Bio of Kenneth H Melbourne
Founder of Kempo-jitsu
Ken grew up on a farm in Hope Valley, Rhode Island. In 1967 he joined the Marines and began his study of the Fighting Arts. While with the USMC, he studied Combat Fighting, Weapons Combat, Infantry Training, Basic Specialist Training, and Jungle Guerrilla Warfare Training. He then got his chance to evaluate this training as he was sent to combat in Viet Nam.
Upon returning, he stopped over in Okinawa and witnessed Okinawian Shorin-ryu Karate. He made up his mind that he would study this art when he returned home to the States. In 1972 he began his study of Shorin-ryu and then, in 1976, he met and began studying with Sensei Mario Yambao. Sensei Yambao had won the Bronze Medal at the Japan World Tournament and had just arrived from the Phillipines. Ken studied with Mario for fifteen years and
earned Sandan (3rd Degree Black Belt) in Okinawian Shorin-ryu.
During this time, Ken also studied Judo, Ju-jitsu, Taiho-jitsu, and Chinese Shaolin Chin-na. It was at this time that he started to disect the Shorin-ryu kata (forms) and return the techniques to thier Pre 1900 meanings following the principles of Shaolin Chin-na. The ancient art of Chin-na had five sections: Muscle Manipulation, Bone Dislocation, Circulatory Disruption, Breath Disruption, and Pressure Point Attacks. The Pre 1900 was reborn and Ken called it Kempo-jitsu, meaning "Chinese/Okinawian Truth". Ken was to bring the old martial art to the attention of sport martial artists through out America. Most students of "Sports Martial Arts" believe they are studying the "Old Arts" , but are in fact practicing the art developed between 1900 and 1940 for Okinawian school children.
Ken made it a point to meet and listen to many Grandmasters of other arts through the years. Amoung these are: Grand Master Winchell P C Woo of the Hung Gar Fu Hok (Hung Family Tiger/Crane) who taught Ken many secrets of Chin-na
O Sensei Phillip S Porter the American Judo Legend under who Ken won his 5th Dan in Judo
Grand Master of ITJF Taiho-jitsu Bernard "Gil" Gilbert who is an expert in Vital Point Attacks and Restraining Techniques
Grandmaster of American Taiho-jitsu Alan Cunningham who excels in Law Enforcement techniques and Short Stick
Master 6th Degree James Byersdorf who spent many years teaching Judo and Ju-jitsu at the MACKO Headquaters before moving to Vermont
Grandmaster Kenneth Miarecki who presently works on Judo and Sen-i Ryu Budo with Ken at MACKO Headquarters.
Ken also has a large library of books and vidoes relating to all styles and schools of Martial Arts. One book in particular whic fascinated Ken was on the Chinese "internal" styles of Tai Chi, Pakua, and Hsing I by Dr. Yang Jing Ming. Through great good fortune, Ken met and became friends with Sifu James Leach, one of Dr Yang's top instructors. They often talk over and exchange ideas on the principles of Dr Yang and Jim once said to Ken, "We are going to the same mountain, we are just on different paths". In 1998, Ken was formally recognized as 9th Dan Founder and Grandmaster of Kempo-jitsu at Professor Edward Brown's "Martial Arts Founders, Legends, & Pioneers Hall of Fame" in Norwalk, Ct. Eight members of the Hall of Fame (seven of which were 10th Dan Grandmasters) signed his certificate. Other instructors who have worked with and helped Ken on his search for the "Old Arts" are:
10th Dan John Wooten, V-jitsu Ju-jitsu, known as the "World's Strongest Man"
7th Dan Joseph Slaiman of Hapkido, Tae Kwon Do, and Hanpul fame
8th Dan Louis Perriello head of Northeast Aikikai, the oldest Aikido School in New England
8th Dan James Carey who is the Maine State Self Defense Champion and a valued friend
7th Dan Roger Perreault, Sen-i Ryu Budo, formally All Asian Marine Corp Middle Weight Boxing Champion.
Ken now lives with his wife, Judy and has four grown children and five grand childre. He teaches 6 days a week at the MACKO Headquaters located upon the hill behind his house in Ashaway, Rhode Island.
Ken,on left, during his Vietman tour of duty.
Article on Ken's kids classes.
Ken's instructor, Mario Yambo, executing Jump Side Kick. Ken holds the boards.
Ken's turn to perform a Jump kick with Mario holding boards.
(CLick on images to ENLARGE)
In February of 2003,
Ken was asked to join the International Grandmasters Council which is recognized by the Soke Council in Japan.
This group is comprised of the Headmasters of different Martial Arts Systems Worldwide.