It is said that Kenpo Karate dates back as far as 520 BC when a prince and warrior of southern India, traveled to China to teach the dicipline of Zen. At Shaolin Temple, he developed a series of exercises designed to improve the health of the monks. Over time, these techniques developed into a defense art called Chuan Fa, or Fist Method, and gradually the teachings made their way to Kyushu, Japan where the art developed further and came to be called Kenpo, or Way of the Fist.
In 1916, five-year-old James Mitose was sent to Kyushu from his homeland in Hawai for schooling in Kempo. After completing his training in Japan, he returned to Hawaii and in 1936 opened the “Official Self-Defense” in Honolulu where he taught William (Thunderbolt) Chow. It was Chow who would eventually earn professorship, becoming the founder of the modern day Kenpo System. He would eventually teach 21-year-old Ralph Castro in Honolulu.
In 1958, Ralph Castro moved to San Fransisco, California and with the support of friends and family launched his own school of Kenpo Karate, teaching the forms and styles he learned under Chow. He studied, and taught, and developed as a leading martial artist in the United States. During a 1970s visit to Hawaii, Professor William Chow bestowed Grandmastership upon Ralph Castro, and in 1981, formally sanctioned Shaolin Kenpo Karate as developed by Ralph Castro.
Today, Ralph Castro has trained hundreds of Black Belts in Shaolin Kenpo Karate. It has developed into one of the most popular martial art forms on the West Coast and has made its way to the Midwest through Sibok Dave Meyer, 5th Degree Black Belt. Sibok Meyer opened Running Tiger Shaolin Kenpo in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2000.
In 2003, Great Grandmaster Castro formally awarded David Meyer the dance, Running Tiger. The Running Tiger patch not only represents Sibok Meyer's practice, and his key dance, it represents the school's lineage. The fist, characterized as mountains, is Great Grandmaster’s logo and also represents his dance, Mountain Meets River. The lightening bolt represents Great Great Grandmaster, William Kwai Sun “Thunderbolt” Chow and the eagle represents Sibok Joseph Chacon, Eagle Talon.