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Martial Arts in Pasadena, California

History of Martial Arts in Pasadena, California

Pasadena, California has approximately 23 square miles of land and about that many martial arts studios.  That is approximately one martial arts studio every square mile!!! There is a historical explanation for this.  After World War II—mid-to-late 40s, American Servicemen brought martial arts training from Japan to Hawaii and eventually to the mainland United States. There were four notable American-born founders of Karate Schools in the U.S.: Robert Trias (Phoenix, Arizona), Ed Parker (Pasadena, CA), George Mattson (Boston, Massachusetts), Peter Urban (Union City, New Jersey).

Grand Master Ed Parker opened the first commercial martial arts school in Pasadena, California—and some would argue that his flagship school was the first in the United States. Pasadena, California was thus established as the west coast hub where foreign-born martial arts masters emigrated from Asian countries and helped to popularize the art in the 1960s.  With the help of Hollywood and famous American Kenpo Karate practitioners,  such as Elvis Presley, karate and martial arts training came to represent skill, discipline, power and focus. Perhaps the most notable Hollywood martial artist was Bruce Lee, the Hong Kong-born master and founder of Jeet Kune Do.  Some would argue that he helped bridge the gap between the East and the West in his American Films.

Today, there are over 20 martial arts schools in Pasadena, California.  They represent the following arts:

  • American Kenpo Karate
  • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
  • Kung Fu
  • Muy Thai
  • Karate
  • Hapkido
  • Taekwondo
  • Krav Maga
  • Tang Su Do
  • MMA
  • Kickboxing
  • Judo
  • Fencing

All of these arts teach something unique and different from the other.  However, if you are interested in real-life and modern-day fighting, American Kenpo Karate is the only art that is mainly structured around self-defense techniques. We like to call it Scientific Street Fighting.  The art uses principles of physics and mathematics and applies them to plausible everyday combat situations. Despite the passing of Ed Parker approximately 3 decades ago, American Kenpo Karate has spread all over the world, with American Kenpo Karate schools represented on all continents in the world.