The summer of 1998 was a busy time for Mr. Al Dacascos. In August he was being honored on TNT as one of the Masters, in the "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 Fames" in New Jersey.
Since the founding of his unique fighting art, Wun Hop Kuen Do, in 1969, Mr. Dacascos has become one of the most noted martial artists of our era. An 8th Degree black belt, Mr. 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. As a visionary, he has manifested the dream of creating a network of schools and five generations of black belts to reflect his style.
In 1975, Mr. Dacascos was invited to appear in ABC's Wide World of Sports, in Los Angeles. He gave a breathtaking demonstration, exhibiting his power of "Chi" energy. Some German enthusiasts were so impressed with Wun Hop Kuen Do, that they offered Mr. Dacascos the opportunity to expand his schools and give seminars throughout Europe.
At the age of 11, Mr. Dacascos was introduced into Judo and Jujitsu and excelled in both. He performed and competed in any exhibition to gain experience and knowledge from others in the field. After earning his black belt in Kajukenbo at age 18 under Sid Asuncion, he formed a small group to practice with and teach in Hawaii. Mr. Dacascos then decided to study with the founder of Kajukenbo, Prof. Adriano Emperado. Prof. Emperado schooled him beyond the physical. He showed him how to take his techniques into life. Mr. Dacascos claims that Prof. Emperado enlightened him on the inside.
The reality of having his own students set in and the need to improve his own communication skills took precedence; Mr. 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, Mr. Dacascos was recruited into the Tracy system, a strategic alliance that helped to form the cornerstone of his business organizational skills.
During this time, Mr. 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 Prof. 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."
Mr. Dacascos's next job was to give his art credibility. "When you watch a tree grow," explains Mr. 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 a solid trunk in Wun Hop Kuen Do. Now he had to produce the leaves and the flowers; the future of Wun Hop Kuen Do.
Mr. Mark Dacascos, Al's son, certainly fits the role model of a champion. Presently a 4th Deg. black belt, Mark retired undefeated on both forms and fighting in the European martial arts circuit. Mark has now achieved a world wide reputation in the motion picture industry. He has starred in nine motion pictures and in a television series titled: The Crow: Stairway to Heaven
Other notables 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. Some have experience in acting now. Christian Wulf and Emanual Bettencourt received top accolades in Europe. In the USA, Bill Owens was a national champion in the 1970's and Eric Lee is the reputed "King of Kata."
After numerous seminars in every major city in Europe and the US, Mr. Dacascos' techniques also became sought after by military and government agencies. In the United States, Mr. 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, Mr. Dacascos has appeared in numerous US television programs and media presentations such as The Merv Griffin Show, ABC Wide World of Sports and on 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 known as an award winning documentary titled China's Living Legends.
Presently, Mr. Dacascos is reforming a Worldwide Headquarters in Portland, Oregon for Wun Hop Kuen Do. He is also expanding into the motion picture industry. He has recently formed an alliance with producer/director Debra Mason called the Rogue Dacascos Motion Picture Alliance. They have just finished shooting a children's feature, titled, The Kung Fu Kids Klub. Next the alliance will produce a series of motion pictures titled, The Man from Paradise. Mr. Dacascos will star in this series.