Is Weapons Training An Inherent Part of Kenpo?

jurat13

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Hi, I wanted to know if weapons training is an inherent part of Kenpo training?

In other words are Kenpo students taught to use weapons at some point in their Kenpo training?

Thanks,

Walter
 
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jurat13

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Michael,

What kind of weapons are taught in Tracy's?

Thanks,

Walter
 

Flying Crane

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Over the years, Al Tracy has brought in various weaponry that he learned from other sources, or that instructors under him learned from other sources and Mr. Tracy welcomed that material.

We do some staff, Chinese spear, Chinese Dao (Broadsword), I think there may be a Jian (Chinese Straight Sword), and some Japanese sword. That's all, to my knowledge.

Admittedly, this stuff is pretty much all brought in thru other influences, it was not originally part of the early kenpo system that Mr. Tracy learned from Mr. Parker. But he welcomed this material into the system, and is now considered part of the curriculum.

Due to the nature of this material coming in from elsewhere, not every Tracys instructor is going to have learned it all, and it won't all be available thru every school that is teaching the Tracy method.
 

KenpoDave

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Hi, I wanted to know if weapons training is an inherent part of Kenpo training?

In other words are Kenpo students taught to use weapons at some point in their Kenpo training?

Thanks,

Walter

It is my understanding, historically, that kenpo is/was part of jujitsu, which was then part of a larger -ryu or system. Kenpo, strictly speaking, is an empty handed striking art. Weapons training and kenpo would have existed as separate sub-arts within the same -ryu, along with other sub-arts. However, a skilled fighter would have integrated the sub-arts into "his style" seamlessly, much like a professional basketball player integrates dribbling, passing, shooting, etc., into "playing basketball.

It is my opinion that weapons training is/was not an inherent part of kenpo training, but rather that kenpo and weapons training were inherent parts of a larger whole.

As a result, there are kenpo schools today that teach weapons, and some that do not. And those that do may not teach the same weapons. James Mitose, the man responsible for bringing kenpo to America, did not teach weapons. When asked later in life about which weapons should be integrated into kenpo, he stated that there are no weapons in kenpo.

Although certainly complementary, weapons training that exists in kenpo today came from "somewhere else." You will most likely see a mixture of chinese and okinawan weapons forms and FMA weapons drills. You will probably not see as much focus on japanese weaponry.
 

Doc

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As most of you know, I refrain from speaking of "Kenpo" in some overall context that makes it all inclusive of anything or not. "Kenpo" is as whomever teaches you makes it, therefore the question is moot.

However, that being said I agree with KenpoDave. The progenitors, (whomever you choose), of modern "Kenpo" envisioned it as an empty hand art.

Mr. Parker was adamant about this, and only created the weapons forms and sets as a part of the business demand of his students to compete in weapons forms at his own tournament. This also accounts for the lack of logic associated with many of these techniques. They were made for simplicity and show, not practicality.

Mr. Parker believed in out modern society the carrying of weapons for most is illegal, and unusual, but for those that did anyway, it was usually a firearm. Carrying a knife or a nunchaku can be a felony, especially if you actually use it. Here in Kalifornia carrying a gun is still a misdemeanor.

His belief for the Kenpo I know was built around the idea that a practitioner should study and train to make himself the weapon. He said, "If you're a guy with a weapon in your hand that's fine, but what happens when you lose or don't have the weapon? If you make yourself the weapon, you always have it with you, and anything you touch becomes a weapon as an extension of you."

He demonstrated this to me in a Chinese Restaurant in Monterey Park with a bottle of ketchup and a spoon, by demonstrating a technique empty handed, than stopping and picking up the items quickly from the table and performing instant devastation with the bottle and spoon.

"You see," he said, "when your body mechanics are sound and you're the weapon, anything you put in your hand is an extension of you. But it don't work in reverse." I guess that's why Parker enjoyed Jackie Chan so much.
 

MJS

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Hi, I wanted to know if weapons training is an inherent part of Kenpo training?

In other words are Kenpo students taught to use weapons at some point in their Kenpo training?

Thanks,

Walter

I would say that it would probably depend on the school. However, if you're looking at weapons, Im a believer in looking at a weapon oriented art. For me, while I have worked with various weapons, ie: bo staff, nunchucks, etc., those are things that if you were to carry, you'd probably find yourself locked up pretty quick.

I prefer what is found in the FMAs...the stick and blade. Weapons that you'd probably stand a better chance of seeing more often. Think about it...next time you're out, glance at the pockets of people as you walk by. I'd bet that you'd see quite a few knives clipped on those pockets.

Depends on what you're looking to train in. You just mention weapons in your post, but you didn't go into detail.
 

Blindside

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Hi, I wanted to know if weapons training is an inherent part of Kenpo training?

In other words are Kenpo students taught to use weapons at some point in their Kenpo training?

Thanks,

Walter

You have gotten some great responses from the earlier posters. In my experience Kenpo weapons training at best touches on the topic, usually in a form/kata, and really doesn't have the curriculum structure to give extensive training in the weapon arts. It shouldn't, as mentioned it is primarily an unarmed system, and no single art that I know of covers all ranges and areas equally, everyone specializes, and few of us have the need or time to truly cover all the Ryu that would make us truly well rounded.

As an example our Kenpo school adopted two Chinese broadsword forms from Won Hop Kuen Do and developed an intermediary form between the basic and advanced adopted form. While I could do the form(s) and could give an explanation for everything I was doing, it wasn't until I started studying a bladed weapon art that I found far better explanations and applications than what I was taught in Kenpo. I don't think that makes Kenpo a lesser art, it is simply an acknowledgement of its limitations. I no longer teach my kenpo students weapons, if they have that interest, I teach them Kali.
 

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You have gotten some great responses from the earlier posters. In my experience Kenpo weapons training at best touches on the topic, usually in a form/kata, and really doesn't have the curriculum structure to give extensive training in the weapon arts. It shouldn't, as mentioned it is primarily an unarmed system, and no single art that I know of covers all ranges and areas equally, everyone specializes, and few of us have the need or time to truly cover all the Ryu that would make us truly well rounded.

As an example our Kenpo school adopted two Chinese broadsword forms from Won Hop Kuen Do and developed an intermediary form between the basic and advanced adopted form. While I could do the form(s) and could give an explanation for everything I was doing, it wasn't until I started studying a bladed weapon art that I found far better explanations and applications than what I was taught in Kenpo. I don't think that makes Kenpo a lesser art, it is simply an acknowledgement of its limitations. I no longer teach my kenpo students weapons, if they have that interest, I teach them Kali.
Makes sense to me. :)
 
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jurat13

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Great responses everyone.

MJS, you make a good point regarding the practical weapons training offered in FMAs. I would probably be interested in them at some point after I have trained in empty hand for awhile.

I was asking to see if Kenpo was similar to let's say, Aikido, which I believe uses the Bokken (?) as part of its training when teaching various empty hand techniques, etc.
 

Doc

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Great responses everyone.

MJS, you make a good point regarding the practical weapons training offered in FMAs. I would probably be interested in them at some point after I have trained in empty hand for awhile.

I was asking to see if Kenpo was similar to let's say, Aikido, which I believe uses the Bokken (?) as part of its training when teaching various empty hand techniques, etc.

PLEASE, everyone. Kenpo is generic. There is no absolute kenpo anything. It's not Aikido, or Karate-do, or even judo. It's like the word "karate." it means nothing but an expression of an old Eastern Culture martial art, that probably includes punching and kicking, and there are probably some that don't do that. Please stop the myth of assigning traits to what others do, and speak of what YOU do. It makes for much more information rich and informative discussions.
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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PLEASE, everyone. Kenpo is generic. There is no absolute kenpo anything. It's not Aikido, or Karate-do, or even judo. It's like the word "karate." it means nothing but an expression of an old Eastern Culture martial art, that probably includes punching and kicking, and there are probably some that don't do that. Please stop the myth of assigning traits to what others do, and speak of what YOU do. It makes for much more information rich and informative discussions.

I think one of my favorite posts of yours hailed back to '02 or so, when you responded to a general inquiry about kenpo with the simple question, "Whose kenpo?"
 
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jurat13

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I am sure it is just my ignorance, but it seems to me, at some point it is necessary to even use a "generic" word for the purpose of carrying on a conversation. For example, using the word Kenpo/Kempo to convey
a thought regarding whether or not weapons training is inherent in that art/system.

IMO, naturally we all group words into terms that we can understand. Now some of us may be more sophisticated than others and may be able to associate more deeper meaning behind these terms, but nevertheless I think we are able to communicate fairly effectively.

There comes a point where you have to classify or identify a thought into some fashion.

My experience has taught me that Aikido uses the Bokken to train some empty hand techniques. I don't have experience in Kenpo. So that's why I asked if weapons training are used in a similar fashion to an art that I have some familiarity with.

Could I have articulated my question better, or differently? I am certain that I could have. But I also don't have any experience in Kenpo... thus would not necessarily know the properterms to use when formulating my question.

Which is predominantly the reason that I asked the question on the general Kenpo forum... in order to learn.
 

Flying Crane

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While "kenpo" may be a generic term and that point is well taken, I think the responses to this thread have been given in the context of "the kenpo that I train..." or "in XYZ lineage of kenpo...".

So really, I think the issue of specifics is being covered in a reasonable way.
 

Doc

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I am sure it is just my ignorance, but it seems to me, at some point it is necessary to even use a "generic" word for the purpose of carrying on a conversation. For example, using the word Kenpo/Kempo to convey
a thought regarding whether or not weapons training is inherent in that art/system.

IMO, naturally we all group words into terms that we can understand. Now some of us may be more sophisticated than others and may be able to associate more deeper meaning behind these terms, but nevertheless I think we are able to communicate fairly effectively.

There comes a point where you have to classify or identify a thought into some fashion.

My experience has taught me that Aikido uses the Bokken to train some empty hand techniques. I don't have experience in Kenpo. So that's why I asked if weapons training are used in a similar fashion to an art that I have some familiarity with.

Could I have articulated my question better, or differently? I am certain that I could have. But I also don't have any experience in Kenpo... thus would not necessarily know the properterms to use when formulating my question.

Which is predominantly the reason that I asked the question on the general Kenpo forum... in order to learn.

It's not you sir. The issue resides primarily with some kenpo folks themselves who persist in making assumptions about all of kenpo, based on their own limited experiences and knowledge. They are the ones sir, that should know better. Most of the folks here, tend to speak of their experiences and seek comparisons from other practitioners. It was not my intent to single you out for asking an honest and reasonable question. I was aiming mostly to many of the "readers." The frequent posters here are sharp, knowledgeable, and reasonable, and you'll notice they all spoke of their perspective, rather than the art at large. Please stay with us, and ask all the questions you want. We don't ........ I mean ..... I don't bite! :)
 

TigerCraneGuy

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Good points about the generic nature of the word: Kenpo.

In Chinese, when translated, it's Chuan Fa, which literally translates to 'Fist Method'.

So I guess it woudn't be too much of a stretch to say a Wing Chun or Eagle Claw stylist could be saying they do Kenpo or Chuan Fa, it would just be 'Yong Chun Chuan Fa' (Wing Chun Fist Method) or 'Ying Jiao Chuan Fa' (Eagle Claw Fist Method).

In fact, if I told my Singaporean or Mainland Chinese friends that I practiced Kenpo or Chuan Fa, they would probably ask, 'Exactly which Chuan Fa is it you practice?':)

It's only when I say Ed Parker Kenpo or Chuan Fa (Ed Parker Fist Method) that there is sufficient context to determine the specific characteristics of the Art.

Best regards,
TCG
 

Matt

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Good points about the generic nature of the word: Kenpo.

In Chinese, when translated, it's Chuan Fa, which literally translates to 'Fist Method'.

So I guess it woudn't be too much of a stretch to say a Wing Chun or Eagle Claw stylist could be saying they do Kenpo or Chuan Fa, it would just be 'Yong Chun Chuan Fa' (Wing Chun Fist Method) or 'Ying Jiao Chuan Fa' (Eagle Claw Fist Method).

In fact, if I told my Singaporean or Mainland Chinese friends that I practiced Kenpo or Chuan Fa, they would probably ask, 'Exactly which Chuan Fa is it you practice?':)

It's only when I say Ed Parker Kenpo or Chuan Fa (Ed Parker Fist Method) that there is sufficient context to determine the specific characteristics of the Art.

Best regards,
TCG

I was thinking along these lines as well, with the 'fist method' essence at the fore. The style(s) I do include on the SKK side, bo, kama, and some elementary Iai, but they seem 'tacked on' to provide cool stuff for the folks who've been there a while. Kempojutsu emphasizes stick and knife, but it's a direct import of Filipino technology. There are a couple (two) other weapon forms - kama and sai, but they seem more for the cultural aspect. The emphasis is pretty squarely on the empty hand.
 

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