A Brief Overview of Stanford Kenpo Karate

The Stanford Kenpo Karate Association (SKKA) has a long history of teaching and service to the community. From its inception in the late 1960‘s, the SKKA has been dedicated to preserving and promoting the ideals, practices, and spirit of Kenpo Karate. The SKKA style of Kenpo has evolved over the years to specifically meet the needs and requests of Stanford University and the Stanford community in general.

The club was founded in 1964 and quickly became the largest club sport at Stanford with membership frequently exceeding 200 per quarter. The club’s rich history and knowledge base has benefited from involvement of many different branches of Kenpo Karate. The first instructors were hired from Jim and Al Tracy’s Kenpo studio in San Jose. In 1965, the club became affiliated with the International Kenpo Karate Association and developed a close working relationship with Edmund K. Parker, due to the efforts of Mr. Pegelow. Since the early 80‘s, the instruction staff have been evolving the SKKA style of Kenpo to meet the needs of the Stanford community.

Community Service

Since 1998, the SKKA produces and sponsors an annual Women’s Self-Defense Workshop. This seminar is provided at limited cost to the community. It strives to provide participants with a framework to understand better ways for self-protection and defense. Participants have a chance to practice with others in a safe and supportive group environment.

Intro to Martial Arts Class

Until 2010, Stanford offered a course titled “Intro to Martial Arts,” which gave students a brief introduction to various martial arts. Stanford Kenpo taught a short unit for this course which included several of the beginner techniques.

Kenpo Karate Style

Kenpo karate is a martial art that teaches self-defense and self-control through three primary methods: self-defense techniques, forms/katas, and kumite/sparring. Self-defense techniques help students develop their skills by allowing them to practice with different threatening situations and experiment with what-if scenarios. Initially, forms and katas help students to develop mental concentration and mental discipline. As they progress, the forms and katas help them to develop self-awareness and self-expression. Kumite (also known as freestyle or sparring) is an exercise in which students test their skills, self-confidence, and self-control in a friendly competition among other classmates. It gives students the opportunity to develop their reflexes and timing in a controlled environment while engaging in a sport activity.

The Kenpo style strives to maintain a balance between its “martial” aspect and its “art” aspect. The “martial” aspect is expressed by effective efficient self-defense concepts and techniques. The “art” aspect is expressed by creativity, self-expression, and presentation of form.

The style of Kenpo taught at Stanford has been developed with influences, both direct and indirect, from many in the Kenpo community at large. Special citation is given here to individuals for their significant contributions to the evolution of Stanford Kenpo. (alphabetized, order does not imply importance):

  • Mr. Randolph John, for his years of service as a valued instructor.
  • Mr. Rod Martin, creator of the founding style which is the basis of Stanford Kenpo.
  • Mr. Duke Moore, for his contribution with Jujitsu.
  • Mr. George Pegelow, for his involvement in founding and formalizing the Stanford Kenpo club.
  • Mr. Kurt Schnoor, for his many years of service as Sensei (head instructor).
  • Mr. John Sepulveda, for his contribution with many of the advanced Kenpo forms.
  • Ms. Johanna Stiesmeyer, for her contribution with many of the advanced Kenpo and Chinese forms.