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Brief History of "Li Quan Shaolin Kempo"

Our style, Li Quan Shaolin Kempo was recognized in February 2010 as a combined art that has derived over a period of at least 600 years with techniques influenced by Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Okinawan styles. Li is the family surname, Quan represents the punch art. Shaolin means "Young Forest Method" and Kempo means "Fist Method". The name Li Quan (Chuan) was given to Sifu Chris Redmond on his trip to China in 2006 by the local students. Sifu Chris has spent the last 30yrs studying different styles of Karate, Kung Fu, JuJitsu, and Wrestling to create a style that has a rich history and a diverse background.

The Art descends, as many Asian arts do, from the Shaolin temple, or more accurately, one of the Shaolin temples. I have been able to trace my master-to-headmaster origin back to the late 1300's. Our style was originally called "pa ming ch'uan" which means eight ram's head fist, a specific combination of the five animal styles leopard, tiger, crane, dragon, and snake which the Shaolin is famous. Its specific headmaster can be traced with certainty only as far back as 1679 to Honan Province and a man named Yong Ho CHIN. (The surnames are placed last and capitalized in the European style to avoid confusion). Master CHIN is considered the modern founder of the style which was then called Shaolin-szu tang-su-dao pa ming ch'uan. He passed away in 1751 handing the leadership to his son Lee Ho CHIN, who resided in Chekiang Province.

From three centuries in China, the leadership passed to one of Master CHIN's students, a Korean named Lee Chi KOOH (pronounced Wang). This headmaster settled in Ingei City, central Korea and mixed his art with his native tae kyon. There, the art was called "so rim sa churl kwon do tang soo do", substituting "churl kwon" (iron fist) for the ram's head. Next in succession was his son Kin Chi KOOH of Yong Dong Po, Korea. Master KOOH had studied Korean arts and in his later years traveled to Japan for cancer treatment. It was there, in Mishima-shi, Shizuoka-ken, where Master KOOH met an American serviceman who already had an extensive martial arts background, Dr. Albert Curtis Church, Jr.

Master Church had studied daito-ryu aiki-jujitsu as a boy under Sagaru Yokohto, who was a student of Sokaku Takeda, and motubu ha shito-ryu under both Siyogo Kuniba and Teruo Hayashi to the level of 5th Dan. In 1967, his former instructor of the now shorinji-tetsu-kempo, Master Kin Chi KOOH, called Master Church back to Japan since he knew that he was dying. With the presentation of a 30-foot-long scroll of successorship, Master KOOH passed the nearly 600-year-old style on to Dr. Church. Master Church then remained in Japan for two years studying soke Kuniba's personal styles of iaido, judo and jujitsu as well as hakko-ryu jujitsu under founder Ryuno Okuyama. At that time Master Church was also appointed Shihan "Master" in motobu ha shitoh-ryu by Shihan Hayashi. With soke Kuniba's review of the scroll of succession and his sponsorship to Japanese martial arts authorities, Master Church's newly acquired style was renamed in Japan as an art of Chinese-Korean-Japanese origin and was renamed kamishin-ryu "Godly Heart Style". The title was of course quite applicable since not only was it derived from the wording in the scroll, but it also reflected Master Church's name and the fact that he had a doctorate in theology.

The Japanese martial arts authorities had chartered the "new" old style with the provision that it be taught in ryugi for 10 years in order to develop its components in greater depth. In 1978, the style officially came together again and Master Church began to teach the composite form originally known as in Japanese translation shorinji-tetsu-kempo ("Young Forest Temple Iron Hand Fist Method").

"The previous history was taken from Shihan Tony Annesi. Shihan Annesi was also a student of Master Church and served as Soke-dai of Kamishin-ryu from 1984 to 1989. Shihan Annesi was given access to kai files and Shihan Church's notes." Also, to verify the accuracy of our history, I compared the information with a handwritten letter from Master Church to our current Grandmaster John Stover from 1971.

Grandmaster Church, who passed away in 1980, was the direct instructor of my Grandmaster, John M. Stover who opened Stover's Martial Arts Academy in Wilmington, NC in 1970. Shihan Stover is the President/Director of the Shaolin Kempo Karate Federation, International and Director of the International Wu Shu Society of Wilmington NC. In 1975, after establishing the International Wu Shu Society Grandmaster John Stover created "Su Lum Fa" Kung-Fu. The Su Lum Fa system was developed from the influence of Li Ki Kung-Fu, Chun Li Kung-Fu, Shaolin Kung-Fu, and Fu Jowel Pai Kung-Fu.

As for my experience, I began training with Stover's Martial Arts Academy in the fall of 1980. As a young teenager, I did not value the importance of the organized and traditional art and only trained for about a year and a half. After several years of kickboxing, working out on my own and wrestling in high School I rejoined Stover's Martial Art Academy in 1992. In 1994, Kim Crisp, a blackblet under Grandmaster Stover opened his own school and I continued to train with Sifu Kim Crisp. I have also trained with Renzo Gracie, Bill Wallace, Willie "Bam" Johnson, Joe Lewis, and a few other less known martial artist from around the United States. I feel that we can all learn something from different styles and techniques.

On Feb 1st, 2008 and after 2 years of prayer, my wife Carol and I started the After School Karate Academy, a division of Carolina Martial Arts. It is our desire to help parents teach children Respect, Integrity, and Focus through small group Martial Art instruction. We offer area school pickup so parents will know that their children are in a safe environment where respect is taught and bullying is not tolerated. According to a recent Statewide School Survey, 70% of Middle School Students were exposed to Bullying. We help students learn how to deal with bullies in a positive way.

On Feb 1st, 2009 after one year of operating the After School Karate Academy, we had a waiting list of parents/students! The Lord has Blessed our business and we look forward to seeing our students grow physically and mentally. We have been very fortunate to have parents that are very involved with their children and they reinforce the same behaviors that we strive to maintain. I look forward to seeing our students excel in school, other organized sports, and in social interactions. If you have an interest in our After School Program, please call me to set up a time that you and your son/daughter can come by for a visit. Due to the high interest in our program, we never require a contract......just a monthly commitment. I look forward to hearing from you.

The previous web site was created by Sifu Chris Redmond.


Martial Art Links

After School Program. Free after school pickup at area schools. Call 264-7385 for more details and/or click on this After School Karate Academy link .

After School and Summer Camp Program Photo Album. Click Here.

Yellow Belt/Sash Requirements: Click Here

Orange Belt/Sash Requirements: Click Here

Soke Ron Cherry's American Kempo Karate
Chief Instructor for Master Church from 1975 to 1980
Shihan Tony Annesi's Home Page
Soke-Dai of Kamishin-ryu from 1984 to 1989
Sijo Joe Martin's Esoma Style
"Esoma" Created by Sijo Martin, recognized by Shihan Stover
Century Martial Arts Online
"For all of your Martial Art Equipment"

Pledge of The Iron Fist Way. MASTER CHURCH SCROLL

Hereis a photo of Soke/Shihan Stover with Sanchez receiving Grandmaster of the Year award.

Sifu Chris Redmond

(5th Degree Black Belt: LiQuan Shaolin Kempo)

(5th Degree Black Sash: SuLumFa Kung Fu) or
After School Karate Academy & Carolina Martial Arts

4837 Carolina Bch Rd, Suite 111
Wilmington, NC 28412