dragon Kenpo meditation tapes explaining the “Dragon

 Is Derived From Shaolin Kung Fu” as part one on the answer. Quoting from the

 Direction Of Dragon Kenpo paragraph 2, page 1, of  the ‘Evolution Of Modern Kenpo’ 

 States as follows: “As a martial art, Kenpo is referred to as a Do. The Do is referred to

 In Buddhist Zen scripts as a path towards enlightenment. Lao Tzu, a priest of  Taoism said “Mastering others requires force, mastering the self requires enlightenment.” This

 phrases sums up the full circle of what kenpo strives towards”.[6]


Therefore, one can conclude that the term ‘Taoism’ / “Daoism” refer to Chinese Origin

as well as usage of the term “Enlightenment”. Lao Tzu was a chinese scholar and

“Father Of Daoism”.  So, proving the Chinese origin of  Ch’uan Fa aka Chinese Kempo

 as both an Internal & External School Of  Thought conceptual analogy. Ultimately

 existing as hard and soft styles in the fist.

 Before presenting this articles’conclusion. Let us now take a look at the ancient temples of Shaolin and their modern day contributions. Last, traditional Shaolin Dragon Style

Kung Fu philosophy and methods in providing a glimpse of kenpo’s traditional past.




 Henan: This is "the" Shaolin temple seen in Chinese kung fu movies, and the one portrayed in the ABC-TV "Kung Fu" series of the 1970s. The physical premises, located in Loyang, a small mountain town southwest of Beijing, have been restored by the Chinese government in the mid 1970s (the temple was destroyed as a result of the Boxer Rebellion of 1901, but probably not until the late 1920s), and subsequently become a tourist/martial arts Mecca. Most of the resident "monks" seen today are actors, similar to the people you would meet in Colonial Williamsburg and other historical sites. During most of its history, Henan Temple was the seat of the most senior monks in the Shaolin Order” [2].


Fukien: Probably built around the same time as Henan Temple, but originally a mainstream Buddhist temple until the early 1600s. This temple was integrated into the Shaolin order around 1650. Larger than the Henan Temple, Fukien served as the "headquarters" during times when Henan was either destroyed or under threat. The southern styles of praying mantis, snake, dragon, and Wing Chun were all developed in Fukien Temple, or by its masters. The temple was burned during the Boxer Rebellion, and its remains were rediscovered in the early 1980s”[2].

Kwangtung: southern school, taught many great warriors, snake temple. Temple was built in late 1700's as a Shaolin temple, built in a mountain area overlooking the ocean near the city of Canton in Canton Province. This Cantonese temple was close to (ca. 150 miles southwest) Fukien, and was home to many southern styles, including Choy Li Fut and dragon (styles often originated in one location and were modified at others). Shelled during the civil warring following the Boxer Rebellion”[2].

Wutang: Tiger temple. Located near the town of Wutang. Built in a politically unstable area (near Manchuria and the Korean peninsula). Probably the temple most involved with temporal concerns, and consequently often besieged by one army or another. Mercenary monks, including Bok Lei, Hung Si Kuan, and Bok Mei all came from Wutang, eventually moving to Henan (and thus involving Shaolin in its biggest political incursion). Very old temple, integrated into the Shaolin order around AD 800”[2].

O Mei Shan: (literally, "Great White Mountain"), northern, library and medical temple. This temple was located in an inaccessible area of the Szechuan province and imported monks much like research institutions do today. The temple itself was very old, probably Taoist in origin. Integrated into Shaolin order around AD 1500. Was in close contact with Tibet. Crane temple. This was a major medical "school" for four centuries, the libraries filled with tomes from East and West. The buildings were used for artillery practice by the armies of both Shang Kai Shek and Mao Tze Tung, but restored in the early 1970s. Today, the "temple" serves as the conservation service headquarters for the bamboo forests of Szechuan and research center for the pandas”[2].

“The first four temples had the brands of the tiger and dragon on the left and right forearms respectively. The O mei shan temple had the mantis and the crane on the right and left forearms”[2].


Riding the Wind: Dragon Style Kung Fu

Long before Saint George encountered his legendary beast, the Dragon played an influential and beneficial role in Chinese culture. An amalgam of several creatures, including monitor lizards, pythons and the Chinese alligator, the polymorphic dragon was a water spirit, responsible for bringing the rains and thus insuring the survival of crops. The dragon was symbolic guardian to the gods, and was the source of true wisdom. This latter feature most likely resulted from the observation of the living reptilian counterparts which, usually at rest, seem to be in a near constant state of contemplation”[3].

“The dragon represented two of the ancient elements, Earth and Water, endowing the creature with powers of elusion and power. A Yang symbol, the Taoists saw the dragon as a personification of the Tao itself-"the Dragon reveals himself only to vanish." Shaolin Buddhists saw him as a vision of enlightened truth, to be felt, but never to be held. Certain very old men were called dragons, these being well versed in the life-supporting skills of herbal medicine, agriculture, and kung fu. In early China, these skills were surely a matter of life or death, and those so educated were held in high esteem”[3].


“Dragon kung fu is essentially an internal, ch'i cultivating method, but initial training is far more similar to a hard, external style than a delicate, reptilian approach. In learning the moves, the student will strike hard, block hard and stomp into each position, with the idea of learning the proper place to be once each movement is complete. Eventually, the method of transmitting power is retained, and the physically strengthened body is able to make transitions in the proper, fluid manner. In turn, this reptilian smoothness helps disguise the attack, making it extremely difficult for an adversary to effectively counter” [4].

“Once a purely physical semblance to flow has been mastered, the disciple incorporates the deep hissing sounds to train ch'i flow. Inhaling is silent, but exhalation is deliberate, tense and controlled. Inhaling lightens the body for aerial maneuvers, while exhaling drives power into each technique. Blocking is dispensed with, and parries or simple strikes substituted. At this point, novice and advanced student show very little in common”[4].

“On the highest level, an opponent is allowed to tire himself out, evasion becoming the Dragon's key defense. Ch'i control is highly developed, and the degree to which the body must be moved to redirect or avoid impact is under greater control”[4].


“In each form, one is taught to "ride the wind", a phrase which in large part means follow rather than lead. Provide no opening without first letting your opponent open. Unlike Crane, which also relies heavily upon evasion as a tactic, the Dragon evades primarily by rotation of upper or lower torso with little or no stance movements, while the Crane stylist hops frequently to reposition the entire body. Both styles employ pinpoint strikes to vulnerable meridian targets, but dragon also heavily uses tiger-like punches and clawing techniques, snake-like stance shifts, and leopard-like hit and run strikes to weaken a physically superior adversary. Dragon kung fu also regularly employs low sweeping techniques, but these are not unique; most senior stylists of any kung fu system use these on a weakened adversary”[4].

In Summary:


The Direction Of Dragon Kenpo seems to explain why Ed. Hutchison did not need to create Dragon Kenpo as an American, Tracy, or Shaolin Kenpo Offshoot etc,!

 As the majority of Kenpo Systems / Styles have adapted this same “Direction Of Kenpo”

 / Original Name; to their respective martial disciplines: Thus, whether Ed. Hutchison had

 knowledge of the Seng Ping Tao or not. This acclaimed martial work has proven the Shaolin Heritage of an ancient martial system rooted deeply within the Southern Chinese

 Provinces, brought to the Southern Japanese Islands. Like it’s ancestor, Dragon Kenpo’s  “git down” no-holds-barred mentality proves beyond doubt that it exists clearly as a

 modern representation of this proven ancient streetwise methodological analogy of

 conceptual free martial physical expression, in failing violent physical aggression.

 So, yes Dragon Kenpo does stand alone as a Chinese Kempo system with it’s own

 ancient temple roots within the Seng Ping Tao, or Path Of The Warrior Monks Of


 I sincerely hope that this article sheds some light on the confusion of Dragon Kenpo as

 an offshoot and rooted Chinese Kempo system. For information on Dr. Edward Orem

 and the Seng Ping Tao please click on the reference [1] link below.



[1] Seng Ping Tao, pps. 1-4; http://eorem.tripod.com/ Orem Edward M., Ph’D 1992

[1a]  Seng Ping Tao,    http://kempochuanfa.tripod.com

[1b] Seng Ping Tao,     http://kempochuanfa.tripod.com/kempoDVDs.htm

[1c] Seng Ping Tao,     http://kempochuanfa.tripod.com/kempocurriculum.htm

[2] Shaolin History, http://www.shaolin.com/historycontent.aspx  , Shaolin Gung Fu Institute, 2008

[3] Shaolin Styles, http://www.shaolin.com/StyleContent.aspx?Style=Dragon  , ShaolinGung Fu Institute, 2008

[4] Shaolin Styles, http://www.shaolin.com/StyleContent.aspx?Style=Dragon  , ShaolinGung Fu Institute, 2008

[5] The Dragon Kenpo Story,  http://dragonkempo.org/index.php?view=article&id=46:the-dragon-kenpo-story&tmpl=component&print=1&page= , Ed Hutchison,  29 March 2008

[6] The Evolution Of Modern Kenpo, page 1; D.K.K.C.I. Library, DK Evolution

http://www.freewebs.com/kenposoke Hutchison Ed. “Late 80,s-?” Exact Date Unknown




Know Your Dragon Kenpo Heritage; Seng Ping Tao: