Al Dacascos and Wun Hop Kuen Do
Al Dacascos has become one of the most noted martial artists of our era since 1969, when he founded his unique fighting art, Wun Hop Kuen Do, a style of KAJUKENBO that incorporates Chinese and Filipino martial arts into the traditional KAJUKENBO system. An eighth degree Black Belt, Dacascos has won over 200 Championships and appeared on just as many martial arts magazine covers over the years. In 1977 he was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as Instructor of the Year and again in 1992 by Inside Kung fu Magazine. Two of the worlds most prestigious martial arts magazines. Al Dacascos was the first practitioner of Kung fu to compete in the American martial arts tournament circuit. He created a network of schools and five generations of black belts to reflect his style.
In 1975, Al Dacascos was invited to appear in ABC’s Wide World of Sports, broadcast from Los Angeles. He gave a breathtaking demonstration, exhibiting his power of “Chi” energy. German enthusiasts were so impressed with Wun Hop Kuen Do, that they offered Dacascos the opportunity to expand his schools and seminars throughout Europe. His influence and martial arts genius has helped to design the modern warrior.
At only 11 years of age, Al Dacascos was introduced to Judo and Jujitsu and excelled in those arts. He performed and competed in any exhibition to gain experience and to aquire knowledge from others in the field. At age 18, after earning his Black Belt in Kajukenbo under Sid Asuncion, he formed a small group to practice and teach in Hawaii, his native home. Dacascos then decided to study with Professor Adriano Emperado, the head of his style, who schooled him beyond the physical. Emperado showed Dacascos how to make his techniques real. Dacascos claims that Professor Emperado enlightened him on the inside.
The reality of having his own students set in and the need to improve his communication skills took precedence. Dacascos moved to California in 1965. Running a school came by trial and error as there were no formal systems anywhere in the US to teach the skills of running a martial arts business until 1967. Eventually, Dacascos was recruited into the Tracy system, a strategic alliance that helped to form the cornerstone of his business organizational skills.
During this time, Dacascos became involved with a group of Chinese martial artists in San Francisco. This exchange of techniques between instructors began to reshape his feelings about his own martial art. By 1969 he had told Professor Emperado that he could no longer call his art Kajukenbo. Instead he wished to develop a style of his own, Wun Hop Kuen Do, which means the way of the combined fist.
Al Dacascos’s next job was to give his art credibility. “When you watch a tree grow” explains Dacascos, “first there are the roots, then comes the trunk, the branches, the leaves, and finally the flowers.” He has his roots in Kajukenbo and solid trunk in Wun Hop Kuen Do. Now he had to produce the leaves and the flowers, the champions of Wun Hop Kuen Do.
Al’s son, Mark Dacascos, certainly fits the role model of Champion. Presently a fourth degree Black Belt, Mark retired undefeated on both forms and fighting in the European martial arts circuit. Mark Dacascos has now achieved a world wide reputation in the motion picture industry. He has starred in nine motion pictures. In the premier season of 1998, Mark will star in the new television series titled “The Crow, Stairway to Heaven”.
Other notable personalities under the Dacascos banner are Malia Bernal, Karyn Turner and Karen Shephard. Each of these women held the title of national champion in their own time. Christian Wulf and Emanual Bettencourt received top accolades in Europe. In the USA, Bill Owens was a national champion in the 1970′ and Eric Lee is the reputed “King of Kata.”
After numerous seminars in every major city in Europe and the USA, Dacascos techniques also became sought after by military and government agencies. In the United States, Al Dacascos has worked with agents from the FBI, the Hawaiian Metro squad, the US Army Airborne Rangers and some members of the US Marshals. He has also instructed segments of the German Army and Hamburg police department.
Over the years, Dacascos has appeared in numerous US television programs and media presentations such as the Merv Griffin Show, ABC Wide World of Sports and CNN. In 1985, he was a featured member of the USA Martial Arts team sent to China as a “good will exchange.” This event became an award winning documentary titled “China’s Living Legends.”
In August 1998 Al Dacascos was honored on National TV (TNT) Turner Network Television as one of the Masters to Wesley Snipes, “1st Tribute to the Martial Arts Masters of the 20th Century” from New York City. In September he was inducted into the prestigious “America’s Grandmasters Council” in Orlando, Florida, and the “Eastern U.S. Hall of Fame” in New Jersey.
Al Dacascos is formed a world wide Headquarters in Portland, Oregon for Wun Hop Kuen Do. He has also worked in the motion picture industry and formed an alliance with producer/director Debra Mason called the Rogue Dacascos Motion Picture Alliance. They shot a children’s feature titled The Kung Fu Kids Klub. He has worked with such films as Jaguar Lives and Teenage mutant Ninja Turtles III. More recently he was the fight choreographer for Showdown in Manila (2016), directed by son Mark Dacascos.