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Kojosho History

Early History
Kojosho is one of many systems said to derive from the Southern Shaolin that traces its lineage back to Hua-T'o, the Chinese philosopher and physician. Hua-T'o lived in the third century and is the person generally credited with the creation of a series of exercises based on the movements of animals. The Shaolin monks worked Hua-To's original animal movements, added more animal and element movements and created the Eighteen Postures. The Eighteen Postures were said to be both a means of physical culture and an effective fighting art – a combination of health benefits and self-defense applications in the same exercise.

Modern History  View Lineage Charts )
Kojosho works a series of exercises also named the Eighteen Postures. Oral Kojosho tradition maintains that the Eighteen Postures of Kojosho are derived from the Eighteen postures of the Shaolin as taught at the Cai Ji Quan (Kojo Family Dojo) in the port city of Fuzhou, Fukien Province China.

The Kojosho System has long maintained the truth of this story even when little evidence existed to support its Shaolin claim and some even disputed the existence of a Kojo family. However, during the last few years, more and more evidence has appeared that supports the historical accuracy of the Kojosho story.

Recent evidence clearly shows that the Kojo family was in fact one of the most prominent martial arts families in Okinawa and was descended from one of the Chinese Thirty-six Families that settled at Kume, Okinawa in 1392. Over the years, the Kojo Family had a long-standing relationship with the city of Fuzhou, China. The Kojos regularly traveled back and forth between China and Okinawa.

In March 1897, three people left Okinawa for China. Two of those men were Tokusaburo Matsuda and Kanbum Uechi, who left to escape the draft. The Kojosho System believes the name of the third person was Kosaburo Matsuda, a relative and namesake of Tokusaburo Matsuda. The Kojosho System believes that Kosaburo Matsuda (Matsu) studied Shaolin boxing at the Kojo dojo with both Kaho Kojo and later with Tokusaburo Matsuda.

Oral Kojosho tradition tells the following story about Kosaburo Matsu. Kosaburo Matsuda (Matsu) was born in the hamlet of Hanachi on the Motobu Peninsula of Okinawa in 1881. He apprenticed as a seaman at a very early age. In 1897, he traveled to China where he studied Kempo with Kaho Kojo in Fuzhou and learned the Eighteen Postures. The long sea voyages from the port city of Fuzhou provided the opportunity to practice his Kempo. Following his stay in China, he briefly returned to Okinawa in 1905 and then left for Hawaii.

In Hawaii, Matsuda’s temporary papers are issued in the name of Kosaburo Matsu and Honolulu became his home. Some years later a group of military people stationed at Wheeler Field approached Matsu for instruction.

One of Matsu’s first students, Joseph (Jack) Gorick, came to Hawaii in the early 1930's as part of the Pan American Airlines trans-pacific flight team. He studied Karate under Koja Shoi, Kempo under Kusaburo Matsu and Jujitsu with Paul Kaelemakule. In his travels within the aviation industry he taught a few select students at March Air Force Base (Riverside, California), Walker Air Force Base (Roswell, New Mexico), and Kirtland Air Force Base (Albuquerque, New Mexico).

Mr. Fred Absher began his studies with Mr. Gorick in Albuquerque in 1960, after requesting acceptance as a student for over a year. Mr. Gorick quickly recognized Mr. Absher's talent, dedication and respect for his art and, in 1975, issued Mr. Absher the "Menkyo Kaiden" to carry on the Kojosho Kempo heritage as its Chief Instructor. Over the past half century, Mr. Absher has dedicated his life to furthering the growth of Kojosho and increasing its recognition and impact in the martial arts world at large. In recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the martial arts world, Mr. Absher has been awarded the 9th Degree Black Belt, certified by Hanshi Richard Kim (Zen Bei Butokai) and Hanshi James Hawkes (United States Karate Alliance).

During his many travels and a life-time in the martial arts, Mr. Absher has also had the opportunity to complete advanced study in Tae Kwon Do (with Kim Soo), Judo, Japanese Kempo and Hsing I. Mr. Absher received a 4th Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon and was recently inducted into the Tae Kwon Do Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport as the Captain of the US Team to the 1st Tae Kwon Do World Championships in Seoul, Korea in 1973.