Is American Kenpo Fake?

drop bear

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I always thought it was the opposite. Often, poor rural people get made fun of for being into "rasslin."

As for boxing... I'd be hard-pressed to name a first generation boxer from either the past or present that didn't grow up poor. Off the top of my head, Canelo Alvarez is the only one I can come up with.

University boxing would be the exception.

Eg. Cambridge University Amateur Boxing Club
 

punisher73

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Ok. Criminals generally come from poor communities. Especially violent criminals. It is a socio-economic thing.

In poor communities there is a tendency to learn Martial arts. Boxing and wrestling in the old prize fighting days. Capoeira and bjj in the favelas. There are still silat gangs running around Indonesia.

Criminals and Martial arts are a thing

Possibly more than rich people and Martial arts. Which is a fairly new development i think.

Originally, in Okinawa, it was only the upper caste that practiced martial arts. The "poor people" were too busy trying to make a living. If you look at all the early karate masters, they worked for the king in some capacity. If you look at the history of boxing, it was taught to the upper caste as a method of self-defense against hooligans and other riff-raff.

I think it has always been a blend, what I think changes is the type of school were the person goes to learn. For example, it used to be boxing was taught in clubs and community centers for free in many places. Their location would make it so the lower income kids would go there as opposed to upper income people wanting to learn it.
 

Oni_Kadaki

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So, it would seem this thread deviated from the original point, but I would like to chime in on that original point regardless. When I lived in Tucson, I trained in Aikido (my main art) and Parker-style Kenpo for about six months simultaneously. I had just learned "Crashing Wings" (I believe that's the name), and had begun practicing it on my own a few times a week, when we began working a double wrist grab from behind technique in Aikido. A buddy of mine was my partner, and, having some street fighting experience, he liked to challenge me in the dojo. He asked for permission to get frisky, which I granted, and he, without warning, switched from a wrist grab from behind to an attempted full nelson. Without skipping a beat, I performed Crashing Wings, and successfully took him down. When I was helping him up, he asked what I had done, and I excitedly replied "Kenpo!"

I relate this anecdote to you because it earned Kenpo a special respect in my mind. I haven't tested out all of my techniques on unsuspecting opponents, or even many of them, but the fast acquisition of muscle memory of Crashing Wings, and the ability to perform it as I did, just by practicing it as directed, really left an impression on me. I've said before that I believe virtually all arts bring something to the table, and I believe Kenpo has an absolutely brilliant method of teaching it's techniques.
 

Directional Harmony

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I mean all I can say is I've been in a few street fights and my kenpo saved my *** every time. Not sure what kind of proof you need for yourself. You will get out of kenpo what you put into it. A good instructor is knowledgeable about the concepts and principles and can guide you toward making it applicable to real world situations. As Parker said, "to hear is to doubt, to see is to be deceived, but to feel is to believe. "
 

Buka

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Had a nice phone chat yesterday with a good buddy who’s been running an American Kempo dojo, full time, in MA for forty something years now.

He has black belt testing going on right now. His BB tests go for sixteen weekends in a row, sometime Saturdays, sometime Sundays and sometimes both days.

The first day of the test the student does a thirty mile bike run (I forget the time they have to do it in) has a five minute rest and then runs seven miles. Then four hundred meter run, then three hundred yard sprints.

I know what a lot of people say “that has nothing to do with Kempo”. Yeah, well it does with his.

As he says, in certain Self defense scenarios, you preach to people “run away”. I can tell you first hand all his students could do just that quite well.

He has the most successful long time dojo I know of, his students have great attitudes, are in great shape and are very successful. And they all fight quite well. And I tell ya, they know the Kempo material inside and out. And his school’s material is very extensive.

He has a crazy amount of students and makes a ton of money. And good for him, he’s an honest hard working Sensei.

So... it can be done.
 

Buka

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Had a nice phone chat yesterday with a good buddy who’s been running an American Kempo dojo, full time, in MA for forty something years now.

He has black belt testing going on right now. His BB tests go for sixteen weekends in a row, sometime Saturdays, sometime Sundays and sometimes both days.

The first day of the test the student does a thirty mile bike run (I forget the time they have to do it in) has a five minute rest and then runs seven miles. Then four hundred meter run, then three hundred yard sprints.

I know what a lot of people say “that has nothing to do with Kempo”. Yeah, well it does with his.

As he says, in certain Self defense scenarios, you preach to people “run away”. I can tell you first hand all his students could do just that quite well.

He has the most successful long time dojo I know of, his students have great attitudes, are in great shape and are very successful. And they all fight quite well. And I tell ya, they know the Kempo material inside and out. And his school’s material is very extensive.

He has a crazy amount of students and makes a ton of money. And good for him, he’s an honest hard working Sensei.

So... it can be done.
As an update to the above, I spoke with him again today. One of the Black Belt candidates is a twenty six year old woman who's been training for twelve years. She's two weeks into her test and has come down with a nasty case of shingles. I've never heard of anyone that young suffering from this. A Doc who's a black belt in the dojo told me buddy she has to stop, so that's what they did.

Man, life ain't easy.
 

dancingalone

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Which reminds me, I’m old enough to qualify for the shingles vaccine now.
Me too! I actually got a mild case of shingles when I was in my early forties. It happens. I was fortunate to not have any nerve pain. Just that weird splotching on my right bicep. I definitely need to get in for that vaccine.
 

Flying Crane

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Me too! I actually got a mild case of shingles when I was in my early forties. It happens. I was fortunate to not have any nerve pain. Just that weird splotching on my right bicep. I definitely need to get in for that vaccine.
Not liking that you had shingles. Just sharing the good idea.
 

angelariz

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Wait up y'all...before you guys start bashing. Let's talk about this and ponder.

I've studied Kenpo, both Parker and Tracy...long enough to go from wow, look at my cool black gi and patches, man I'm the next American Ninja...then to went to...him this is cool, these moves are so deadly, I can't use it all in a tournament and my sensi is a bad ***, so bad *** he can take on multiple people in a bar fight will texting...then went, well, these moves are ok, but will they really work? Then went to question them and restudy them....pressure test and reapply...then went...hmmm, well they don't all work, but I still look cool in my black GI and my strikes are fast now, maybe I didn't waste all my time and money.

Then went, f#$% these katas and...let me just box, kick and grapple...then went...let me reexamine Kenpo, then went, yea maybe I'll try some Kung Fu (southern fist) hey this is cool...let me try black tiger kung fu...hey this cool...wait a minute..wasnt't my kenpo supposed to be Kung Fu...or quanfa...neither of these looked like my Kenpo...then went, wait minute, what was the whole point of my kenpo journey? Then went, will I entered not being able to move or strike... hmm I can do that now.. and pretty decent. Bullshido or not, maybe it wasn't so bad.


My point is we have an art that is based on some dude named Mitose, who has a shady background, and other named Chow, whose background seems a little more solid, but has lots of gaps...then you add in Parker, who let's face it was more business man than martial artist, who put together a curriculum that is supposedly a mix of Japanese and Chinese systems...but is it? I mean, yes a block is a block, a punch a punch, and kick a kick, but is American Kenpo really based off Japanese and Chinese systems, perhaps, but to what degree?

If we took out the Japanese techniques out of American Kenpo, how much would be left? And from what is left, how much is truly quanfa, and how much is parker bullshido?

Similarly, if we took out the quanfa/kung fu out of American Kenpo, what would remain? And from what is left, how much is OK Karate, and how much is Parker Bullshido.

I don't know gents, take basic strikes, stances, and holds, and blocks out of the system, and you have 200 and something techniques. Some are decent, other very questionable.

Anyways, what are peoples thoughts on this? And yes, before someone says, aren't all MA fake? I mean, at some point, some dude said hey, look at that tiger...now check this out, this is called a tiger claw and hit his buddy ..of course after recovering from the tiger claw strike, his friend watched a snake kill a rat...and a few days alter retaliated with a snake finger strike to his freind's throat..and bam kung fu was born haha.


BTW I am convinced if Parker was creating kenpo, say not 1960-1980, but let's say 2000's, we would all be on this forum calling it Bullshido. Especially since Parker would not look good in MMA shorts...I don't think anyone would have even taken the dude seriously, and we certainly would not be taking his friend/former friend in his checkered GI seriously either,..btw has anyone actually seen Al Tracy's son in his Florida dojo... if that guy couldnt turn his son into a proper fighter/martial artist...why would anyone trust his style.

CHANGE MY MIND.
Kenpo isn't fighting. EPAK is the study of motion inspired by fighting concepts. GM Frank Trejo was a real fighter and an EPAK master. I think we put too many expectations on to the training.
The best trained karate person can still suck at fighting. Just as the best street fighters cannot always teach people how to fight.

The real jewel of EPAK to me is that everything builds upon itself to help look at motion And combat in an artistic way.
 

RagingBull

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Parker's system was definitely karate (with a Polynesian flavor) with a lot of speedy, close-in techniques. In some ways it resembled original Okinawan style in this respect, along with stress on leg checks/attacks and simultaneous defense and offense. At the time, (1970's) this was innovative in karate as it was then practiced in Japan and the West. (This gap has closed over the last decade or two as the original Okinawan style has been "rediscovered.")

His kenpo was very systemized/organized (which aided his business model) and taught many solid concepts in biomechanics and tactics. While the validity of Parker's lineage has long been suspect, and he was definitely a business oriented promoter, he was a physical force to be reckoned with. His personal technique was not pretty, but I have been struck by him several times and I can attest to his surprising speed and power. His early students were successful competitors and excellent technicians.

There were a number of people who did not care for his personality / ego (which I fully understand) but to call the style fake or bullshido is, I think, inaccurate. *Note - my kenpo experience is from the 70's and it may be that more recent instructors have degraded the system - I cannot speak to that. I can speak to the fact that his patch was very cool and he would not, indeed, look good in MMA shorts.
To me what matters is that it works. who cares about lineage..etc
never tried it but yeah i think Parker was a clever man. Everyone wanted to make money & be the Grand master back in the day.
Hell...he even trained Elvis the King !!
 

angelariz

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So, it would seem this thread deviated from the original point, but I would like to chime in on that original point regardless. When I lived in Tucson, I trained in Aikido (my main art) and Parker-style Kenpo for about six months simultaneously. I had just learned "Crashing Wings" (I believe that's the name), and had begun practicing it on my own a few times a week, when we began working a double wrist grab from behind technique in Aikido. A buddy of mine was my partner, and, having some street fighting experience, he liked to challenge me in the dojo. He asked for permission to get frisky, which I granted, and he, without warning, switched from a wrist grab from behind to an attempted full nelson. Without skipping a beat, I performed Crashing Wings, and successfully took him down. When I was helping him up, he asked what I had done, and I excitedly replied "Kenpo!"

I relate this anecdote to you because it earned Kenpo a special respect in my mind. I haven't tested out all of my techniques on unsuspecting opponents, or even many of them, but the fast acquisition of muscle memory of Crashing Wings, and the ability to perform it as I did, just by practicing it as directed, really left an impression on me. I've said before that I believe virtually all arts bring something to the table, and I believe Kenpo has an absolutely brilliant method of teaching it's techniques.
Kenpo can be amazing. I spent a few years training with JKD guys that ran Kenpo schools. American Kenpo is my favorite form of Kenpo however there are many types and most of them have a lot of value in may ways.

EPAK is great, but so is Kosho Ryu, many of the older Kempo/Kenpo systems. I am not a fan of Shaolin Kempo but im sure there are many competent SKK people as well.
 

RagingBull

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always thought this guy showed some good stuff. Jeff speakman
 
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