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  To: The United States Kempo Team

2014 US Kempo Team Now Forming:  
for the 2013
World Kempo Championship Tournament 
in ancient and exotic
Budapest, Hungary, April 20-27, 2014.

More information to follow

To all interested people:

How to join the United States Kempo Team:
(open to all Kempo/Kenpo stylists, or those martial artists
who would like to fight under the Sport Kempo fighting rules)

Dear Prospective Kempo Team Member,


Dear Prospective US Kempo Team Member,                                  

 I hope this letter finds you well and in good health.  My name is Robert Zingg, from Ranson, West Virginia, where I own and operate a martial arts school dedicated to teaching the traditional arts of Kempo, Karate, and Ju-jutsu.  I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the International Kempo Federation (IKF), of which I am the Pan-American Director.  The IKF promotes all Kempo/Kenpo styles around the world through regional, National and International competitions. 

 I have the privilege of forming the next US Kempo Team for the 2013 World Kempo Championship (WKC) in ancient and exotic Antalya, Turkey. I have the honor of having been the US Kempo Team leader for the last six World Kempo Championships, in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and 2011, and 2012 (there was no tournament in 2010).  I also organized the “USA vs. Romania” Full-contact Exhibitions in April of 2006, held in Charles Town,West Virginia and Hagerstown, Maryland. 

I would like the opportunity to talk to you about you being a part of the 2013 US Kempo Team competing in Antalya, Turkey April 21-28, 2013 and the 2014 US Kempo Team, competing in Budapest, Hungary, April 20-27, 2014.  The main points of the IKF and WKC are outlined in the rest of this letter.  I hope you will take the time to read it and consider being a part of the 2012 US Kempo Team.  Please consider this letter as a personal invitation from me.

I am searching for individuals, dojos, small and large Kai and other organizations that may be interested in participating in this 2012 US Kempo Team.  The team is open to any Kempo/Kenpo student or instructor who may practice any form of Kempo/Kenpo.  Japanese, Chinese, Okinawan, Shorinji, American, Ed Parker Style, Jeff Speakman Kenpo 5.0, Kajukenbo, or any other system that has a Kempo or Kenpo base or derivative is welcome.  Since the IKF promotes all Kempo/Kenpo styles, everyone is welcome.  We are commited to forming a team with a cross-section of all styles of Kempo players across America, so the world can see the high quality of Kempo in the USA.

 As we now prepare for the 2012 WKC Tournament, which is less than 6 months away, we need a high quality team in preparation for the excellent quality of our European, Asian, and African competitors.

      There are several categories in which players may compete: Full-contact and Semi-contact Fighting, Forms, Weapon forms, Empty-hand Self-defense, Weapon Self-defense, and Weapon fighting. The tournament is a Black Belt only competition; however, anyone can compete as long as they realize there is only one rank division.  There is no separation of rank in the tournament, only by age and gender.  However, several of my blue and green belts won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place medals in the WKC in 2005 and 2008, and one of my teen white belts won three Bronze medals is 2008.  It is not about rank, only skill.

There are 5 types of fighting divisions, each with thier own rules and styles of fighting: (the full set of rules may be obtained by visiting the IKF website:  www.ikfkempo.com)

  • Semi-contact Kempo, light, touch-point fighting, similar to tournaments in the States, but perhaps a bit more contact, 8-10 oz boxing gloves. 
  • Full-contact Mixed Kempo, full-contact kickboxing with 8-10 oz boxing gloves and light grappling; throws, takedowns allowed. Punches and round style kicks to the head, all kicks to the body, knees strikes and elbows to the body are allowed during a clinch, and leg kicks are allowed. No elbows or knees to the head.
  • Knockdown Kempo, this is bare-knuckle full contact fighting, without gloves (grappling gloves are sometimes allowed depending on jurisdiction). Kicking to the head is allowed using only round style kicks (no front kicks or side kicks to the head); no striking to the face with the hand, fist, elbow, or knee. Knees and elbows are allowed to the body, throws, takedowns and full grappling allowed as well as ground fighting (punches, elbows and knees to the body while maintaining 3 points of contact with the floor while your opponent is also on the floor. All judo/ju-jutsu style throws and locks allowed.
  • K-1 Kempo, full-contact, stand-up only kickboxing, leg kicks allowed, 8-10 oz boxing gloves, no grappling,.
  • Submission Kempo, a grappling only style of fighting where the object is to submit your opponent with chokes, locks, holds, and strangles. No striking.


Weight classes are divided every 5 kg. (ex: -55 kg, -60 kg, -65kg, ect.. to +95kg,  Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2; 175 lbs = 79.55 kg or -80 kg category) 
The weight classes are critical for keeping fighters matched up as equally as possible.  From about 50 kg to 95 and over kg.
Age divisions are as follows: Male and Female fighters are separated.
        10 & 11 year olds  (called World Cup Championships for under 16 years old)
        12 & 13 year olds  (called World Cup Championships for under 16 years old)
        14 & 15 year olds  (called World Cup Championships for under 16 years old)
        16 and 17 year olds
        18 – 19 year olds
        20 - 35 year olds
        36 and over Masters

We are allowed 2 fighters in each weight class/age class/type of fighting category, occasionally they allow a 3rd fighter from each country in each division so there are plenty of opportunities for members to participate.  The younger fighters, under 14, are only allowed to do the semi-contact.  Full-contact and knockdown are reserved for the older teenagers and the adults. 

 There are also other divisions: same age divisions as the fighting.  We are allowed 3 players per age/gender category.

Traditional Kata – Male and Female, Synchronised 3 person Kata; Male, Female, Mixed, and Open     Traditional Weapon Kata – Male and Female, Synchronised 3 person Weapon Kata; Male, Female, Mixed, and Open

Self-defense Division
, (both Empty Hand and Weapon divisions) 
  •   i.      Small Team, Small Team is 1 defender against 1 attacker.
  •   ii.      Large Team. Large Team is 1 defender against 3 attackers.  The “Team” must perform - 4 - “self-defense” scenarios that are similar in nature to one-steps.  They are looking for stuff that are “street fight” movements and ideas presented in a realistic but formalized manner.  The “Team” presents the scenario in slow motion, then at full-speed.  One routine after the other, first slow, then fast.  Time limit is 3-4 minutes.  It is very exciting and interesting to watch
    There is also a “Full-Contact Weapons Fighting” division using padded weapons of various kinds against each other. It is very fun and exciting to watch and participate in.

     All in all, it looks as though the 2012 WKC tournament will be a very grand affair and will be the largest tournament to date.  I am confident we can put together a US Team of 50 - 100 or more competitors. In the preveous World Championships the other countries of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, have usually brought very large teams, with Romania, Hungary, France, Russia, Algeria, Azerbijian, and The Netherlands being the largest. In contrast, the US Kempo Team has been fairly small, with 11 competitors in our first entry into the competition in 2003.  In 2005 we had 7 competitiors, and in 2007 we were only able to bring 4 members due to injuries and travel complications.  In 2008 we had 6 mermbers and in 2009 we brought 8 members, and unfortunately due to the unstable US economy in 2011 in St. Petersburg, Russia, and last year, 2012, in Antalya, Turkey, the US Team was composed of onely one member, the Team Leader robert Zingg, yes, thats right - me! (however I still earned 1 Gold, 3 Silvers, and 6Bronze medals at those two events).

    Previous Team Wins:

    • Originally the WKC was held every 2 years, starting in 2003 in Bucharest, Romania.  With just 11 members the US Team managed to win 3 Gold, 2 Silver amd 16 Bronze medals to take the 3rd place Overall Team Cup, only Romania with 114 members, and Hungary with 55 members scored higher.
    • In 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland, the US Team had 7 team members and won 7 Gold, 7 Silver, and 2 Bronze medals.
    • In 2007 at the WKC in Budapest, Hungary, we had our smallest team, due to injuries and traveling complications, and were only able to produce a team of 4 members.  However, even with such a small team we won 5 gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze medals. 
    • Starting in 2008, due to the extreme popularity of Kempo/Kenpo worldwide, the WKC is now held every year,  This time in Faro, Portugal, the tiny US Team had only 6 members.  However, despite our small numbers we came away with 8 Gold, 6 Silver, and 12 Bronze medals, and again won the 3rd Place Overall Team Cup.  We also won the 3rd Place Overall Traditional Events Team Cup, with Bulgaria taking 2nd and Romania taking 1st place.  We placed 5th in the Overall Fighting Events Team Cup, behind Portugal and Algeria who tied for 4th place, France took 3rd, Romania 2nd place and Russia won top honors in 1st place. When the Traditional and Fighting Event scores were added together the US Kempo Team won 3rd Place Overall Team Cup.  Not bad for only 6 members.
    • In 2009 the WKC returned to Bucharest, Romania, and the US Team arrived with 8 team members.  With the addition of Master Jeff Speakman as the newly elected President of the IKF, the US Team had two of Mr. Speakmans top black belts add their skill and experience to the team. The US Team managed to win   7 Gold, 8 Silver and 12 Bronze medals, and uping the score by winning the 2nd Place Overall Team Cup and the 3rd Place Overall Traditional Events Team Cup.
              We need coaches and trainers to assist the athletes, photographers and videographers to record our work.  So this is a large endeavor that will need a lot of coordination between the various Kempo schools, groups, organizations and associations that will be affiliated. 

              The 2007 World Kempo Championship was held in
    Budapest, Hungary in May 2007 and had 483 competitors from 28 countries.  The 2008 WKC in Faro, Portugal had over 500 participants, and the 2009 tournament had over 600 competitors.  Consistently, the Romanian and Hungarian teams have 50 to 75 competitors or more each.  In 2003 the Romanian Team was 114 strong, since it was held in Romania that seems logical. The 2007 WKC was held in Hungary and the Hungarian Team had almost 100 members and the Romanians were close behind with 75 members.


               Everyone who has been associated with the US Team in the past World Championships has paid their own way and expenses to the competitions. Some of the teams from other countries are sponsored by their governments or receive compensation from their national sports authorities.  The US Kempo Team does not enjoy this help and all members have done a tremendous job of raising the money for their own expences.  We are hoping to reduce or eliminate this issue for future events by gaining regional and national sponsorships.  We hope everyone will be working to help raise sponsorships for themselves  individually, and the team as a whole. With our strong showing from previous years World Championships we are confident we will be able to obtain much needed sponsorships to help defray the costs of travel. This will enable us to have a formidible 2013 and 2014 US Kempo Team with over 100 US Team Members.

    The USA needs to really take charge of the competition in a big way in order for us to be able to host a future World Kempo Championship tournament here in the States. Ideas for fundraisers and other programs will be greatly appreciated.  I am sure if we all contribute to the effort, the entire Team will have no problem with expenses.  With your help I know we can form a US Team that will let the world know that the USA is a real powerhouse in Kempo/Kenpo.

    The US Kempo Team has applied for 501c3 Non-Profit Corporate status.  When it is approved all donations and contributuions will be fully tax deductable.  We are currently working on sponsorships locally and nationally to help defray the costs of the travel cost associated with the WKC 2013.  Airfare, hotel, food, misc. travel, etc, are all being factored into the equation. The folks I have contacted already have expressed great interest in the project.  I hope to hear back from you soon.  You may call me at the dojo anytime between 3:30 pm and 9pm EST Monday through Friday at 304-725-3639, or on my cell phone 304-261-0160, or at home 304-728-7216.  Feel free to give my phone numbers out to others who you feel would be interested and to make copies of the rules for whom ever needs them.  My email and regular dojo mailing address is listed below, so please feel free to contact me for any reason. 


    Thank you.



    Robert E. Zingg

    Zingg’s Karate Center 
                111 West Second Avenue, Suite B,
                Ranson, West Virginia 25438   USA

    Team Leader of the US Kempo Team

    The International Kempo Federation - Pan-American Director

                The American Kempo-Karate Association – Director of Foreign RelationsZingg's Karate Center
    The American Kempo-Karate Association, Office of International Relations and Communications
    The International Kempo Federation, Pan-American director
    The Dai Nippon Butoku Kai  - Certified Member
    111 West Second Avenue, Suite B, Ranson, West Virginia 25438   USA
    Phone: 304-725-3639     email: rzingg@email.com
    website: www.uskempoteam.org
    website: www.zinggskarate.cmasdirect.com