Nippon Kempo is a little known but very unique and effective competitive combat sport. It was created in 1932 by Muneumi Sawayama. It is probably the original successful mixing of the martial arts. It’s not based on archaic martial rituals or shrouded in oriental mysticism. Sawayama, a Japanese university professor, felt there was a need for a modern scientific combat sport and devised Nippon Kempo with unique protective armour.



Nippon Kempo incorporates the full range of fighting techniques. Traditional oriental martial arts tend to be dogmatic and focus on a single aspect of combat e.g. Judo emphasise throwing, aikido evasion etc. Its use of protective armour also makes it one of the safest combat sports.


Muneumi Sawayama was not the first master to advocate the use of armour in unarmed martial arts. Various masters dabble and experimented with the use of armour. However, Sawayama’s achievement was to devise a complete fighting system into a safe and effective competitive combat sport. While Nippon Kempo has Kata/patterns which are templates for training, they are not the same as in Karate. On the principle that you learn by doing, Nippon Kempo concentrates most of a training session on sparring. Unlike Karate, hours are not spent with drill punching the air or doing katas. The approach is scientific. You are taught the correct and effective way to kick and punch and then drilled in how to use what you have learnt.


Nippon Kempo’s uniqueness lies in its use of armour. Armour makes good sense and logic. Nippon Kempo offers the nearest thing to an actual combat experience without the risk of serious injuries. There is minimal danger of leaving a session with black eyes, missing teeth or broken nose or ribs. Further Nippon Kempo is based on scoring points with correctly executed techniques rather than injury or knockout of your opponent. Because Nippon Kempo is practical and effective, once you are proficient, by default you have yourself a very effective self defence system.


The core of Nippon Kempo is competition. Nippon Kempo is not a fad. Various martial arts fads have come and gone such as ‘open’ contact karate competitions and more recently MMA. Most of these are martial artists rebranding what they are already doing. Nippon Kempo is not part of this circus. It has not distorted any other form of combat but drawn from all anything that is relevant. Its modern being founded 80 years ago. The rules are simple and straight forward to understand and follow whether competing for a belt or competitively.


Being a sport it offers possibly the most effective fitness regime. Its an all round regime and teaches you discipline and develops you both physically and mentally. The rigor of the sparring is possibly the best cardio vascular and exhilarating workout you can get.