Whats so great about Kenpo?

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - General' started by cfr, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. cfr

    cfr Black Belt

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    Well, now that I made some blood boil and got your attention, let me explain what I really meant. :supcool:

    Lots of you have heard this so I apologize in advance. Ive bounced around schools too much during my short time in MA. However, it wasnt all just because I cant stay still:

    6 months MMA out of a garage. I'd have stayed forever but he moved away.

    6 months Hapkido. I suspected a McDojo from the gate. (not the style, the school) I went anyways due to the location, schedule, etc. Finally I just couldnt take the wussie training and left.

    3 months Kenpo. I liked the training intensity. I like the insturctors. I HATED forms. No matter what, even if I became the Kenpo die hard tomorrow, I don't think I will EVER beleive in them. Perhaps Im wrong though.

    14 months combination of Muay Thai, JKD, and FMA. I like everything about it except for the fact that it takes two and a half years to spar. Ive been off for the last 8 months for an injury and will be able to start training again in 2 - 3 weeks. Im dying to spar. I did somewhat of sparring at my first school but not really unscripted, real sparring. Ive got some threads regarding this matter in the General section.

    Anyways, something Im trying to do right now besides spar is move out of So. Cal. That being the case, if it were to happen I would need to start over yet again. This is getting old. I want to get on with my funky **** and stick to a style. Kenpo is all over the country from what I can tell. I don't think I could live near any big city (which is a requiremnet with what I do for a living) and not find a Kenpo school. Its no secret Im not a huge Kenpo fan based on what I would admit to be my VERY LIMITED experience. I HATE forms. I also really enjoy and beleive in clinch/ takedown type of stuff. Something Ive noticed though is that Kenpo people are typically die hards. Very passionate. And theres lots of them. So I started thinking, maybe theres something too it? Maybe they know/ see something I missed? Entirely possible as forms made me want to kill myself at a very rapid pace. But as mentioned, Im tired of bouncing and want to stick to a style for a while. So Ive got some specific questions about Kenpo. I hope nobody minds.

    1. Does Kenpo address defending against someone trying to tackle you? Seemed to me it was purely against punches/ kicks.
    2. Does Kenpo address the clinch?
    3. Does Kenpo address weapons?
    4. Has anyone been like me and thought forms were a total joke, but then later realized they're value and now totally beleive in them? What changed your mind?
    5. This one has probably been around so I apologize. Ive seen Kenpos spar. If you don't really do those big round Karate type of blocks when you spar, why train that way?

    Again, this post isnt meant to slam your style. Its meant to inform. I stated my feelings in the beginnig because I thought it would be hypocritical of me not too.
     
  2. Shodan

    Shodan Master Black Belt

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    Let's see if I can help a little here.......

    (1) Yes- we learn tackle techniques, but not until you are a bit further along.....those techs tend to have the name "Ram" in them.

    (2) Not quite sure what the clinch is??

    (3) Yes- again- we have techs. against sticks/clubs which have the name "Storm" in them. Later, you learn a staff set in the form of a kata and some defenses against knife and gun.

    (4) I started my Kenpo training at age 13 and it was my first style, so I guess I never really thought forms were a "joke"- just part of what I had to learn to advance. I do, however, believe that you learn their value as you progress in the art and see how they apply...techniques in motion, footwork, etc.

    (5) The only analogy I can think of for this one is you must learn the bigger movements in order to more effectively pull off the smaller ones. You learn to walk before you learn to run in most cases, right? But isn't running just walking sped up? So it is with sparring- those movements that may seem big and bulky become fine-tuned with speed and accuracy later on.......and much practice and repetition. You must first have the basics down.....and have them down well though- before you learn or become skilled at the finer-tuned motions required of sparring.

    Hope this helps in some way. Kenpo has changed my life- give it another try and keep with it for longer....I think you'll see more as you advance and maybe even come to like the forms!!

    Best of luck to you in whatever art you choose.

    :asian: :karate:
     
  3. cfr

    cfr Black Belt

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    Thanks. Another question I forgot to ask.

    6. Does Kenpo do much in the elbow/ knee department as I tend to have a liking to them?
     
  4. Shodan

    Shodan Master Black Belt

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    (6) Inward elbows, outward elbows, upward elbows, downward elbows, back elbows, obscure elbows.......we've got 'em!! As for knees......again- they are in a lot of our techniques either as strikes or as leg checks/blocks/strikes. I didn't learn to use them in sparring like maybe some styles do....but they are definitely a part of our system.

    :asian: :karate:
     
  5. Old Fat Kenpoka

    Old Fat Kenpoka Master Black Belt

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    1. Yes. Kenpo has many techniques against tackles. Many schools train against more of a football tackle rather than a wrestling double-leg. Many other schools understand the attack.

    2. Yes. Kenpo has many techniques against grabs. Again, some schools are better than others at making the attacks real. Some will understand the difference between the wrestling clinch and the Muay Thai clinch and the stupid-bully clinch. Some won't and will only teach you to defend against stupid bullies.

    3. Kenpo has many club, knife, and gun defenses. Some are quite simple. Some are quite complex and difficult to apply in real life.

    4. Uh. No. Just the oppossite in my personal journey. That being said, Forms do have value in memorization, coordination, and the development of correct form. Forms are also about the only way to practice technique alone. And, when you get old and stiff, they are a really good warm up.

    5. Big round Karate blocks work well against big round drunks. They also teach large motor skills to those who may have little prior experience or coordination. I think most Kenpoists discard the large blocking movements when they spar. And, I am sure you won't find a Kenpo school that will make you wait 2 years to spar (unless you have some serious attitude problem).
     
  6. Old Fat Kenpoka

    Old Fat Kenpoka Master Black Belt

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    A clinch is ususally a two-handed grab of the head or neck and/or arms and/or torso. Wrestlers use it to setup takedowns. Muay Thai boxers use it to pull your head down for knee strikes.

    I strongly suggest you learn to understand the clinch and how to apply your Kenpo against it.
     
  7. Shodan

    Shodan Master Black Belt

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    Okay- thanks.....yes, we've worked defenses against this type of hold a lot actually.....I just didn't understand the terminology......thanks Kenpoka.

    :asian: :karate:
     
  8. Mark Weiser

    Mark Weiser Guest

    #1-- Yes we do in fact at least in the training I have been privy to we cover the tackle approach at this is a common way for a person to take ya to the ground.

    #2-- Here it depends on the school and instructor. You have to address this is the fact that you could end up in this position and have to react to it.

    #3-- Absoultely and we train in several weapons and there again the Instructor and School may teach different weapons.

    #4 -- Forms teach you the flow and power of the Art. Allows you to gain muscle memory and cordination of movements and the reasoning behind certain movements.

    #5 -- When sparring you typically are sparring with another trained MAist therefore approach the fight differently that say in a bar or on the street. Additionally you learn in the lower levels to move big and as you progress you refine your movements and make the movements smaller as you gain experience and more techniques.
     
  9. bzarnett

    bzarnett Guest

    Excellent questions. Does American Kenpo answer the above questions. Yes. Do all the instructors have the ability or teach answers to the above questions - probably note.

    1. American Kenpo provides exercises, principles and concepts on how to defend against a variety of attacks that include punches, kicks, locks and chokes, hugs and holds, weapons, multiple attackers and combination of the above. These are considered "Nature of Attack" and there are 9 categories. I think its nine. The self-defense techniques are one tool that at its fundamental level explore a specific scenario and a result (the defense). As a student progresses they explore variables in these scenarios eventually reaching the point where they can extemporaneously handle a problem. This progression and the practical aspect of it though is up to the instructure. The principles, concepts, and training practices are there to make Kenpo practical but an instructor can ignore these and make all the techniques impractical.

    2. Yes. We refer to this as contact manipulation stage and American Kenpo includes a variety of drills and methods for the clinch. American Kenpo does not include something like a pummeling drill but there is nothing stoppping an instructor from including it in the repetoire.

    3. Kenpo includes the use of, and the defense against weapons including stick and knife. I guess these would be the foundation weapons of Kenpo. Defenses against gun attacks are included. Again, there are principles and concepts associated with each, self-defense techniques that provide examples but the real working bit is in the hands of the instructor, the drills he knows, and the principles he understands and can apply. As an example, in my school students start learning single club at Orange belt and begin with an understanding of the attitude of a club. It progresses from there. Work includes exploring self-defense techniques with the attitude of the club. Applying strategies in sparring (one-on-one, two-on-one, etc.)

    4. I believe for some systems the forms are complete jokes. In American Kenpo there is a methodology and approach to each - a series of reasons for the development of the forms that make them practical for me to use and teach. It similiar to the close-quarter form of Chu Fen Do (Tony Blauer) - the intention of the form was muscle memory. This was a helpful step in my ideas about form.

    5. I whip outward with my forearm to block (extended outward block) in sparring. I also parry. Depends on the circumstance and a persons ability to apply there methods. As far as "big round blocks" the vision I get is poor Kenpo. Kenpo striking blocks are tight and precise. Perhaps you are seeing people who over-extend themselves or are in a stage of refinement where they still need to tune the movements.

    Just some thoughts.

    Kenpo has the elements in the system to answer your questions. Its another thing if the instructor has those elements or understands how to teach them in a functional and practical manner.

    Good questions.

    Cheers,
    Bryan
     
  10. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    bzarnett- Excellent post! One thing that especially caught my eye was this.


    I agree with that 100%!!! Having the right instructor to teach you is extremely important. There was a time when I didn't think that there was much grappling in Kenpo, especially on the ground. After taking the time to talk to Clyde (AKA DKL) who was able to explain to me what I was missing, I was then able to have a much clearer picture.

    Mike
     
  11. getgoin

    getgoin Guest

    For the most part everything you asked will depend on the school and the instructor. I have meet kenpo instructors that knew what a clinch was and others that thought a clinch was the same as a lapel grab. Forget about a over/under or double under or anything like that in kenpo, for the most part that is. The defenses I learned in kenpo for a double under or "bear hug" would get me slammed on my head or worse if I ever tried them with a person that had intent to do me harm. You can find instructors that know the difference, it's all about the instructor.

    Forms do have a purpose. Most systems, if not all have forms. They may call them pinans, forms, Djurus, kata or whatever. They teach a laundry list of ideas. Doing forms (which by the way I don't like doing but I do them because I understand why I have to) can be boring to some people, I understand that. When I'm bored with a form I start to mix and match them. I may start with blue belt set then go to form 4 half way through then finish with long 3 half way through that. I generally don't worry about what direction to face or if I finish in the same place that I started in, I just try to make it fun for me because I'm the one doing the darn thing.
     
  12. Goldendragon7

    Goldendragon7 Grandmaster

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    Everything!~

    :supcool:
     
  13. Dark Kenpo Lord

    Dark Kenpo Lord Brown Belt

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    Finally some good common Kenpo sense, thank you and great post.

    DarK LorD
     
  14. koga ha

    koga ha Orange Belt

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    i like the fact that kempo is effective in a crisis situation; you can also apply it to your everyday existence. i.e. how to enter a room, move through a crowd, etc....i wanted to include this caveat for the last statement: if you know how.
     
  15. KenpoGuy71

    KenpoGuy71 Guest

    I've left Kenpo on a few occasions and have always come back... I can't quite put my finger on WHY I came back, but it could be because Kenpo is a "thinking man's art" and it's FUN (i.e. both intellectually and physically stimulating).

    I was on a kick were I trained in MMA (BJJ, MT, SBG etc), but after a couple of years I just didn't find it as fun as I remembered Kenpo being (although I still like BJJ).

    It addresses most encounters you may face in a self-defense situation and depending on the instructor, it you may even be exposed to fear-reactivity training. One potential drawback of Kenpo is that many schools have been McDojo'fied... where they really don't understand the realities of self-defense.

    If it interests you, I encourage you to try it for a year or two before making up your mind as to whether it is a viable system. But it all depends on what you are looking for... since you didn't specify what you were looking for. Perhaps you can give us an idea as to your WHY, i.e. why are you training? What do you want to get out of it?

    KG
     
  16. howardr

    howardr Green Belt

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    Yes. Take a look at the Web of Knowledge in EP's Infinite Insights series of books. If memory serves me, most of the techniques are defenses against grabs, holds, pushes, and locks (tackles are included as well) not punches and kicks. And, I think there are good reasons for that, which you can probably surmise.

    At my school, while we certainly deal with punches and kicks, some of the most interesting and challenging material involves grabs, holds, locks, chokes, pushs, etc. - all the hands-on work. We work the range of those attacks, from: (1) the attempted but not completed attack to, (2) a variety of mid-way-to-completion variations of the attack to, (3) dealing with the fully completed attack. Much of the material taught deals with ranges 2 and 3, while in my experience many schools (maybe most or almost all others) only or almost only deal with range 1. Putting it another way, we train that pushes are pushes (they make significant contact), holds are holds (you are effectively and realistically held), chokes are chokes (you better do something or nighty-night) and locks are locks (unless you know the specific way to extricate yourself, you aren't getting out).

    In my school, a good of time is spent analyzing grappling holds and clinches (from a variety of heights, angles and targets). A series of what Dr. Chapel calls "grappling control mechanisms" (or GCMs), which are built in to the techniques and also exist as fully functional stand-alone devices, are part of the way (within the broader context of anatomical alignment of oneself and misalignment of the attacker) that clinching type attacks are addressed.

    In short: Yes.

    Your statement is ambiguous. Do you mean: (a) that you thought that forms were a joke but no longer think they are, or (b) currently think that forms are a joke but wonder if others thought the same and have changed their mind?

    Larger blocks (and movement in general) are taught so that one can develop the internal means to accomplish the same end with little or no external movement. In other words, larger blocks are (or should be) are done precisely for practical purposes, so that in a real confrontation one can use the quicker smaller movements. Hope that makes sense!

    Howard
     
  17. Dr. Kenpo

    Dr. Kenpo Blue Belt

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    Because I'm in it, and am heartily endoresed by JFarnsworth, The Hitman Seig, Queen Tess, and the Goldendragon!:)
     
  18. cfr

    cfr Black Belt

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    b
     
  19. scfgabe

    scfgabe Yellow Belt

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    I am new to American Kenpo, and I can't speak for all organizations. However, in the AKKI there is an entire curriculum dedicated to ground fighting (defense & initiate) + weapons (knife & club). As to the forms, they are crucial for me as a beginner to get the basics ingrained, so that when the situation does arise I am able to focus instead of trying to remember moves or combinations. I have a lot to learn and my journey is long, but I can tell you that Kenpo is fast, powerful, challenging, and absolutely addicting!

    Good luck.

    - Gabe
     
  20. Danjo

    Danjo Master Black Belt

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    Did we ever find out what style of Kenpo you studied here?123
     

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