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Woody Sims Kajukenbo in Vallejo

Woody Sims Kajukenbo. Vallejo, CA

I worked on a mockup of a website for Woody Sims Kajukenbo all day yesterday.

When I was in junior high school in Springstowne with Tony P, Arnel, Marcelino and Rudy, Woody Sims was one of the baddest dudes in Vallejo.  All I knew was that he took kajukenbo and was one of the top fighters in the area.

For the uninitiated, kajukenbo came from Hawaii and was one of the first mixed martial arts, if not the first, in the United States.  Founded in 1947 in the Palama Settlement of Oahu, Hawaii, Kajukenbo's name came from the five founders/masters and their martial arts:

  • Ka - karate (Peter Young Yil Choo)
  • Ju - jujutsu (Frank F. Ordonez)
  • Ju - judo (Joseph Holck)
  • Ken - kenpo (Adriano Directo Emperado)
  • Bo - western & eastern boxing (Clarence Chang)
Woody Sims was maybe three years ahead of me in school. Arnel took kajukenbo with Emil Bautista.  All I heard was that Woody won at kumite (sparring) in tournaments.

When my dad finally tod me I could take martial arts in the summer of eight grade, my plan was to visit all the martial arts school in Vallejo: William Kim's Tae Kwon Do, West Wind Karate, and Kajukenbo.  I was saving the visit to Emil Bautista's Kajukenbo school for last since I was leaning that way.  I knew it was a mixed martial art and I heard that it bred tough fighters.  I was a big Bruce Lee fan of course, and the fact Kajukenbo had a kung fu influence drew me to it.

Unfortunately, I never got to visit the kajukenbo school (which was on Benicia Rd I think).  My dad and I visited West Wind on Tennessee St. first.  It was across Cine 3 movie theaters then.  When we toured the West Wind school, I was in awe.  As soon as I stepped in to the main floor of the dojo from the lobby, I felt like I was in Japan.  The sensei who toured us had a silk black gi with red lapels. It reminded me more of a kimono that a martial arts uniform.  Going up to the second floor, there was a smaller training room, surrounded by private rooms with the sliding doors, shōji, I really felt like I was in Japan.

At the end of the tour, I told my dad,"This is it.  I want to train here."  So my formal martial arts training started with West Wind Bok Fu.  They didn't let students under green belt spar, so I didn't stay there too long.  Too bad my dad had paid the year-long contract.

On hindsight though, I should've gone with my first instinct.  I should've trained at kajukenbo with the great fighters like Woody Sims.

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