James Mitose, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1916, being the descendant of a family originally from Kyushu, Japan. His ascendants learned several styles of Chuan Fa, originating in China around the year 1600.
Years of practice had modified those forms of struggle to turn into the art of Kosho-Ryu Kenpo. This knowledge passed from generation to generation and was hidden from those who do not belong to the Mitose Clan. Achieve mastery in the style of his ancestors, he organized the Defence Staff Official Club in Honolulu, with the idea to train Americans in the art of Kosho-Ryu Kenpo.
William Kwai Sun Chow, was born in Honolulu on June 3, 1914. Because of the fact that was the first son of a Chinese family, he would become the heir to the system of Chuan Fa of his father Hoon Chow. When Chow began teaching, in the early thirties, his classes were limited to a few chosen friends, since the rule was not to teach martial arts to westerners. His first school was under a fig tree in the courtyard of his house in Queen Street in Honolulu.
Although Chow was already an expert in Chuan Fa, when he met James Mitose in 1942, had the opportunity to expand their knowledge and together formed the "Self Defence Club".
Mitose was chosen by Chow and the other instructors to be the head of the Club. Worked together exchanging ideas and building techniques. Both learned a lot from each other until Mitose left Honolulu in 1953.
Chow called his system "Chinese Kenpo-Karate" to distinguish it from Mitose's system. Kosho Ryu had only circular motions and Chow introduced linear motions, incorporating new techniques with which experienced continuously, with emphasis on rapid chaining to vital areas of the body. The kicks were thrown low and simple and their hands were held together the body when they defended themselves. Chow turned the old Kenpo in a faster and dynamic system; thank to this, he acquired the nickname of "Lightning" because of his speed and ferocity in battle.
William Kwai Sun Chow never had a school outside of Hawaii. Even so, there are thousands of kenpoist around the world that can trace their roots to him.
He taught to students who later would become in founders of his own kenpo system. Adriano Emperado, founder of Kajukenbo, Ed Parker, kenpo instructor in America, and Ralph Castro, a Parker's disciple too, who developed Shaolin Kenpo.