Bridgewater Martial Arts is dedicated to preserving traditional martial arts. We deliver an experience rooted in Asian tradition that is unlike other American programs. Our dojo was established over 26 years ago by Grandmaster Shawn Gallagher.
The school’s original location was an old mechanic’s bay not far from the center of town. In 2014 we relocated to our current dojo on Route 18 in order to accommodate more students and offer a larger, newer, and more comfortable facility. The dojo has ample parking, changing rooms, and a waiting area with a microwave, fridge, and simple snacks and water for purchase.
Kempo started approximately 1,300 years ago at the Shaolin Monastery in what is now the Henan Province of China. Monks learned Kempo, originally called Chaun Fa, before beginning their journeys as missionaries. Thanks to the dedication of these monks, the Kempo system traveled first to southern China, then to Okinawa, Japan. Eventually, James Masayoshi Mistose, the 21st grandmaster of Kempo, began teaching this system to a select few while he was living in Hawaii.
Kempo made its way across the US and to New England in the 1960s through a practitioner by the name of George Pesare. Master Pesare is greatly responsible for the Kempo we learn today at Bridgewater Martial Arts.
Kempo is primarily a striking art, and, of course, it is designed for self-defense. There are some elements of Jui Jitsu (wrist and joint locks), but the main focus is blocking and striking.
Kempo traveled a long way over land and through time. At Bridgewater Martial Arts we dedicate ourselves to the preservation of this Art. Recently Bridgewater Martial Arts was invited to perform for the Shaolin monks at Harvard University. When the demonstration was finished, the head monk requested we return a second time. In our twenty-six years of study and dedication to Kempo, performing for the monks was one of our most memorable achievements and greatest honors.