Meaning of Kokua

Kokua is a Hawaiian word that translates as “extending loving, sacrificial help to others for their benefit, not for personal gain…”

Our Discipline

KAJUKENBO – Through this fist style, one gains long life and happiness

Kajukenbo is a hybrid martial art that combines Western Boxing, Judo, Ju Jitsu, Kenpo Karate, Eskrima, Tang Soo Do, and Kung Fu.

Kajukenbo uses hard, fast strikes to vital points throughout the body, take-downs involving high impact throws, and many joint and limb destruction techniques, usually as follow-ups to take-downs.  There are also blocks from attacks, such as punches, and defenses and disarmament of offensive weapons.  The name works in two ways:

KA – Karate – Long Life

JU – Judo/Ju Jitsu – Happiness

KEN – Kenpo – Fist

BO – Boxing/Chinese Boxing Kung Fu – Style

This lead to the Art’s philosophical meaning, “Through this fist style, one gains long life and happiness”.

Kenpo emerged as the core around which this new Art was built.  From its beginnings, Kajukenbo was an eclectic and adaptive Art.  As the time passed Kajukenbo has continued to change and evolve.  Currently there are four distinct, “recognized” branches of Kajukenbo.

1.                   Kenpo – Emperado Method or Traditional Hard Style

2.                   Tum Pai

3.                   Chu’an Fa

4.                   Wun Hop Kuen Do

Today Kajukenbo is practiced all over the world in many different branches.  In contrast to many traditional martial arts, students are not required to mimic the teacher, but are encouraged to develop their own “expression” of the art.

Our Lineage

Kokua Martial Arts Fitness Academy educates its students in the Emperado Method of Kajukenbo.  It is also known as the “Original” or “Traditional” method.  It is the root of all Kajukenbo.

Our Philosophy

Our Philosophy is to treat people as we would like to be treated, with honor and respect.  Welcome them into our Academy which we consider our home and make them feel like Ohana (Family).  Always come with an empty cup and train hard.  Understand that Martial Arts encompasses your Spirit, Mind, and Body (this is the meaning of the clover in the Kajukenbo seal which represents Sijo Emperado).

Our Mission

Our Mission is to provide a safe and family-oriented Academy where we can develop mature, humble, and respectful young adults and community leaders.  We also want to offer Adults a place where they can achieve personal goals with a team to stand by them with support.  By teaching the Martial Arts way of life, we aspire to instill confidence and challenge each of our students to always strive to become the best person that they can be at all times.  In doing so, we hope to prepare them for some of the life challenges that may cross their paths.


Our Instructors


Esther F Molina
Esther F MolinaSigung | 6th Degree
Sigung Esther has many years of exceptional training and extreme competition with great accomplishments. She started her training while in college in the late 1970’s in TaeKwonDo then found the art of Kajukenbo in the early 2000’s. She is rooted in the Kajukenbo discipline and continues her training with her instructor, Grand Master, and other instructors, Professors, and Grand Masters in the Kajukenbo community. She is a member of the United Kajukenbo Federation and the Kajukenbo Self-Defense Institute.

She specializes in curriculum, staff, and student development.  Her passion for the Martial Arts and her constant development and evolvement of the curriculum has produced exceptional instructors and students, Grand Champions, World Champions, and responsible young adults in the community.  Having been brought up with the Aloha Spirit, family is very important to her and can be felt throughout all aspects of the Academy.  Her son, Sibak Matthew Kaiser, is an accomplished Second-Degree Black Belt in Kajukenbo and her husband is always there supporting her.

Sigung Esther is a co-founder and the head instructor of the Kokua Martial Arts Fitness Academy.


Nels Toriano
Nels TorianoChief Instructor | 3rd Degree
Chief Instructor, Sifu Nels Toriano started his formal martial arts training in Shotokan Karate in Fresno, CA. Upon moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, Sifu Nels discovered Kajukenbo. He continued his martial arts education through intense training and competition. He is an achieved two-time World Champion and has won multiple Grand Championships.  
Both of Sifu Nel’s children (Sisuk Maddie Toriano and Sibak Junior Toriano) are Kajukenbo Black Belts and are accomplished in both martial arts and in academics.

Sifu Nels Toriano is a co-founder of the Kokua Martial Arts Fitness Academy.

Cliff Smith
Cliff Smith Instructor | 3rd Degree
I started my journey in ’07, originally to help my son. But found that all of our paths are different.
I became a student black belt in ’09, then 1st degree in ’11, followed that with my 2nd degree in ’13 then 3rd in ’16. When Sigung Esther promoted me to Sifu. Here I am following a new path, hoping you will enjoy yours.
Robert Blante
Robert BlanteInstructor | 2nd degree
At the age of 11, I started my 5 years of training in Kempo Kung Fu in Massachusetts. As an adult I began training in Kajukenbo in October of 2009 and in June of 2016 I started training in Brazilian JuJitsu. I got back into Martial arts after we signed our son up for classes.

As a Sifu in Kajukenbo, I enjoy helping the kids and adults learn what it means to be a martial artist.  I enjoy seeing how the little ones come in unsure of themselves and uncoordinated and in a short time watch as they transform into a more confident martial artist and person.

Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Flexible membership packages to suit all levels of training to help achieve your fitness goals