Disadvantages of Kenpo?

Discussion in 'Kenpo - (EPAK) Ed Parker's American Kenpo Karate S' started by Touch Of Death, Nov 3, 2003.

  1. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Whats interesting is that you have 2 people here. One with only 3 months of Kenpo and one with 17 yrs. and yet some of the things that I have said are even apparent to someone with less time in. Kind of makes you wonder.

    Mike
     
  2. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    Actually....aw, the hell with it.

    My apologies for being honest about what I thought.
     
  3. Seig

    Seig Grandmaster

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    I would have posted this an hour, but the site is having slight issues at the moment.

    Admin Note.
    Please, keep the conversation polite and respectful.

    -Seig
    -MT Assistant Admin-
     
  4. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    Move back on topic guys. I like the fast food analogy. Of course I had heard it before, but the "instant gratification" expectation, and sense of entitlement by individuals in the younger generations, no I take that back, it has spread to most generations, creates or exacerbates the "disadvantages of Kenpo".

    Many expect everything to be given to them, rather than earned. Even in a modern martial art like Kenpo, I find this attitude to be offensive at best, and really pissed, at worst. It is compounded by the "MacDojo" issue and systems, arts, or instructors catering and compromising to the masses. I understand we have to do this in some cases to keep the doors open, but when people are pushed through a program, and promotions are given due to time and $$'s, (which we all know happens), then we are creating a generation of Black Belts who don't even know what they don't know. This is a huge disadvantage and disservice to the art.

    What is the answer?

    -Michael
     
  5. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    One of the jokes I've been making, for a while now, is that all new students ought to be required to watch the pilot episode of, "Kung Fu." There's a problem with that, of course, because one of the disadvantages of kenpo has turned out to be that we do in fact have some guys out there running schools who fantasize that they're the heads of Shaolin.

    A similar problem has shown up in Asian religions--Buddhism most obviously, but also others, as they've gotten translated into American. For example, there's this horrible phenomenon that one of my students in English showed me some stuff on last year--"Buddhists," who don't think that they need to meditaate, or give anything up, just be Buddhists--the articles called it, "Buddhism lite." Or, having lived in Boulder during the 70s, there was the ugly phenomenon centered around the founder of Naropa Institute--still going strong after his stupid death, and still apparently offering martial arts classes.

    But with the first episode of "Kung Fu," theory, at least folks would get some fantasies about what martial arts training is all about. Sometimes, I think those fantasies are extremely useful...

    Thanks for the conversation, Michael.
     
  6. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    I think Kenpo schools offer more of this mentality than anyone would like to admit. Get it to a debate with just about anyone and you get to hear... " Once you have taken a class with MASTER So and so, you would understand" The bottom line is is that it is up to the individual to train hard and acheive what they are capable of achieving. Sure, one person may have a gift for inspiring a student or a group of students where others might fail, but students will experience a level of understanding and ability, and not go on to the next level until they have physicaly and mentaly done the work. The true danger, I suppose, is when the trusted master convinces his or her students to ignore the "lesser" methods.
    Sean
     
  7. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    ... if in fact they are even aware of the "lesser method" ... student or instructor. I think overall, in more than just Kenpo, the myth has progressed so far, or the individual groups (to use an old reference) experience Groupthink, in which it is a self-reinforcing process excluding input from the outside, and operating with the paradigm that "We are doing it right", or "Nobody else can do this the way we do."

    This applies to groups primarily, who are somewhat insulated from external reality checks, and is a process oriented problem, similar to ethnocentrism, where the erroneous belief is that "our culture's way is the only one doing this right" (can apply to religion, political structure, a company, or a Martial Arts organization.) It can be manifested in just being unaware that there are other standards and ways of doing things that are culture specific, and we have failed to educate ourselves regarding these "other" ways of doing things.

    Gee, do I hear the reverberations of this belief that "our way is the only way" in the hallowed halls of Kenpodom? Yepper, methinks I do!

    Question: How many Kenpoist does it take to screw in a light bulb?
    Answer: 100 - One to screw in the light bulb, and 99 to say "ThatÂ’s' not the way Mr. Parker taught me."

    Humorous, and it has been posted before, (even by me), but it clearly defines for me the lack of tolerance within our Kenpo Community now, and the unwillingness to consider that there is no one "right way", regardless of your teacher. Sigung LaBounty may do it one way, Sibok Tom Kelly will certainly do it another; Huk may do it a 3rd way; Or Mr. Heebler, or Bob White, Larry Tatum, Mike Pick, James Ibrao, Ron Chapel, Frank Trejo, etc.

    Are they "wrong?" No, just different in the times when they were with Mr. Parker and what part of the Art they emphasized, when they learned it, and where they have gone with it since.

    Unfortunately one of the big disadvantages of Kenpo (Organizationally) is that we don't play well with others. And when we do, not everyone knows about it. Some include hubud drills, or lock-flow, some emphasize contact manipulation, some train in BJJ (see the AKTS website photos for some if you have not already seen it), I like some of my old TKD kicks, etc. Does that mean we are not "Purist" when it comes to Kenpo? To me, it is all Kenpo (Kenpo being the logical, analytical study of motion, in all dimensions, on any plane.)

    :soapbox:
    I guess that was about a dollar and fifty cents worth, instead of 2 cents (inflation).

    Oss,
    -Michael
     
  8. JD_Nelson

    JD_Nelson Green Belt

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    Sieg,

    You stated earlier that you were able to produce martial artists that could bang with you. Later you realized that you felt their training may have been lacking.

    I think you may actually be on to somthing there. Seriously. You produced people who could bang and be the "warrior" first. Now you suggest you may have errored but did you really???

    These indidviduals have the skills to defend themselves. Now if you are teaching them the intracancies of the art, the forms, the sets, etc.... they now can become the scholar if they want to continue.

    It sure seems like we have a BUNCH of kenpoists that talk kenpo. Seems everyone wants to be a watchmaker. At this point in my training I want to be the hammer and anvil. I want to try it I want to test it and give my results back to the watchmaker so he can make a better watch. Maybe one of the effects of the overinflated rank in kenpo is the fact that every black belt thinks he is a watchmaker now. Maybe Mr. Parker gave us too much in the process of analyzing this wonderful art. ****, I go through this with my instructor in class. My class time is WAY to valuable to wonder about the proper damn alingment to generate 3lbs more force. I can do that on my own through the tools I already have. THE BASICS!!!!

    Sorry to ramble on, and not trying to say one way is correct over the other Sieg, but I would like to be shaped by the anvil and hammer first. Polish can come later for me.

    Salute,

    JD
     
  9. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Very well said!:asian:

    Mike
     
  10. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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  11. Goldendragon7

    Goldendragon7 Grandmaster

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    Yep, If they can't or won't answer, than that tells you there is little credibility there.

    I have a specific way of doing the "Base Way" or "Ideal" techniques for a reason (for 1, it cuts down the confusion for the beginner, and creates a standard "base" as a point of reference from which you can now expand). In fact, I have a reason for everything (I think that is necessary).

    Now when we venture into the "what if" arena.... that is a completely different ball game..... NOW you; study, research, try, dabble, investigate, experiment, a multitude of possibilities..... that may all be useful for different reasons.

    After all, what is the Equation formula for!

    :asian:
     
  12. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    Of course, there is a difference between being taught to repeat mindlessly forever, and being taught how to train and figure things out.

    One point in defense of learning how to get three pounds more pressure out is that it just may help teach you how to figure out improvements, and how to recognize real development when you get there.
     
  13. JD_Nelson

    JD_Nelson Green Belt

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    Watchmaker mentality.

    I agree that refinement will be necessary to progress, but I am in it to learn how to defend myself with much proficiency and skill. 3lbs more pressure at a given level may be necessary, may not. I want function over form. I want to be able to punch your nose in then figure out how I did it. and how I may have been able to break it into 3 more pieces. Broken is broken.

    And mindlessly???? Come on Mr. Robertson. There is a lot of information that can be derived from the basics at any level in the art. I dont use the basics for the cardio. They are major tools. An extended outward block. How many functions does this have? Strike, brace, block??? What is it that lets this work so well. Can I pull something out of this basic arm positon an apply it to another part of my kenpo. Is the arm positon the same as an inward block. Does the angle do something that I can apply and use elswhere. Is that angle an angle in a stance, any stance? This is just one idea.

    I believe this comes with actual training outside of class. Making kenpo something that is your own. Not just using what is written or given to you by an instructor. The instructor is a guide to help you along your journey.

    Salute,

    JD
     
  14. rmcrobertson

    rmcrobertson Guest

    Please and sorry, but please re-read what I wrote. I didn't say a word against learning basics, or against learning basic power.

    A common way the distinction between haammering and finesse gets made is in keeeping what group classes do, and what private lessons do, quite distinct.

    But I stand by what I wrote, which was that it is possible to teach in ways that leave students dead-ended down the line.

    Thanks for the discussion.
     
  15. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    I feel that occurs when a student is led to believe he has been taught the end all be all, and refuses further contradictory information. Iv'e got a freind that sounds like Brainy Smurf every time we discuss information that my instructor teaches... " Yeah that's exactly what Tyler says...", when in fact I wouldn't have brought the lesson up if he had actualy understood what I was trying to impart. After the years I am resolved in the fact that this relationship and mentality will never change. I have only met this Tyler person on a few occasions and I wonder how much fault he shares in the predicament. Oh well.
    Sean
     
  16. Brother John

    Brother John Senior Master

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    I think I see where you are coming from Jeremy, especially with the wanting to test your skills and abilities.
    But how do you think you could test your skills? It's not really ethical to intentionally initiate a fight right? Just wondering what your thoughts are on this.

    Also: I know what you are talking about with your desire to 'be the hammer and anvil'. It's a good metaphor. But why do these have to be opposites? There's really two phases to our growth in Kenpo I think.... learning an element of the art and engraining that element through application/practice. The learning is the area for the breaking down of the different elements and qualities that make the motions work their best whereas the application/training is where you take those motions and put them through the wringer of hard work. But the hard work shouldn't negate the studied application of finer points, and the study of the finer points doesn't need to take the place of the 'pounding hammer' hard work. It's just like what the symbols of the 'tiger & dragon' point too, they aren't antithetical... they are cooperative/complimentary.

    Here on the internet all you'll ever get is Kenpo talk, therefore it would seem that we are all very technically minded.

    You know in the classes I lead I've got a strange balance I've got to strike; both of which are complicated by the fact that I just don't have enough time with my students. Two hours once a week isn't even half the time I wish we had! As I always tell my students, it's in class where you learn...it's on your own where you get gooood. But then again, as you and I have said before "Air-Kenpo" is usually the best we can manage on 'our own'...and that only gets you so far. So in class I have to strike a balance between teaching the form... and coaching the hard work. But I'll still say that the hard work should never negate proper or ideal execution. If your hard work leaves the bounds of good execution/form then I'd be remiss if I didn't correct it. Skill and ability should go hand in hand. You don't attend classes to learn to move hard, but to learn to move hard well. If the effectiveness is gone or is lessoned...then we are wasting our time.
    Something to think about.
    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Your Brother
    John
     
  17. JD_Nelson

    JD_Nelson Green Belt

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    dead ended by what perspective??

    the student may only wish to know how to defend his/her person, they may not want to become a scholar.
     
  18. Michael Billings

    Michael Billings Senior Master

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    ... but then how do they share their knowledge (if they want to)?



    I guess rather than be a MECHANIC OF MOTION, I am a journeyman learning how to be a MASTER OF MOTION.

    There is just so much more to it than self-defense; including discipline, strength of character, obligation, duty, etc. You can use a Krav Maga model, there is nothing wrong with that. You can TAYLOR a self-defense program using Kenpo, there is nothing wrong with that either. Just so long as you:

    1. Have the knowledge that, that is what you are doing and teaching (as I do not believe a lot of instructors "know" how complete their version of Kenpo is);

    2. Do not misrepresent yourself as teaching more; and

    3. Do not leave your students with a false impression regarding their own abilities or level of competency.

    Just my thoughts on this.

    -Michael
     
  19. Seig

    Seig Grandmaster

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    Something to remember. If, as an innstructor, your abilities and knowledge stagnate, you are not only cheating yourself, but your students as well. At some point, you will have passed on everything that was passed on to you. If you do not continue to improve yourself either as an iron worker or a watch maker, then you may as well give up the arts.
     
  20. Brother John

    Brother John Senior Master

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    Or to have the courage, honesty and integrity to acknowledge this to those faithful students that you have 'maxed out' and help them continue their journey with someone that has more to offer them on their journey.
    You may not remain their 'instructor', but they will always call your school's floor 'home' in their hearts!

    Your Brother
    John123
     

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