The Shaolin in SKK

Jonny Figgis

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Hi all

Can anyone shed any light on the Shaolin aspect of SKK? I keep reading that there is no evidence of any Shaolin kung fu in SKK so I'd like to know more about this side of the system. I did read recently that Shaolin Lohan is evident in nearly every conceivable Chinese, Japanese and Okinawan martial art but seems to be more an influence and not that there are Lohan techniques or forms in the various arts.

I've read the history on a lot of SKK websites but I still can't find any evidence of Shaolin martial arts in the actual system. Any information would be really appreciated so I can gain a deeper knowledge of SKK.


Many thanks



Jonny
 

John Bishop

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It's like the question: where's the grapes in grape nuts? Grape nuts is still a good cereal. And a lot of people enjoy eating it. There's just no grapes in it.
But it's not uncommon for systems to claim some type of roots from Shaolin. It's just a matter of how much, and how long ago.
And there are some SKK organizations who have a present connection to the Shaolin temple. So you'd have to look at your personal lineage.
 

Danjo

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Hi all

Can anyone shed any light on the Shaolin aspect of SKK? I keep reading that there is no evidence of any Shaolin kung fu in SKK so I'd like to know more about this side of the system. I did read recently that Shaolin Lohan is evident in nearly every conceivable Chinese, Japanese and Okinawan martial art but seems to be more an influence and not that there are Lohan techniques or forms in the various arts.

I've read the history on a lot of SKK websites but I still can't find any evidence of Shaolin martial arts in the actual system. Any information would be really appreciated so I can gain a deeper knowledge of SKK.


Many thanks



Jonny

SKK has an interesting history. It began with George Pesare who had a purple belt in Karazenpo under Sonny Gascon and then went to the East Coast where he later earned black belts in TKD and Judo and Escrima. He made up a series of forms and techniques based on the various things that he studied and called it TKD-Kempo and various other names. One of his black belts was Nick Cerio who broke off and started teaching what he had learned from Pesare with some of his own modifications. One of Cerios' black belts was Fred Villari who took the material he had learned from Cerio through 2nd degree black belt and called it SKK. There was no direct Shaolin influence, but the TV show Kung Fu was popular at the time and probably accounts for where he got the idea for the name (which was also one of the many names that Prof. Chow used to call his art and passed on the name to his student Ralph Castro who called his art Shaolin Kenpo spelled with an "n" rather than an "m" and no "karate" after it). All the material after 2nd degree was pretty much made up by either Villari or one of his guys.

A couple of Villari's students were Charlie Mattera and Steve Demascos. Both went up to 7th degree under Villari and then each broke away and joined forces to ressurect the USSD. They too taught SKK the way they had learned it until they got the idea of actually going to China and learning Wu Shu from the Shaolin acrobats that currently inhabit the rebuilt tourist-trap temple. They've since incorporated some of that material into their version of SKK.
 

RevIV

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Danjo pretty much cut it to the point with almost the same story I wouldve wrote. Do not always get caught up in the names. I have a school that opened up down the street from me. It is called American Jujitsu -- They do no ground work and it looks a heck of a lot like the style of Kempo I do (SKK root)
 

Matt

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SKK has an interesting history. It began with George Pesare who had a purple belt in Karazenpo under Sonny Gascon and then went to the East Coast where he later earned black belts in TKD and Judo and Escrima. He made up a series of forms and techniques based on the various things that he studied and called it TKD-Kempo and various other names. One of his black belts was Nick Cerio who broke off and started teaching what he had learned from Pesare with some of his own modifications. One of Cerios' black belts was Fred Villari who took the material he had learned from Cerio through 2nd degree black belt and called it SKK. There was no direct Shaolin influence, but the TV show Kung Fu was popular at the time and probably accounts for where he got the idea for the name (which was also one of the many names that Prof. Chow used to call his art and passed on the name to his student Ralph Castro who called his art Shaolin Kenpo spelled with an "n" rather than an "m" and no "karate" after it). All the material after 2nd degree was pretty much made up by either Villari or one of his guys.

A couple of Villari's students were Charlie Mattera and Steve Demascos. Both went up to 7th degree under Villari and then each broke away and joined forces to ressurect the USSD. They too taught SKK the way they had learned it until they got the idea of actually going to China and learning Wu Shu from the Shaolin acrobats that currently inhabit the rebuilt tourist-trap temple. They've since incorporated some of that material into their version of SKK.

Pretty good. Some of the East Coast schools have some kung fu items (a wushu staff and a few other things) that were probably picked up by Demasco when studying with Yao Lee and Tak Eng, but not so much with the Shaolin.
 

14 Kempo

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Pretty good. Some of the East Coast schools have some kung fu items (a wushu staff and a few other things) that were probably picked up by Demasco when studying with Yao Lee and Tak Eng, but not so much with the Shaolin.

Here's a post from another forum ...

Originally Posted by 4u2nv
Some investigators you all turned out to be, the answers are quite simple. Who is Stephen B. Demasco, as for the traditional Chinese martial arts, not including his kempo back round or boxing. He Studied the Wah Lum Pai System for 13 yrs in Boston Chinatown. His certification is signed sealed and stamped by their organization's Grandmaster P. Chan, the rank awarded to him, 7th level accompanied by the formal Black and Gold Sash, hangs on the wall in his office. His certificate dates sometime in the early 80's probably before most of you, not all of you, but most who are posting bullsh:"t about his credentials even stepped on the floor to study the arts.

In the years of his training with the Wah Lum Pai System, not once did he incorporate it into his kempo. He did not teach it to his students as kempo or commercialize it for capital gain. I asked him one day why he did not teach what he had learned, he said out of respect for his teachers. He simply stated I loved the system and it's for me, my students are learning kempo karate. Kempo is for the public, he said, it's a wonderful self defense system. Wah lum is for myself because I chose to spend the 13 years to study it. I was authorized to teach it as well, but choose not to because I was not opening a Wah Lum Pai school.

After P. Chan moved to Florida, Steve Demasco decided to find another Kung Fu legend. The one he tried to obtain guidance from was Fu Jow Pai Grand Master Wai Hong, although his opportunity to train directly under him was not possible. He was shooed away while pushing the buzzer at the schools main entrance many times.

One day he saw a few instructors leaving from a back entrance. He tried to enter through. He then met his next instructor that he spent the next 12 years training privately with Master Tak Wah Eng. Although through Master Tak Wah Eng, Steve Demasco was able to eventually take private lessons with Grandmaster Wai Hong, at that time they were spaced out, most of his training came through Master Tak Wah Eng. Fu Jow Pai Southern Weapons as well as Hung Gar Northern Shaolin what ever Tak had to teach Demasco learned eventually Tak awarded him a title of Masters level 12 years later. In the year 2003, Steve again took more lessons in Fu Jow Pai from the Great Grandmaster Wai Hong in his apartment in Chinatown. I drove him there. Lets not forget that his trips with USSD to the temple were after he had already been awarded the title of honorable Master of the Shaolin Temple, this was bestowed upon him, I think in 1997 on his trip to China to meet the Abbot. He performed the Iron Wire form as taught to him by Sifu Tak Wah Eng. Why would Tak Wah Eng teach a form of that level to someone that he did not feel deserved it. Steve's performance was well excepted and then he was awarded the title of Ambassador of the Temple to the USA. Then came the USSD trip, the first trip was Steve by himself, no money, not all the students, I have it on tape. Later he felt so honored by the gesture that he felt the law of reciprocation was in order, so he told the Abbott about the success of his studios which at that time was only about 30 and did not include Matteras. They discussed a trip and the rest is history. As for the USSD - Demasco break up, it was not a break up on bad terms. I just got off the phone with GM Demasco and he told me that it is not a hostile break up, he has a great deal of respect for the organization. He stated that he and GM Mattera will always be great friends. This is not about friendship gone bad.

I hope and I am sure this will ruffle a lot of your feathers, but these are the facts like them or not . Do some research, call his school or get his number off his web site and give Grandmaster Demasco a call.

By the way, his kempo is awesome!

respectful hands
4u2nv

As for his knock out, that was after the bell rang, silly, that comment made even Demasco crack up for about 10 minutes of the phone this morning.

This is posted, not for the comments regarding the break up, but rather the possibility of where some of the Shaolin in SKK may have come from. Unfortunately this was well after the style of SKK was established by GM Fred Villari.
 

LawDog

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Fact, having been there then.
The Shaolin was placed into the system because of all the Kung Fu that was on TV and in the movies at that time.
If some of you remember,
*The Green Hornet,
*Bruce Lee, who was the Man back then,
*The Kung Fu series
There were many many more during this time period.
Many of the Kempo / Kenpo schools even adopted the Kung Fu uniform for their school.
All of this was used as a commercial draw and not because of someone's prior training. The original patches never even used the work "Shaolin", they just simply had "Kenpo" on them.

GM Cerio kept a harder power base for his own system while others slowly changed to a more flowery type of system.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the various Kung Fu systems. These systems, under a real Master, are very efficent.
 

Matt

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Here's a post from another forum ...



This is posted, not for the comments regarding the break up, but rather the possibility of where some of the Shaolin in SKK may have come from. Unfortunately this was well after the style of SKK was established by GM Fred Villari.

To touch on this and Lawdog's answer - as was explained to me by someone who was 'there back then' - the 'animal techniques' for example,are not imported shaolin, they are Kempo techniques that were adjusted to look more 'kung fu' and organized (in a clever way, don't get me wrong) to take advantage of the 70's Kung fu craze. I'm guessing that Lawdog can confirm that 'Animals' were added after he started.
 

14 Kempo

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... Unfortunately this was well after the style of SKK was established by GM Fred Villari.

To touch on this and Lawdog's answer - as was explained to me by someone who was 'there back then' - the 'animal techniques' for example,are not imported shaolin, they are Kempo techniques that were adjusted to look more 'kung fu' and organized (in a clever way, don't get me wrong) to take advantage of the 70's Kung fu craze. I'm guessing that Lawdog can confirm that 'Animals' were added after he started.

I'm not doubting that and not saying that the system was named "Shaolin" because of anything in the post, or for any other reason than pure business. In fact at the bottom of the posts it states that, or at least I felt it did. Just trying to point out that if it is a fact that GM Wai Hong has had an influence on some of the techiniques, then there may be some ties to Shaolin through him and Master Tak as well. I'm not claiming that personally, just pointing out the possibility. And even if it is fact, it was well after the style was labelled "Shaolin" and therefore had nothing to do with the naming.
 

Jdokan

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My understanding of the Shaolin insertion came from Fred's Wife side...Apparently, an in-law of some type....supposed to be valid master...wasn't rhere don't know....Lawdog you're an early member maybe you can offer your input....what I was told maybe just a story...

As for the animal techniques....I had a couple in my early training....them main push to intertwine them the material didn't occur (for me) until after my 3rd or 4th dan.....
 

savagek

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Hello all,

Father in Law

Had been told the same story in January of 1976


I trained at the Saugus MA. United Studioes of Self Defense

Be well and Gassho,

Ken
 

Matt

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I'm not doubting that and not saying that the system was named "Shaolin" because of anything in the post, or for any other reason than pure business. In fact at the bottom of the posts it states that, or at least I felt it did. Just trying to point out that if it is a fact that GM Wai Hong has had an influence on some of the techiniques, then there may be some ties to Shaolin through him and Master Tak as well. I'm not claiming that personally, just pointing out the possibility. And even if it is fact, it was well after the style was labelled "Shaolin" and therefore had nothing to do with the naming.

Right. I agree (I think). I think I may have misunderstood part of the statement.

To clarify(in my opinion)-
Named Shaolin Kempo for business reasons.
Some authentic 'Kung Fu' from some authentic sources, probably via Steve Demasco and others.
I was mentally separating 'kung fu' from 'Shaolin' (sort of like branding) which was why I think I was not quite getting your point.
The post indicated that Demasco did very little training with Wai Hong, with Tak Wah Eng providing most of the instruction.
That's what I've gotten out of this so far.

That's what I'm thinking. Hope I'm more clear now.
 

Danjo

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Here's a post from another forum ...



This is posted, not for the comments regarding the break up, but rather the possibility of where some of the Shaolin in SKK may have come from. Unfortunately this was well after the style of SKK was established by GM Fred Villari.

Yeah, I'm sure Demasco inserted stuff after he broke away from Villari, but basic SKK is what it is.
 
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Jonny Figgis

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Wow...that certainly got people talking!

I feel from reading this and reading other material from a variety of websites, that it should really be simply called 'Kempo' and left at that. Would anyone agree with this?

I can see from Mr. Bishop's website that the lineage goes back to Kajukenbo..so really it is an offshoot of that system which is made up of many different martial arts. I find the history very interesting and gives a deeper understanding to what one is studying.

Any more information or insights would be great. I'd love to hear more words from Mr. Bishop on this topic.

Many thanks and respect
 

LawDog

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Responding to Matt,
Yes you are correct, back then it was,
*Combinations, low number,
*Kenpos, limited number,
*Various weapons defense,
*Forms,
*Many drills,
*Sparring / fighting.
I did not learn the animal presets myself. I am guessing that they were modified Kenpos and other imported presets, probably way after the formation of FVSSD.
The USSD was what it was,
Early - fighting was the main focus, you were either tough or you were gone,
Later on - presets were the main focus.
"That was then and this is now".

p.s. Lawyers put an end to most of the real tough martial arts schools, not the systems or the individual schools.
 

almost a ghost

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p.s. Lawyers put an end to most of the real tough martial arts schools, not the systems or the individual schools.

I'd give them half the blame, the other half can be summed up by what my old Kempo instructor told me when he was talking about the harder training he went through in the days of yore (aka, early 1980's) "You don't keep students by sending them into work the next day with black eyes and split lips."
 

Danjo

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I'd give them half the blame, the other half can be summed up by what my old Kempo instructor told me when he was talking about the harder training he went through in the days of yore (aka, early 1980's) "You don't keep students by sending them into work the next day with black eyes and split lips."

That's the price of running a commercial school, i.e., where the instructor actually relies on the income from the school to make a living (rather than just some extra cash in his pocket.) Once that happens, you have to water it down to keep students like you say. Quantity replaces quality when you think of students, and since a very small amount of people want to bang hard in sparring and training in general, you water it down to keep the most people.
 

Sigung86

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Coming from the outside of SKK, but being around the arts back in the late 60s and early 70s, most everything the old timers are saying was true. I remember in San Antonio, Tx, studying with a gentleman named Dick Ranney. It was, to all intent and purpose, Traco Karate, which was to say in many ways, Tracy's.

When Kung Fu (David Carradine) came on the scene, we used to close down the school on Friday evenings, pull out the snacks and such and watch... Then we'd sit around till 10:00 pm discussing and making ourselves "deeper"... :mst:

Somehow, sorry I don't remember details after this time, Mr. Ranney hooked up with a fellow named L'iang Sang, or something similar while I was still there ... We just called him Fred. He was hawaiian, and had a Shaolin basedFamily system. We studied it with him, and learned quite a bit, but the material did not lend itself to being a part of the Kenpo Karat矇, and so, later, became fill in for the higher belts. The way it was in the old days in San Antonio Kenpo (probably due to all the then extent politics) was that there was really nothing, for whatever reason, after 3rd Dan... And so it was a matter of finding something else to go with.

Actually, after the Shaolin Kung Fu debacle, Sifu Ranney then ended up in Kajukembo under Don Nahoolewa, but by that time I was in Nam, and then on to a three year tour of England.

Sorry for the prattling, but thought to get in here and roil of the waters a little more, and try to get all this out before I go to that great Kenpo retirement home in the sky. :angel:

Sorry for any major interruptions, but it's fun to talk about the old days.
 

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