Who is creating in shaolin kempo or in the rest of the ohana?

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - Technical Discussion' started by marlon, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. marlon

    marlon Master Black Belt

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    One of the things that bother me about SKK and kempo in general is that it is difficult to grow within the art. Whether egos make an innovator claim a "new" style or the rest of the family start arguing that it is not SKK...we lose creativity. I find it sad that we can let an art stagnate this way. Is anyone out there creating within their art/practice?
     
  2. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    What do you mean by "creating within their art"? Adding more forms/katas/techniques? Or do you mean digging deeper to the existing material and finding new applications to the movements of the forms/katas? I think this is true of any art. At some point the curriculum becomes set, and from there a person either starts adding more stuff to the existing system and calls it something else, or they start to go deeper into what is there and pass it on.
     
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  3. marlon

    marlon Master Black Belt

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    I mean both actually. However, not simply creating techniques and forms for the sake of 'more', rather to train, teach and understand the practice of kempo better. This may include removing material; grouping techniques; writing .... Matt's archive is an excellent addition to kempo as an example of creating to the art.
     
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  4. Jdokan

    Jdokan Black Belt

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    I'm focusing on less material. I work on the kata's 1,3, 5. Combinations: I focus on 1 - 20.
    I've infused a lot of Silat concepts. I do not consider me "creating" anything though.
     
  5. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Not sure about creating, but multiple sensei's have shown me tweaks and various changes that they've made to combinations. They also encourage students, after a point, to do the same and adapt the techniques to fit our own style and strengths. Not sure if that's the kind of creating you're referring to, but it's what we do.
     
  6. Jdokan

    Jdokan Black Belt

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    "it is difficult to grow within the art" I think to define this can be 2 ways...obtaining rank or gaining knowledge. I have given up on the rank issue. I just work out. I know kinda simplistic but I think that is why most of are here. As stated in my earlier post. Rather than trying to learn more combinations/technique etc., I tend to look to my forms and pull material from there. Is that "creating" I guess it depends on how you look at it. I can do 1 kata for the rest of my life and still find additional ways to extract from it. As far as creating a new style...If you are perpetuating your instructors material status quo then not a new style. If you're incorporating additional material then you can't fly the same flag as your instructor. Not a bad thing...Are you creating a new style? Not in my mind. I'm still doing SKK but with a different flavor. I can't call it U.S.S.D., Villari's, or Masters or United Shaolin Kempo San Chai Na. Is it flavored by the past - Yes definitely. But by incorporating Silat it has become something changed...If you're happy doing the material as given by your Instructor great! If you wander in a different direction - Great!
     
  7. sifulane

    sifulane White Belt

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    Bruce Lee said that he no longer believed in styles. He observed that unless their was a human being with three arms or legs, then there were no new ways of fighting. I think that many people may offer their own personal views on styles or techniques, but no one is really creating anything new.

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  8. Yondanchris

    Yondanchris Master Black Belt

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    I agree that's why I left SKK among other reasons and why I created "Stewart Family Christian Kenpo" for my students by combining my knowledge of SKK and AK along with other things I have picked up along the way.

    Chris

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  9. MA_Student

    MA_Student Black Belt

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    Why's it Christian kenpo? Religion should never come into marital arts
     
  10. Yondanchris

    Yondanchris Master Black Belt

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    This has been dealt with in other threads but the martial arts and religion have been intertwined for millennia from Pancrateon (Pantheon of God's), Arts of India (Hinduism), Gung Fu (Buddism) ....ect it's only in the modern era has there been a segregation of martial arts and religion....especially if it's called "Christian"

    Chris

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  11. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    It is my understanding that historically some cultures have integrated their religious beliefs into most or all aspects of their lives, in that there was no real separation. So there wasn't so much a specific connection between their martial art and their religion as there was a connection with their religion and all other aspects of life, including their martial art.

    As such, if a person in the modern day sees a similar connection between their religious beliefs and all other aspects of life, including their martial training, then so be it. But to specifically look for or manufacture that connection if it isn't already ubiquitous, would not make much sense, in my opinion.

    People live their lives according to how they see fit. For some, that includes religion or spirituality of some kind. For others, it does not.
     
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  12. Kababayan

    Kababayan Orange Belt

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    This is the exact reason why I branched out into other arts. One of the issues that SKK has regarding long-term development is that it doesn't have core principles or philosophies to fall back on. Arts such as Ed Parker's Kenpo, Aikido, TKD, Arnis, and Jiu Jitsu (etc) can all be identified by their individual techniques because they follow a certain principal or philosophy, meaning that you know Aikido (or TKD, or EPK, or JJ, etc) when you see it. SKK isn't like that because it is a hybrid art. If someone were to continue to develop or create new Aikido techniques, they would start with the core philosophy of Aikido, which is using an opponent's energy or momentum against them. For Jiu Jitsu, when in doubt, take the opponent down and submit. For TKD, kicking has to be the core foundation for techniques. Those arts, as well as many others, have rooted philosophies in which to begin when developing new techniques. SKK doesn't have core rooted philosophies from which to develop new techniques. To me that is the main reason that it can be difficult for students to advance their martial arts abilities once they get to higher rank. That is not a knock on just SKK, as it was my core art for many years; it would be common for most hybrid arts. One great aspect about SKK is that it is so broad with its techniques that SKK students can walk into most other dojos and not feel out of place. SKK students may not be the best kickers in the world, but they can sit in on a TKD class not be left behind, or they may not have the fastest hands, but they can feel comfortable in an EPK class, etc.


    As an aside, I do feel that the farther away from the "original instructors" that SKK students get, the more that is lacking of their knowledge of the techniques. I'm sure that's true of most martial arts out there. There is a big drop-off of knowledge from Villari and his first few generations of instructors to the later generations of instructors. The techniques sometimes turn into just "shell techniques" without proper insight of the complete technique. To be fair, it has been many, many years since I've been a part of SKK dojos. Before I left, the generation of instructors coming up were really lacking in knowledge of the core techniques. I don’t know if SKK has adapted or grown overall since then.
     
  13. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    From my experience, SKK has one specific core philosophy. Get in close. Deal damage. Keep dealing damage. Leave. I've found this true with any SKK practitioner I've talked to, or anywhere I've trained, even in places with broken lineages. Only exception would be the places that teach MMA with SKK as part of that; they tend to move away from that philosophy.
     
  14. Kababayan

    Kababayan Orange Belt

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    SKK techniques are not founded on this principal. This would be an individual instructor's philosophy. It sounds more like Paul Vunak's "destruction, straightblast, forearm, headbutt" techniques (which are really cool.) You may be thinking of another form of Kenpo/Kempo. Shaolin Kempo is part 5 Animal Kung Fu, mixed in with standing takedowns, mixed in with some traditional (and some non-traditional) karate pinans. I'm generalizing of course, but that would be a good base description. It's cool because it lends itself to bringing in other arts really easily. For example, I brought in Wing Chun trapping when I was teaching SKK. It blends in well with the art and doesn't seem out of place. I know that many instructors would bring in outside material to teach.
     
  15. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Nope, I am thinking of SKK
    And every school/instructor I've talked to (which has been a lot) has had that philosophy. I practiced it for ~15-20 years, I can show you how the different combinations/kempos relate to that philosophy. Exception is forms, which each have their own purpose, but don't all fit it.
    Even the techniques that don't fit it, I was taught their purpose was to help maintain distance until you could combine it with a technique to get you into The appropriate distance.
     
  16. Kababayan

    Kababayan Orange Belt

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    I apologize in advance, as I didn't intend this post to be so lengthy. I see what you're saying. I don't think I'm being clear with my definition of foundation principles or philosophies of an art. This is what I mean is this:

    Arnis = Stickfighting
    Bjj = Grappling
    Ed Parker's Kenpo = Speed Hands
    Aikido = Using a person's momentum against them
    TKD = Kicking
    AikiJutsu = Joint manipulation
    Krav Maga = Simultaneous block/attack and aggressive counter attack
    Michael Janich Knife Fighting = Tendon attacks
    Shaolin Kempo = ?

    I know that I am generalizing those principles but I think they define my intention. The OP commented about how difficult it can be to grow within the art of SKK and about the creation of technique. My addition to the comment was that it can be difficult to grow within SKK long-term specifically because the art is a hybrid art and isn't built around a core foundational principle. If a BJJ practitioner wanted to come up with a new BJJ move he/she wouldn't build a technique around doing multiple kicks. That is not the foundational principle of BJJ. On the same thought, a new TKD technique won't necessarily be based on groundfighting. SKK is such a cool art because it lends itself into bringing other techniques from other arts and they can fit right in. SKK, however, does not have its own foundational principle that is consistent throughout the art. You can't bring in BJJ or Arnis and call it Shaolin Kempo, but you can teach those arts in an SKK environment because it doesn't clash with SKK. Again, it's not a knock against SKK; SKK is a hybrid art and the great thing about a hybrid art is that it lends itself to the ability to bring in outside techniques and most will fit right in.

    When talking about getting inside and doing the most damage, the SKK techniques are not based on that principle throughout the system; meaning that the individual techniques were not developed with that principle in mind. That behavior is based on individual instructor's philosophies. I agree whole-heartily with that principle, as I am a Krav Maga guy as well, but SKK doesn't teach that throughout the core techniques of the system. That's not what SKK is known for. Not being built on a particular core foundational principle can make it difficult to develop new techniques that are consistent to an art's philosophy, but it can be very easy to bring in outside techniques from other arts. I know that I am repeating myself within this post, and I apologize for that. I just want to make sure that my explanation is clear.

    Going back to the OP's original post, I remember when some instructors tried to teach uniform Kempo Punch Techniques. They were attempting to develop a numerical system of remembering Kempo techniques but not every instructor taught them because they were based on those individual instructor's favorite techniques. Some of those Kempo techniques were taken from traditional Karate, Ed Parker's Kenpo, the Hung Gar system, and some were just made up by the individual instructors. They were completely random techniques taught without a constant philosophy in mind. The point being is that there was not a core foundational principle that SKK requires when developing new techniques. I don't know if that numerical Kempo Technique system stuck long-term, as I was gone by then. And, again, to be fair, my SKK is based on the 1st and 2nd generation of the SKK system. I know that there was another split within the dojos, so there may be a bunch of new techniques that were added to the individual SKK dojos now.

    Going back to the OP's original comment, a lot of SKK instructors would go out and learn from other arts and bring back techniques. As a hybrid art, SKK allows for that. I don't think Grandmaster Villari would endorse that necessarily, but the system itself allows for that ability. That is one of the great aspects of SKK. It allows for growth outside of the art and whatever is brought in most likely won't seem foreign to the students. Those techniques wouldn't be included in the core SKK system, but it makes it easy for individual instructors to do so for the benefit of themselves and their students.

    Again, I'm sorry for repeating so much in this post.
     

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