Kenpo, where are we going wrong....

Kenpo, where are we going wrong....

Joined: April 5th, 2005, 11:03 am

April 8th, 2008, 6:49 pm #1

Hi everybody

I think a lot of people on this forum would consider that Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defence as opposed to say sport or military applications.

It was designed mainly for the streets of the USA which have specific problems not associated with other countries for example I live in the UK where gun crime is still relatively rare by comparison. That aside what do you feel Kenpo practitioners lack for self defence purposes, do you think we would benefit from more ground based techniques; more weapons base stuff is our physical conditioning adequate, are our techniques realistic, are we still able to cope with the world as it is in 2008, or do we have everything right and as it should be.

All this will vary from club to club but I’m more interested in what people think of the system of Kenpo as a whole and where you all feel we need improvement if any.

All the best,

Adam Gorst
http://www.mcvicarkenpoacademy.co.uk/
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: June 17th, 2006, 1:33 am

April 8th, 2008, 7:38 pm #2

and a disservice. All the concepts and principles are there but the context is missing unless you go looking for it. Adam, would you say that the techniques for locks, chokes, grabs and tackles mean something different for you as someone who has grappled versus someone who has only studied EPAK? Cross training seems a dirty word because no one wants to lose their students to brand x martial art but to enjoy everything American Kenpo has to offer I believe you need more than armchair experience with things like boxing, grappling and possibly one of the internal arts (I haven't gotten to that yet)and, oh yes, knives sticks and guns. The martial artist needs context. David Arnold likes to talk about how MMA is going to come into it's own and I don't disagree mainly because they aren't going to care where the material is from as long as it works. The down side, of course, is the intent. Catering Kenpo to a sporting audience may cause it to lose some of it's efficacy in street application. It's not just Kenpo but the martial world that needs to be willing to train athletes with a careful eye to keeping them alive in a confrontation outside of the rules of the ring.

Thanks!
CT




but that's just my opinion I could be wrong.
Dennis Miller
Last edited by chtavis on April 8th, 2008, 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 8th, 2004, 6:36 pm

April 8th, 2008, 7:54 pm #3

Hi everybody

I think a lot of people on this forum would consider that Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defence as opposed to say sport or military applications.

It was designed mainly for the streets of the USA which have specific problems not associated with other countries for example I live in the UK where gun crime is still relatively rare by comparison. That aside what do you feel Kenpo practitioners lack for self defence purposes, do you think we would benefit from more ground based techniques; more weapons base stuff is our physical conditioning adequate, are our techniques realistic, are we still able to cope with the world as it is in 2008, or do we have everything right and as it should be.

All this will vary from club to club but I’m more interested in what people think of the system of Kenpo as a whole and where you all feel we need improvement if any.

All the best,

Adam Gorst
http://www.mcvicarkenpoacademy.co.uk/
No system can address all the avenues, kenpo is no exception I think. I would agree with the statement " ...Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defense as opposed to say sport or military applications" to a point, in that by and large it is not taught with these arenas in mind. My teacher once made the succinct statement "know your arena and train for it". Military combatives and sports in particular have specific requirements that don’t show up in other avenutes.

By its very definition, kenpo in military arenas must be able to go to the kill every time, for obvious reasons. At the same time, it needs to integrate modern hand held weapons (knife and pistol), be constructed to be taught rapidly and simply to troops shipping out to hostile environments. Submissions are not really part of the equation, and even arresting and hostage type techniques would operate outside the parameters of most civilian law enforcement. It should be noted, however, that much of military hand-to-hand training is not in the form of what is needed for actual hostile encounters, but is in the form of MMA because of the rapid, live, and aggressive training that defines that arena.

Kenpo in sports obviously has to cater to the athletic and tactical requirements of that arena. The huge advent of MMA has obviously brought talent from all walks to the ring, and has posed a large challenge to many martial communities, kenpo included, regarding its effectiveness in a sterilized sports environment. While MMA is extremely popular, I don’t subscribe to the notion that MMA fighters pose any more threat to civilians and soldiers than wrestlers, boxers, and grapplers ever have in the past. MMA is not a epidemic of violence, and if anything has increased the fighting prowess on the side of the “good guys”, so large scale modifications to kenpo to address it as such is more a marketing move than a realistic approach to violent conditions in our society.

There are three basic arenas – the cilivian arena, which is governed by the civil and penal codes; the military arena, which is governed by the rules of conflict and war; and the penal arena, which is governed by inmate rules (not warden rules). Kenpo as a means of personal peace protection caters largely to the civilian arena. There are obviously many crossovers between sports and military matters both in application and training requirements, and here many curricula take on a flavor of both. Classic kenpo addresses submission, hurting, maiming, and killing, all of which are factors in the civilian environment but fall to the individual as to which response is appropriate for a situation.

As far as “where kenpo is going”, I believe that as a whole it will continue on its present course – one of fractionation. If Ed Parker was a bottle rocket, what we see now are the scattered sparks flying in every direction. As with three arenas, we also have three basic approaches to kenpo – the academia, the sportsmen, and the combatants. Most kenpoists are a blend of at least two. There was never a concensus what kenpo is and how it should be approached, arguably even when Ed Parker was alive. Best we can do is align ourselves with the people and type of training that addresses what we feel we need to address. We will by nature have some shortcomings in the other arenas.

Good topic,

Steven Brown, UKF
Last edited by StevenBrownUKF on April 8th, 2008, 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 30th, 2007, 10:05 am

April 8th, 2008, 7:59 pm #4

Hi everybody

I think a lot of people on this forum would consider that Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defence as opposed to say sport or military applications.

It was designed mainly for the streets of the USA which have specific problems not associated with other countries for example I live in the UK where gun crime is still relatively rare by comparison. That aside what do you feel Kenpo practitioners lack for self defence purposes, do you think we would benefit from more ground based techniques; more weapons base stuff is our physical conditioning adequate, are our techniques realistic, are we still able to cope with the world as it is in 2008, or do we have everything right and as it should be.

All this will vary from club to club but I’m more interested in what people think of the system of Kenpo as a whole and where you all feel we need improvement if any.

All the best,

Adam Gorst
http://www.mcvicarkenpoacademy.co.uk/
Re: Kenpo, where are we going wrong....
Last edited by GrahmBaker on July 20th, 2010, 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: April 5th, 2005, 1:14 am

April 8th, 2008, 8:13 pm #5

Hi everybody

I think a lot of people on this forum would consider that Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defence as opposed to say sport or military applications.

It was designed mainly for the streets of the USA which have specific problems not associated with other countries for example I live in the UK where gun crime is still relatively rare by comparison. That aside what do you feel Kenpo practitioners lack for self defence purposes, do you think we would benefit from more ground based techniques; more weapons base stuff is our physical conditioning adequate, are our techniques realistic, are we still able to cope with the world as it is in 2008, or do we have everything right and as it should be.

All this will vary from club to club but I’m more interested in what people think of the system of Kenpo as a whole and where you all feel we need improvement if any.

All the best,

Adam Gorst
http://www.mcvicarkenpoacademy.co.uk/
Adam,
You're asking some great questions. I think the greatest disservice we do our students is in failing to provide context. Minimal gun crime in England is a good example. Where I live, the grapplers you might run into are wrestlers, not BJJ practicioners. Everyone carries a knife and if you get shot it will be with a deer huntin' rifle (good luck with your long range disarm techniques).

I try to teach to the context of the local area but it really doesn't factor into lower rank techniques too much.

I think another are martial arts studios fail their students in how to avoid the situation entirely. I teach my students how to minimize the opportunity a bad guy has, alter their intent and only then will they attempt to distroy the ability of the bad guy. I haven't seen too many studios address this issue adequately.

The principles in kenpo are valid weather you live in London, England or Eutawville, SC. The techniques do a great job in teaching those principles. If there is a lack in our techniques, I think it lies in dealing with someone who knows how to use a knife. Difficult stuff and I applaud the efforts of guys like Zach Whitson or Josh Ryer (and a lot of other guys) that try to addres that lack.

That's my nickel's worth.


Take it out on the heavy bag,

Chuck Peterson
Peterson_charlie@hotmail.com
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 2nd, 2004, 1:10 am

April 8th, 2008, 8:35 pm #6

Hi everybody

I think a lot of people on this forum would consider that Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defence as opposed to say sport or military applications.

It was designed mainly for the streets of the USA which have specific problems not associated with other countries for example I live in the UK where gun crime is still relatively rare by comparison. That aside what do you feel Kenpo practitioners lack for self defence purposes, do you think we would benefit from more ground based techniques; more weapons base stuff is our physical conditioning adequate, are our techniques realistic, are we still able to cope with the world as it is in 2008, or do we have everything right and as it should be.

All this will vary from club to club but I’m more interested in what people think of the system of Kenpo as a whole and where you all feel we need improvement if any.

All the best,

Adam Gorst
http://www.mcvicarkenpoacademy.co.uk/
First off let me qualify all of this by saying I am a nobody, not a who's who in any body's zoo. With that being said, here are my thoughts on what I have learned of American Kenpo....
__________________________________________________________________________
Pro's (based on my observations)

It can be a great base system to develop a solid set of basics.
It offers a logical progression for a student to follow while goal setting.
It can be a tool box to develop answers to problems.
It was designed to adapt and be tailored to the practitioner.
It was designed to evolve ideas with the times and environment.
It has great concepts and principles that can be applied to more then just the system and it's method of training.
Outstanding striking combinations.
A platform to move onto other arts or gain a deeper understanding of combat using a pattern.
___________________________________________________________________________
Con's (based on my observations)

Religious and borderline fanatical following of Ed Parker and not what Ed Parker was trying to teach.

Practitioners developing a false sense of security from self-defense techniques never moving beyond the ideal phase of a technique.

Misunderstood or exaggerated paradyms (sp) as to how an attackers body will truly react to certain types of strikes or sequences of motion.

Training to deliver 10-20 strikes while someones feet stay planted.

Mentally "stroking off" to terminology and fancy words instead of putting some time in throwing punches.

Zealous belief that a broken technique is perfect and it is the instructors misunderstanding or the practitioners lack of training.

Fear of going "back to the drawing board" using sound basics and principles when said technique has issues.

Selling a curriculum....and not developing or selling a skill level.
_______________________________________________________________________

So in short...I see things I like, see things others do that I feel are antiquated. Ultimately it is about me and my kenpo. Not anyone else, not the system, not someone's ideas. It is about my interpretation and if I can use a skill set to save my own @$$. Many people have lost sight of this. I train in martial arts...a portion of that is American Kenpo, but all being said and done I am a martial artist.


Quote
Like
Share

Joined: June 17th, 2006, 1:33 am

April 8th, 2008, 9:32 pm #7

"Mentally "stroking off" to terminology and fancy words instead of putting some time in throwing punches."

Just because we want to be able to explain in minute detail just why that hurt so damn bad....LOL!

Those of us that wish the Vulcan death grip was real need that sort of thing.

CT

but that's just my opinion I could be wrong.
Dennis Miller
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 2nd, 2004, 1:10 am

April 8th, 2008, 10:19 pm #8

I am sure you are not guilty of what I am talking about either. I have met folks who can explain why, and how, but simply can not do.

It is good to know why something hurt that damn bad but there comes a point there the talking and debating stops and someone gets hit!

I will stop with the hateraide I was talking more about the extremes I have seen, not the average Joe Kenpo.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: June 1st, 2005, 5:34 am

April 9th, 2008, 1:31 am #9

Hi everybody

I think a lot of people on this forum would consider that Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defence as opposed to say sport or military applications.

It was designed mainly for the streets of the USA which have specific problems not associated with other countries for example I live in the UK where gun crime is still relatively rare by comparison. That aside what do you feel Kenpo practitioners lack for self defence purposes, do you think we would benefit from more ground based techniques; more weapons base stuff is our physical conditioning adequate, are our techniques realistic, are we still able to cope with the world as it is in 2008, or do we have everything right and as it should be.

All this will vary from club to club but I’m more interested in what people think of the system of Kenpo as a whole and where you all feel we need improvement if any.

All the best,

Adam Gorst
http://www.mcvicarkenpoacademy.co.uk/
Interesting question.
I think Kenpo has the framework to serve most students needs. I definitely think that any kenpo school, and any kenpo practitioner could benefit from exposure to all of the above that you said and more.
A few things that I see on a fairly regular basis from other kenpoists, that I try hard to make sure we dont do is..

giving unrealistic expectations to beginning and intermediate students.
not giving students an exposure to the different ranges of sport fighting, especially grappling.
not giving students a more realistic or hands on training with different handguns and knives.
not placing enough emphasis on environmental awareness and how to avoid bad situations to begin with.
not providing resources for students to extend their training in other avenues indirectly related to kenpo.
not providing enough knowledge and education on flexibility and conditioning exercises.
not investing in tailoring the programs for the students needs as opposed to fitting them into a predesigned system.

The ideal training center to me would provide;
a well stocked library on all types of martial arts and physical fitness/exercise.
a well designed fitness equipment training center
a range of sports fighting classes cover all ranges of sports fighting
access to different health and fitness professionals on site. i.e. chiropractor, acupuncture, massage, etc.
access to healthy snacks, drinks, and foods
a well stocked video library, or educational, and entertainment movies to access.

I could add dozens of others, and I know of no school, including ours, that provides all of this. But in a perfect world I guess we could do it.
Fact is that its hard enough for most martial arts instructors to find time to teach and practice, let alone continuously add and improve on their art and offerings. I also think alot of times its too hard on an instructors part to admit they are lacking in certain areas and be able to step up and search out resources to fill that void and make sure the students are offered those resources.

Oh well here we go... rant away.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 28th, 2008, 4:51 am

April 9th, 2008, 4:54 am #10

Hi everybody

I think a lot of people on this forum would consider that Kenpo is a martial art primarily designed for personal self defence as opposed to say sport or military applications.

It was designed mainly for the streets of the USA which have specific problems not associated with other countries for example I live in the UK where gun crime is still relatively rare by comparison. That aside what do you feel Kenpo practitioners lack for self defence purposes, do you think we would benefit from more ground based techniques; more weapons base stuff is our physical conditioning adequate, are our techniques realistic, are we still able to cope with the world as it is in 2008, or do we have everything right and as it should be.

All this will vary from club to club but I’m more interested in what people think of the system of Kenpo as a whole and where you all feel we need improvement if any.

All the best,

Adam Gorst
http://www.mcvicarkenpoacademy.co.uk/
I have to say, Brian Hunter Brought out some very good points.
When I first studied in kenpo, the techniques I was taught were thought of as the sublime vision of a prophet of self defense. I will probably be blacklisted for my next few words so please forgive me. To those who knew him (i didn't) Ed Parker was a great man, a great friend, a father, a leader, a legend. He was, in the end, just a man.
Kenpo evolved before Ed Parker, Then he evolved with it while he was alive and even after his untimely death it is still evolving.

We as kenpoists in forums tend to lean towards the negative when it comes to the ideas of change or "kenpo evolution". There is no one to tell us yes or no, good or bad. right or wrong.
The time is coming for us to take responsibility for our own innovations like Mr. Parker did at one time. I have heard some seniors say that they would never accept the rank of 10th degree out of respect for Mr. Parker. I can understand that to a degree. To quote a person who has never done Kenpo but the words ring true enough, " Nostalgia can be disempowering " -Gloria Steinem. I used wonder about the good ol' days of kenpo' s golden years and have come to realize that they are now.

After my first round of kenpo training with my first instructor I went to college. I trained on my own and taught intermittently through college. I ended up training for years on my own. Every time I went outside the kenpo curriculum in my mind I had the same catholic guilt feelings, that I was doing something wrong. Every Instructor I came across Had to have the IKKA listed requirements or I was not interested. That probably kept me from meeting some nice people.

Up until a few years ago I was able to rid myself of this thinking and realize it is not a perfect system, But a near perfect foundation to build my own system, a system of kenpo from my own personal experience. As in anything in life, it is only as good as what you put into it. Kenpo is a grappling art. Kenpo is a weapon art. It is all there but I think it becomes a little more like specializing in a few things rather than being the best at everything. Opening our minds and sharing with each other our own experiences is what will further advance Kenpo. If you feel something needs to be updated in a technique, use the tools of observation and principles to do so. Close mindedness will only close doors of opportunity.
Aloha and Mahalo
Joe Stricklett
Quote
Like
Share