do you flow ?

longshot

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I've been doing American Kenpo for awhile now and one of the most important things my instructor stresses from the very beginning is making your techniques flow and making them smooth.
We've noticed alot of high ranking black belts in kenpo are fast but they are stiff and not really smooth, their techniques don't flow. I would like to know what everybody's thoughts are on this.
 

Kenpodoc

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In my experience when you see people moving fast without flow it is because they are forcing the technique and doing it faster that they are really capable of. Certainly this happens to me. Two things develop flow. First repetition is important, but ideally you sholdn't go faster than you can do the technique with good form and "flow." Second, always start slowly and work up to your own personal best speed. Real speed will then come with patience. There is a Swimming Web site called Total immersion which discusses the importance of only going as fast as you can do the technique correctly. Its a great site, try it out.

Last Fall I found Zach Whitson's tape "Kenpo Counterpoint" which has also greatly helped my flow become more natural and less forced.

Respectfully,

Jeff
 
R

RCastillo

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Originally posted by longshot
I've been doing American Kenpo for awhile now and one of the most important things my instructor stresses from the very beginning is making your techniques flow and making them smooth.
We've noticed alot of high ranking black belts in kenpo are fast but they are stiff and not really smooth, their techniques don't flow. I would like to know what everybody's thoughts are on this.

I think in my case it may be age, but I know it shouldn't be an excuse. Maybe I need to go back and practice more till I drop!:eek:
 

tarabos

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"stiff," "smooth," "flow"....

these can be fairly generic terms in regards to kenpo to me. they are also open to personal definition and perception. what you may see as stiff, i may see as crisp, and what you may see as "smooth" or "fast," i might just see it as sloppy and forced.

there's a tendency for kenpo practitioners, especially ones that are greene in the system, to only go through the movements of a particular technique without really understanding what is going on. i suppose that is somewhat acceptable when you are first learning a technique, but you really need to learn the why while you are learning the how, or you will be screwed later on.

there's a thread going on here now that deals with stressing accuracy over speed. the idea of speed can be a treacherous thing in kenpo. most of the seniors and quality high ranking BB's can move extremely well and seem to moving quite fast, making one think they have what they would call "speed." this can be misleading however, as it is not always speed that is making the technique work for them. it's timing, accuracy, and most of all i think years of practice and patience. don't get me wrong, some of these guys are friggin' fast...but not all of them are blazing.

young kenpo students see this and they figure they need to speed up their own techniques and try to look like the seniors...however it is easy to fall into the trap of sloppiness (or "slappiness" if you will) while trying to force yourself to go faster instead of learning precision.

Kenpodoc used the term "natural." i think this is a good one. making movement natural instead of forced is what you want to strive for. often times speeding up a technique for the sake of going fast will cause you to become more unnatural.
 
E

Elfan

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Do any of you have a definition for what you mean by fluid motion or flowing?
 
C

clapping_tiger

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Sometimes your breathing can effect how you flow. If your breathing or kenpo yell is sticatto(??SP??), or choppy your technique will mirror you breathing. Having one long exhalation (yell, growel, whatever you want to call it) during your technique not only protects you from an unexpected blow to the midsection, it helps you flow, and you don't get exausted as fast.

Just my 2 cents.

Jason Johnson
 

tarabos

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Originally posted by Elfan
Do any of you have a definition for what you mean by fluid motion or flowing?

i'm thinking this is one of the instances where an internet discussion forum just can't relay the information that one has in his or her head. all these terms are very subjective...and to get anywhere on this topic i would think that all participating parties would have to be present in person in one location, knocking each other around and making each other "feel" or at least see what they are talking about.
 

sumdumguy

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This is a great Question!!!
Just my opinion: I think that the knowledge, understanding and application of dynamic, intermittent, and passive power combined and or alternated within the technique sequence is one of the things that allows a more natural looking flow to a technique. Often times we get caught up in either "speed" or "power" and one of two things happen, we either look sloppy, or stacato. (robotic). The proper combination of these three types of power alters the timing and speed of a technique as well as allowing the influx of the proper proportions of power thus increasing (making better) the over all appearance and effectiveness of the sequence being performed.

Have a nice Day :asian:
 

Robbo

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Sometimes your breathing can effect how you flow. If your breathing or kenpo yell is sticatto(??SP??), or choppy your technique will mirror you breathing. Having one long exhalation (yell, growel, whatever you want to call it) during your technique not only protects you from an unexpected blow to the midsection, it helps you flow, and you don't get exausted as fast.

Yes and No,

More importantly you have to cooridinate your breathing with your techniques. I've recently started training again after a year lay-off and the other night I felt like stepping it up. I was doing techniques in the air all out and I found that my breathing was out of sync with my strikes and was making the whole technique very uncomfortable not to mention tiring. You have to breathe out explosively when doing a major move. Breathe normally in or out during minor moves. And breathe in during some transitions to facilitate lightening your center of gravity. Just like breathing out stabilizes your base, breathing in has a de-stabilizing effect.

Remember more stability, less mobility and vice versa.

Rob
 
K

Kenpomachine

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I think that you only flow when what you're doing looks like easy to do. And then, when someone tries to repeat that same sequence finds the difficulty implied in it. Just my 2 cents.
 
N

Nate_Hoopes

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I like tarabos view on things, As a green belt I am just starting understand what he means about slowing things down and looking at them again, Its not about how fast you do things its about how tight and refined the things you do are, not wasting movement is what i think is the "flow" of kenpo just because the movements somone is doing are hard and straight dosent mean they are not smooth or dont flow, all that matters is that your attack keeps going without stopping, and that you feel comfortable in what your doing.

Leanring flow is best done slowly then sped up once you think youve gotten it, Getting lots of mirrors helps, stand in front and watch yourself do a tech your sifu taught you, try to duplicate his level of smoothness slowly, and make sure evertying feels comfortable, If its not your probably doing something improperly, Try to figure out what that is, and if you can't ask your sifu about it, thats what they are there for.

So far my view on it is that flow comes from good basics, if your basics arent good, theres no way to have a good flow.

Take this for what its worth as im not remotely a senior belt, these are just the things ive learned so far.
 

tarabos

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Originally posted by Nate_Hoopes
I like tarabos view on things, As a green belt I am just starting understand what he means about slowing things down and looking at them again, Its not about how fast you do things its about how tight and refined the things you do are, not wasting movement is what i think is the "flow" of kenpo just because the movements somone is doing are hard and straight dosent mean they are not smooth or dont flow, all that matters is that your attack keeps going without stopping, and that you feel comfortable in what your doing.

Leanring flow is best done slowly then sped up once you think youve gotten it, Getting lots of mirrors helps, stand in front and watch yourself do a tech your sifu taught you, try to duplicate his level of smoothness slowly, and make sure evertying feels comfortable, If its not your probably doing something improperly, Try to figure out what that is, and if you can't ask your sifu about it, thats what they are there for.

So far my view on it is that flow comes from good basics, if your basics arent good, theres no way to have a good flow.

Take this for what its worth as im not remotely a senior belt, these are just the things ive learned so far.

i think your take on the subject is a very good one and a very well thought out one at that. touching on subjects such as wasted movement and the fact that good, refined basics breeds a sound kenpoist is both very valid and important.

your is just one take...one opinion, and one that i happen to agree with. perhaps another would disagree or simply differ, and that is their perogative and the underlying beauty of the system itself. taking it and making it your own.
 

Nightingale

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Master Tony Leo (Shuri-Ryu karate, not kenpo, but still a great help and influence) gave me this idea when I was working on Long 2 and a competition bo form for Stan Witz's World Championship tournament in Las Vegas. (I got second in forms with 16 competitors, second in sparring with five fights, and didn't place in weapons because I was stupid and forgot my kata half way through...I'm a dork.)


I've still got a long way to go, but this really helped my flow:

do your forms completely flowing, from one motion to the next, everything at a constant speed, never stopping. (works best with something other than form 1) Do it slowly, just concentrate on doing it smoothly. Then, go back and look at the form and see where you need to add speed and emphasis, but develop the flow first.

I noticed that it improved my flow on the techniques that were in the forms, and that's transitioned into other techniques. I think its easier to learn flow on a form because it longer than a technique, so you have more of a chance to really develop a rhythm.
 

XtremeJ_AKKI

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As you grow and become more experienced in the art, not only will you develop more than one idea of ' flow ', but they all will continuously evolve over time and practice.
 
K

KanoLives

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Personally I think when doing Martial Arts it has to be like walking or breathing. You just do it naturally without thinking to much about it, if even thinking about it at all. That's just my opinion.
 

Kenpodoc

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Originally posted by ChineseKempoAL
Personally I think when doing Martial Arts it has to be like walking or breathing. You just do it naturally without thinking to much about it, if even thinking about it at all. That's just my opinion.

Kenpo is more like walking. Breathing is hardwired, you either do it or you die. Walking is both instinctive and learned. We're all terrible at it when we start. (It's a good thing we all start short.) We also don't care whether we are good or bad we just get back up and keep practicing and by age 5 or 6 we're pretty good at it. As we get better we can start doing other things, talking eating etc. and still walk smoothly. Driving is another example of a learned behavior that we start mechanically and eventually can direct consciously but perform in an unconscious and unfortunately sometimes mindless manner.

The essence of flow in Kenpo is continual repitition and practice, with different people, at different times, on different terrains and at different speeds. After you do an action 1000 times you get pretty good at it (if you've maintained correct form.) After 10,000 times you can probable perform the action automatically but mindfully.

You will of course learn to do what you've practiced so if you practice wrong it will be automatic and wrong. So start slow, vary the tempo, and let speed come with mastery and not be forced. And unless you are exceptionally skilled, review with your instructor repeatedly to fine tune and improve every aspect of each technique. Ultimately Kenpo is what you learn and not the techniques themselves, but for the less talented such as me, the techniques are an excellent way to learn to move like others seem to do naturally.

What a rush.

Respectfully,

Jeff
 
J

jdmills

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Kenpo, of you ask me, is sort of like running. When I started running, all I cared about was distance. I didn't care at all whether I ran a 10 minute mile pace, or an 8 minute mile pace. Speed came with time and practice. In running, if you try to go too fast too soon, you end up getting hurt.
 

Goldendragon7

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of course I flow............. "Flow first .......... Power later"!

to be most effective you must have a well tuned engine that runs smoothly (flows well) other than that you need a new set of spark plugs or wires.

:)
 

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