Region II History

A long, long time ago, in a land not so far away....

Sensei Rob Shepard was teaching in Cody, Wyoming in a system called Allo Kempo.  He was a second-degree blackbelt and running a fairly successful school.  At the time, he was having some "difficulties" with the head of the system, Ron Allo, and was not entirely happy.  Sensei Rob had a student, Sensei Mike Swenson.  Sensei Mike lived in Cody as well.  During the time Sensei Mike was training, his wife and him began to have some "problems".  His wife decided (for what reason I do not know), that she was going to move to California, Sacramento I believe.   Sensei Mike, loving his children, had to follow.  During the time he was in California, he found out about Grandmaster and Kara-Ho, somehow.  Upon finding Grandmaster, he called Sensei Rob and told him of how great Grandmaster was and that if Sensei Rob was still unhappy, he should call Grandmaster.  After "stewing" over this for a little time, Sensei Rob did call and began a dialogue with Grandmaster.  It was in 1987 when Sensei Rob signed up in Kara-Ho and held the first seminar in Cody for this region.

During this time, Sensei Rod Martens was training in the system that he had created - Martial Arts Club of America.  He had formal training, up to brown belt in American Kempo - which was the foundation of the Martial Arts Club of America.  He also had received a blackbelt in COMA (Combat Oriented Martial Arts).  After leaving American Kenpo, Sensei Rod taught several police officers self defense and such and then decided he would start running a school.  After finding a place, Golden Meadows Trailer Park Rec Center, near 32nd and King in Billings, he began his school.  Back to the story.....during this whole time Sensei Rod competed in tournaments against one of Sensei Rob's students, Sensei Mike Linderman.  It was at one event, where Sensei Rod noticed that Sensei Mike had different patches on his gi and they were all performing different katas and such.  This is when Sensei Mike told Sensei Rod that they had crossed over into a new system, Kara-Ho Kempo.  After visiting some more, Sensei Rod was introduced and visited with Sensei Rob.  Sensei Rod seeing that had students that were "catching up" to him, he decided that training with Sensei Rob in this system sounded like a great idea and signed up himself.

I started my training in Kara-Ho in Laurel, at the Eagles Lodge, under a student of Sensei Rob Shepard's - his name was Sempai Troy Jennings (Brown belt).  Troy had come to Billings to go to school and then decided to open up the school in Laurel.  After approximately 6 months, Troy was having problems with Sensei Rob - feeling that he should be promoted and Sensei Rob was holding him back - he decided to quit Kara-Ho and move to Seattle to pursue his photography career.  Sensei Rod came out to Laurel and continued the classes until I was the only person training.  Sensei Rod then decided that he was just losing too much money coming all the way to Laurel for one student and he told me if I wanted to continue I'd have to come to Billings....and I did.

I trained in Billings for approximately 2 years until I left for college in Bozeman.  I made monthly trips back to Billings to train and graduated in December of 1992 from MSU in Bozeman, MT.  I opened the school back up in Laurel in January of 1993 - in the exact place I had started, as a brown belt.  The rest is history!



Shihan Shane Thompson

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Chinese Kara-Ho Kempo Karate

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Region II History