William “Thunderbolt” Chow was a black belt in Judo, before he began his training with James Mitose, it is also reported that he studied boxing as a youth. William Chow opened his own school in 1949 and called his art Kenpo Karate to differentiate it from his instructors. William Chow was a amazing martial artist by all standards, very powerful, strong and fast. His movements embodied and defined Kenpo, he trained daily working techniques, basics and the makiwara.
William Chow was known for his street fighting ability and used it regularly in the bad sections of Hawaii, his Kenpo is what worked for him in the streets, vicious and brutal. His enjoyment of fighting and testing his art of Kenpo are not unlike Choki Motobu’s in Okinawa. William Chow truely left his mark on Kenpo, many great Kenpo offshoots can be attributed to him; Adriano Emperado, Ed Parker, Ralph Castro.
Henry Okazaki founded the American Jujitsu Institute in 1939. Most of the kenpo schools and practitioners on the Hawaiian Islands were members of Okazaki’s American Jujitsu Institute; this included Mitose’s Official Self-Defense Club. also had a good relationship with Mitose, and they exchanged information freely on each other’s styles.
William Chow was a frequent visitor to the Henry Okazaki’s Kaheka Laneschool and observe Sig Kufferath classes, William Chow would watch a class and afterwards discuss techniques with him.