From left to right:  Junior Black Belt T. Tiwanak, Instructor "Ma" Apa, Chief  P. Caluyo, Professor M. Tiwanak, Asst. Professor S. Espaniola, Instructor J. Domingcil, Instructor R. Balidoy.


It is commonly stated in martial arts that Professor Marino Tiwanak was the first black belt from the Kajukenbo system, however, I think some points have to be cleared up.  When Professor Tiwanak retired from Professional boxing in 1947, he began training in the art of Kenpo under Adriano Emperado and his brother Joe Emperado.

Professor Tiwanak stated that others who later joined the class were Bob Gohea, Walter Lee, Vernon Chong, Ben Lau, Herbert Kanahele, and Dan Taba.  Professor Tiwanak stated that there was also an eighth member but could not recall his first name, he did remember his last name to be Hanohano.

During this era of training, which took place before Palama Gym, Professor Tiwanak stated that they went by the name "Kenpo Karate".  Later when they moved to Kalihi and started training at Palama Gym, they were joined by Woodrow McCandless who was already a black belt instructor under James Mitose, and running his own class.  Woodrow McCandless later merged his class with the Emperado group under the "Kenpo Karate" banner.

Tiwanak then went on to earn his black belt.  Tiwanak stated that when he received his black belt, it had taken him eight years of training to achieve this rank, however, he had earned his black belt under the "Kenpo Karate" banner, because the term Kajukenbo did not yet exist.  It was not until Professor Tiwanak left Palama Gym to start the first C.H.A.3 school in 1956, did he hear the term Kajukenbo being used by Emperado.  

Professor Tiwanak maintained that when he had received his black belt from Emperado, there was no Kajukenbo in existence.  He also stated that his C.H.A.3 Association has never been a member of, or linked to the Kajukenbo Association!  He stated that he always will respect and credit Adriano Emperado as being his instructor, but was never a member of the Kajukenbo.

Professor Tiwanak also wished to express the fact that besides Adriano Emperado, Joe Emperado and Woodrow McCandless were also his instructors.  Professor Tiwanak stated that when he was a student, all beginners wore white gi's, and he did not know in what year, or why the Emperado group changed to all black gi's.  Professor Tiwanak also stated that the design of the three leaf clover that is the Kajukenbo trademark, was designed by old time Kajukenbo member Joe Halbuna of San Francisco.

Professor Tiwanak added some trivia by saying that the first "Kajukenbo" tournament was held in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1968 at the old H.I.C. (Hawaii International Center) Arena, which has since been renamed the Neal Blaisdell Arena.  Professor Marino Tiwanak also stated that some senior Kajukenbo members actually started training under the C.H.A.3 System before leaving and joining Kajukenbo.  Those he had mentioned were:  Marce Totor, Jaime Basquez, John Leone, and Alan Abad.

Professor Tiwanak stated that his main reason for leaving Palama Gym and starting the C.H.A.3 schools were the deaths of Woodrow McCandless, and later Joe Emperado.

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