Martial arts great Emperado, Stroud had close relationship


POSTED: Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adriano Emperado, 82, who died April 4 on Maui, was a founder of the Kajukenbo martial art, which incorporates karate, judo, jiu-jitsu, kenpo and kung fu. The martial art, born in Honolulu as Emperado was, is taught internationally. Services were held on Maui and in Honolulu, at which Melveen Leed sang. Among the thousands of martial arts enthusiasts who mourned Emperado was actor Don Stroud, who became a student when he was in the seventh grade at Kaimuki Intermediate. He was trained by Emperado for

15 years in Palolo, Don said this week. But Emperado was much more than an instructor to Don. “;He was a father figure and a mentor to me,”; said Don, whose father and mom, singer Ann McCormick, divorced when he was a tot. “;I was the only haole taking Kajukenbo instruction,”; Don said. “;I was the only haole in Kaimuki Intermediate, I was the only haole in Kaimuki High, I was the only haole in Palolo.”; (It should be noted that Don was the only Caucasian, blond, blue-eyed Waikiki beach boy during the mid-'50s and '60s, the Golden Age of beach boys, when it wasn't easy for a youth of any race to become a Waikiki beach boy. It was a tight group made up of mainly legendary Hawaiian watermen.) When Don was 16 and held a green belt, Emperado took his students to the Palama Settlement gym, where he grew up, to train against the Palama-Kalihi boys. When they entered the gym, one of the gym locals, who held a black belt, the top belt and two cuts above Don's green, said, “;Kapu the haole.”; For newcomers, “;kapu the haole”; means the Caucasian is mine. Don said he was worked over pretty good that day. But he obviously got his licks in, too, and gained the respect of the Palama gym guys because they became his friends in subsequent visits. The late Ed Parker, a Kamehameha grad, was another of Emperado's students. He went on to become a master karate instructor and had schools on the mainland. Ed was a close friend of Elvis Presley. Years ago, Ed told me that when Elvis had a “;premonition of danger,”; the superstar would call him to be in his security team. When Elvis died, Ed said he was allowed to spend five minutes with his body ...

SHORT STORY: There was a wardrobe malfunction in the Broadway Babies' opening night of the Broadway Fashion Rock Revue at Leeward Community College June 4. Show director-actor Shawn Thomsen's trousers fell down revealing his shorts. Shawn made the best of it by recovering quickly and trying to make the audience think it was part of the act. The production was a big success and was sold out for all three nights. Singer Kristian Lei is the founder of Broadway Babies. This year she landed Takeo Kobayashi and Eric Chandler to provide hot fashions for the show. Kristian also sang in the production. Sponsors of the show, a benefit for people with developmental disabilities, were recognized by performers doing comedy snippets between acts. Anita Hall not only sang but was also the show's marketing director ...

Manila's Joe Mari Chan and wife Mary Ann vacationed here last week with a dozen family members. They stayed at Hilton Hawaiian Village and they all dined at Bali by the Sea last Saturday. The Bali is managed by Alicia Antonio, who came here many years ago from the Philippines. Chan is owner of the

Hyatt Hotel in Manila. He is also a composer-singer and got together with pianist-band leader Kit Samson, also originally from the Philippines ...

Ben Wood, who sold the Star-Bulletin on Honolulu streets in World War II, writes of people, places and things Saturdays. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).