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Call Us Today!
(888) 979-2816
Call Us Today!
(888) 979-2816


At the International Self Defense Institute, we teach Shaolin Kempo combined with Shotokan karate. Each of these systems offers different aspects of self-defense, which allows each person to develop the skills of the softer Kung fu style and the direct power of the karate systems. By developing these different skills, you will be able to defend yourself from larger attackers, and learn to use what best suits your physical abilities to control whatever situations you may be in.
The system of Shaolin Kempo has a long history rooted in the Chinese systems of Shaolin Kung fu and Kempo karate. Shaolin Kung fu originated in seventh-century China. Bodhidharma brought the art of yoga and Indian boxing to the Chinese monasteries and these physical disciplines became part of the Buddhist's religious life.
The Shaolin monks developed the movements into a fighting art, which was practiced every day. Because the monks became so good at their discipline, they were asked many times to do missions for the emperor, which led to a reputation for their incredible skills. Though they developed their skills to an unbelievable level, they maintained their beliefs of peace and harmony above all else. They would only fight to protect their emperor or if their lives were endangered.
Kempo karate was a Chinese form of boxing brought to Okinawa in the late fourteenth century. The Chinese immigrants taught their art to the Japanese as the government banned all weapons. The art of Kempo karate, as well as many other styles of weaponless self-defense, spread fast.
In 1916, James Mitose, a Japanese-American, was born in Hawaii. He went to Japan at the age of five and studied Kosho-Ryu Kempo, a system of martial arts taken directly from Shaolin Kung fu. In 1936, he went back to Hawaii and in 1942 opened a karate school in Honolulu. This was the beginning of Shaolin Kempo as we teach it in America.
Shotokan karate was developed by Gichin Funakoshi in the late nineteenth century in Okinawa. Martial arts had not been called "karate" until Funakoshi developed his system. Karate actually means "empty hand". It is the art of fighting without weapons and requires much physical and mental discipline. He had a very well defined philosophy on martial arts emphasizing that karate is a way of life, not a means of causing injury or pain to others, and physical training is for personal development in all aspects of living.
We learn martial arts, whatever the system may be, to develop the physical skills like coordination, speed and strength, and the mental discipline to make correct choices, control our actions, and learn to understand others and ourselves.  By developing these skills, we can make the choices that will make our lives happy and successful. 

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International Self Defense Institute
98 West 42nd Avenue
San Mateo, CA 94403
Toll-Free: 800-KUNG-FU8 (586-4388)
Business: (888) 979-2816

Business Hours

Mon - Fri: 03:00 PM - 09:00 PM
Sat: 09:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sun: Closed
Appointments Available
Open 7 Days a Week

Payment Options

In Business Since 1991