In 1992, Carter Hargrave founded a new martial art style that was a great departure not only from the way martial arts were viewed in a traditional sense, but in how it was taught to students. After 1955 martial arts in the United States were geared for sport instead of defense. Martial Arts since forever took a huge time investment before you were able to utilize its benefits to save your hide in a real world encounter.
Carter Hargrave’s goal in teaching was to form a new art, and have the art serve the student in a new way of self defense. One that was streamlined, and easily absorbed. But the main thing was to have the student be able to defend themselves well in just six months without having to an expert. Hargrave has seen so many people who came in to traditional schools or sporting tournament schools having been injured in a fight, abused, and beat up physically and emotionally. He achieved his goal to help others by successfully creating this new art.
He named it American Combat Kempo. Many schools all over the world now recognize this and the US marines are using some of its techniques. In what concerns the style, Carter Hargrave has the title of Grandmaster and is an expert in all aspects of self defense. He is also Grandmaster in Kung Fu and Ju Jitsu. This new style was born because at the time Carter was training in four styles and was also experiencing others. Keeping them separately turn out to be difficult, but he managed to meet the expectations of his teachers from back them. He then noticed that people were interested in self-defense and in learning self-defense skills in order to protect themselves at work, at school and even on the street.
Their needs remained unsatisfied because no school was teaching this kind of stuff at the moment. Carter Hargrave saw the opportunity and created this new style by modifying two existing martial arts systems.
He also included weapon fighting and adapted the techniques to real world situations. Besides traditional okinawan weapons, like sai, bo, tonfa or katana, he also introduced modern firearms. He thinks that if you are not superior to you attacker, you don’t stand a chance and he considers that superiority needs to be achieved by all means, they are fair or unfair.
The original arts that stand at the base of American Combat Kempo are not recognizable anymore, after Hargrave modified them. It wasn’t simply a matter of combining styles, it also involved creativity.
World Kempo Association is currently promoting the principles of this new style worldwide. Hargrave is its president and head instructor. As well as his other organizations, this one is also staying away from the political area.