Has American Kenpo Significantly Changed?

Robbo

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This is just a question for the people that study American Kenpo and secondly are intimate with it's history. The last thing Mr. Parker wanted to do is make his art stagnant. Has the art changed for the better or worse? I realize that with the size of the American Kenpo community it would be almost impossible to introduce a major change or minor for that matter into their training. Maybe this is why all these variations and new and improved kenpo systems have popped up. Or maybe these creators are catering to their own strengths by getting rid of everything they had problems with or didn't like. I have no problem with this if there is something inherently wrong with the technique but what if it is just because the instructor simply doesn't like the technique?

What do you think?
 
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GouRonin

Guest
BSKB would be an old timer to ask. (sorry brian!)

For myself I have changed in my American Kenpo. While many of the techniques remain the same the method of applying them has gotten "harder" as I myself look for people more intimate with the purpose I believe it serves. Moving away from art and more into martial.

That however is a personal issue and I look forward to BSKB and NOT IMPORTANT's answers.
 
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Rob_Broad

Guest
I believe American Kenpo has changed over the years. It would have to just to keep evolving. I know most people would say it has evolved and therefore changed. Many people have tried to stagnate it whether intentionally or not. As society has changed people have had to alter the way they look at things including American Kenpo.
 
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Robbo

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Hey Gou,

Your response to my post raised a few questions. When you say you train 'harder' with Kenpo what are you referring to? The entire technigue? more intensity? more realism? incorporating major and minor moves into the techniques? Kenpo has it's flowery sofy movements but aren't they there for a specific purpose? The analogy, "you don't need a hammer for a thumbtack", comes to mind. Not to put you on the spot I just wanted to know what you meant by 'harder'

Thanks,
Rob

P.S. Still waiting on those other people's posts (BSKB and NOT IMPORTANT)
 
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shine

Guest
A while back on the CKFonline site I asked Mr. Planas if the American Kenpo forms changed. He replied that they hadn't changed since the late 60's when he learned them from Mr. Parker.

Those people using the parker manuals as a base know that they are learning the "standard" material.

There is footage from the early 60s showing Parkers students adopting wider stances and stiffer execution of techniques than what you see today. It looked a bit more Japanese. Also, the sparring looked similar to what I imagine the traditionalists were doing in that era. So I think big changes occurred between the early and late 60s.

I took about 7 years off from AK and then this August got in touch with two of my friends who now operate their own schools and others who trained continuously during that time. The sparring opportunities have changed for the better during that time. 16 oz glove sparring wasn't done in my old school, but is allowed during Friday night sparring with certain people (totally volontary... no I haven't done this yet). Also, leg kicks are permitted: once again this is totally volontary. This I am playing with a bit. Also, some of my friends cross-trained in bando and bring that experience with them... good stuff.

I think these changes are not a reflection of the community as a whole, but shows how Joe Kenpo Practitioner can pick up the intensity in their training by pulling in outside ideas.
 
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Not Important

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I have seen many changes, some great things coming about in which I would consider refinement.

Their is only a handful of Instructors really taking the art to a new level, and most of them have a hard time maintaining students as the level of commitment just isn't their, when people can go to a drive through black belt program.

To much of my personal dismay, I think that the quality and knowledge levels in the average student of American Kenpo is much less than it was in the late 80's. (when it was at it's high, in my opinion), and it reminds me of the early 70's, which is a big step backwards.

The problem is when one person forgets or teaches something wrong it spreads and spreads, I know that their are supposed to be no right or wrongs, but remember that is only true if the physical properties are still done correctly. Basically I haven't seen a decent stance done by very many people and the strength in everything we do starts in our feet.
 
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GouRonin

Guest
Getting away from McDojo ideas and more into useful ones. Harder contact, more realism.
 
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BKSB

Guest
Damn, nothing hurts more than a child of the 60's growing
older and becoming a member of the establishment. Thanks
Gou.
Kenpo has always been about innovation and change as far as
the methods employed for demonstrating it's concepts. Key
principles of reverse/opposite motion, rounding corners,points of origin etc are the foundations that remain regardless of the
usage, combat is too fluid to set rigid how-to's. Remember:
(to quote)
Principles of motion always take precedence over sequence
of motion.
For the most part Kenpo is a big guys system. Look closely
and you will see that in order to make some moves work
a certain way it helps to have size { long 5}( I'm 6'0 230#) but not necessary
because the system provides for tailoring to you.
The gift of Kenpo is to handle the unexpected without panic.
As for todays MA I strongly feel there is loss of warrior spirit,
But no one can deny their functionality. New things tend to
prove themselves ......GIVEN TIME.
 

Wes Idol

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Originally posted by Robbo

This is just a question for the people that study American Kenpo and secondly are intimate with it's history. The last thing Mr. Parker wanted to do is make his art stagnant. Has the art changed for the better or worse? I realize that with the size of the American Kenpo community it would be almost impossible to introduce a major change or minor for that matter into their training. Maybe this is why all these variations and new and improved kenpo systems have popped up. Or maybe these creators are catering to their own strengths by getting rid of everything they had problems with or didn't like. I have no problem with this if there is something inherently wrong with the technique but what if it is just because the instructor simply doesn't like the technique?

What do you think?

In about the last 4 years of his life, Parker began to update his entire system. Unfortunately, only a handful of students were around for this. Many others were left with a system that had some flaws. Not really training with Parker regularly (some actually never really did), many practitioners started making their own adjustments. So has Parker's kenpo changed since 90?......I would say not at all. Now, how many learned that last version........not many.

What is happening in "KenpoLand" as a friend calls it, is good. Many are out there searching and expanding.........their own Kenpo.

Respectfully,

Wes Idol, HI
United Kenpo Systems
http://www.uks-kenpo.com
 

tarabos

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has AK changed? i don't think it has really. to me it's still the same system it used to be when SGM Parker left us. People have crossed trained kenpo with other styles in their schools, but that's not changing kenpo, it's just adding to it. Not even really, it's more just adding to yourself, taking on another art.

the principles and concepts remain the same. unfortunatley, there are still a lot of "purists" out there who will argue til the cows come home about how "this technique doesn't use a hammerfist, it's a handsword" and refer to their individual manuals to try and prove you wrong. That's a step in the wrong direction.

and there will always be as some have pointed out in this thread that don't "bang" out techniques or do them hard, striving to make them as real as they possibly can without maiming someone. in that sense, Kenpo is changing some, not everywhere though. i still feel the good outweighs the not so good. you just can't take the "good" for granted. we all need to do our part, no matter how small it may be, to practice and teach quality kenpo and make it as real as possible.
 

KenpoDave

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Ed Parker's vision of kenpo has not changed since the day he died. The interpretation(s) of that vision changes everyday. Everyone, no matter how true they try to stay to Ed Parker's vision, is staying true to an interpretation of the vision.

Ed Parker was either a stepping stone or a stumbling block. Granted, it may take a while to climb up onto the stone and take the next step. The fact that kenpo has and continues to change is a credit to the legacies of Ed Parker and all the instructors that came before us.

Dave
:asian:
 
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Rainman

Guest
Kenpo perpetually refines itself. If you are concept, theory and principle oriented AK has a large capacity to take in and spit out material. AK changes every time you learn something. The art grows within you until you die or leave it. The external part of the system, the part which can be looked at and watched easily varries from group to group.

All martial arts are eventually a personal expression as brought forth by an altered state of consciousness. The depth of this concept is enormous. The art changes as you change within this realm.

To say American Kenpo has not changed since Mr. Parker died would be like saying all his blackbelts quit living and thinking and all their blackbelts etc had learned all there was to know when Mr. Parker died.

To teach is to learn and to reinforce. Teaching also shows you your mistakes in other people. The techniques are different from group to group, the forms are different from group to group and from time period to time period. Then you can get into levels of understanding which IMO as I have stated end when you end.

I would say the Kenpo within is always changing... that's all there really is anyway the rest of it is just a vehicle that will get you "there". You will not get "there" unless your teacher shows you how and only when you persevere will "there" ever come. "There" is in reference to effortless, powerful movements absentee of thought.

That's my take.
 

Goldendragon7

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Not really...... but the people within are really going crazy........ the 90's and beyond will be remembered as the age of the 10th Degree.. lol

There are great studios and individuals out there just like there always was and there are new people that are doing "wild and crazy things".

The art is achieved thru good old fashioned hard work and practice with a good curriculum. The most significant impact has been the internet...... more and more people can exchange ideas and realize what is really out there.... of course along comes those who confuse the newcomers with "systems" that are new and were secretly taught by Ed Parker etc. Well, buyer beware. Go with the well known Seniors that teach the no Bull attitude.

Our Art is so unique that most that get diverted on these tangents are liable to get the wrong impressions and quit before learning anything.

Stick with the Standard.

:asian:
 

jazkiljok

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Ed Parker Jr. in an interview once talked about the different versions of his fathers art- he said it was generational mostly 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s. That would imply that something was different but specifically not clear as to what. We do know that teaching curriculum has changed a little- add-ons and subtractions of material- alterations in the written material of how a tek might go- there was a comment on the "last" version of Ed Parkers Kenpo not being taught to many without specifics, Ill assume that this is in reference to a change of sequence of a tek or again a drop or add of one- I doubt the empty hand forms have changed at all.

Mr. Planas I guess was exposed to some of the so-called new versions of teks and in an article dismissed them as simply different endingsof which for each one shown he could show you a hundred NEW endings. His point being that if a block, parry and punch, i.e. basics stay the same then altering sequence, adding moves isnt doing something NEW and shouldnt be discussed in that way.

Comments about people doing "Bad" kenpo (no stances, power etc.) is in my view, not about evolution- its about bad instruction. Unless some one has decided that there is NO REASON for the stances- in which case and if they could prove their position- I would accept that as an evolution in their kenpo.

my point is when the term evolution is used here, is it the mere adding of cross-training (grappling, escrima)? Is it simply "doing" tek sequences differently?

if Huk Planas says it's been the same since the 60s- the question is then what is it that is progressive or evolutionary in the nature of kenpo that Ed Parker talked about in interviews and books?

Lets move to specifics hereit will be more fun a discussion.

Peace
:asian:
 

KenpoDave

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Originally posted by Rainman

To say American Kenpo has not changed since Mr. Parker died would be like saying all his blackbelts quit living and thinking and all their blackbelts etc had learned all there was to know when Mr. Parker died.

That's not what I said. I said that Ed Parker's vision of kenpo had not changed since his death. How could it?

Meanwhile, the instructors of EPAKK, those who interpret for themselves and their students just what Ed Parker's vision was, have changed and continue to change daily as they explore the art, both on their own and by making use of Parker's teachings.

But what is changing? Is it the art itself, or simply the methods we use to teach and practice the art?

Kenpo has been around for centuries. :asian:
 
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Rainman

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Originally posted by KenpoDave



That's not what I said. I said that Ed Parker's vision of kenpo had not changed since his death. How could it?

Meanwhile, the instructors of EPAKK, those who interpret for themselves and their students just what Ed Parker's vision was, have changed and continue to change daily as they explore the art, both on their own and by making use of Parker's teachings.

But what is changing? Is it the art itself, or simply the methods we use to teach and practice the art?

Kenpo has been around for centuries. :asian:

Interesting... my post was not directed at you or anyone specifically though.

American Kenpo has been around for 50 years. It self evolves through its teachers. Do you remember the first time you taught five swords? I bet you don't teach it the same now do you because you know more. When knowledge is gained change it is enevitable. AKer's don't all reside under the same roof therefore some have added a grappling sub system- or a weapons sub system or a healing sub system or a destructive sub system... an endless list. On top of that some people specialize in a particaular area.

It is arguable that it is all the same thing. Can be if you know all the bridges that connect all the different areas for study to make it all the same thing. If your teaching changes the art changes. How many times has your understanding of five swords changed? So if someone decides to fold instead of strike with five swords is it the same? You will be closer to the person when you fold using the same movements as the striking application. So length of the movements may be shortened so as to keep the person checked.

Do you teach the adjustments- do they count- do they naturally occur after repitition only to be swollowed up in the system? The only absolute is without basics (meaning alignment, balance, rooting and stability within execution of offensive or defensive moves) defeat has a greater chance of visiting you.

The foundation of the house O' Kenpo has expanded and shrunk at the same time. If you view film from the 60's and 70's and so on there is an enormous amount of change in Ed Parker and obviously his system. What evovles are the understanding of concepts, theories and principles and how the individual uses and teaches them. Since they are part of the system it can easily grow and evolve using them.

:asian:
 

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