Decisions

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by Headhunter, May 17, 2019.

  1. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    following my thread about the disappointing grading I've been thinking a lot about the state of kenpo and looking around online and realise there is so much crap out there with people being given high ranks who are rubbish and its polluting the art bringing down its reputation. When I started training kenpo was considered extremely tough with hard technique lines brutal gradings and fitness tests and hard sparring. Now it's extremely watered down with a lot of instructors focusing more on theoretical than practical and it's making people think it's useless. I still believe kenpo as it should be taught is one of the best systems for self defence.

    I've talked to a few friends of mine who agree with what I'm saying and one of them suggested we start our own club and make it old school training. Making people actually have to work for their belts, testing techniques against resistance and doing hard fitness workouts and sparring multiple opponents. I like the Idea of bringing back the intensity to kenpo but I'm also not sure.

    For one there's no market especially for adults. Karate isn't as big as it was and it would be hard to sustain a club in our area. Second there's all the bs rights going on In kenpo. Apparently I'd have to pay a hell of a lot of money to even hang one of my certificates in my own school because it has a logo on it. And I'm to old to be dealing with crap like that. A while back I had a little training group going. Not a school just an informal training session and it was good. It had to stop when I moved away but i don't know.

    It just really saddens me that Kenpo at least in my area has completely fallen in quality. It's a style I love and though I train in other systems kenpo will always be my base and I would love to bring back some of the old intensity that isn't seen much anymore in the style.
     
  2. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Sadly, it's going to be a lot of effort, and probably won't pay off, to create your own school at this point, with legitimate training. People dont seem to go to kenpo looking for that, it already has a certain reputation, and unless your doing it with 'permission' they'll sue you for doing so. You could teach kenpo under "martial arts striking", but even then theres a chance they'll sue you if they find out your using kenpo techniques. I had the same issue when i was thinking about that as a career a bit ago for SKK, and from what I've heard ed parker kenpo's not much different nowadays.
     
  3. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    A few questions I'd have for you:

    1. Is your objective to make money, or to teach kenpo exactly the way you want to? If you want to make money, you may have to do things to make the art more palatable to a general audience (which is where I think a lot of the easier grading comes in). If it's just a hobby and you're more interested in teaching the art, there's that.
    2. Why does it have to be with your current organization? In this case, it would almost be a disservice to your students. Let's say, to use an analogy, it takes 8 years of B+ or better level work to get a black belt at your school, and it takes 2 years of D-level work to get your black belt at any other school. So it takes your students 8 years of working hard to get the same certificate someone else got by goofing around for a few years? That's not really fair to your students. Why not be your own organization, just that your credentials come from the other?
     
  4. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    What is it about Kenpo techniques that set them apart to be copyrighted from any other martial art?
     
  5. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Tbh though if I just used the word kenpo ed parkers family shoudkbr be able to do anything, they may own the American kenpo name but they don't own kenpo as a whole. Kenpos been around way longer than ed Parker.

    I probably won't since its to much political bs but may try and do a training group again.
     
  6. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Tbh I think it's more unfair to give students rank they don't deserve then they think their better than they are and then when they need to use their skills either in real life or in competition then they'll be exposed. That's way more unfair than making someone have to work hard and I'm not part of any organisation. I've got the people who've graded me but I don't train with them anymore. I got my first Dan off one group my second off another I'm not associated with any organisation and have 0 desire to be
     
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  7. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The issue comes from two parts: the first is if you put your credentials out on a website or something like that, or promote yourself based on your schedule, they might claim your teaching american kenpo. The second is if you use kenpo techniques, which imo using techniques to train principles is one of the defining characteristics of kenpo. I suppose it could work if you didnt say what style of kenpo you have training in, and make your own techniques.

    FWIW: this is from my own research on ways different styles of kenpo/kempo have tried to prevent competition, which seems weirdly similar regardless the sub-style. Not definite, and there might be no issues for you. Or they could find something incredibly stupid to sue you for. Who knows
     
  8. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    Both are unfair.
     
  9. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Well from stories I've heard ed parkers family once tried to sue someone for wearing a kenpo patch he was given by his intsytuctor at a competition because he didn't royalties to wear it. Though he paid his instructor for the patch...
     
  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    I don't think making someone have to work for something is unfair at all. You want to get a black belt you have to work damm hard to get it. That's how it should be. Or is that the state of things today when expecting people to put in effort to get something is considered a bad thing
     
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  11. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yup. And that's one of many stories of things like that happening. If I started a school, I wouldn't even mention my kempo or kenpo rankings, all I'd say is "18 years experience in kempo".

    This is also reminding me why I don't want to re-engage with my old organization, which I was considering doing. Thank you for that.
     
  12. skribs

    skribs Senior Master

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    You missed the point. Let's say there are two schools of Skribs-Kwon-Do. You can go to Headhunter's school, and train 6 days a week for 8 years to get your black belt. Or you can go to Kempodisciple's school* and train once a week and get your black belt in a year. So your students are sitting there, bruised and battered and tired from almost a decade of training, and they look at these happy-go-lucky casuals who have the same qualifications as them.

    The unfairness is not what you give them. The unfairness is in the comparison. If it takes 50 hours worth of training for Kempodisciple to issue a black belt, and it takes 2400 hours for you to issue one, then your black belt you give them is short-changing them 2350 hours worth of recognition on their certificate. That can affect their standing and reputation within the organization, when moving to a new school, or when opening their own school. If they were at any other school, they might be a 4th degree by then, and would have had an extra 5 days a week to spend on family and friends.

    This is why I say that giving them a hard-earned black belt within the same organization as the other schools is a bit of a disservice. If you open up a school under the banner of your current organization, you're holding your students back politically. However, if you open your own school with no affiliation, then there is no other school to compare the rank to, and a black belt in Headhunter's school is a black belt hard earned, and there's no other consideration.

    It's not the tough grading I have a problem with - I'm all for it. It's being tougher than the rest of your organization, to the point it holds everyone else in your school back.
     
  13. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I personally suspect that the legal nonsense that the Parker descendants are trying to do hold no water, and if anyone tried to actually fight them on it, the Parkers would lose.

    They can put a copyright on the name and crest designs. However, I believe you absolutely have the right to teach something you know, and to state where and how you learned it which implies lineage to Ed Parker, and you can call it “kenpo” but maybe don’t use the names Ed or Parker in what you call it, and they cannot do anything to you. They might try, and defending it in court could be expensive. What little I know of their antics, it sounds to me like people have not fought them on it, probably because of the expense, and they have simply complied with a “cease-and-desist” letter without challenging it.

    If you and some buddies are just getting together privately to train on your own terms, they would never know what you are doing anyways.

    Caveats-I am not an attorney, so this is not legal advice. But I suspect it is true.
     
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  14. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Simple solution.

    You name it Headhunters Martial Arts and you teach Kempo the way you want to.

    Or you call it Headhunters Kempo.

    Either way you are not teaching Parker's style of kempo but your style of kempo that you have developed over your martial arts career.

    You can list any ranks or certificates you have earned just dont use any of their crests or patches or the name Parkers name or the American Kempo name in marketing or advertising.
     
  15. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The logic is that, while there are forms and you learn movements outside the techs, the techs are a core part of the art that everything else is learned from. In some senses, the tech's ARE the art. Imagine if all of TKD was derived from 60 different 1-2 step sparring techniques, and someone started teaching those techniques while claiming that they werent teaching TKD.

    As for whether that opens you up for legal action is another question entirely, but some people certainly try.
     
  16. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Techniques can't be trademarked...only the names of the techniques can be trademarked.

    You also can't use someone's likeness without consent doing the technique...but you can use a consentingnperson doing the same technique while calling it a different name.
     
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  17. Rat

    Rat Black Belt

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    You missed out on a great ad oppertunity. Change it with "lost fighting art" and bam. 10% more business. :p


    Im pretty sure if anyone tried to trademark anything in karate for example, they would probably loose court battles etc, just by sheer virtue of the similarity between all martial styles. And that style not being the first to come up with that technique etc. i was referring to techniques, it would kind of be like a boxer trying to trademark a straight punch, not going to happen. I think some places have legislation in place where you can claim a party is trying to inflict economic damage by suing you repeatedly and use that to get their way, so the serving party has to cover all legal fees, or something.
     
  18. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    In SKK there actually was a lawsuit directly about this. I cant remember what the end result was, but what i said is essentially the arguments the sueing folks lawyers were making.
     
  19. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    The techniques like a boxers straight punch are very different then kenpo/kempo techniques. Ill post a video of a few of them on a separate thread later
     
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  20. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    I see...let me clarify.

    You cant trademark a specific individual technique such as a certain kick or block or punch due to the lack of originality.

    You can trademark a specific curriculum of combinations of techniques for specific responses.

    So you cant copy the 60 specific responses that they have published....but you can teach the individual techniques and your own curriculum of how to apply them.
     
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