Isshin Kempo

Isshin Kempo is a hard/soft, ballistic and standing grappling fighting art founded in 1970 by William Scott Russell (1946-2000) at the pioneering Bank Street School (1962-1984) in Summit, New Jersey (see: The Isshin Kempo Way, Masters Magazine, 2013 Summer issue). The Bank Street Dojo was the birthplace of many significant, first generation, East coast martial art instructors.
W.S. Russell, Isshin Kempo founderAs a martial art fighting system, Isshin Kempo is an offshoot of Okinawan isshinryu with significant technical differences. It utilizes the full kata syllabus of isshinryu’s eight traditional forms with the addition of Rokkushu (Tensho), the San Chia kata, (an internal energy practice predating Sanchin), and the practice of the three foot staff (hanbo).

Isshin Kempo has been referred to as isshinryu’s ‘Internal sister’. (see: Isshin Kempo; Isshinryu’s Missing Link To The Internal, Journal of Asian Martial Arts,Vol. 10 #3, Aug. 2001). More controversial has been its title, ‘Rebel Isshinryu’ for its unique perspectives on traditional Okinawan kata and its application. (Rebel Isshinryu, Black Belt Magazine, June, 2007 issue. Interview w/ Goedecke on traditional kata practice).

Unlike Isshinryu, the Isshin kempo system offers it students extensive teaching in Chinkuchi techniques (Okinawan chi kung), the Current Isshin Kempo successor Christopher J Goedeckemanipulation of the body’s ‘biofield’ by means of specific body dynamics. These principles are woven into the bunkai of its kata. All kata are presented with three-tiers of interpretation; progressing from ballistic to standing grappling, to internal strength combat applications.

Its current successor, Christopher J. Goedecke (Buddhist; Hayashi Tomio) is a career martial arts teacher, and author with forty-five years experience. He brings to the Isshin Kempo system an equal emphasis on self-protective, therapeutic, and meditative practices. Most recent Isshin Kempo book; Internal Karate: Mind Matters and the Seven Gates of Power, Wind School, 2014.

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