The History of American Kenpo
American Kenpo was created by Ed Parker, and is mainly a self-defense combat system, though the history of this modern combat began in 1933 on the Hawaiian islands. Kenpo was taught by Thomas Miyashiro, who was living in Hawaii at the time and opened the first public Kenpo dojo there.
James Mitose, another Kenpo master, began teaching Kenpo in his garage out of fear he may lose his income after his employees went on strike in 1942. His students, Thomas Young and William Chow, toured Hawaii to spread their knowledge of the form of martial arts. William Chow eventually went on to teach Kenpo at a YMCA facility, and one of his students was Ed Parker.
Ed Parker actually started his martial arts training in Judo, moving on to boxing and then Kenpo Karate. After he moved to California, he began cross-referencing several styles of martial arts, even hosting his own martial arts tournament called the Long Beach Internationals. He improved his system after analyzing styles at this tournament, and eventually founded his own Kenpo association where he taught American Kenpo. After some time, he moved away from the recognizable martial arts to work in modern fighting styles.