In the year 1947, Professor Marino Tiwanak began his Kenpo training under Adriano Emperado, a black belt under Professor William K.S. ” Thunderbolt” Chow, and Joseph Emperado, a color belt under Professor Chow, who later received his black belt from his older brother Adriano “Nonoy” Emperado.
Tiwanak was a former professional boxer and a holder of the 1944 AAU boxing title. Tiwanak’s career culminated with a fight with then world flyweight champion Dado Marino.
Tiwanak stated that he started his kenpo training in the area of Halawa Housing in Honolulu, Hawaii. Later the Emperado group moved to Palama Gym in the Kalihi area of Honolulu, Hawaii. Tiwanak stated that when they moved to Palama Gym, they were joined by Woodrow McCandless who was a certified black belt from Professor James Mitose. McCandless merged his class into the Emperado group.
Tiwanak trained eight years under the tutorship of Adriano and Joe Emperado, and Woodrow McCandless and was promoted to the rank of black belt in 1955, at Dot’s Drive Inn located in Wahiawa, Hawaii. Tiwanak then became one of the four black belts who were in charge of the infamous “Palama Gym”.
In 1956, after the death of Woodrow McCandless, Tiwanak left Palama Gym and started the first branch of the C.H.A.3 Kenpo System in the Civilian Housing Area #3 located in the Pearl Harbor area. When Tiwanak left Palama Gym, two color belt students, Frank Suan and Leonard “Manini: Cuarisma, also left and joined the C.H.A.3 school.
Professor Tiwanak credited Frank Suan as being the Co-Founder of the C.H.A.3 Kenpo Association. Leonard Cuarisma moved to California after receiving his black belt, and opened the C.H.A.3 West Coast branch in San Diego. Another C.H.A.3 Kenpo Branch opened on the island of Kauai under Instructor Kenneth Bonachita, and a C.H.A.3 branch opened in Waianae on the West Coast of Oahu by Instructor Marce Totor. Soon the C.H.A.3 system began to spread with many instructors opening their classes on military instillations throughout Oahu, like Schofield Barracks, Wheeler AFB, West Loch, and Barber’s Point.
After the Vietnam war, many of these military personnel training on base, returned home and spread the C.H.A.3 Kenpo System to the U.S. mainland. Because Tiwanak and his instructors stressed the importance of family and camaraderie among their students, the C.H.A.3 system became known as the Central Hawaiian Activities 3 Kenpo Brotherhood Association. Professor Marino Tiwanak always stressed the importance of family atmosphere among his students and instructors.
Professor Marino Tiwanak was twice inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, receiving the Golden Life Achievement Award for Martial Arts, and again for being a Pioneer in the Art of Kenpo Karate. Professor Marino Tiwanak passed away on July 29, 1998 at the age of 71. On December 12, 1998, his C.H.A.3 Association was passed down the Marino Tiwanak bloodline to his son Michael at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Professor Marino Tiwanak’s legacy and traditions live on today through his philosophies and teachings. His Kenpo schools are deep rooted in Hawaii, California, Montana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Canada.