Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - General' started by shane23ss, Jan 3, 2005.
What can I say, great minds think alike.:asian:
I just began my study of the great art of American Kenpo. I would feel totally lost if it weren't for the great people at my school, including my instructor. My advice would be to find a great instructor that is skilled and passionate about their art and learn from them, even if it isn't Kenpo (which is hard for me to say). Other marterials can be used as a reference for what you are taught.
Hello! It was nice meeting you the other day.
I used to wonder (early on) whether SL4 was really torques and tweeks (albeit many and major ones), but lately I've come around to seeing it as something radically different. Seems to me that it really may be an entirely different Kenpo (same but different). And, the proper differentia would be anatomical (i.e., SL4) Kenpo vs. conceptual/motion Kenpo. Since that is a fundamental difference in orientation, philosophy and grounding, the common frame of reference might be now of a more superficial nature, which may make it inappropriate to speak of torques and tweeks. In other words, is it really just torques and tweeks or is it that what appears to be torques and tweeks is really an introduction and vehicle for something radically different?
Just a thought.
See you in class.
Although I trained at a school and not by video, I am a part of the IKCA which is known for it's video testing. My Black Belt test was sent to Mr. LeRoux and Mr. Sullivan for grading, but aside from that I never tested via video. But in it's defense I have met some very good video students, and have seen some bad ones. Mr. LeRoux will not pass you on to the next level just to do so, and some people think the video testing is an easy way to pass. This is not always the case. But just like at all schools and all arts, you have your good and you have the ones who suck. I don't think I could have learned via video, but some people can. It takes a special type of person with the commitment and self-motivation to learn from these tapes. Overall the IKCA does a good job of reaching the students who do not have access to a kenpo school near them. Also a lot of others have roots in Kenpo and maybe have moved and this is a way for them to continue to advance and learn the art they like. Also, they make themselves available for emails, phone calls, Seminars, or whatever means you want to contact them with questions. Also on your test you get corrections and things to work on and if those problems are still present on your next test, you don't pass. In short it can be done, but don't expect to get the same from a video, as you would by going to train at a good school. But the quality of the material is pretty good. I can't comment on how Mr. Tatum's process works because I have never seen it.
This is very true. Some video students don't have access to live training partners but do the best they can with what they have and you (not you specificly but MA community in general) can't cut them down for training the only way they have access to. Most of the video students train in pairs though, and although may not be part of a large class, they do get to spar each other and use each other as live dummies. Sparring is required for testing so you need to find someone sometime to spar with. Granted the varity of styles wouldn't be there, but at least you get to train. Remember, most of the people training by video, from what I have seen, don't have access to a MA school, or Kenpo school.
Yes, it costs more but I try to fly my instructor in and learn that way. It is slower, since I cannot afford to "mail" him to me, yet the "little things" are what makes the process great-any body can say tiger claw to face,how about understanding the mechanics, applications, effect..etc??
In my opinion there is always a way to spread kenpo, thru the mail probably not the best way. It is a picture of a steak, not the steak
I guess that's one way to do it.
Well, there you have it. Out in the open, with no room for misinterpretation. "Torques and tweeks" was meant to avoid ruffling the feathers of folks who may have invested years in kenpo, continuing to believe their efforts were well-placed. But, me-thinks you're closer than not. I'm minimizing to avoid controversy, but what da heck...
First off, Howard, I know you had a chance to learn some AK prior to joining Doc's cult of kenpo perfectionists (said affectionately). You've had a chance to see what a class typically looks and sounds like, and even what some of the techniques and forms looked like before Doc started re-tooling them. Kind of anemic by comparison if you run the memory in your mind, si?
"If you reference the perspective of a different starting point,..."
Starting with indexing and the basics, SL-4 immediately stands out as different because the foundational basics are different. What Doc refers to as "indexes" are positional prestretches that make the mind of a plyometrics fan race with the implications of the meanings. The neurophysiological basis for plyometrics is based largely on recruitment of a larger number of muscle fibers in a pre-stretch phase that precedes the gross major movement; that stretch activate a greater number of neuroreceptors in the muscle fibers themselves, meaning that...when released...more of the muscles mass will come into play in the final motion. Also, looking at the work of guys like Sherrington, there are relationships in neural circuitry, such that: When you turn on more of one muscle A (the agonist), that muscles neighbors and helpers are told via spinal cord shortcuts to wake up! Pay attention! Get ready to snap to, boys! Primary agonists and synergists are attenuated at a much higher level than in the standard methods of execution; joint stabilizers otherwise left nearly electrically silent are attenuated, lending stability to the entire kinematic chain (all of the muscles and joints in an arm or leg, and the muscles that connect them to the torso); musculature along the kinematic chains of the "uninvolved" extremity limbs are conjointly attenuated through indexing, causing a substantial and measurable improvement in body-wide stability. Doc's presentation of stepping forward into a neutral bow with a lead hand inward block has so many indexes and structural alignment mechanisms in it that are absent in mainstream kenpo, that by the time you've completed the remaining technique series (with follow-up strikes and foot maneuvers, with the indexes, PAM's, BAM,s etc.), the final product is like, well...kenpo on years of steroids.
Doc prefers reference to the anatomical alignment of his system, but anatomy is, generally, considered static: The existence and nomenclature of a part, and it's relationship to other parts (i.e., bodypart A is inferior, medial, and anterior to bodypart B). When they look at just the most simple actions of how these parts work at a gross mechanical level, the study switches from "antomy" to "functional anatomy", "biomechanics", "kinesiology", and "physiology". Sub-divisions or specializations also exist: for example, "Neuro-Anatomy", and "Neuro-Physiology". The challenge with classifying Sub-Level 4 as "anatomical kenpo", is the old "parts is parts" saying. Everybody has all the same parts. The way Doc is stacking them, and recruiting them for unified motion and purpose is what really makes SL4 stand out as being radically different from motion kenpo. Now, if you wanna get jiggy with it, add the dimensions of destructive sequencing and meridian mapping to the angle and direction of the indexed strikes, coming from an aligned platform..."Anatomical" kenpo really doesn't do it justice.
When y'all were practicing Short 2...if you remember Short 2 from your pre-SL4-K days, than you know you're doing something completely different, even though you're approaching it in similar phases. Self-Defense techs are grossly recognizeable because of the sequence of counters, and some of the signature movements. But what's done on the way to the movement, and in the execution of the movement...both by the defender and to the perp... are so dramatically different from what's generally available in kenpo, that there definitely has to be some way to differentiate it. I've heard some guys say, essentially, "Yeah, we do sub-level 4", meaning they throw in some nerve strikes and entanglements, but the reality is, No...they don't. To be able to secure positional stability before, during, and after each block/strike/maneuver, while breaking a guy down like that, is radically different than motion kenpo.
When y'all were practicing SF3, I asked Doc, "why the change in the opening move of Destructive Twins?". What I thought was simply the stylistic opening of one hand, instead of the closing of both, turned out to be a change in:
1. Indexing before moving
2. Platform stabilization so the stance and torso are strong bases to deliver from
3. A change in the anatomical relationship of the Left shoulder joint, and accompanying attenuation of every muscle crossing the shoulder joint I could think of (and I can think of a lot)
4. A neurophysiological cue from the hand to the brain (fingers straight, carpals forced anteriorly via full wrist extension), and back again to get the open kinematic chain of the left upper extremity to support against approaching resistance...something it was totally incapable of while in the original overhand/closed-fist position.
That kind of structural integrity was simply not possible in the closed-hand version of the opening move. And that's just 1 move in all of short 3. Each of the techniques has this sort of thought and innovation put into completely re-tooling it.
So, yes...tweeking and torquing was an understatement...an intentional one. Some things one could pick up from Doc in a 20 minute hallway conversation, and take years re-formatting their hard drive just to incorporate. For example...palm facing forward, as in a bracing index...fingers bent, or not bent? What are the implications for the signals to and from the brain, and their implications for strength in a forward push vs. rearward pull? That's 4 minutes of show & tell; at least a year of re-training bad habits to actually "show up" with this in your techniques, sparring, and self-defense.
If, in the future, you see me short-changing SL4 by using minimalist terminology, please understand it is simply for the purposes of verbal economy. If you actually read the length of this post, there are many things alluded to, very few described, and lots of words. All to describe only a very few things. SL4 is a voluminous body of information, and must be glossed over lightly if one wishes to do anything else with their night than type. Plus, if you can't "show" the person reading your post what some indexes are, and how they strengthen technique, how many words do you think it would take?
5 Swords is still 5 swords, but with the alignment and attenuation mechanisms in place, it is an awesome 5 swords that rocks the other guy, while preventing you from being budged any direction except the one(s) you choose. If you can figure out how to economically describe the differences by saying something other than "looks a lot like 5 swords, but with some tweeks and torques that make it stronger and more efficient", pleeeeze let me know.
See ya next week Howard.
How much harder to get this quality of information from a tape?
That was a incredable post. I feel like I have just been schooled and it felt good.:supcool:
I wasn't cutting them down, but rather saying that unless one has someone to throw a punch, kick etc at you, you can't develop the needed timing and nerve. Kempo/Kenpo is very application based in it's approach to the martial arts compared to the more kata based traditional systems. Though the katas do exist in Kempo/Kenpo, it is nearly always approached through a hands on "punch in for me" way. Someone with a good sense of physical mimicry could well learn to imitate the form that they see on the screen.( Heck, I learned how to do a spinning back kick from watching Chuck Norris movies when I was a teenager) But, the application that is so crucial to the Kempo/Kenpo experience would be very difficult to develop from even a very precise imitation of form without a training partner.
I know that you were not cutting them down, that is why I said not you specifically. But there are many who are quick to say that a video student is less of a martial artist than they, or whatever. I agree with what you said in full. I know I couldn't have learned from video, but like I said I have met some very good Martial Artists who did. Granted their whole training was not by video, they have gone to visit Mr. LeRoux and Mr. Sullivan in CA. or had them flown out to them, or attend every seminar they can. The main purpose of my post was to attempt to have people judge a person by their knowledge and ability first and then their method of learning it after that. Because like I said, there are still crappy Martial Artists who go to excellent schools and vice versa.
And as far as needing to have that punch, kick, grab, ect. Done to you to be able to develop the timing and "feel" for the attacks. You are right, and I agree 100%. Video students NEED to have a partner to work with, if you are training by video and you don't have one. You are missing out on 99% of your training.
the problem is while videos give you a rough idea of the movement-the whys and hows are left up to the student to discover or chance upon, which is kind of ineffecient.
What you have is high rankings withut a lot of understanding of the whys
Yes, and you need partners who possess varying degrees of skill. Not just one partner who is at your level or below.
One of the important teaching tools is the use of the "technique line", "monkey line", "bull in the ring", etc.
It puts you up against partners of various ranks, differant sizes, differant speeds, differant strengths, etc.
When you train or spar with just one partner, you get to the point where you can read them like a book. You then end up working in a comfort zone that dosen't challenge or stress you. Basically, just going thru the motions.
When you work against differant partners, your forced to think on your feet and "make your techniques work", no matter who your opponant is.
I know, and I agree I do not disagree with that fact. It is easy to get real good at beating on the same guy. I am not saying it is the best way to train in MA, but to some it is all they have access to. Another thing to remember is that even if they do not have access to an instructor face to face 3 or 4 days a week, they do have feedback by video. Granted it is not the best way, but if you are doing something wrong, you are told how to correct it. Video testing brings MA training to the person who may live in a small town and not have immediate access to a school. Nothing compares to having an instructor correct you on the spot and also give you encouagement, I am not disputing that fact. But the video program is better than books, better than the "buy my video and I will send you the entire program and your BB certificate" programs, and I am sorry to say better than some of the schools out there. You know, the ones that don't allow any contact.
By the way what is the Monkey Line? I have never heard of a drill called that before.
Thanks very much for that post regarding sub level 4, I'm not sure I understood it, but it definately gave a bit more of an insight into the nature of Dr. Chapel's work than the brief description in Black Belt Magazine gave, and now my only question is...
Why ain't there nobody to teach us SL4 over here...
It's a Kajukenbo term (monkey see, monkey do). I've been told it's the same as what the Kenpo people call a "technique line", where you do your techniques on everyone in the line, so you get a feel for differant opponants speed, size, strenth's, etc.
This is an excellent comment. I completely agree here.
Not trying to steal the thread. But I think this is related to this subject. The IKCA is currently offering a week of FREE Kenpo Lessons in the first week of August in the Seal Beach area.
Now I think any IKCA student whom studies via distance learning should make ever effort to attend this training that is offered by Chuck and Vic (whom both will be teaching). I for one along with the wife are making preperations to attend this program. This will allow corrections in person and get a real taste of live instruction. This will make the program more exciting.
Mark E. Weiser123
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