The Preservation and Integrity of Ed Parker's American Kenpo

The Preservation and Integrity of Ed Parker's American Kenpo

Joined: October 1st, 2007, 10:08 pm

October 4th, 2007, 11:19 am #1

Mr. Parker devised a system that taught the alphabet of motion, the “ABC's”. Once learned an expert practitioner could speak in volumes of motion, that any and all American Kenpo practitioners could read. This is possible because the alphabet of motion is universal to all, and should be taught that way.

The English language is taught the same way throughout the world with the same rules, principals and pronunciation. This is done as a standard. So that all who speak English, anywhere in the world, can understand each other. But that is not to say that all speak or write the same things, but all can be understood and it is in correct English. Once standard English is taught, the individual who is taught correctly will be able to express ones ideas in wonderful ways that all can enjoy and learn from. If one is not taught correct English, but is taught a variation with extra letters in the Alphabete or letters are
excluded, his ideas will not the able to be understood by others.

The material that Ed Parker invented is complete and should be taught as a standard of Ed Parker's American Kenpo. All practitioners should be taught, from white belt to black belt, completely with all techniques, forms, set and basics included. Nothing added, nothing lost. So that we can all understand each other. Once a black belt has learned Mr. Parker's system an instructor can and should show and explore variations and begin to create their own “Novel”. One that all can understand.

Charles Dickens and Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest novels of all time, but someone can not say that one is better than the other. They are both masters of the English language. Their writing can be understood by any anyone that has been taught correct English.

As instructors we should show how “we” like to move or how “I” want to do it. But, never say that this is better than or is Mr. Parker's idea if it is not how he taught it. As an FBI man once said “Everyone has their opinion but there is only one set of facts and we have to live with them”. The facts are what Mr. Parker outlined in his manuals and books. Mr. Parker's curriculum are the basis, the standards from which all personal expression should flourish. Again, many great writers are acclaimed for their wonderful writings, but none of them invented a better form of communication. They mastered the basics, read many of the great writer, learned from them, made it their own and expressed themselves.

My point to this is that there is no need to reinvent Mr. Parker's system. Once learned correctly you will have all you need to do everything. Anything else is redundant. As Black Belts in classes everyone should make this system their own. Since the alphabet was created there has never been another letter added to it and people are still creating original, captivating dialog and writing from it. So why should we add to Mr. Parker's system?

There are so many great practitioners of Kenpo out there and all are good in their own right. Something can be learned from all of them. Not one is better than the othe . All are interpretations of the language of Kenpo. I am one not to knock what others are doing. It is all good, just have an open mind. I'm a purist, I stick to what Mr. Parker intended and explore what he created. It's upsetting when others criticizes what others are doing. It belittles and lessens the whole of the Kenpo world . Be above it. As Mr. Parker wrote in his book, I paraphrase , “ Don't try to lesson someone else's line of skill or knowledge by cheating or speaking untrue things. Make yourself better. Lengthen your line of skill and respect what the other has done”.

Masters like Mr. Pic, Mr. Cogliandro and Mr. Kelly are purists and preservers of Mr. Parker's art. They aren't doing it for self-promotion or self acclaim of a “newer, better system”. They are doing it to continue the life and practice of Mr. Parker's wonderful art. These men are legitimate and all speak the truth. Their rank, time spent and skill are all genuine. They teach with heart and share their knowledge to keep Mr. Parkers art and spirit alive. Like I said before, we can all have an opinion, but there is only one set of facts and we all have to live with them.

Andrew Tache'
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: January 16th, 2004, 8:43 am

October 4th, 2007, 1:55 pm #2

Mr. Tache, thank you for taking the time to send out your thoughts and feelings about the art of Kenpo. I know many people out there will agree, but even those of us who don't can appreciate your heartfelt and earnest approach. I salute you for speaking your mind and signing your name to it.

What you have described here is absolutely the way that the martial ART of Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate should be approached and taught... But what about the martial SCIENCE of Kenpo?

Your analogies of the English language and Shakespear are absolutely correct. But the principles and motions of Kenpo are derived from physics, and physics wasn't created by any artist or scientist. Over time and painstaking discovery, scientists defined the means by which the universe already worked. I view my Kenpo as a science. Sometimes, something comes along that shows a better "equation" or "proof" than what I had before. After empirical analysis and testing, if it passes muster, it is added to my Kenpo, sometimes pushing another "formula" out of circulation.

****

The ART of Kenpo is a beautifully intricte set of interwoven ideas and training methods, with something for everyone. It takes a raw beginner and molds them over years and years into an excellent practitioner and competent teacher of the art. It arms an individual with a library of conceptual information to help them understand and refine their art towards its ultimate - individual - perfection. A path one could follow for a lifetime or two.

But not every person who studies Kenpo needs or wants that.

Some people just want a bit of self-defense, and don't care to hone their attributes to a fine edge in order to have a shot. Some people are willing to invest many years in study, but have no interest in teaching the art or passing it on to others, and want only the parts that are immediately functional for them.

Blocking set is widely functional, but does someone uninterested in kicking need Kicking Set? Does someone looking for a quick self-defense method need Coordination Sets? Does someone morally opposed to all the eye gouging really need Finger Set?

Only a very, very small percentage of students who start in Kenpo will ever become brown or black belts, or run schools, or be phenomenal at the art. The martial ART of Kenpo serves the remaining 99% poorly. It places a high emphasis on skills development and set completion and conceptual understanding, and places a lower emphasis on immediately deployable tools that are synchronous with the statistical average of threats encountered in "street fighting".

About one third of attacks in the street come from weapons, particularly knives and guns.... and yet these tools are found in the later parts of the system. The multiple opponent techniques are also found later in the system, and are primarily vehicles for teaching advanced skill sets... but nearly half of all violent crime is a multiple-offender situation. The ART does little to address this in its earliest segments.

Kenpo is poorly organized for teaching law-enforcement. The majority of "dominant side forward" tactics shown in forms and techniques place their sidearm in a precarious position, and many of Kenpo's tactics are not permissible by law-enforcement agencies.

Clearly, a number of Kenpo practitioners feel that the ART has little to offer for dealing with the increasing prevalence of ground fighters. I know the art is supposed to contain a complete library of motion, but I don't recall seeing scissor sweeps, bridge rolls, triangles, or a slew of other important ground maneuvers in Kenpo. Sure the SCIENTIFIC principles are there, but the exact process of using them in this environment is not.

Its often been said that the art is designed for commercial schools. But if it weren't designed that way.... would it be structured differently? Is the earlier "60's" form less commercial in that sense? If it is less commercial, then is it "more" of something else?

Fights in the majority of situations are not an "on-off" process. There is a progression of social and physical elements that turns a non-violent situation into a dangerous one. Kenpo has few tools for dealing with this. Responses against pushes and handshakes have the same overall level of violent response as those against chokes and weapon attacks. Without modification, the art has little to offer in the way of tools to take physical control of a fight without necessitating the destruction of the opponent.

The old adage "you fight like you train" is as close to proven fact as it can possibly be. Every little quirk of motion that you train is exactly the sort of response your reflexes are likely to tap into, no matter how much you logically "know" a given action is "only here for set completion". If you had to choose only ten techniques that were your first line of defense against a violent threat, what would they be? Would they be the same techniques as someone likely to face similar threats? What about dissimilar threats? What if comparing those lists, five of the ten techniques named were the same for everyone? Would you place a higher emphasis on those techniques and their relevant motions? Or would you think this was an abberration and that it should be weeded out by de-emphasizing those techniques or forms or drills?

****

There are many great Kenpoists out there doing things a bit differently.

Having started in the Ed Parker system with years of prior martial arts training, and then switching over to the Paul Mills method, I already had a non-typical notion of what Kenpo was about. I was interested in studying Kenpo only for its functionality, and not at all for its other appealing qualities. My training has always been first and foremost a matter of form following function.

In the process of adding Zach Whitson's Counterpoint to my training, and some of Rick Fowler's Kali flows, and Angelo Collado's Karambit, and aspects of Jeff Speakman's Kenpo 5.0, a bit of Jim Rathbone's White Tiger Kenpo-Jujits, and some of David German's TAI, and Joseph Simonet's KI Fighting Concepts, and Eric and Kevin Lamkin's Elite Fighters materials, and the seminars shown on this site by James Hawkins.... well... I just had way too much Kenpo in my Kenpo. And the things that showed faster, more immediate results we taking precedence in my training, supplanting tools which completed categories or were designed for uncommon attack forms, or were redundant with other responses...

Over time I saw that some important skills were not being adequately addressed, and this meant returning back to the written ART... but not everything that disappeared was missed... And not everything that was added was willing to fade away quietly. Some things that were done only a very few times made a huge impression, both on the students, and apparently on our motor programming / muscle memory. And some of these additions were not even Kenpo (gasp!).

So here was the quandary: throw away functional material, banning it from class so as not to pollute our Kenpo with it.... or accept that maybe the artistic, architecturally magnificent system that Ed Parker made was no longer.... quite... what I actually wanted to train...

I made my choice. I asked my students to make theirs. Thankfully we all agreed on what should be done. I redesigned my curriculum to reflect that choice. When people approach me wanting to know what I do, Kenpo is the answer I give, with the caveat that my Kenpo is quite bastardized. Those who are looking for "Ed Parker's Kenpo" by name are directed to another local school.

****

I'm not saying everyone should change the system. I'm not saying that every change is a good one. I'm not saying "my way is right", or anything of the sort. What I am trying to do is set out an argument for ways of doing things that modify, alter (or even outright distort or corrupt) the ART while remaining true to the SCIENCE of Kenpo. Ed Parker asked that we not traditionalize his art. (Argue amongst yourselves as to what exactly "traditionalize" means.) Personally, I'm doing my level best to keep my Kenpo as radicalized and iconoclastic as possible.

I admire and appreciate those who have maintained the purity of their Kenpo and continue to plumb its depths for better ways to teach or understand it. You all have my respect for doing so. I also admire those who try to develop new functionality for the art, either in response to an increased understanding of their highly tailored personal form of the ART, or to address perceived problems with the method (even if the problems aren't really there).

We are all training in Kenpo. Some of us agree with the majority about what that means, while others do not.

Thanks very much for reading this very long-winded reply. If I have offered offense, you have my apologies in advance.

Salute to all Kenpoists
-- Ian Rafferty
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: March 5th, 2005, 2:18 pm

October 4th, 2007, 2:03 pm #3

Mr. Parker devised a system that taught the alphabet of motion, the “ABC's”. Once learned an expert practitioner could speak in volumes of motion, that any and all American Kenpo practitioners could read. This is possible because the alphabet of motion is universal to all, and should be taught that way.

The English language is taught the same way throughout the world with the same rules, principals and pronunciation. This is done as a standard. So that all who speak English, anywhere in the world, can understand each other. But that is not to say that all speak or write the same things, but all can be understood and it is in correct English. Once standard English is taught, the individual who is taught correctly will be able to express ones ideas in wonderful ways that all can enjoy and learn from. If one is not taught correct English, but is taught a variation with extra letters in the Alphabete or letters are
excluded, his ideas will not the able to be understood by others.

The material that Ed Parker invented is complete and should be taught as a standard of Ed Parker's American Kenpo. All practitioners should be taught, from white belt to black belt, completely with all techniques, forms, set and basics included. Nothing added, nothing lost. So that we can all understand each other. Once a black belt has learned Mr. Parker's system an instructor can and should show and explore variations and begin to create their own “Novel”. One that all can understand.

Charles Dickens and Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest novels of all time, but someone can not say that one is better than the other. They are both masters of the English language. Their writing can be understood by any anyone that has been taught correct English.

As instructors we should show how “we” like to move or how “I” want to do it. But, never say that this is better than or is Mr. Parker's idea if it is not how he taught it. As an FBI man once said “Everyone has their opinion but there is only one set of facts and we have to live with them”. The facts are what Mr. Parker outlined in his manuals and books. Mr. Parker's curriculum are the basis, the standards from which all personal expression should flourish. Again, many great writers are acclaimed for their wonderful writings, but none of them invented a better form of communication. They mastered the basics, read many of the great writer, learned from them, made it their own and expressed themselves.

My point to this is that there is no need to reinvent Mr. Parker's system. Once learned correctly you will have all you need to do everything. Anything else is redundant. As Black Belts in classes everyone should make this system their own. Since the alphabet was created there has never been another letter added to it and people are still creating original, captivating dialog and writing from it. So why should we add to Mr. Parker's system?

There are so many great practitioners of Kenpo out there and all are good in their own right. Something can be learned from all of them. Not one is better than the othe . All are interpretations of the language of Kenpo. I am one not to knock what others are doing. It is all good, just have an open mind. I'm a purist, I stick to what Mr. Parker intended and explore what he created. It's upsetting when others criticizes what others are doing. It belittles and lessens the whole of the Kenpo world . Be above it. As Mr. Parker wrote in his book, I paraphrase , “ Don't try to lesson someone else's line of skill or knowledge by cheating or speaking untrue things. Make yourself better. Lengthen your line of skill and respect what the other has done”.

Masters like Mr. Pic, Mr. Cogliandro and Mr. Kelly are purists and preservers of Mr. Parker's art. They aren't doing it for self-promotion or self acclaim of a “newer, better system”. They are doing it to continue the life and practice of Mr. Parker's wonderful art. These men are legitimate and all speak the truth. Their rank, time spent and skill are all genuine. They teach with heart and share their knowledge to keep Mr. Parkers art and spirit alive. Like I said before, we can all have an opinion, but there is only one set of facts and we all have to live with them.

Andrew Tache'
but then again, I have to disagree.

I agree with your idealism - that as BB instructors, we should strive to teach the pure kenpo Mr. Parker taught.

Unfortunately, that isn't so easy to do. Lots of folks have already said he taught some techniques differently to differnt folks. That alone makes it impossible. The different abilitiies to understand, incorporate and teach what Mr. Parker taught has considerable effect on what the second, third and fourth generation students learn. That is a fact. I appreciate what Mr. Planas and Mr. Tatum have done with their videos, but Mr. Wedlake doesn't teach the techniques exactly the same as Mr. Tatum and he was also a Parker student. The techniques are so very close and the principles involved are honored, the flow is close but the nuances are simply different. The goal - to keep the principles, alphabet of motion, basics, forms, and techniques as close to Mr. Parker's orginal teaching is a good goal but unatainable. That doesn't mean we shouldn't strive toward that goal. We just shouldn't get upset when someone challenges our view of what Mr. Parker taught.

Another point of disagreement I have is in this line of reasoning:

"There are so many great practitioners of Kenpo out there and all are good in their own right. Something can be learned from all of them. Not one is better than the other."

I completely disagree. Why have tournaments if one is not better than the other? I have been to some kenpo schools that were clearly "not good". The system was watered down, people were promoted far too soon, and students had a false sense of security about what they could do with their art. I agree that I could learn from them, tho - "don't do it this way" is the primary lesson I would take away.

Also,

"My point to this is that there is no need to reinvent Mr. Parker's system. Once learned correctly you will have all you need to do everything. Anything else is redundant." Again, I have to disagree. There is a lot in kenpo - more than most realize. But it's not all in there. Other styles have something to offer. Mr. Parker did an incredible job of tapping into the best other arts had to offer but a casual viewing of "The Human Wapon" about Muay Tai makes me think we could use our elbows more effectively. A quick read of some of Wally Jay's work makes me think we don't take advantage of small joint manipulation as well as we could. I could keep going.

If we see ourselves as kenpoists first, we run the risk of missing out on what other arts offer. If we see ourselves as warriors first, we'll take whatever works from whoever offers it. As a warrior, I can take a lot from kenpo. More, I think, than from any other art. But I'll also take from whatever else I see that will work for me. To ignore the advantages of other arts might make you a better kenpost but it certainly doesn't make you a better warrior. What is the real goal?

What I won't do, is add to the art, change the art, manipulate and delete from the art and teach my new invention, calling it kenpo. I think that is unfair to Mr. Parker and his legacy. It bothers me greatly that so many freely do this.

There is much in your post I agree with but the pill is too big for me to swallow whole.

Take it out on the heavy bag,

Chuck Peterson
peterson_charlie@hotmail.com

Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 24th, 2005, 8:31 pm

October 4th, 2007, 2:27 pm #4

Mr. Parker devised a system that taught the alphabet of motion, the “ABC's”. Once learned an expert practitioner could speak in volumes of motion, that any and all American Kenpo practitioners could read. This is possible because the alphabet of motion is universal to all, and should be taught that way.

The English language is taught the same way throughout the world with the same rules, principals and pronunciation. This is done as a standard. So that all who speak English, anywhere in the world, can understand each other. But that is not to say that all speak or write the same things, but all can be understood and it is in correct English. Once standard English is taught, the individual who is taught correctly will be able to express ones ideas in wonderful ways that all can enjoy and learn from. If one is not taught correct English, but is taught a variation with extra letters in the Alphabete or letters are
excluded, his ideas will not the able to be understood by others.

The material that Ed Parker invented is complete and should be taught as a standard of Ed Parker's American Kenpo. All practitioners should be taught, from white belt to black belt, completely with all techniques, forms, set and basics included. Nothing added, nothing lost. So that we can all understand each other. Once a black belt has learned Mr. Parker's system an instructor can and should show and explore variations and begin to create their own “Novel”. One that all can understand.

Charles Dickens and Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest novels of all time, but someone can not say that one is better than the other. They are both masters of the English language. Their writing can be understood by any anyone that has been taught correct English.

As instructors we should show how “we” like to move or how “I” want to do it. But, never say that this is better than or is Mr. Parker's idea if it is not how he taught it. As an FBI man once said “Everyone has their opinion but there is only one set of facts and we have to live with them”. The facts are what Mr. Parker outlined in his manuals and books. Mr. Parker's curriculum are the basis, the standards from which all personal expression should flourish. Again, many great writers are acclaimed for their wonderful writings, but none of them invented a better form of communication. They mastered the basics, read many of the great writer, learned from them, made it their own and expressed themselves.

My point to this is that there is no need to reinvent Mr. Parker's system. Once learned correctly you will have all you need to do everything. Anything else is redundant. As Black Belts in classes everyone should make this system their own. Since the alphabet was created there has never been another letter added to it and people are still creating original, captivating dialog and writing from it. So why should we add to Mr. Parker's system?

There are so many great practitioners of Kenpo out there and all are good in their own right. Something can be learned from all of them. Not one is better than the othe . All are interpretations of the language of Kenpo. I am one not to knock what others are doing. It is all good, just have an open mind. I'm a purist, I stick to what Mr. Parker intended and explore what he created. It's upsetting when others criticizes what others are doing. It belittles and lessens the whole of the Kenpo world . Be above it. As Mr. Parker wrote in his book, I paraphrase , “ Don't try to lesson someone else's line of skill or knowledge by cheating or speaking untrue things. Make yourself better. Lengthen your line of skill and respect what the other has done”.

Masters like Mr. Pic, Mr. Cogliandro and Mr. Kelly are purists and preservers of Mr. Parker's art. They aren't doing it for self-promotion or self acclaim of a “newer, better system”. They are doing it to continue the life and practice of Mr. Parker's wonderful art. These men are legitimate and all speak the truth. Their rank, time spent and skill are all genuine. They teach with heart and share their knowledge to keep Mr. Parkers art and spirit alive. Like I said before, we can all have an opinion, but there is only one set of facts and we all have to live with them.

Andrew Tache'
I copied the following off of http://americankenpoforum.com/forums/p/1326/3338.aspx

it is a quote from Edmund:

"I recall back in 1987 my father started to teach me and a group of my friends "Delayed Sword". He taught us a 2 hour class 2 days a week at my house for about 6 months showing us all of the variations to the technique "Delayed Sword" that he came up with. The technique works the same for a grab, push or punch. He said it was just to get you to understand the possibilities. But it was written for a grab."

Help me with the math: 2 hours * 2 days/week = 4 hours /week. 6 mos * 4 weeks/month = 24 weeks. 4 hours/week * 24 weeks = 96 hours. Someday I would like to have the accumulated knowledge to teach 96 hours of possibilities of Delayed Sword. But if all I learn is what's written in the manual...
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 7th, 2004, 11:02 am

October 4th, 2007, 2:28 pm #5

Mr. Parker devised a system that taught the alphabet of motion, the “ABC's”. Once learned an expert practitioner could speak in volumes of motion, that any and all American Kenpo practitioners could read. This is possible because the alphabet of motion is universal to all, and should be taught that way.

The English language is taught the same way throughout the world with the same rules, principals and pronunciation. This is done as a standard. So that all who speak English, anywhere in the world, can understand each other. But that is not to say that all speak or write the same things, but all can be understood and it is in correct English. Once standard English is taught, the individual who is taught correctly will be able to express ones ideas in wonderful ways that all can enjoy and learn from. If one is not taught correct English, but is taught a variation with extra letters in the Alphabete or letters are
excluded, his ideas will not the able to be understood by others.

The material that Ed Parker invented is complete and should be taught as a standard of Ed Parker's American Kenpo. All practitioners should be taught, from white belt to black belt, completely with all techniques, forms, set and basics included. Nothing added, nothing lost. So that we can all understand each other. Once a black belt has learned Mr. Parker's system an instructor can and should show and explore variations and begin to create their own “Novel”. One that all can understand.

Charles Dickens and Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest novels of all time, but someone can not say that one is better than the other. They are both masters of the English language. Their writing can be understood by any anyone that has been taught correct English.

As instructors we should show how “we” like to move or how “I” want to do it. But, never say that this is better than or is Mr. Parker's idea if it is not how he taught it. As an FBI man once said “Everyone has their opinion but there is only one set of facts and we have to live with them”. The facts are what Mr. Parker outlined in his manuals and books. Mr. Parker's curriculum are the basis, the standards from which all personal expression should flourish. Again, many great writers are acclaimed for their wonderful writings, but none of them invented a better form of communication. They mastered the basics, read many of the great writer, learned from them, made it their own and expressed themselves.

My point to this is that there is no need to reinvent Mr. Parker's system. Once learned correctly you will have all you need to do everything. Anything else is redundant. As Black Belts in classes everyone should make this system their own. Since the alphabet was created there has never been another letter added to it and people are still creating original, captivating dialog and writing from it. So why should we add to Mr. Parker's system?

There are so many great practitioners of Kenpo out there and all are good in their own right. Something can be learned from all of them. Not one is better than the othe . All are interpretations of the language of Kenpo. I am one not to knock what others are doing. It is all good, just have an open mind. I'm a purist, I stick to what Mr. Parker intended and explore what he created. It's upsetting when others criticizes what others are doing. It belittles and lessens the whole of the Kenpo world . Be above it. As Mr. Parker wrote in his book, I paraphrase , “ Don't try to lesson someone else's line of skill or knowledge by cheating or speaking untrue things. Make yourself better. Lengthen your line of skill and respect what the other has done”.

Masters like Mr. Pic, Mr. Cogliandro and Mr. Kelly are purists and preservers of Mr. Parker's art. They aren't doing it for self-promotion or self acclaim of a “newer, better system”. They are doing it to continue the life and practice of Mr. Parker's wonderful art. These men are legitimate and all speak the truth. Their rank, time spent and skill are all genuine. They teach with heart and share their knowledge to keep Mr. Parkers art and spirit alive. Like I said before, we can all have an opinion, but there is only one set of facts and we all have to live with them.

Andrew Tache'
Hello Mr. Tache',

Let me start by saying I understand your point and up to a certain degree I even agree with it. A lot of the so called “new” stuff is not what we need to make ourselves better kenpoists, we just need to train harder on the techniques we’ve already got and the application of those techniques.

But I don’t quite agree with the comparison to the English language you use. You compare our Kenpo with the letters of the alphabet, and you mention that over the ages there have no letters been added to the alphabet.

IMHO one should compare the letters of the alphabet to basics and principles, and not to techniques. No new basics or principles have been added to the curriculum nor have there been letters added to the alphabet.

A technique could in turn be compared to a word. And haven’t there been numerous new words added to the English language over the years? Just because times change, new inventions are made and people create new words to describe those inventions.

That’s what happens to techniques too. The times change and people invent new techniques (using the old basics and principles) to prepare themselves for whatever they fear. Sometimes these fears are real, sometimes they’re not.

IMO Kenpo consists of basics and principles, while the techniques are just ways to study these basics and principles, and I think these techniques suit that job perfectly. BUT, the do emphasise on stand up empty hand fighting. I’m not saying there’s no groundfighting or knifefighting in it, but the emphasis is on stand up, empty hand, fighting.

If one considers himself in an environment where a fight tends to be taken to the ground, or where knives are common, one would better choose to emphasise on those subjects, for which our great system is fully equipped by means of basics and principles, but for which the techniques may not be the perfect training tools, since they emphasise on another field.

So one might choose to add some training tools, either made up or borrowed from other systems that do have the required emphasis, to train our sound Kenpo basics and principles in a ground- or knife-fighting environment.

Then for excluding certain techniques. There’s techniques I like and there’s techniques I don’t like as much. In discussions with others I find that not everybody dislikes the same techniques, so when I’d decide to exclude them, and wouldn’t teach those techniques anymore, I’d take away my students right to choose for themselves which techs they like or dislike. Even the disliking of techniques is part of the learning process. Besides that some of the previously disliked techs have come back and are my favourites now, so I’m happy I didn’t exclude them when I didn’t like ‘m.

So in the end I’m with you in studying all the techniques without exception, as well as all of the forms and sets. I do add a little bit of training on the ground in a BJJ fashion from time to time and a little knifefighting AMOK! fashion whenever I can.

Even though the subject has been discussed before, it’s still good to straighten my own points of view on this every now and then.

Regards,

Marcel


***************************************
Marcel de Jong, 4th Black from the Netherlands

http://www.katsudokenpo.nl
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: March 10th, 2004, 8:26 pm

October 4th, 2007, 3:03 pm #6

Mr. Parker devised a system that taught the alphabet of motion, the “ABC's”. Once learned an expert practitioner could speak in volumes of motion, that any and all American Kenpo practitioners could read. This is possible because the alphabet of motion is universal to all, and should be taught that way.

The English language is taught the same way throughout the world with the same rules, principals and pronunciation. This is done as a standard. So that all who speak English, anywhere in the world, can understand each other. But that is not to say that all speak or write the same things, but all can be understood and it is in correct English. Once standard English is taught, the individual who is taught correctly will be able to express ones ideas in wonderful ways that all can enjoy and learn from. If one is not taught correct English, but is taught a variation with extra letters in the Alphabete or letters are
excluded, his ideas will not the able to be understood by others.

The material that Ed Parker invented is complete and should be taught as a standard of Ed Parker's American Kenpo. All practitioners should be taught, from white belt to black belt, completely with all techniques, forms, set and basics included. Nothing added, nothing lost. So that we can all understand each other. Once a black belt has learned Mr. Parker's system an instructor can and should show and explore variations and begin to create their own “Novel”. One that all can understand.

Charles Dickens and Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest novels of all time, but someone can not say that one is better than the other. They are both masters of the English language. Their writing can be understood by any anyone that has been taught correct English.

As instructors we should show how “we” like to move or how “I” want to do it. But, never say that this is better than or is Mr. Parker's idea if it is not how he taught it. As an FBI man once said “Everyone has their opinion but there is only one set of facts and we have to live with them”. The facts are what Mr. Parker outlined in his manuals and books. Mr. Parker's curriculum are the basis, the standards from which all personal expression should flourish. Again, many great writers are acclaimed for their wonderful writings, but none of them invented a better form of communication. They mastered the basics, read many of the great writer, learned from them, made it their own and expressed themselves.

My point to this is that there is no need to reinvent Mr. Parker's system. Once learned correctly you will have all you need to do everything. Anything else is redundant. As Black Belts in classes everyone should make this system their own. Since the alphabet was created there has never been another letter added to it and people are still creating original, captivating dialog and writing from it. So why should we add to Mr. Parker's system?

There are so many great practitioners of Kenpo out there and all are good in their own right. Something can be learned from all of them. Not one is better than the othe . All are interpretations of the language of Kenpo. I am one not to knock what others are doing. It is all good, just have an open mind. I'm a purist, I stick to what Mr. Parker intended and explore what he created. It's upsetting when others criticizes what others are doing. It belittles and lessens the whole of the Kenpo world . Be above it. As Mr. Parker wrote in his book, I paraphrase , “ Don't try to lesson someone else's line of skill or knowledge by cheating or speaking untrue things. Make yourself better. Lengthen your line of skill and respect what the other has done”.

Masters like Mr. Pic, Mr. Cogliandro and Mr. Kelly are purists and preservers of Mr. Parker's art. They aren't doing it for self-promotion or self acclaim of a “newer, better system”. They are doing it to continue the life and practice of Mr. Parker's wonderful art. These men are legitimate and all speak the truth. Their rank, time spent and skill are all genuine. They teach with heart and share their knowledge to keep Mr. Parkers art and spirit alive. Like I said before, we can all have an opinion, but there is only one set of facts and we all have to live with them.

Andrew Tache'
rather than the written word analogies, bear with me for a different metaphor. Music.

classical music, we appreciate a note-for-note reproduction with maybe some level of artistic signature relating to feeling. rules are followed, and the results are beautiful.

jazz, on the other hand, we appreciate the improvisation and artistic signature by moving as far away from the note-for-note reproduction without abandoning the underlying theme. rules are broken, and the results are beautiful.

both styles can be played with the same instruments and are based on the same notations and 'language'. artists of either style require dedication & practice.

some like classical, some like jazz, other want to rock & roll... whatever floats yer boat.

pete
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 10th, 2007, 6:52 pm

October 4th, 2007, 4:37 pm #7

Hello Mr. Tache',

Let me start by saying I understand your point and up to a certain degree I even agree with it. A lot of the so called “new” stuff is not what we need to make ourselves better kenpoists, we just need to train harder on the techniques we’ve already got and the application of those techniques.

But I don’t quite agree with the comparison to the English language you use. You compare our Kenpo with the letters of the alphabet, and you mention that over the ages there have no letters been added to the alphabet.

IMHO one should compare the letters of the alphabet to basics and principles, and not to techniques. No new basics or principles have been added to the curriculum nor have there been letters added to the alphabet.

A technique could in turn be compared to a word. And haven’t there been numerous new words added to the English language over the years? Just because times change, new inventions are made and people create new words to describe those inventions.

That’s what happens to techniques too. The times change and people invent new techniques (using the old basics and principles) to prepare themselves for whatever they fear. Sometimes these fears are real, sometimes they’re not.

IMO Kenpo consists of basics and principles, while the techniques are just ways to study these basics and principles, and I think these techniques suit that job perfectly. BUT, the do emphasise on stand up empty hand fighting. I’m not saying there’s no groundfighting or knifefighting in it, but the emphasis is on stand up, empty hand, fighting.

If one considers himself in an environment where a fight tends to be taken to the ground, or where knives are common, one would better choose to emphasise on those subjects, for which our great system is fully equipped by means of basics and principles, but for which the techniques may not be the perfect training tools, since they emphasise on another field.

So one might choose to add some training tools, either made up or borrowed from other systems that do have the required emphasis, to train our sound Kenpo basics and principles in a ground- or knife-fighting environment.

Then for excluding certain techniques. There’s techniques I like and there’s techniques I don’t like as much. In discussions with others I find that not everybody dislikes the same techniques, so when I’d decide to exclude them, and wouldn’t teach those techniques anymore, I’d take away my students right to choose for themselves which techs they like or dislike. Even the disliking of techniques is part of the learning process. Besides that some of the previously disliked techs have come back and are my favourites now, so I’m happy I didn’t exclude them when I didn’t like ‘m.

So in the end I’m with you in studying all the techniques without exception, as well as all of the forms and sets. I do add a little bit of training on the ground in a BJJ fashion from time to time and a little knifefighting AMOK! fashion whenever I can.

Even though the subject has been discussed before, it’s still good to straighten my own points of view on this every now and then.

Regards,

Marcel


***************************************
Marcel de Jong, 4th Black from the Netherlands

http://www.katsudokenpo.nl
How many out there teach agressive twins instead of alternating maces? Or how about spreading branches instead of captured twigs? In volume five of inifinte insights,we see some of these techs no longer part of the standard belt req.Who made the changes? Mr.Parker? One of his BB"S? Somehow, someome thought the newer techs were more effective, otherwise, the others would have never been dropped.If, it was Mr.Parker, is he the only one allowed to do it? If,as a teacher,I teach my student a tech that I,as a result of of steet application,feel is no longer effective, while a newer tech may be,am I really being the best possible service to him or her that I can? What do you think Mr. Parker would say?
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: October 28th, 2004, 1:44 pm

October 4th, 2007, 5:18 pm #8

Mr. Parker devised a system that taught the alphabet of motion, the “ABC's”. Once learned an expert practitioner could speak in volumes of motion, that any and all American Kenpo practitioners could read. This is possible because the alphabet of motion is universal to all, and should be taught that way.

The English language is taught the same way throughout the world with the same rules, principals and pronunciation. This is done as a standard. So that all who speak English, anywhere in the world, can understand each other. But that is not to say that all speak or write the same things, but all can be understood and it is in correct English. Once standard English is taught, the individual who is taught correctly will be able to express ones ideas in wonderful ways that all can enjoy and learn from. If one is not taught correct English, but is taught a variation with extra letters in the Alphabete or letters are
excluded, his ideas will not the able to be understood by others.

The material that Ed Parker invented is complete and should be taught as a standard of Ed Parker's American Kenpo. All practitioners should be taught, from white belt to black belt, completely with all techniques, forms, set and basics included. Nothing added, nothing lost. So that we can all understand each other. Once a black belt has learned Mr. Parker's system an instructor can and should show and explore variations and begin to create their own “Novel”. One that all can understand.

Charles Dickens and Shakespeare wrote some of the greatest novels of all time, but someone can not say that one is better than the other. They are both masters of the English language. Their writing can be understood by any anyone that has been taught correct English.

As instructors we should show how “we” like to move or how “I” want to do it. But, never say that this is better than or is Mr. Parker's idea if it is not how he taught it. As an FBI man once said “Everyone has their opinion but there is only one set of facts and we have to live with them”. The facts are what Mr. Parker outlined in his manuals and books. Mr. Parker's curriculum are the basis, the standards from which all personal expression should flourish. Again, many great writers are acclaimed for their wonderful writings, but none of them invented a better form of communication. They mastered the basics, read many of the great writer, learned from them, made it their own and expressed themselves.

My point to this is that there is no need to reinvent Mr. Parker's system. Once learned correctly you will have all you need to do everything. Anything else is redundant. As Black Belts in classes everyone should make this system their own. Since the alphabet was created there has never been another letter added to it and people are still creating original, captivating dialog and writing from it. So why should we add to Mr. Parker's system?

There are so many great practitioners of Kenpo out there and all are good in their own right. Something can be learned from all of them. Not one is better than the othe . All are interpretations of the language of Kenpo. I am one not to knock what others are doing. It is all good, just have an open mind. I'm a purist, I stick to what Mr. Parker intended and explore what he created. It's upsetting when others criticizes what others are doing. It belittles and lessens the whole of the Kenpo world . Be above it. As Mr. Parker wrote in his book, I paraphrase , “ Don't try to lesson someone else's line of skill or knowledge by cheating or speaking untrue things. Make yourself better. Lengthen your line of skill and respect what the other has done”.

Masters like Mr. Pic, Mr. Cogliandro and Mr. Kelly are purists and preservers of Mr. Parker's art. They aren't doing it for self-promotion or self acclaim of a “newer, better system”. They are doing it to continue the life and practice of Mr. Parker's wonderful art. These men are legitimate and all speak the truth. Their rank, time spent and skill are all genuine. They teach with heart and share their knowledge to keep Mr. Parkers art and spirit alive. Like I said before, we can all have an opinion, but there is only one set of facts and we all have to live with them.

Andrew Tache'
“All practitioners should be taught, from white belt to black belt, completely with all techniques, forms, set and basics included. Nothing added, nothing lost.”

Well, what technique lists the 32, 24 or the one before that that had techs I bet you never even heard of? What sets, forms? Because that to was changed and some were deleted as well.

When one thinks so narrowly they remove the latter which is one of the things that the L placed in front of you on a belt stands for.

Kenpo should be in a constant state of refinement. If not then it is no longer Ed Parker's Kenpo.

Here are some quotes from the man himself for you to ponder.


“When I am gone, I hope that people won't try to traditionalize my Art. I want you to always remember that Kenpo will always be the Art of Perpetual Change. If you remember this, then the Art will never become obsolete because it will change with the times. While the ignorant refuse to study and the intelligent never stop, we should always be mindful of the fact that our reward in life is proportionate with the contributions we make. A true Martial Artist is not one who fears change, but one who causes it to happen. To live is to change, and to obtain perfection is to have changed often. Progress is a necessity that is a part of nature. While it is true that casting the old aside is not necessary in order to obtain something new, we should study old theories not as a means of discrediting them, but to see if they can be modified to improve our present conditions. A word of advice, The humble man makes room for progress; the proud man believes he is already there."
Edmund Kealoha Parker Sr.

“When you stick to tradition, you're bound. You're bound to see only what is in that realm of knowledge."

"That is the key to all keys. It's more important to learn four moves and the twenty-four ways in which you can rearrange them."

Yours in Kenpo,

Mike Guercio
AKKI, Westminster, MD
cckenpo.com

“Stubborn and ardent clinging to one's opinion is the best proof of stupidity.”
Michel de Montaigne



Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 1st, 2005, 10:53 pm

October 4th, 2007, 6:22 pm #9

I copied the following off of http://americankenpoforum.com/forums/p/1326/3338.aspx

it is a quote from Edmund:

"I recall back in 1987 my father started to teach me and a group of my friends "Delayed Sword". He taught us a 2 hour class 2 days a week at my house for about 6 months showing us all of the variations to the technique "Delayed Sword" that he came up with. The technique works the same for a grab, push or punch. He said it was just to get you to understand the possibilities. But it was written for a grab."

Help me with the math: 2 hours * 2 days/week = 4 hours /week. 6 mos * 4 weeks/month = 24 weeks. 4 hours/week * 24 weeks = 96 hours. Someday I would like to have the accumulated knowledge to teach 96 hours of possibilities of Delayed Sword. But if all I learn is what's written in the manual...
how long have you been practicing and exploring delayed sword? Have you ever tried to teach delayed sword for 96 hours?

I bet you could. the reason being, he had all week to come up with something new. plus the time it really takes to get one idea accross could take the whole two hours.

new math problem: 2 ideas a week *24 weeks = 48 ideas.
all against written arm
delayed sword against grab= 1
push=1
punch=1
kick=1
weapon=1


delayed sword against grab opposite hand, which poses weak side exploration or strong side execution with different target availability=1
punch opposite hand=1
kick opposite leg=1
weapon opposite hand=1
delayed sword with out block=1
with out kick=1
with out chop=1

thats 12 lessons or ideas however you want to look at it. thats 25% of the figure already, and with little thought put in. Each one of those topics could easily take two hours given the knowledge level of the practitioners, and things discussed. then you have grafts of ideas, pins, possible joint locks, altering weapons and applying the equation/formula, and everything else.
I'm betting you have the knowledge to accomplish that. You just never stopped to think about it.

I think what that does prove is the extensive knowledge the system presents. How awesome is it that one basic combat model such as delayed sword can do all that. 254 is now an unreal number in terms of technique mastery.

Quote
Like
Share

Joined: May 7th, 2004, 11:02 am

October 4th, 2007, 8:52 pm #10

How many out there teach agressive twins instead of alternating maces? Or how about spreading branches instead of captured twigs? In volume five of inifinte insights,we see some of these techs no longer part of the standard belt req.Who made the changes? Mr.Parker? One of his BB"S? Somehow, someome thought the newer techs were more effective, otherwise, the others would have never been dropped.If, it was Mr.Parker, is he the only one allowed to do it? If,as a teacher,I teach my student a tech that I,as a result of of steet application,feel is no longer effective, while a newer tech may be,am I really being the best possible service to him or her that I can? What do you think Mr. Parker would say?
I don't think I'm in the position to assume what Mr. Parker would have said about this, I do however have an opinion of my own in this.

I too teach variations of techniques that I feel are a valuable addition to the curriculum. The thing is I only do that AFTER teaching the standard technique, so that students can choose for themselves what version suits them best, or even to create a new version from the original themselves.

If I would not teach them the original first, I would deny them the oportunity to think for themselves. If I would pass on only 80% of Mr. Parker's system and 20% of my own additions, and my students in turn pass on 80% of what was taught to them to their students in due time, after 3 generations already more then half the system would be forgotten, and replaced by stuff that was made up by people like myself, who do their best but are not nearly the genius Mr. Parker appearantly was (appearantly because I haven't met him, not because I suspect differently).

So my advice to everybody is: learn the friggin 154 techniques and 20 or so forms and sets, and use the rest of your life to tailor that material to your body. And if you start teaching: give your students the oportunity to do the same.

IMHO it takes a genius to truly understand every single bit of information that is in any technique, so therefore it takes a genius to be able to responsibly make the decision which techs to exclude. I haven't yet met anyone (not even the various senior I've met over the years) that I would grant that responsibility, let alone take it myself.

Just my opinion and the reason why I stick to the system as it is, as much as I can.

Marcel

***************************************
Marcel de Jong, 4th Black from the Netherlands

http://www.katsudokenpo.nl
Quote
Like
Share