Great Grandmaster Ralph Castro was a true pioneer for the martial arts in America.
In the late 1950’s he brought the art of Kenpo Karate with him from Hawaii to the Bay Area, and through his creative innovations he developed his own system of self-defense called Shaolin Kenpo.
As a young boy growing up in San Francisco CA, I loved everything martial arts. Every weekend there was always a martial arts movie playing in Chinatown. It was always exciting to watch the newest Shaw Brothers movie.
At that time, a young guy named Bruce Lee was gaining notoriety in the Bay Area for his Gung Fu. My friends and I would always argue about what martial arts were better, and who could beat who in a fight.
Ralph Castro was known in the community for teaching Kenpo Karate, and I remember vividly we would say what’s Kenpo? That’s not Gung Fu!
Many years later I would learn more about Kenpo Karate and eventually become a student of Great Grandmaster Ralph Castro at his Daly City Shaolin Kenpo school.
In 2011, GGM Ralph Castro was recovering from his battle with cancer and we realized that the Creation and History of his art needed to be recorded on video. At that time, I did not have enough b-roll material to complete the video and unfortunately was not able to complete the project before his passing in February of 2019.
During the shelter-in-place order due to Covid-19, I revisited the project and started organizing material I had compiled over time.
Old VHS tapes were converted for useable b-roll footage, and damaged photo’s were restored to the best of my ability.
The Q&A interview and b-roll material was organized and edited over and over again, so his story would flow from one subject to the next. Just like his art, where one movement would flow into the next movement.
The interview was recorded with a Canon 5D Mark 2 and Rode Video Microphone. Black Magic’s DaVinci Resolve 16 was used for editing.
Although the video gear I have now would’ve produced better audio and video quality, the important thing is that the interview was recorded – which is simply priceless.