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The first Shaolin Temple was built in the year 495 AD. It was founded by Buddhist Monks. The reason the monks created the Shaolin Martial Arts was to defend themselves against bandits and invaders. The monks observed and studied animal and insect life. They created a method of self defense based on their observations. By a daily routine of exercise and training, the Shaolin Monks gained many health benefits along with becoming fierce fighters.
The five animals of Shaolin Kempo Karate are the Tiger, Leopard, Crane, Snake, and Dragon. They represent various mentalities.
Kempo Karate was brought to the United States by James Mitose, a direct descendent of the Shaolin Temple. The Symbol of Kempo is the Kosho Family Crest. The Crest contains an octagon which symbolizes the eight directions of fighting. The circle stands for the completeness of our art. The Three Hands represent the foundation of the Kempo:
The Three Branches are: