Is Kempo for me?

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Hurdoc

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Hello all!

I'm usually not this indecisive but I'm perplexed at the moment. I've asked around from some other people but I thought I would pose this question to the forum at large... is Kempo (American) for me?
I'm interested in a self-defense art primarily, but I attended a few classes of Kempo... is every response to an attack a relatively crippling one? I'm familiar with Aikido to some extent and crossed that off my list as too "soft" for me. On the other hand, if confronted with someone whom I don't want to seriously injure, does Kempo allow for a soft approach. In other words, locking/grappling/submission techniques similar to jiu jitsu or aikido?
I'm eager to start learning something, just don't want to spend months doing something before realizing it doesn't fit my moral values or lifestyle... I'm already 32, need to get cracking :)
 
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Kirk

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I asked the same question about a year ago, when I was a few
months into my training. You're saying that you want to defend
yourself against the worst of attackers, but you'd also want to
defend yourself against the type of person who'd kick your tail,
and then walk away. You simply want to kick his tail and walk
away too. My experience so far, is that both are applicable. I've
only been studying for a little over a year now, and MANY MANY
times I've heard the reference of "Drunk Uncle Bob" used.

They'll teach you some really cool tech and say "and then you
rake across his face" or "then you poke his eyes out" or "then
you rips his nuts off his body" .... unless it's Drunk Uncle Bob at
a family reunion, and at this point you could just: "slap
him"; "walk away"; "pin him"; "push him away"; etcetera.

There's a quote by Mr Parker (the founder of the system) that
is quoted often. "It's not overkill, it's overskill". I like training
for the mugger/streetfigher/rapist, but I also like knowing that
Drunk Mr "I saw you looking at my wife" can be trained to deal
with too.

Incidentally, if it's American Kenpo you're truly going to study,
then it's typically spelled with an "N". If the school you're going
to claims to be American Kenpo, but spells it with an "M", it
doesn't mean he's not, but it's reason enough for you to take
your time and make sure.
 

kenpo_cory

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originally posted by Hurdoc On the other hand, if confronted with someone whom I don't want to seriously injure, does Kempo allow for a soft approach. In other words, locking/grappling/submission techniques similar to jiu jitsu or aikido?

Yes
 

arnisador

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Originally posted by Hurdoc

is every response to an attack a relatively crippling one?

When I went to check out the martial arts offered at my undergraduate college, there was Judo, Aikido, and Kenpo. The Kenpo instructor left me with exactly this impression--I remember him talking in detail about gouging the opponent's eyes out after you knocked them down--and it was a turnoff for me. It would be some while before I understood the "Overskill not overkill" approach of many kenpoka.
 

Chronuss

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Originally posted by Hurdoc


I'm usually not this indecisive but I'm perplexed at the moment. I've asked around from some other people but I thought I would pose this question to the forum at large... is Kempo (American) for me?
I'm interested in a self-defense art primarily, but I attended a few classes of Kempo... is every response to an attack a relatively crippling one? I'm familiar with Aikido to some extent and crossed that off my list as too "soft" for me. On the other hand, if confronted with someone whom I don't want to seriously injure, does Kempo allow for a soft approach. In other words, locking/grappling/submission techniques similar to jiu jitsu or aikido?
I'm eager to start learning something, just don't want to spend months doing something before realizing it doesn't fit my moral values or lifestyle... I'm already 32, need to get cracking :)

first of all...if your interesting in studying this particular art...it is American Kenpo....no "m". in response to your question about every counter attack being a crippling one...yeah, pretty much. if an aggressor is coming at you with a right punch...make sure he doesn't ever wanna use that arm again. what if the attacker had a weapon, club, bat, wrench, pool cue...would you want them to use that on you? if someone is going to seriously injure you...whatever the attitude...so is the response. make sure they cannot, no...will not WANT to attempt to injure you again.

from what it sounds, you may (could be wrong) a more advanced technique if it was somewhat brutal. but realize, there are...about 150 techniques (I cannot remember the exact number) in Kenpo...and all the techniques are merely giving you options. Kenpo is an analysis of motion (my opinion) and body physics. if I strike here, this will happen, and if I step here, this is open, if my hand is here and my other hand here, I can do this....options. making the body react to your choosing. in my personal experience, Kenpo is the only art that has shown me this.

so...look at your options. if you don't like Kenpo, so be it. :asian:
 

tarabos

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kenpo is taught mostly as a "hard" and explosive art. however you can make any art less deadly just by altering weapons and targets and what not. once you become proficient in it you would have no problem really with that. there isn't a big focus i don't think on joint locks and "detaining" techniques, but they are there.

wether or not kenpo is for you won't depend on the art unfortunatley, your location will. if you wind up with a good school and more importantly, a good instructor that knows his or her stuff and can relay that knowledge to you, you're good to go. however, there seems to be an epidemic of "not so good" kenpo schools out there. an untrained eye can be easily deceived into thinking bad martial arts is really good martial arts.

the best thing you can do is just test out your prospective school and see if you like it.
 

Chronuss

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Originally posted by tarabos


if you wind up with a good school and more importantly, a good instructor that knows his or her stuff and can relay that knowledge to you, you're good to go. however, there seems to be an epidemic of "not so good" kenpo schools out there. an untrained eye can be easily deceived into thinking bad martial arts is really good martial arts.

the best thing you can do is just test out your prospective school and see if you like it.

this is the problem I had with my prior TKD training. I didn't know that I wasn't learning anything, I thought I was learning all there was to know because I didn't know any better. then I was introduced to Kenpo and was like "whoa, there's all this???" wake-up call to the not-so-wise me. then learning began.
 

tarabos

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Originally posted by Chronuss

this is the problem I had with my prior TKD training. I didn't know that I wasn't learning anything, I thought I was learning all there was to know because I didn't know any better. then I was introduced to Kenpo and was like "whoa, there's all this???" wake-up call to the not-so-wise me. then learning began.

the martial arts ignorance of people who have never had any experience in such things is easily exploitable. napma has all sorts of gimmicks that can easily lure in unsuspecting people and keep them there for many years, all the while thinking they are learning quality martial arts.

then again, some people just don't care if what they are doing is quality or not...they just want to be able to say they are getting a workout (which they really aren't getting much of one most likely), or they just want the recognition of having a black belt in something...and the cycle of poor schools and instruction continues...like a virus.

eh...that's all old news though...and it's never going to change, it will only get worse.
 
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rmcrobertson

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Since--at least as I understand it--good kenpo was meant to be the fundamental truth about martial arts (worth arguing about that, I realize), I'd say that any approach is in there somewhere. If you choose to bring it out. That's probably why there're so many different sorts of kenpo--the exploration of its different aspects, which I suppose can be a problem if you forget what everything attaches back to--and it's probably why I keep wondering why people go "outside" kenpo to improve their kenpo.

Well, that was a cryptic post. Hope it helps.
 

Nightingale

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The best way to learn about kenpo... try it.

Check around, find a good instructor (post your location here if you need help).

You'll learn more from an hour of doing kenpo than a lifetime of talking about it.
 

Chronuss

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Originally posted by tarabos


then again, some people just don't care if what they are doing is quality or not...they just want to be able to say they are getting a workout (which they really aren't getting much of one most likely), or they just want the recognition of having a black belt in something...

oh...workout it was...in a plywood building...with no ventilation...and thirty other people...in the dead of summer...doing sidekicks all the way down and all the way back...round kicks, front kicks, punches, blocks...sweat is something we certainly did. I thought I was learning, I really did. and, honestly, to a point I was...unfortunately at about green belt...I'd learned all they were gonna teach but I stuck with it. then I met my Kenpo instructor through my girlfriend...and the martial arts education began. :D
 

Michael Billings

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... there you are"

Don't devalue your prior training. I hate to slam other Martial Arts, welllllllllll, except sometimes. Don't discard anything you learned before (as if you would.)

Kenpo has more material, more emphasis on logical analyzation of movement, and oodles and oodles of other stuff. But Take-One's-Dough ... I mean Taekwondo, taught you balance, improved leg strength, how to kick, etc. A good Kenpo teacher can now put them in context for you.

Not only do we have more "stuff", but we also stress the "context" of learning, i.e. is it for tournament sparring (see Steven LaBounty, Tom Kelly Sr., or Frank Trejo, et. al.), is it for the street (Dennis Conatser, Bob Liles, Tommy Burks, et. al.) or is it for full contact (Frank again or any of them!!!!), or maybe tournament Forms competition, etc. There are too many Seniors and "Next Generation" instructors for me to name, but they all have great things to offer. (The "Next Generation" Those under SGM Parker but who were not 7th Black at the time) for me to name them all, but all train everything, but sometimes specialize in certain areas. I call that "Context". In my school it is definitly self-defense first, but that is my choice.

Try Kenpo out. It is everything from No Contact (Acceptance and Awareness of Danger) to Long Range weapons (Kicks, Clubs, Staff or Spear) to Contact Penetration, (knees, elbows, fists, fingers, etc.) and Grappling Range.

Check out a class and see if it is what you like.

-Michael
 

Seig

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Let me be the first to point out that it was not the fault of the art that had Chronuss where he was. It was the fault of the head of the system. Plain and simple is the truth of that. At Chronuss' BB testing, I watched to alleged fourth degrees get their heiney's handed to them by a second degree candidate. They then made excuses about his lack of control, etc.... The plain fact of the matter is that he far outclassed them. Because of that particular systems fear of touching one another, they did learn for the most part excellent control. The could throw a technique fast and furious and stop less than an inch from their target. The problems began when they actually had to hit something. As for our school, I do place a lot of emphasis on self-defense and sparring. What I strees the most is basics, coordination and good old fashion thinking. I teach my upper blts to analyze everything and try to make them understand not only what I am showing them but encourage them to maybe see an aspect I may not have seen before. I try and turn out well rounded students, that is my goal and hopefully I am acheiving it.
 
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RCastillo

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With all the gentlemen that posted here. They all speak the truth.:asian:
 
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ProfRoe

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Every school and instructor is different, a discussion with the headmaster of the Dojo and taking/observing a few classes should help you.

At my Dojo we have a "mission statement," among other things, to help potential students quickly determine if what we do is right for them.


ProfRoe
www.martialartsacademy.org
 

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