William Kwai Sun Chow Biography
William K S Chow was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1914. He spent most of his life practicing and perfecting his martial arts; usually on the streets of Hawaii. He had the ability to remember every technique he had learned. William Chow was also known as “Thunderbolt” because of his incredible speed and power.
It has been said by many that besides his Kenpo training with James Mitose, he also trained in Kung-fu. But no one can seem to verify this. One thing to note, Kung-fu, as many of you may know, derives its self-defense techniques from its forms (kata). William Chow never taught any Kung-fu forms.
Mr. Chow, although promoted to Black Belt by Thomas Young, was one of James Mitose’s top students and a close friend. He left James Mitose in 1949, after becoming an instructor, and opened his own Kenpo school. It was William Chow who coined the term “Kenpo Karate” to distinguish his system from James Mitose’s Kenpo Jiu-jitsu, although both styles were the same. William Chow then took the title “Professor” and renamed his system Go-Shinjitsu. Some time before his death, Mr. Chow renamed his system “Chinese Kempo of Kara-Ho Karate.”
One of Mr. Chow’s students, Ed Parker, went on to bring Kenpo to the mainland and to become largest contributor to modern Kenpo and the martial arts in general.
William Chow died in Honolulu on Sept. 21, 1987.