Is Kenpo a viable fighting and self defense art

Blindside

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I spent a decade in Kenpo, and I learned a lot and don't regret it at all. That said if my goal was to be a functional fighter there are far more efficient and proven methods out there.
 

punisher73

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As always, it depends.

There are some good kenpo schools out there that focus on fighting/self-defense skills and making it work. There are others out there that just focus on "the material" and learning/performing it as is. Same as with many other martial arts out there.

Best bet is to have a specific school in mind and go watch a class and ask questions to see if it fits what you are looking for.

There is a WIDE range out there when you use the term "kenpo". I am assuming that this is also in reference to a style derived from Ed Parker. Even then, there are some variances as to what an instructor may teach based on their own lineage.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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I spent a decade in Kenpo, and I learned a lot and don't regret it at all. That said if my goal was to be a functional fighter there are far more efficient and proven methods out there.
Basically my thoughts. It's not streamlined to make one the best fighter as quickly/effectively as possible. But you can learn a ton if you go to the right school.
 

Flying Crane

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There are a lot of different flavors of kenpo. I am assuming you you are referring to the William Chow/Ed Parker downstream.

I spent some years in one of those lineages. It was where I began training in the martial arts. Ultimately I had to recognize that it wasn’t the best match for me. However, there are plenty of folks who feel it is excellent, and some of them are people who I would want on my side, if the sheet went down.
 

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Kung Fu Wang

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What I like about Kenpo is their modern training method. You train partner drill combo first. That partner drill then turn into solo drill. If you link many solo drills, you have solo form. This way, you train like you fight. There is no abstraction involved.

What I don't like about Kenpo is your opponent may freezes in his 1st attack while you finished your 6 moves counter combo on him. In the normal situation, when you make 1 move, your opponent will respond with 1 move.
 
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Flying Crane

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What I like about Kenpo is their modern training method. You train partner drill combo first. That partner drill then turn into solo drill. If you link many solo drills, you have solo form. This way, you train like you fight. There is no abstraction involved.

The problem is, this often leads to a cumbersome curriculum with a mix of good and bad ideas. In theory, it makes sense. Staying on point is not always what happens, in reality.

I feel it makes sense with a minimal amount of material to give a beginner some concrete and non-abstract examples to work with that could be useful right out of the box, and could be adaptable to a wider range of situations with modifications. However, it needs to be a limited curriculum so that students don’t get bogged down with that approach, because ultimately one needs to learn to be spontaneous and creative with use and application. When the bulk of the curriculum is constructed in this way, it creates a mindset of looking to the technique lists to find answers which tends to stifle creativity, and the curriculum grows too big and moves beyond what is realistic good ideas and begins to include lots of poorly thought out bad ideas. This is because a certain number of these self defense techniques are included for each belt, and the curriculum just keeps coming, in some cases it becomes almost endless. When that happens, all of the training time is spent in a scramble just trying to keep up with remembering the curriculum, and there is no time left to really develop some skill.
What I don't like about Kenpo is your opponent may freezes in his 1st attack while you finished your 6 moves counter combo on him. In the normal situation, when you make 1 move, your opponent will respond with 1 move.
This is a result of some of the unrealistic, poorly thought out ideas that inevitably end up in the curriculum. It seems that someone was getting creative and put together some techniques that look good on paper but can’t pass the reality test. So it just becomes heavily choreographed.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I feel it makes sense with a minimal amount of material to give a beginner some concrete and non-abstract examples to work with ...
Agree with you 100% there. If you don't want your students to learn, you teach them many new techniques daily and never review those techniques.

You need a strong root to grow a tree. After you have trained the groin kick for 6 months, you then start to train groin kick, face punch combo. All combos are built on a solid initial move. You just can't jump into combo on day one.
 

Buka

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I like Kenpo, but then I like just about every Martial Art. And as has been stated, it depends on the school.

I learned how to fight at George Pesare's Kenpo school in Rhode Island way back in the day. Can't say I could have recommended it to anyone else, the place was nasty vicious. (It was a place where you saw pieces of teeth in the bathroom sink.)
Fortunately, we survived.
 
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I like Kenpo, but then I like just about every Martial Art. And as has been stated, it depends on the school.

I learned how to fight at George Pesare's Kenpo school in Rhode Island way back in the day. Can't say I could have recommended it to anyone else, the place was nasty vicious. (It was a place where you saw pieces of teeth in the bathroom sink.)
Fortunately, we survived.
I spent a decade in Kenpo, and I learned a lot and don't regret it at all. That said if my goal was to be a functional fighter there are far more efficient and proven methods out there.
Sounds like a decent system that can use some MMA or grappling in it
 
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I disagree. MMA is not the solution for everything. Ones mileage may vary.
I think it’s the best the world has to offer atm
I disagree. MMA is not the solution for everything. Ones mileage may vary.
i think it depends on the person but as one ages maybe weapons are more ideal, it’s good to see multiple arts
 

Flying Crane

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I think it’s the best the world has to offer atm

A lot of people feel that way. And a lot of people do not.
MMA already exists as a viable option. That choice is available to most anyone who wants it. However, there are far far more people training martial arts, who are not interested in mma. That is why systems like kenpo, that are not mma, continue to exist. There is no reason to turn kenpo into an mma clone. That isn’t the answer.
i think it depends on the person but as one ages maybe weapons are more ideal, it’s good to see multiple arts
Weapons are more ideal for what?
 
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A lot of people feel that way. And a lot of people do not.
MMA already exists as a viable option. That choice is available to most anyone who wants it. However, there are far far more people training martial arts, who are not interested in mma. That is why systems like kenpo, that are not mma, continue to exist. There is no reason to turn kenpo into an mma clone. That isn’t the answer.

Weapons are more ideal for what?
Weapons are ideal for people who are small and or weak.

I think Kenpo is a decent art if there’s a decent teacher
 

Flying Crane

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Weapons are ideal for people who are small and or weak.

I think Kenpo is a decent art if there’s a decent teacher
I think kenpo can be good. My teacher is someone I definitely am convinced can use it.

Ultimately much of this comes down to finding a method that is a good match for the person. For reasons that I mentioned above, I feel kenpo has some problems in how it constructs the curriculum and approaches the training. Ultimately I felt it was not a good match for me. In my opinion, I think a few adjustments in how the curriculum is constructed and how it then is trained, could improve it a lot. But that is just me. I don’t train it anymore and am not in a position to convince any segment of the kenpo community of my ideas.
 

isshinryuronin

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I like Kenpo, but then I like just about every Martial Art. And as has been stated, it depends on the school.

I learned how to fight at George Pesare's Kenpo school in Rhode Island way back in the day. Can't say I could have recommended it to anyone else, the place was nasty vicious. (It was a place where you saw pieces of teeth in the bathroom sink.)
Fortunately, we survived.
Buka, Pesare's Kenpo is not Ed Parker's kenpo, correct? Though both his and Parker's linneage stem from Chow in Hawaii, they represent separate branches of Chow's art I believe. Both their styles, though are quite similar I think.
 

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