Getting old with Kenpo

Old Kenpo Warrior

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Hello Kenpo folk
I began my Kenpo journey in 1968, studying with Larry Robbins to green belt, and moved on to John Stevenson where I received my 3rd Black Belt. For a brief period, I was under the roof of Rod Martain in Mountain View California. I've used Kenpo in real street-fighting situations on numerous occasions. I still have a white scar, about an 8th of an inch long where I got nicked when I faced a knife-wielding attacker in Golden Gate Park. I got a nick he got a broken arm. My point with this story is that I'm hearing a great deal these days that Kenp doesn't work on the street. Enough! It works. I'm 70 years old and practice my Kenpo techniques every day. I retired from teaching four years ago. These days I limit my kicks to below the waist. I work speed drills and the power cell of every technique.
Just wondering if there are any other old Kenpo Warriors still active.
 

drop bear

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That is not how you prove something works.

Which might be why you get the reaction to kempo that you do.
 
OP
O

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Hmm, Drop Bear, thank you for your reply. I was surprised at your answer: "That is not how you prove something." Indeed there are many ways to test something. With Kenpo, a form of self-defense, being able to use it to defend one's self would seem a good test. Over decades of visiting Dojos and watching as an attacking student would throw a punch and then stand frozen whiled the defender student riddled him with strikes seemed to me to be a good way of instilling a FALSE sense of the technique's ability to function as a defense against attack. I have seen really good Kata as well as great tournament sparring technique yet neither would be a good test. What would you recommend?
Full Respect
Old Kenpo Warrior
 

drop bear

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I think the test for proof is it at least has to be more believable that crystal healing.

Does it work? Well this random person used it and says it does.

She tuned into me with such clarity, and the specific piece I got felt like it was for me the moment I saw it.

Over the past six years I have collected several more specimens through her via Place 8 Healing, both in person and online. Each of these crystals feels incredibly alive, introducing themselves clearly and ready to be of service - something I rarely encounter in crystals from crystal shops. No matter how beautifully curated, I tend to find other places that specialize in crystals to be overwhelming and confusing energetically.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Hmm, Drop Bear, thank you for your reply. I was surprised at your answer: "That is not how you prove something." Indeed there are many ways to test something. With Kenpo, a form of self-defense, being able to use it to defend one's self would seem a good test. Over decades of visiting Dojos and watching as an attacking student would throw a punch and then stand frozen whiled the defender student riddled him with strikes seemed to me to be a good way of instilling a FALSE sense of the technique's ability to function as a defense against attack. I have seen really good Kata as well as great tournament sparring technique yet neither would be a good test. What would you recommend?
Full Respect
Old Kenpo Warrior
Keep in mind before you read the below that I've trained in different styles of kenpo/kempo and do believe it works. But, there's a couple issues with you proving it that way.

The first is, while it may be proof for you that kenpo works, it does nothing to prove it for me (or others on here). To prove it for me, you'd have to have proof that you are telling the truth (not that I disbelieve you, but I have no reason to believe you are or aren't telling the truth, so the story does nothing). That would mean some sort of video or news article about it.

The second is, even if we have proof you are telling the truth, how do we know that kenpo was actually the reason you won the fights you were in. How do we know that it wasn't your athleticism that won it, or naturally good reflexes, or you just got lucky? Or maybe kenpo did help you, but If we look at the reverse, if someone practiced kenpo and then lost a fight, is that proof that kenpo doesn't work?

Finally, let's say we had proof kenpo was the difference. Say we had it on video, and you were clearly doing a kenpo technique you otherwise wouldn't have known, in a way that you could only do if you practiced it. What is the proof that if you hadn't trained TKD or judo or boxing (or even spent the time cross-country running) you wouldn't have come out of it with no scar?

That's not to say I have a better way to prove what does or doesn't work. The best way I guess would be do a statistical analysis of MMA and/or multi-style weapons fights and see who wins/loses most often and if style seems statistically significant in that, but even that has it's own set of flaws. I'm just pointing out why your experience doesn't allow the definitive "it works" statement.

It's something that's true in most sciences as well. There's a reason that people learn now when writing research papers not to say "This proves" or "due to this, we know", or anything else definitive like that, but instead say this supports or this suggests. It's also where a lot of media today messes up, as they'll state that "X study shows that Y happens", when it only suggests that Y happens, and then people take it as bible.

Okay that last bit is off-topic but hopefully most of what I wrote makes sense.
 

Flying Crane

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Ok, as an ex-Tracy kenpo guy, I will say that there is no proof that any martial art works. All we can say is that this person successfully used skills that he learned from training X system, on this day, against that opponent. The next encounter could end the same, or very differently.

Anyone who decides to train in a martial method needs to find a method that makes sense to them, that keeps them interested in the training process, and that they enjoy. In addition, they need to find a good teacher who is knowledgeable and competent, and with whom they are comfortable training. All of these factors could have different answers for different people. What is an excellent training choice for me, could be disastrous for the next fellow.

It isnt that kenpo works or does not work. I decided that for me, the Tracy kenpo method was not a good choice. I found that I could not relate well to the curriculum structure and training methods; these were a source of frustration for me and I never felt confident in the skills that I was building. So I stopped training Tracy kenpo. However, I know that my instructor believes heavily in the method and has used it many times in his law enforcement years and time in the military. For him, it is a good choice. Many other people can make a similar conclusion.

So there is no way to say objectively that any system works or does not work. It depends on who is doing it, and it depends on the situational circumstances, and probably a fair bit of luck in the mix as well.

There are many approaches to training that different systems take. People can develop competency with most any of them, if it is a good match for them and they get quality instruction in the method. Some methods are more popular than others, and that is fine. But not everyone relates to or is interested in those methods, so they train in other methods. It does not matter what method someone trains, it does not matter if it is obscure or rare or simply not popular in the main. If someone relates to the method and develops competency, then it is difficult to argue against it.

People really ought to keep their own house clean and not worry about how others are training, and not worry about what others may think about how they train. Just train in something that you find interesting, and dont worry about it beyond that.
 
OP
O

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Hello All
I'm not sure where to start. I guess first I should say that some things if done in the same way by five different people will, depending on what that thing was, will produce the same effect. The variables of course, as you said, depends on the skill set, focus, timing, balance, and half a dozen other factors. So yes, Kenpo worked for me. Coming out a winner in a street fight is perhaps nothing but an odds game and wouldn't you agree that a martial art stacks the odds on your side. I know, I know-how has the attacker stacked the odds. Based on the odds game argument the winner in a fight is indeterminable. In your first sentence, you say that you believe Kenpo works. On what do you base that belief??? I also have trained in a variety of martial arts and I base my belief that it works on mine and the experience of others, I worked with the police in Phoenix Arizona in the 1970s, and the San Jose police for a short stint in the early 1970s. More recently I worked one-on-one with a detective in Medford Oregon. I received positive feedback from Law enforcement that what I taught them worked...not sure what they base their feedback on. Of course, you have no proof, articles, or video that I'm telling the truth. You could read my book Survival Self Defense. Wait a minute. don't get me wrong, I'm not taking offense to your question of my truth-telling, and I do have a DVD that I put out about ten years ago. But hey, where is the Kenpo Brother trust? I first taught Kenpo in 1968 for California's Fremont Union high school district at Cupertino High school. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt...
Full Respect
Old Kenpo Warrior
 

drop bear

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Yeah something like that. So for example this is Lachlan guiles who sells a leg lock system.

And this is him demonstrating his method on everyone in the room.




So this would be a good indication his ideas kind of work. Now anecdotally I can say I know people who have done his seminars who have come back with a very effective leg lock game.

Or we could look at his competition record and see him against elite fighters


Or just look on line for people recommending his systems.


Or even go to his club and test it which is just that. Rather than some challenge fight to the death.

Screenshot_20220521-112021_Samsung Internet.jpg

Open mat. So they give an opportunity for you to spar or roll with their guys. As part of their structured training.


And so potentially on their own each may be open to speculation. But as the evidence adds up from multiple sources. It becomes proof.

And this is just one guy. You basically have all of kempo.
 
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OP
O

Old Kenpo Warrior

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Hello All
I'm not sure what having a video of a leg lock is supposed to prove. I can make a lot of moves work on the mat. Honestly, I want to stay on my feet. Rolling around on the pavement, dirt or gravel is going to leave you torn up no matter if you win or lose. Besides, is any kind of combat that has rules really apply to a street fight. Wow, this conversation lost its focus. Happy trails all, full respect always.
Old Kenpo Warrior
 

drop bear

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Hello All
I'm not sure what having a video of a leg lock is supposed to prove. I can make a lot of moves work on the mat. Honestly, I want to stay on my feet. Rolling around on the pavement, dirt or gravel is going to leave you torn up no matter if you win or lose. Besides, is any kind of combat that has rules really apply to a street fight. Wow, this conversation lost its focus. Happy trails all, full respect always.
Old Kenpo Warrior

It is just an easy example how you would build a case that a system works.

Easy because all the information is basically there.

It doesn't matter the system. I could have(with more effort) proven a chair exists or that punches hurt pretty much the same way.

So that when someone says kempo doesn't work. You could say yes it does because this, this and this.
 

punisher73

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I see both sides of it.

I train in martial art X and it works for ME, because of x, y and z.

If I want to make a broader statement of "martial art x" works, then I need to have other supportive stuff. For example, other documented cases of it working from other people.

One thing I have noticed though in ANY martial art (not to kick a dead horse, but...) is that the mindset is one of the most (if not the most) important aspects to make it work and many times it will come down to training methods to refine that. Some people have it more naturally through a hard life while others have to get hard training to develop it.

Let's say I take a somewhat timid person and train them in boxing and show them the skills and have them hit the heavy bag and pads, but never put them in the ring and never have them get hit, and then put them against a kyokushin karate person who is used to getting hit and hard sparring etc. what do we think the outcome is going to be?

Its a big factor on why combat sports tend to do better with things. The timid people either develop the mindset they need or they quit. Its possible in many strip mall MA schools to have someone train that has never hard sparred or been really hit.

I have known MANY people in the last 30 years who have trained in MANY different arts that have used it successfully in a street altercation. From wrestling to boxing to karate to TKD to Judo to even Aikido. ALL of them had a strong mindset and determination to apply their art and trained their art to make it their own.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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@Old Kenpo Warrior I just want to clarify again my stance. I find kenpo useful and effective personally. I was just trying to explain how 'proof' works from a scientific perspective, which most aren't actually looking for.

There's plenty you can do and learn without some sort of double-blind study, the question is just how far along the scale of "It should theoretically work and that's all I need" to "I've put 200 randomized people in a room, taught half of them this technique and attacked all of them, and here are the videos and an analysis of the results", you're personally comfortable with, since no one is reaching the one extreme.
 

drop bear

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I have a question to some posting here....Kenpo worked for @Old Kenpo Warrior.... why are folks trying so hard to tell him it didn't?

It is a low bar for "works". And if you set a low bar then you are less able to improve people's lives.

It becomes this happiness vs fulfilment deal. Where martial arts it put on par with video games or drugs. It makes people happy but it doesn't really achieve anything.

And martial arts should be better than that.
 

Xue Sheng

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It is a low bar for "works". And if you set a low bar then you are less able to improve people's lives.

It becomes this happiness vs fulfilment deal. Where martial arts it put on par with video games or drugs. It makes people happy but it doesn't really achieve anything.

And martial arts should be better than that.

First, I am not a fan of Kenpo, just does not appeal to me. But others love it.

Does his post put martial arts on par with a video game? I do not see it as such. It is personal experience and Kenpo works for him based on that. I have used Taijiquan and qinna in multiple confrontation when I was security at a hospital with a mental health and detox unit. And it worked great for what I needed to do. Does that put it on par with a video game? It worked well for me for the situation I was in. There is no time for testing or scientific study or control groups. The charging. bleeding heroin addict, or the guy brought in on a mental health warrant, or the drugged ou pro wrestler, needs to be restrained before he hurts a doctor or nurse (dealt with all three) . Would that work in an MMA ring? Likely not. But it worked for what I needed.

But ultimately his post concluded with

"Just wondering if there are any other old Kenpo Warriors still active."

The answer to that is sadly most of them stopped coming to MT years ago

I don't feel he was trying to push an agenda, just don't understand those trying to tell him his personal experience is wrong
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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But ultimately his post concluded with

"Just wondering if there are any other old Kenpo Warriors still active."

The answer to that is sadly most of them stopped coming to MT years ago
I'm just highlighting this for anyone who reads looking for an answer to OP. I believe Xue is right; there were a lot of ken/mpo people on here when I first joined. Since then, it seems most of them have moved to different arts, or no longer post here. Given the reaction some here apparently have to kenpo, I'm not surprised.
 

Flying Crane

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I'm just highlighting this for anyone who reads looking for an answer to OP. I believe Xue is right; there were a lot of ken/mpo people on here when I first joined. Since then, it seems most of them have moved to different arts, or no longer post here. Given the reaction some here apparently have to kenpo, I'm not surprised.
Part of what happened is that a sister forum was opened, Kenpotalk.com, where most of the kenpo folks from here migrated to and tended to no longer post here. That site was recently shut down. That site was very active for a while, but gradually slowed down until it became all but dead for the last several years.

I was active on both sites, and an observation of mine was that it was in something of a bubble, talking all kenpo, all the time, and could have benefitted from insights offered by people from other systems. The other thing is that kenpo can be a bit tribal and people dont always find that they have much to talk about, the overarching theme of kenpo not being enough to stimulate ongoing discussions.

At any rate, the kenpo community seldom participated in discussions here anymore, but was very active when I first joined the forum.
 

drop bear

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First, I am not a fan of Kenpo, just does not appeal to me. But others love it.

Does his post put martial arts on par with a video game? I do not see it as such. It is personal experience and Kenpo works for him based on that. I have used Taijiquan and qinna in multiple confrontation when I was security at a hospital with a mental health and detox unit. And it worked great for what I needed to do. Does that put it on par with a video game? It worked well for me for the situation I was in. There is no time for testing or scientific study or control groups. The charging. bleeding heroin addict, or the guy brought in on a mental health warrant, or the drugged ou pro wrestler, needs to be restrained before he hurts a doctor or nurse (dealt with all three) . Would that work in an MMA ring? Likely not. But it worked for what I needed.

But ultimately his post concluded with

"Just wondering if there are any other old Kenpo Warriors still active."

The answer to that is sadly most of them stopped coming to MT years ago

I don't feel he was trying to push an agenda, just don't understand those trying to tell him his personal experience is wrong

People use healing crystals and say they work. So they must. Untrained people have defended themselves from heroine addicts. So that works as well.

So at the moment kempo and
Taijiquan, with the evidence we have, works as well as those.

If you are happy with that standard then good for you.

You could change your standards so works actually means something. But if you don't want to to that is also fine.

But this lack of standard is why people say your system doesn't work.

I am not stopping old Kenpo practitioners from discussing whatever they want. I do not have that ability.
 

Xue Sheng

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People use healing crystals and say they work. So they must. Untrained people have defended themselves from heroine addicts. So that works as well.

So at the moment kempo and
Taijiquan, with the evidence we have, works as well as those.

If you are happy with that standard then good for you.

You could change your standards so works actually means something. But if you don't want to to that is also fine.

But this lack of standard is why people say your system doesn't work.

I am not stopping old Kenpo practitioners from discussing whatever they want. I do not have that ability.

Ahh, healing crystals..... nice use of a diversionary tactic to attempt to undermine my post..off balance and change the discussion...which is completely unassociated and not applicable to the discussion...

So, only testing in what, an MMA ring, or a BJJ mat is acceptable then? How do you change standards?....since real world situations and applications do not seem to be viable to you. You also need to take into consideration that there is a world of difference between testing in a controlled situation and a real world person who is not at all concerned about safety or controlling their anger who does not give a hot about the person they are attacking

And I'm not saying you are stopping anyone, just feel you, and others, are telling him his personal experience is wrong...were you there? Or is it there were no cameras, referees, mats/rings, protective gear, and AC it did not happen and if it did, it is absolute nonsense, is that it?
 

_Simon_

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@drop bear would it be more helpful for him to say "Kenpo can work" or "What I learned in kenpo absolutely helped me" rather than the absolute statement "Kenpo works" ?

It seems you still very much have a thing against anecdotal evidence, which on some level I understand. But what he has learned in kenpo has helped him in those situations. I get that people can say literally anything and assume a causal relationship between event and consequence. But I just think life is not a clinical, sterile lab to draw such a conclusion about something as chaotic as a fight.

I can just see this descending into "well his kenpo didn't work, his fists did / his genetics did / his parents giving birth to him did".
 
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