There are many, many different "Kenpo/Kempo" groups in the U.S. currently that claim various different GrandMasters... Generally
, one can trace all of them back to the Kosho-ryu of James Mitose. Mitose lived and taught in Hawaii. He passed the art on to William K.S. Chow who started calling it "Kenpo" when he split away. From there it went to many, many folks in the U.S.
Ed Parker was one... Nick Cerio another.
It might help to know where
you (actually, your friend) is located/took lessons.
Others that are famous in the Kenpo/Kempo lineage are the Tracys, Villari, Castro, Chun, Juchnik, Hassan, and Emperado... All of them have their Kenpo
roots coming from Mitose in one fashion or another. Most have added other things into the art and dubbed themselves "Grandmaster". Also most of them claim direct decendancy from the "Shaolin" temple in China...
That is basically the totality of the Chinese
Kenpo connection currently in the U.S.
They should not
be confused with the Okinawan or Japanese Kenpo/Kempo styles. There are multiple Okinawan Kenpo styles that are closely related to the other Okinawan arts such as Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu. But they are not the same as the "Chinese" styles previously discussed. Even more confusion is added when the Japanese Kenpo styles are factored in... There are many of those! Two are: Nippon Kempo is closely related to Shi-to-ryu and Nippon Shorinji (the Japanese translation of the kanji that the chinese pronounce "Shaolin"
) Kempo was introduced to Japan by Doshin So. (There are other versions of "Shorinji" from Japan, but the name and art of Nippon Shorinji Kempo was designated to Doshin So for his version. That art, until recent years, required one to swear poverty, become a Shorinji-Zen-Bhuddist monk and move into the temple upon reaching the rank of san-dan. (Something I wasn't willing to do...
If you could get a little more information, I'll try to help as much as I can...