On Forms

On Forms

Joined: August 30th, 2009, 12:15 am

December 31st, 2009, 8:37 pm #1

So just to post a different jump ball, here's what I learned about forms in class last night.

1) Forms don't have PARTICULAR applications. In fact, strictly speaking they don't have particular fighting applications or even targets at all--and to think (or teach so) is to cripple one's ability to apply what the forms teach to fighting in the real world.

2) The reason this is so (and yes, it's paradoxical) is that beyond the obvious exercise, flexibility, coordination, precision that forms teach, when you explore the ranges of motion and motion that forms teach you are learning something about the POSSIBILITIES of application, and how to generate new applications for yourself.

3) You AREN'T learning that THIS move means THIS and ONLY this particular application (or even these three or four applications), because the moves in a form are meant to teach a sort of golden mean of possibilities.

4) It's sometimes said that kenpo forms are compliations of techniques. That's kind of sort of backwards: in a fairly-traditional way, you should just learn the techniques sort of mindlessly and as perfectly as possible, then go back and maybe look at how particular techniques can be pulled out of the range of possibilities for the applications of particular moves/sequences of moves in the forms.

5) It's more or less like forms are genotypes, techniques--both the written-dwn ones in the curriculum and the ones made up on the fly--are phenotypes that actualize what the underlying structures carried in the forms contained.

6) Limiting the techniques to single applications is the flip side of the mistake you make when you change the techniques--because mostly, technique changes end up limiting the techniques to particular purposes rather than teaching tools that have a very large range of purposes. It isn;t wrong to change techniques in and of itself--it's exactly what you should be doing at a certian point--but until you get pretty advanced, you probably don't wanna teach the changed techniques to students because you're burning your bridge before they get to it.

7) Most of the questions (and arguments) we get into about changing/evolving kenpo are a mistake. We should really be asking: a) what is the correct movement/placements in this form? b) what is this teaching? c) does what it's teaching make fighting or teaching sense? d) if I change this, what is lost?

Bonus #8: I liked the discussion below on fighting vs. forms in branches of kenpo, but I kind of thought both sides were mistaken about what forms are for. I'd also remind folks that, well, mostly (but obviously not always!) when people in kenpo talk aboui fighting--they mean, "sparring."

Sparring, even in the UFC, is tightly structured, as everybody knows. And I'm certainly not saying anything silly like, "I could whip Chuck Liddell." Of course, I'd die--hopefully honorably, but die nonetheless. The man's a professional, and a great fighter by any standards. Oh, and he's in insane physical shape.

But this doesn't change the fact that I don't study to get into a ring, octagon, or any such thing else. I study to stay alive, and protect what I care about...as well as the obvious benefits that include the more you work yer stances, the faster you can run the hell away.

Forms are there, in terms of their practical applications, so that people like me learn a fighting chance. That's all--just a chance, and by the way, nothing you do will make you inculnerable. That's all any of us learn, however street-experienced and capable....a chance.

Anyway, have a good holiday. Drive safe.

R.M. Robertson
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Joined: October 14th, 2005, 5:16 am

December 31st, 2009, 9:09 pm #2

I'll say this.
I don't care for forms much...

But in Kosho they break down every move and step.. Sifu shows you what it is for... Why the funny twist in the wrist or the finger to nothing but space, which is the eye, etc...

So in Kosho art the form does represent a tech. a combination, is a set (of techs) and the whole form and parts are worked on and put together...
*****
Tracy class 101... (mention that because Tracy is a Mitose learning school also)...Chow was not that good with Kata not many were then...Kata has been improved dramaticly in schools the last 20 years.
*****

The form can be taken from any location in it and student should know next move if stopped and why, shows how well it's in the mind of the student...

Now you know why I am not into it LOL...

Similar to a speech or a repeating of a code of sorts... You have someone stop you in a speech, interupt, then you go on from there without it written down.

Memory work in Masonic tradition is similar...keys are given response is expected word for word...Same with Kosho and movement...

So the instructor will guide you...
So you know it very well... No color belt should apply

Only one true Sensei per school...Simple

That is how much more complex it is...

Plus every action, has a reaction... Every move has a counter, etc.

For starters.
More later...

Gary
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Joined: February 4th, 2004, 8:13 pm

December 31st, 2009, 9:17 pm #3

...I wouldn't do forms. I prefer methods of practice that prepare you for reality. You might play a mean air guitar, but when the real thing is put into your hands, you don't have a damn clue what to do.

I am not a fan of air martial arts. I teach forms, I practice them (not as much as most, probably), and I understand their place, but I am not a forms person.
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Joined: August 30th, 2009, 12:15 am

December 31st, 2009, 10:14 pm #4

...and it's a fundamental mistake to compare forms to playing "air guitar."

Why?

First off, it imposes a fake separation--another of those "binary opposition," thingies--where none exists in reality. After all, nearly everything one does in martial arts study is, "air guitar," if we're really gonna get patticular about it.

Sparring rules out certain targets, as everybody knows, that are about the first things anybody with a grain of sense would go for if push really came to serious, fight-or-go-under shove. And no, I am emphatically NOT repeating the same old goofy claims that anybody-could-take-Rulon-because-we-know-Charging-Ram-and-he-don't or knowing all the "Gift," techs means you could go toe-to-toe with any Gracie without further training. That's a false dichotomy between "technique," and, "fighters." I'm just saying that when you spar, you agree to certain rules and limits, you work on certain things and accept certain things, and you DON'T just go out there and go nuts. If you did, nobody'd be able to train for more than about a week.

My point's simply that to take place at all, sparring in any dojo is just as formalized as the forms are. It's just a different kind of structure, is all--it is NOT no structure, and it damn sure ain't How It Is Onna Street.

In its way, sparring--no, not fighting--is air guitar too. Which is not to say that sparring teaches nothing--of ncourse it does, and the sheer adrenaline of having to deal with some galoot is a vital step closer to "real life."

But sparring only teaches what it teaches, same as with forms. We'd have far better fighters in kenpo if they took a leaf from the past, and worked on the kind of balance, poise, technique that forms clearly teach.

Thanks,
R.M. Robertson
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Joined: October 14th, 2005, 5:16 am

December 31st, 2009, 10:35 pm #5

This is a good thing to put into a pipe and smoke it...
quote
What others think is what they are being taught is Kenpo. It's like those who think the Special Olympics are THE Olympics.
quote


The mention is true...

Why is it Chuck Liddell is good...

Have you seen his instructor and whence he came...

Yes, it is in training and why I don't feel the training in todays, many or most of the dojos are worthy of true self defense...

Forget about all the Mitose mentions of evasion and first principals etc...
Go right to the root of how do you learn to fight...

Joe Lewis has a great manuscript and up dates it...

Get it read it and then we can discuss it other wise just read the first mention and go on your merry way.

Regards,
Gary





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Joined: February 1st, 2005, 2:47 pm

January 1st, 2010, 12:34 am #6

Here is my take on Forms. I was once a national shotokan kata champion and was commended by Kanazawa Kancho on my kata for my Shodan test way back when. I was young and still had hair.

There is a difference in the way Kenpo Forms are performed and the way Okinawan Katas are performed. This seems on the surface to be a perfunctory remark until I try to explain what I mean.

Firstly, when you learn an Okinawan Kata or it's Japanese equivalent you are learning a set of moves to be performed just so. There is very little latitude for free expression of these movements, you just learn them the way you are taught and try to perform them to the best of your ability. Very little knowledge is passed on to you as to the application of the movements, often a punch or a block are interpreted as such, just so you can learn the sequencing, timing, direction, etc. and more importantly breathing.

Traditionally, katas took years to master. You learned one at a time and spent many years perfecting that one kata. Through repeated practice understanding was gained, often by suddenly realising the correct questions to ask. It also depended on how high up the food chain you were whether you got the inside knowledge (Bubishi, for example) or the more generic training. The Kata movements had multiple meanings, and sometimes the master would teach you what would suit your abilities rather than what he would personally use them for (sounds a bit Ed Parker-ish, doesn't it?).

At the end of the day, the movements changed little until the start of the 20th Century and especially after WWII as most of the original masters who had original knowledge died with many of their students having been sent to war and not having completed their training, per se.

All in all, Okinawan Katas are an internal journey, where deep understanding of what you are doing can be apparent to the knowledgeable observer of your performance. Each Kata was a complete fighting system for particular environments or situations.

With Kenpo (EPAK), the Forms are structured to aid student advancement, even to the point of being for a particular belt. I know that Okinawan/Japanese styles have Pinans and Heians, which were introduced by Anko Itosu to teach larger numbers, but originally a student would have tackled something like Naihanchi first.

The EPAK Forms are there to supplement and complement the techniques and B one a's, to teach correct posture and alignment, proper weapon formation, all those things and more. But we are given the application for these movements and everything is explained.

In Okinawan/Japanese styles, you have Bunkai. This is often strictly adhered to unless you have a truly knowledgeable teacher who also encourages "Henka" which is more like 'interpretation', what you CAN use the movement for and what modifications can be made to include other possibilities. Sound familiar?

Okinawan/Japanese Kata movements have names like Uchi Ude Uke, because it looks like an inside forearm block (we call it an outward block in Kenpo). It may be more like the first move in Darting Mace, or even Crossing Talon. Or it could be something else entirely. Point is, without the context of a physical partner, it looks like a block so you do it as a block.

With Kenpo Forms, you start with the Bunkai so you have a fair idea what you're meant to be doing. You don't need to interpret the Form, you've already done that with the techniques when you learned them, and you're encouraged to use the Formulation Equation.

Either way, when you get the right teacher, you are getting a full and detailed experience.
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Joined: March 14th, 2004, 4:27 am

January 1st, 2010, 2:29 am #7

So just to post a different jump ball, here's what I learned about forms in class last night.

1) Forms don't have PARTICULAR applications. In fact, strictly speaking they don't have particular fighting applications or even targets at all--and to think (or teach so) is to cripple one's ability to apply what the forms teach to fighting in the real world.

2) The reason this is so (and yes, it's paradoxical) is that beyond the obvious exercise, flexibility, coordination, precision that forms teach, when you explore the ranges of motion and motion that forms teach you are learning something about the POSSIBILITIES of application, and how to generate new applications for yourself.

3) You AREN'T learning that THIS move means THIS and ONLY this particular application (or even these three or four applications), because the moves in a form are meant to teach a sort of golden mean of possibilities.

4) It's sometimes said that kenpo forms are compliations of techniques. That's kind of sort of backwards: in a fairly-traditional way, you should just learn the techniques sort of mindlessly and as perfectly as possible, then go back and maybe look at how particular techniques can be pulled out of the range of possibilities for the applications of particular moves/sequences of moves in the forms.

5) It's more or less like forms are genotypes, techniques--both the written-dwn ones in the curriculum and the ones made up on the fly--are phenotypes that actualize what the underlying structures carried in the forms contained.

6) Limiting the techniques to single applications is the flip side of the mistake you make when you change the techniques--because mostly, technique changes end up limiting the techniques to particular purposes rather than teaching tools that have a very large range of purposes. It isn;t wrong to change techniques in and of itself--it's exactly what you should be doing at a certian point--but until you get pretty advanced, you probably don't wanna teach the changed techniques to students because you're burning your bridge before they get to it.

7) Most of the questions (and arguments) we get into about changing/evolving kenpo are a mistake. We should really be asking: a) what is the correct movement/placements in this form? b) what is this teaching? c) does what it's teaching make fighting or teaching sense? d) if I change this, what is lost?

Bonus #8: I liked the discussion below on fighting vs. forms in branches of kenpo, but I kind of thought both sides were mistaken about what forms are for. I'd also remind folks that, well, mostly (but obviously not always!) when people in kenpo talk aboui fighting--they mean, "sparring."

Sparring, even in the UFC, is tightly structured, as everybody knows. And I'm certainly not saying anything silly like, "I could whip Chuck Liddell." Of course, I'd die--hopefully honorably, but die nonetheless. The man's a professional, and a great fighter by any standards. Oh, and he's in insane physical shape.

But this doesn't change the fact that I don't study to get into a ring, octagon, or any such thing else. I study to stay alive, and protect what I care about...as well as the obvious benefits that include the more you work yer stances, the faster you can run the hell away.

Forms are there, in terms of their practical applications, so that people like me learn a fighting chance. That's all--just a chance, and by the way, nothing you do will make you inculnerable. That's all any of us learn, however street-experienced and capable....a chance.

Anyway, have a good holiday. Drive safe.

R.M. Robertson
Robert come on over Temecula/Murrieta you need a Drank I'll buy first rounds.Let's start the New Year off smooth your fingers must be tired LOL and Brains U killen me Mate.Luv U Bra
This Kenpo stuff makes me laugh since "81"(computer) I thought us Stunties were Mad Scientist LOL.
Happy New Years to all and be SAFE!!

Hoz me spellen to the Englis Majors...
D
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Joined: March 5th, 2005, 2:18 pm

January 1st, 2010, 6:56 am #8

So just to post a different jump ball, here's what I learned about forms in class last night.

1) Forms don't have PARTICULAR applications. In fact, strictly speaking they don't have particular fighting applications or even targets at all--and to think (or teach so) is to cripple one's ability to apply what the forms teach to fighting in the real world.

2) The reason this is so (and yes, it's paradoxical) is that beyond the obvious exercise, flexibility, coordination, precision that forms teach, when you explore the ranges of motion and motion that forms teach you are learning something about the POSSIBILITIES of application, and how to generate new applications for yourself.

3) You AREN'T learning that THIS move means THIS and ONLY this particular application (or even these three or four applications), because the moves in a form are meant to teach a sort of golden mean of possibilities.

4) It's sometimes said that kenpo forms are compliations of techniques. That's kind of sort of backwards: in a fairly-traditional way, you should just learn the techniques sort of mindlessly and as perfectly as possible, then go back and maybe look at how particular techniques can be pulled out of the range of possibilities for the applications of particular moves/sequences of moves in the forms.

5) It's more or less like forms are genotypes, techniques--both the written-dwn ones in the curriculum and the ones made up on the fly--are phenotypes that actualize what the underlying structures carried in the forms contained.

6) Limiting the techniques to single applications is the flip side of the mistake you make when you change the techniques--because mostly, technique changes end up limiting the techniques to particular purposes rather than teaching tools that have a very large range of purposes. It isn;t wrong to change techniques in and of itself--it's exactly what you should be doing at a certian point--but until you get pretty advanced, you probably don't wanna teach the changed techniques to students because you're burning your bridge before they get to it.

7) Most of the questions (and arguments) we get into about changing/evolving kenpo are a mistake. We should really be asking: a) what is the correct movement/placements in this form? b) what is this teaching? c) does what it's teaching make fighting or teaching sense? d) if I change this, what is lost?

Bonus #8: I liked the discussion below on fighting vs. forms in branches of kenpo, but I kind of thought both sides were mistaken about what forms are for. I'd also remind folks that, well, mostly (but obviously not always!) when people in kenpo talk aboui fighting--they mean, "sparring."

Sparring, even in the UFC, is tightly structured, as everybody knows. And I'm certainly not saying anything silly like, "I could whip Chuck Liddell." Of course, I'd die--hopefully honorably, but die nonetheless. The man's a professional, and a great fighter by any standards. Oh, and he's in insane physical shape.

But this doesn't change the fact that I don't study to get into a ring, octagon, or any such thing else. I study to stay alive, and protect what I care about...as well as the obvious benefits that include the more you work yer stances, the faster you can run the hell away.

Forms are there, in terms of their practical applications, so that people like me learn a fighting chance. That's all--just a chance, and by the way, nothing you do will make you inculnerable. That's all any of us learn, however street-experienced and capable....a chance.

Anyway, have a good holiday. Drive safe.

R.M. Robertson
Kenpo Forms: Do Not represent a Fight; They teach you Rules and Principles of Motion and that everything has a Reverse & Opposite, and will show an example of that.

I will mention that a personal dislike I have is when folks do a form that clearly would not be effective. An example would probably be good - when I see someone working form 4, and they get to dance of death, I frequently see the "stomp" movement done so low that the only back their foot would clear is that of a paper cutout. Maybe others can do that and feel good about it. Performing forms without a sense for the bad guy would help me develop and perfect bad habits. I don't think you were trying to say that but one might interpret it so.



Take it out on the heavy bag,

Chuck Peterson
peterson_charlie@hotmail.com

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Joined: October 14th, 2005, 5:16 am

January 1st, 2010, 3:53 pm #9

Here is my take on Forms. I was once a national shotokan kata champion and was commended by Kanazawa Kancho on my kata for my Shodan test way back when. I was young and still had hair.

There is a difference in the way Kenpo Forms are performed and the way Okinawan Katas are performed. This seems on the surface to be a perfunctory remark until I try to explain what I mean.

Firstly, when you learn an Okinawan Kata or it's Japanese equivalent you are learning a set of moves to be performed just so. There is very little latitude for free expression of these movements, you just learn them the way you are taught and try to perform them to the best of your ability. Very little knowledge is passed on to you as to the application of the movements, often a punch or a block are interpreted as such, just so you can learn the sequencing, timing, direction, etc. and more importantly breathing.

Traditionally, katas took years to master. You learned one at a time and spent many years perfecting that one kata. Through repeated practice understanding was gained, often by suddenly realising the correct questions to ask. It also depended on how high up the food chain you were whether you got the inside knowledge (Bubishi, for example) or the more generic training. The Kata movements had multiple meanings, and sometimes the master would teach you what would suit your abilities rather than what he would personally use them for (sounds a bit Ed Parker-ish, doesn't it?).

At the end of the day, the movements changed little until the start of the 20th Century and especially after WWII as most of the original masters who had original knowledge died with many of their students having been sent to war and not having completed their training, per se.

All in all, Okinawan Katas are an internal journey, where deep understanding of what you are doing can be apparent to the knowledgeable observer of your performance. Each Kata was a complete fighting system for particular environments or situations.

With Kenpo (EPAK), the Forms are structured to aid student advancement, even to the point of being for a particular belt. I know that Okinawan/Japanese styles have Pinans and Heians, which were introduced by Anko Itosu to teach larger numbers, but originally a student would have tackled something like Naihanchi first.

The EPAK Forms are there to supplement and complement the techniques and B one a's, to teach correct posture and alignment, proper weapon formation, all those things and more. But we are given the application for these movements and everything is explained.

In Okinawan/Japanese styles, you have Bunkai. This is often strictly adhered to unless you have a truly knowledgeable teacher who also encourages "Henka" which is more like 'interpretation', what you CAN use the movement for and what modifications can be made to include other possibilities. Sound familiar?

Okinawan/Japanese Kata movements have names like Uchi Ude Uke, because it looks like an inside forearm block (we call it an outward block in Kenpo). It may be more like the first move in Darting Mace, or even Crossing Talon. Or it could be something else entirely. Point is, without the context of a physical partner, it looks like a block so you do it as a block.

With Kenpo Forms, you start with the Bunkai so you have a fair idea what you're meant to be doing. You don't need to interpret the Form, you've already done that with the techniques when you learned them, and you're encouraged to use the Formulation Equation.

Either way, when you get the right teacher, you are getting a full and detailed experience.
Shotokan is something I was involved with for a period of time in early training...The forms to me were what hard core striking and training were all about. Shorin Ryu similar...Okinawan arts like that.

The training I prefer now is linked here.

http://joe-lewis-tips.blogspot.com/

I get his newsletter, bought his book...I called him, he had gone up to the Philly area and was not used to it...Discussed time in the Corps and training...

The man is still in great shape, proof is in the pudding sort of situation...

But as RM mentions it is not for everyone the type of training MMA folks do or being able to fight these kind of people and win...LOL

The Gym I go to has some real hulks in there work for the spot have a chance to ask them questions on body building talk about nutrition...An inspiration of sorts and if you go train and attempt to keep in good shape a place like that helps...

Katas were the rule for a long time, NaiHanShi is a good one only one in Kosho some say, but that is not true...

How much kata does one need to be good at moving and practice movement? I picked one out I preferred and did it... Practice makes perfect they say...

Now I do a dance of sorts Kata Form whatever. It is spontanious though just start doing something...

Going from a room to another think about this moving around the house doing movement that gives you a tai chi effect, picking up an object off the floor and doing a backkick, closing a drawer with your foot, turning on/off the light switch with the same...

Thought I'd mention it...
Happy New Year

Gary

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Joined: October 14th, 2005, 5:16 am

January 1st, 2010, 6:28 pm #10

Here is my take on Forms. I was once a national shotokan kata champion and was commended by Kanazawa Kancho on my kata for my Shodan test way back when. I was young and still had hair.

There is a difference in the way Kenpo Forms are performed and the way Okinawan Katas are performed. This seems on the surface to be a perfunctory remark until I try to explain what I mean.

Firstly, when you learn an Okinawan Kata or it's Japanese equivalent you are learning a set of moves to be performed just so. There is very little latitude for free expression of these movements, you just learn them the way you are taught and try to perform them to the best of your ability. Very little knowledge is passed on to you as to the application of the movements, often a punch or a block are interpreted as such, just so you can learn the sequencing, timing, direction, etc. and more importantly breathing.

Traditionally, katas took years to master. You learned one at a time and spent many years perfecting that one kata. Through repeated practice understanding was gained, often by suddenly realising the correct questions to ask. It also depended on how high up the food chain you were whether you got the inside knowledge (Bubishi, for example) or the more generic training. The Kata movements had multiple meanings, and sometimes the master would teach you what would suit your abilities rather than what he would personally use them for (sounds a bit Ed Parker-ish, doesn't it?).

At the end of the day, the movements changed little until the start of the 20th Century and especially after WWII as most of the original masters who had original knowledge died with many of their students having been sent to war and not having completed their training, per se.

All in all, Okinawan Katas are an internal journey, where deep understanding of what you are doing can be apparent to the knowledgeable observer of your performance. Each Kata was a complete fighting system for particular environments or situations.

With Kenpo (EPAK), the Forms are structured to aid student advancement, even to the point of being for a particular belt. I know that Okinawan/Japanese styles have Pinans and Heians, which were introduced by Anko Itosu to teach larger numbers, but originally a student would have tackled something like Naihanchi first.

The EPAK Forms are there to supplement and complement the techniques and B one a's, to teach correct posture and alignment, proper weapon formation, all those things and more. But we are given the application for these movements and everything is explained.

In Okinawan/Japanese styles, you have Bunkai. This is often strictly adhered to unless you have a truly knowledgeable teacher who also encourages "Henka" which is more like 'interpretation', what you CAN use the movement for and what modifications can be made to include other possibilities. Sound familiar?

Okinawan/Japanese Kata movements have names like Uchi Ude Uke, because it looks like an inside forearm block (we call it an outward block in Kenpo). It may be more like the first move in Darting Mace, or even Crossing Talon. Or it could be something else entirely. Point is, without the context of a physical partner, it looks like a block so you do it as a block.

With Kenpo Forms, you start with the Bunkai so you have a fair idea what you're meant to be doing. You don't need to interpret the Form, you've already done that with the techniques when you learned them, and you're encouraged to use the Formulation Equation.

Either way, when you get the right teacher, you are getting a full and detailed experience.
This is an important thing to remember...
You may disagree with some things but this is pure wisdom folks and it the foundation of Kenpo...

http://kenpokarate.com/attention_to_trifles.html

*****
We have examined the flower and nut so far in the larger sense, without speaking of them as vessels through which understanding is gained. When a correct path to the Way is entered, the student becomes the nut that, with proper training and discipline will sprout, grow and eventually send out a myriad of flowers. But the nut can never come into existence without the flower, and in Kenpo training, the flowers are the techniques or waza. So this must be taken to the smallest, personal sense, attention is given even to trifles.
When confronted by a large man, we see his mass, but it is only when we pay attention to the smallest detail that we can truly comprehend the man. All battles are waged through deception, and deception is most often in the larger sense, the position of the head, the facial expression, arms, legs and posture. But the truth which is found in the Way, is first observed in attention to the autumn hair that rises or stiffens on his arm or the nearly imperceptive twitch of his scalp - every trifle. And thus, the rings circle within rings, and the path becomes more clear. The Way is in training, training in the Wind of tradition, in techniques, in principles and in strategy.
Every Kenpo master trained by rote, they practiced by rote and they learned by rote; and as every technique was committed to memory they paid attention to every detail, to every trifle. To master Kenpo, one must first know Kenpo. The student must know every hand foot, elbow, knee, shoulder, head and body weapon, every technique, every principle and every strategy, and he must know the smallest detail. There are schools that say you only need a limited number of techniques, and reduce the techniques to single waza, because you will learn to think for yourself. This is not the Way of Kenpo for it is axiomatic that "one may know how to win a battle without being able to do it."

****

Regards,
Gary
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