History & Kenpo

Basic Principles of Kenpo Karate
The Kenpo Creed:  “I come to you with only karate, empty hands. I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles, or my honor; should it be a matter of life or death,right or wrong ,  then here are my weapons.  Karate, my empty hands.”
The Three Stages of Learning
 (Primitive, Mechanical,Spontaneous)
Primitive or embryonic:   You are beginning to learn the basic movements that appear in techniques and forms.
Mechanical:  You understand the mechanics involved in the execution of the techniques, but not necessarily the flow between techniques.  You can neither react very instinctively to an attack, nor adapt the techniques to variations in the attacks (force of the attack, height and weight of the aggressor).
Spontaneous:  You understand both the execution of the techniques and how they flow together.  You react appropriately to an attack without stopping to think.
Principle of Force
Each technique of the American Kenpo System is based on one of these principles.  Although often many principles are used in a technique, there is always one that stands out as the dominant force.
Marriage of Gravity:  It’s the force applied when we move in favor of gravity, that is, vertical and downward.  The entire mass of the body is involved.
Back-up Mass:  The body being behind the weapon being delivered.
Torque:  It takes place when turning or rotating, and provides a great force in a small space.  In fact, what we are doing is applying the physics formula R=m a, as the acceleration of torque in an angular rather than linear way.  To take advantage of total body mass we must correctly shift from stance to stance, making the torso word as a transmitting axis.
Principles of Movement
Economy of Movement:  Not squandering energy with unnecessary movements and displacements.
Action-Reaction:  Each action of the opponent must be followed by a reaction from the defender.
We the warrior and the scholar come forth to do battle,
we pull the nation together,
with empty hand;
we hide the treasure
and pray forgiveness
for what we must do.

American Kenpo is a fascinating art that is designed to be tailored to each individual. Therefore, anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter if you are four or eighty four years old, forty pounds or four hundred forty pounds, three foot or eight foot, male or female—you can do it. It is a mesmerizing art that speaks for itself when you watch a seasoned Kenpo practitioner move.

American Kenpo is the science of street fighting. It works off of a multiple striking theory that incorporates both circles and straight lines. Therefore, it is a mixture of soft and hard movements, giving you the ultimate benefit of adapting to any given situation. It focuses on defenses from all ranges and a multitude of common street attacks. It is a constant flow of motion created to overwhelm any attacker.

Kenpo is known for its explosive speed and power. Since it is based on practical application of self-defense techniques, it is designed to work. In a physical street confrontation it is very critical to dispense of the attacker as quickly as possible. In order to achieve this, you need a martial art that is, not only, fast and powerful, but one that offers effective self-defense techniques as well—American Kenpo does just that.

Kenpo works off of what nature has already taught you. Nature has taught you to protect yourself. Therefore, Kenpo is based off of natural motion—motion that you use in your everyday life. Many systems teach you to go against what nature has programmed into you, making it very difficult to be successful in self-defense.

In short, anyone can master the art of Kenpo, no matter what height, weight or body dimensions he or she may have. The art is fit to the individual, which is something few-if any-other arts can claim. The system adapts to the student creating great fighters who are highly skilled in self-defense, and it’s difficult to imagine a martial art that could offer anything more.

American Kenpo is a complete system that incorporates the use of mind and body to evaluate, adapt, and react to any confrontation. It is based on the laws of the universe, which are best explained through geometry and physics.

The physical aspect of Kenpo is divided into four areas of study: Basic Fundamentals, Self-Defense, Forms and Sets, and Freestyle. Basics are the foundation of the system which form the “alphabet of motion” from which can create “words,” then “sentences,” and finally “paragraphs” of motion. Basic Fundamentals are originally learned phonetically through individual movements such as stances, blocks, parries, punches, strikes, finger techniques, kicks and foot maneuvers. These basics are then combined into increasingly sophisticated sequences of movement called “forms” or “sets.” Self-defense techniques, which are also composed of basics, give definition and meaning to the fundamentals. They provide the manner of applying the basics for maximum effectiveness in a variety of pre-defined fighting situations. Lastly, there is freestyle training which allows for extemporaneous use of the basics in a manner which emphasizes maneuverability, accuracy, timing, and the maintenance of proper distance.

In Kenpo you understand that every situation is different. Therefore, the combinations you are taught for certain self-defense situations can be altered instantly to fit the situation. They do not have to follow a set pattern. Chances of panic in a real situation is very low due to the fact that you are taught how to cope with our modern day methods of fighting realistically, logically, systematically, and effectively. Kenpo blends with encounters as they occur and is designed to gear you for subconsciously choosing the move that best fits the situation. Kenpo also teaches you how to shift gears from striking to grappling.

As exercise, Kenpo gives the body and overall healthful tone. It develops agility, balance, coordination, quick reflexes and patience—all of which enhances our daily mode of living. It’s an excellent method of relieving stress as well.

Kenpo incorporates many concepts, principles and theories that are integrated into the self-defense techniques for each belt level. As you go through the curriculum you are exposed to all the concepts and principles of fighting. That does not mean that you use all of them, but that you pick and choose what works within your parameters. It doesn’t matter whether you are grappling, kicking, or striking with your hands.

As you learn the concepts, principles and theories, you will realize that the technique was only an idea, not a law. What is more important is how you can rearrange the pattern of technique to fit the situation. This will prevent you from “freezing up” in combat.

American Kenpo will fit all your needs. Created by Edmund K. Parker, it was designed to be practical in nature as oppose to “classical.” Kenpo is like chess compared with checkers. It is a sophisticated system that requires many variables. You always think several steps ahead. Once you study Kenpo for awhile, you realize that it is quite simple, really. It is sophisticated, but based off of simplicity. It comes down to a handful of master key movements that are completely universal.

In Kenpo you conserve motion/time. You learn to eliminate the “and then.” Instead of blocking “and then” striking, the defense and offense are done simultaneously. In other words, you strike with your block. You will also remove unnecessary cocking or winding up motions so that you can get to the target much quicker. You move from what is called “point of origin.” Many strikes can be placed into one basic motion so that combinations can be much quicker.

Kenpo is a mixture of Chinese and Japanese movements. Mr. Parker understood the necessity of being able to incorporate the hard and rigid straight line movements as well as the fluid circular motions. He felt that if you didn’t know circular motions, it would be comparable to a vehicle with square tires. It just wouldn’t work.

American Kenpo can be compared to the English language in many ways. When you first begin to write you learn block lettering by using all straight lines. Once you have accomplished that you begin to write in script, or cursive, which also incorporates angular and circular flowing motions. Kenpo is taught in that premise. You will learn how to establish a foundation first by learning the block lettering format before you learn the script part of the art, which is to move fluidly while incorporating circles and lines.

During the early stages, a substantial amount of time is given to pre-set sequences. This will develop your coordination and will build your confidence. At the advanced stages you will be able to express yourself extemporaneously by altering the technique sequence at will. The outcome is the development of a martial artist who is fast, powerful, and capable of defending himself in any given situation.

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