Two Missions   –   One Goal

School History

Pacific Shaolin Kenpo, Aberdeen, Washington was founded by former classmates Sue Jacobus-Messenger and John Kraft and the support of their Families at the beginning of 1994.

We were thrilled in 1994, being accepted into the ‘International Shaolin Kenpo Associationconnected us to the source for advancement with Knowledge and Rank, both necessary for success.

Ralph Castros Kenpo Karate was Originally brought to Aberdeen, WA by Rick and Maria Warwick in 1970, after relocating from San Francisco. Maria would become an instructor to many Black Belts including Sue and John.

Accomplishments included the diversity of our students for their own freethinking, their ideas and creativity in competition, and we helped them expand in the things they were interested in making a successful school with an average of 70 students per month. Sue and I are proud of what we achieved.

Today, Sue and John are both in good standing in the Shaolin Kenpo Family. Pacific Shaolin Kenpo students who obtained Black Belts are also on the ISKA Tree. Our education in Martial Arts continues to expand as those still involved train with some of the top Self Defense Teachers and Educators both Nationally and Internationally.

Believing everyone has something to offer, we remain open to listen and learn.

Northwest Shaolin Kenpo Association


Making the World a Better Place

Once Monetized, our Non – Profit will help Deserving Families,

the Elderly and Local Community


Performing Arts, Highlighting the Beauty of the Artist in Film

Interviews with Masters and Champions

Self Defense Education

John Kraft, Titles:
  • Northwest Representative to ‘The International Shaolin Kenpo Association’. Given to John by his Instructor, Ralph Castro. 2016
  • Sifu, or teacher.

It is an extraordinary Honor and taken seriously. I’m grateful to my teacher, Ralph Castro for the many good things he did for myself and my family. Our relationship grew and we eventually became dear ‘Friends’.

I treasure the time GGM shared with my Family and I on our visits to his home, his Seminars, and countless hours on phone conversations, he the teacher, I the student.

Loyal students of PSK continue to keep his legacy of Shaolin Kenpo alive by being involved and growing. Loyalty is everything in this world and our students deserve so much credit. Tried by Fire, many now have families of their own with children representing 2 and 3 generations of families in Washington State loyal to the Shaolin Kenpo family.

Our ‘bow of Respect’ to the High Ranking Black Belts in our style who remain Honest, and Loyal to our code. Gratitude to the Greater Martial Arts Community for your continued support and friendship.

Click the image to see full size.

Pacific Northwest Official Shaolin Kenpo (NOW)

About John Kraft

John Kraft is a student of Legendary Bay area Martial Arts Pioneer Ralph Castro. He is currently a 4th Degree Black Belt. At Ralph Castro’s passing in 2019, John became a student of his son Rob Castro.


  • 1965, Boxing Lessons, Marymount Military Academy, Tacoma, WA.

  • 1970, 11th grade, Tae-Kwon-do at the Allen Honor Military Academy, Bryan, College Station, Texas.

  • 1978, Began in Ralph Castro’s Kenpo Karate, Aberdeen, Wa.
  • 1993, Awarded 1st Degree Black Belt Kenpo Karate by Maria Warwick.
  • 1993, Co-founded Pacific Shaolin Kenpo with partner Sue Messenger.
  • 1994, Accepted as a student of Professor Ralph Castro.
  • 1994, Pacific Shaolin Kenpo Accepted into the International Shaolin Kenpo Association.
  • 1995, promoted to 3rd Degree Black Belt.
  • 1990 thru 1998, Sport Competition Years.
  • 1995, Presidential Sports Award.
  • 1995, Became ‘NBL’ Center Referee.
  • 1995 and 1996, Earned invitations to the Super Grands, Nationals and World Championships.
  • 1996, Tied 2 Current World Champions in regular time, Lost in overtime.
  • 1996, 1997, Ranked #4 by Sport Karate International ‘SKI’ in the Pacific Northwest Region.
  • 2016, Awarded Northwest Representative to The International Shaolin Kenpo Association,’ ISKA’, by Great Grandmaster Ralph Castro.
  • 2015, 16, 17, 18, Attended Masters Training Seminars in San Francisco.
  • 2016, Awarded a 4th Degree Black Belt.
  • 2018, Attended GGM Ralph and Pat Castro’s 65th Wedding Anniversary.
  • 2019, Memorial for Ralph Castro. Rob Castro said the Kraft Family was 1 of 3 families invited to the Castro family private Memorial.
  • 2021, Founded The ‘Northwest Shaolin Kenpo Association’ as a legally register ‘non-profit’ in Washington State.
  • 2021, Northwest Shaolin Kenpo Association, or ‘NWSKA’. Moved forward with new strategies to reach local, National and International community to bring healthy and positive change.
  • 2022, With ‘Unity’ as a goal, and the help of our International Partners, we have achieved some success bringing Branches of Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian and American Arts towards a new beginning and with connections under One Tree. Rebuilding our tree and finding our roots from the past has led to a new awareness that we are all Family.
  • 2023, The Shaolin Kenpo Family tree is currently being updated, bringing many broken branches into focus as 1 tree. Those without a home can now find one. Under the guidance and direction of GGM Rob Castro, and a hard working group of Professionals, a fresh breath is now with the Shaolin Kenpo Family. The Old is meeting the New. How exciting as we rebuild together for a bright new future in the upcoming 2023/2024.
  • 2024, John Kraft and Rob Castro work with Cat Gurinsky and Jessie Bowen to update and create New Look for the International Shaolin Kenpo Association Family and the updated Tree.
  • 2024, March, Boston, MA. GGM Rob Castro, assisted by John Kraft at Cervizzi’s Extravaganza.
  • 2024, April, Salt Lake City, UT. GGM Rob Castro is assisted by John Kraft at the 4th annual UGMAA.
  • 2024, June 14, 15, Las Vegas, NV. Kenpo Karate Hall of Fame Awards. Posthumous award for the creator and founder of the Shaolin Kenpo Association and Art, Great Grandmaster Ralph Castro. Hall Of Fame Award for GGM Rob Castro. John Kraft working behind the scenes with Paul Casey to help make this possible.
  • 2024, Honolulu, Hawaii, Senior Grandmaster Sifu Al Dacascos hosts the 1st Hawaii Pacific Regionals Seminar and Tournament. Shaolin Kenpo Great Grandmaster Rob Castro will be a featured seminar instructor and the international Shaolin Kenpo Association will be Recognized as a ‘Friend of Kajukenbo and the Hawaiian Arts’, as the two Arts collaborate and work together. Made possible by John Kraft and Sonny Pabuaya as the two friends work behind the scenes.

John’s journey in martial arts began in High School in 1970 in the ‘Karate Club’ at Allen Military Academy in Bryan, Texas as a student of Tae-Kwon-do. Later, in 1978, he was introduced to Ralph Castro’s Kenpo Karate and became a student of Maria Warwick at Aberdeen Kenpo Karate, Aberdeen, Wa. John began teaching in the 80’s and began his Competition Years in 1990.

In 1993, the Kraft and Messenger Families opened Pacific Shaolin Kenpo in Aberdeen, Wa. At that time, Ralph Castro became John’s primary Instructor.

John believes his greatest accomplishments were the many friends and students gained from these years. Helping a student make it to a Black Belt legitimately is not an easy job, years of training and dedication are required by both the student and the teacher.

Some of John’s accomplishments were being Ranked #4 in the Pacific Northwest Region by Sport Karate International, ‘NBL’ and ‘ISKA’ , in Point Fighting in 1996 and 1997. That Region included; Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia and a portion of Montana.

A highlight in October of 1996 was getting into the Ring with 2 Current World Champions: 3 time World Champion, Mark Hicks, tying in regular time 1 to 1, only to lose in overtime with a final score of 2-1 and Getting into the Ring with current 5 time World Champion Bill Hunter, tying in regular time, losing in overtime.

John’s take on the matches; ” These were great athletes, great fighters and veterans of the fight game. It was an experience I will never forget. I gained the skills to step into a ring with a Champions and I lost to the very Best”.

John earned a Presidential Sports award in 1995, and earning Invitations to 2 Super Grand Nationals and World Championships in the years 1996 and 1997. Many Students of Pacific Shaolin Kenpo won Top Awards at Local and Nationally Rated Competitions.

What is Shaolin Kenpo?

Shaolin Kenpo Karate is a Traditional Art, meaning it has Deep Roots in the past, going back to the Shaolin Temples in China in the 1300’s and has a rich history with 22 Generations of Great Grandmasters in the Japanese Temples in Kenpo/Kempo in Japan. The Chinese and Japanese arts were blended in Hawaii, and through this blending, the students of these Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiian Masters traveled to all almost every country in the world including the USA. Shaolin Kenpo is a Progressive Art, meaning it adapts and changes to the current times, and it is continuously growing.

Title: Great Grandmaster Rob Castro

Rob Castro’s training in martial Arts began at the age of 5, under his father Great Grandmaster Ralph Castro, the Creator of Shaolin Kenpo and Founder of the International Shaolin Kenpo Association.

Rob trained alongside his siblings Rafael “Boss” Castro, and 5 sisters; April, May, June, July and Mia. The Children advanced together, each has achieved very impressive accomplishments in Martial Arts. In their competition years, they were known as “Ralph Castro’s Magnificent 7” (Rob, ‘Boss’, April, May, June, July and Mia Castro).

Rob Castro’s story would be incomplete without including his Brother and Sisters. They have spent a lifetime in service to the
community, specializing in their fields. Each
of the ‘Magnificent 7’ have proven themselves to be involved in educating and improving the local community as team players.

There have been many Bruce Lee moments for Rob and his family. In 1964, one of the 1st International Karate Championships were held in Long Beach, California, This tournament was made famous when Bruce Lee demonstrated his 1 and 3 inch punch on a young Joe Lewis. Already a veteran at 8 years old, Rob performed an advanced form called ‘Galloping Horse’, a dance his father created. This can be viewed on ‘Northwest Shaolin Kenpo Association Youtube channel’.

Tom Bleecker, co-author of ‘DRAGON, the Bruce Lee Story’ mentions Rob ‘as an 8 year old bringing the crowd to its feet with resounding applaud. Paraphrased and shared with full permission by Mr. Bleecker.

Rob is Kind, Easily approachable, and loves to teach, sharing his knowledge and experience. At his Fathers passing in 2019, Rob Castro assumed the role of Head of the Shaolin Kenpo Family. To schedule a Seminar with Rob, contact John Kraft at 360-470-2208 or leave a note on our comments.

Tribute to the Warwick Family

Known and loved by many in California and Washington State. A Pioneer in Martial Arts, an example of how Women could also become Leaders in the Martial Arts Community. She was tough, strong and respected as a teacher. Rick and Maria Warwick established the first Kenpo Karate School in Aberdeen, Wa. in 1969. The school Aberdeen Kenpo Karate (1969 – 1983) produced many competent Black Belts, some have become World Champions.