a question from an ignorant brother

Michael Billings

Senior Master
MTS Alumni
Apr 5, 2002
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Austin, Texas USA-Terra
The 4 ranges of Kenpo:

1. Out of Range
2. Contact Range (most tournament sparrers)
3. Contact Penetration Range (Think Boxers)
4. Contact Manipulation Range (Analogous to a Japanese or Wally Jay Small Circle range)

Doc's SL-4 is the range inside the Contact Manipulation Range. Ed Parker Jr. has some interesting insights or stories regarding how the name was derived; but regardless of what it is called, Doc can thump.

At some level the Kenpo Practitioner learns to relax, center, breath/body unite, and in the more Chinese derived Kenpo offshoots, QiJong or breath, energy, body integration is taught.

I personally feel the silk reeling or reeling silk energy and a whipping power in my art, but also studied Pa-Qua when it was still spelled that way and had a passing interest in Tai Chi and Hsing-I. Note: I do know the more modern or "accurate" spelling, but do not want to misrepresent when or in what I was training.

Now, as to Kenpo and Tai Chi, I respectfully disagree with Doc. I can't fault his credentials or what he does. It works, and takes advantage of a different genre of material than most Kenpo practitioners utilize, or that it uses a different paradigm to teach. But I do not feel or see the similarities to Taiji Chuan (or as I was doing Tai Chi Chuan Fa ... same thing I think.)

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but until I, or you experience what Doc does, I cannot judge the similarities or differences. Maybe one of you on the West Coast could "audit" a class, since it is a university based model? By the same token, Doc, you can't just say they are the same and let it go leaving it to your word, especially when addressing a bunch of "subject matter experts" in the other field. Come on - give a little.



Founding Member
Oct 29, 2001
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Kennewick, WA
For the various non-kenpo posters reading this.

Doc often states that his kenpo is distinctly different than most of the "commercial" kenpo that is derived from Mr. Parker. Assuming this is correct (and I have no idea about his curriculum), then the various arguments that other kenpoists don't think their kenpo is like tai chi is voided. As is any argument that a tai chi or style X practitioner visited, watched, or studied kenpo previously, as it is unlikely to have been Dr. Chapel's class.

As an outsider reading this argument I don't think Doc has proved his point. Assuming you have the experience to state they are the same, you should also be able to point out the similarities between the arts, even if you had to restrict to Chen or Yang or so-and-so's tai chi. Maybe describe a similarity in stance, teaching method, application, ANYTHING!


Matt Stone

Master of Arts
Dec 4, 2001
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Fort Lewis, Washington
Originally posted by Blindside
As an outsider reading this argument I don't think Doc has proved his point. Assuming you have the experience to state they are the same, you should also be able to point out the similarities between the arts...

Well said. I thought I had made that point clear, but perhaps my method of stating it was as insufficient as my intellect must be, according to Mr. Chapel.

However, it seems that such an explanation either -

a) has already been made (by Mr. Chapel's way of thinking)

I thought I answered the question.

or b) will not be forthcoming (since we have 73 posts since Mr. Chapel's initial "kenpo and taiji are the same" comment, which to my thinking was sufficient time and opportunity within which to reply, and he has as of yet failed to adequately support his claim).

It seems to me that, in a some instances, martial artists of allegedly high rank and vast experience sometimes make comments here on Martial Talk without thinking the repurcussions of those comments through fully. They seem to rely on the weight of their resume to carry their comments through without question. I guess I rock the boat on that. I don't accept anything as gospel without asking questions, not even from my own teacher(s). Ask Yilisifu, Chufeng, RyuShiKan and nbcdecon - they have all been and continue to be my teachers, and I question damn near everything that comes out of their mouths. Maybe I'm just slow or something, but without asking questions, examining things to their minutiae, I don't believe I understand what they are telling me.

I think Mr. Chapel's statement was not intended to be questioned at large (as evidenced by comments he has made in defense of his subsequent replies, as well as his reticence to provide what he terms a point by point comparison in order to better explain his position). I think that perhaps, just perhaps, he expected his reputation to carry his comment into the public with much nodding of heads, knowing looks and "ahhh, I see" comments by others here. Maybe that would have happened had this thread been located in the Kenpo forum. Then again, based on replies to a thread/poll I started over there regarding this particular topic, maybe not.

I have something of a cooler head this evening, and am not quite as irritable as I have been the past few nights. I apologize to the Mod Gods at large if I appear to have been out of line in my last few posts. At least I have refrained from name calling and such.

At any rate, I doubt such a comparison would be forthcoming. Mr. Chapel has, without asking my background or experience, assumed that I have far too small an intellect and too limited an experience to make any comments rebutting his initial claim. Whatever.

I will watch and wait, but I hardly believe I will be surprised by the receipt of an explanation to support his position.

:asian: :tank: :asian: