Joint Locks in Kenpo

Yeti

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Another question for the Kenpo faithful...

Are joint locks taught in the Kenpo curriculum as a stand-alone technique to control an opponent (like Hapkido, say), or are they more used as a part of an overall technique as a diversion/distraction to set up an opponent for a strike, takedown, etc?
 

Simon Curran

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I can't speak for what others do, but my instructor has a background in Kung Fu, with the complementing Chin Na component, and he teaches us joint locks as a stand alone component, can't defend against something if you don't know what it looks like...
 

MJS

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Yeti said:
Another question for the Kenpo faithful...

Are joint locks taught in the Kenpo curriculum as a stand-alone technique to control an opponent (like Hapkido, say), or are they more used as a part of an overall technique as a diversion/distraction to set up an opponent for a strike, takedown, etc?

My Kenpo instructor has a background in Modern Arnis, so from time to time he'll add in a lock from Arnis. As far as it being a totally seperate curriculum, I havent seen it, but I can't speak for every school out there. IMO though, I do feel that having knowledge of joint locks is important. Not every situation you find yourself in may warrant a knee break, so having some knowledge of locks, will give you another alternative.

Mike
 

Seabrook

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I have a black belt in Modern Arnis as well, and although I often incorporate some of these locks into techniques to show where they can be added, I really don't think you need a Arnis, jiu-jitsu, Aikido, ect. background to be good at joint locks since they are already contained in American Kenpo.

Jamie Seabrook
www.seabrook.gotkenpo.com
 

Ceicei

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In the EPAK curriculum (as taught in my studio), the techniques for the advanced ranks (brown belt and up) have a lot of joint locks. Some basic locks are already being taught within techniques at the intermediate level and even a few at beginning level. I believe many other studios also progress similarly.

As stand-alone moves, I'm not sure if these are emphasized. However, I think the focus/emphasis of certain aspects depend upon the training background of the kenpo instructor(s).

- Ceicei
 

Thesemindz

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Ceicei said:
In the EPAK curriculum (as taught in my studio), the techniques for the advanced ranks (brown belt and up) have a lot of joint locks. Some basic locks are already being taught within techniques at the intermediate level and even a few at beginning level. I believe many other studios also progress similarly.

As stand-alone moves, I'm not sure if these are emphasized. However, I think the focus/emphasis of certain aspects depend upon the training background of the kenpo instructor(s).

- Ceicei

I think it's important to emphasize every aspect of every technique as a "stand alone move." Before I teach my students a technique, I teach them the attack and make sure they have a thorough understanding of how it works. Then we practice the basics contained within the technique to make sure that each basic, and especially any new to the specific technique, are understood and the student can execute them with focus and power. Any other issues specific to the technique such as footwork, concepts, anatomical alignment, etc. are also drilled and practiced in a variety of scenarios. Only then do I teach the student the technique in question, so that they can continue to practice all the component pieces we've worked on. I think if you only teach the technique, without breaking it up and practicing the basics which it is comprised of, you may memorize the motion but not be able to execute it effectively.

I'm not accusing any specific school of this, but I know that some kenpo schools get a reputation for having weak noodly kicks, because they don't practice the kicks as individual basics in the air, on pads, on shields, on bags, on the body. Other schools may know a defense against a joint lock from a technique, but not be able to use a joint lock against an opponent. If you can't properly throw a roundhouse kick or submit an opponent with a figure four arm lock, how can the student practicing the technique really know if it will work against the attack it's designed for? The techniques are teaching tools. Yes, they can be executed as defensive combinations, and that is one of their purposes, but to not understand every aspect of the technique, from attack, to defensive maneuver, to the specifics of the counter offensive combination, and even including a thorough understanding of the dummy side of each technique, is to leave much of the information they contain in the packaging.


-Rob
 

Kenpojujitsu3

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Thesemindz said:
I think it's important to emphasize every aspect of every technique as a "stand alone move." Before I teach my students a technique, I teach them the attack and make sure they have a thorough understanding of how it works. Then we practice the basics contained within the technique to make sure that each basic, and especially any new to the specific technique, are understood and the student can execute them with focus and power. Any other issues specific to the technique such as footwork, concepts, anatomical alignment, etc. are also drilled and practiced in a variety of scenarios. Only then do I teach the student the technique in question, so that they can continue to practice all the component pieces we've worked on. I think if you only teach the technique, without breaking it up and practicing the basics which it is comprised of, you may memorize the motion but not be able to execute it effectively.

I'm not accusing any specific school of this, but I know that some kenpo schools get a reputation for having weak noodly kicks, because they don't practice the kicks as individual basics in the air, on pads, on shields, on bags, on the body. Other schools may know a defense against a joint lock from a technique, but not be able to use a joint lock against an opponent. If you can't properly throw a roundhouse kick or submit an opponent with a figure four arm lock, how can the student practicing the technique really know if it will work against the attack it's designed for? The techniques are teaching tools. Yes, they can be executed as defensive combinations, and that is one of their purposes, but to not understand every aspect of the technique, from attack, to defensive maneuver, to the specifics of the counter offensive combination, and even including a thorough understanding of the dummy side of each technique, is to leave much of the information they contain in the packaging.


-Rob
Exactly.
 

redfang

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The school where I trained Tracy kenpo for a number of years incorporated quite a few joint locks into the techniques. Sometimes a joint lock will be part of the standard technique, other times we would practice them as shootfighting add-ons to existing techniques.
 

Ceicei

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Thesemindz said:
I think it's important to emphasize every aspect of every technique as a "stand alone move." Before I teach my students a technique, I teach them the attack and make sure they have a thorough understanding of how it works. Then we practice the basics contained within the technique to make sure that each basic, and especially any new to the specific technique, are understood and the student can execute them with focus and power. Any other issues specific to the technique such as footwork, concepts, anatomical alignment, etc. are also drilled and practiced in a variety of scenarios. Only then do I teach the student the technique in question, so that they can continue to practice all the component pieces we've worked on. I think if you only teach the technique, without breaking it up and practicing the basics which it is comprised of, you may memorize the motion but not be able to execute it effectively.
Excellent! All this makes sense to me.

This does make me wonder how thoroughly would studios do this process? I think most do to a point, but some (hopefully just a few) probably do not make extra time along the way to actually pause at every step to explain and make sure their students understand. When that process doesn't happen, is it the instructors who may forget to slow down, or would it be because some students want to "hurry on" to learn quickly, failing to take the time to truly study?

Thesemindz said:
...how can the student practicing the technique really know if it will work against the attack it's designed for? The techniques are teaching tools. Yes, they can be executed as defensive combinations, and that is one of their purposes, but to not understand every aspect of the technique, from attack, to defensive maneuver, to the specifics of the counter offensive combination, and even including a thorough understanding of the dummy side of each technique, is to leave much of the information they contain in the packaging.

-Rob
And some of the information may leak out of the packaging, never being absorbed by the students. The instructors are responsible to make the information available and the students are responsible to actively seek, learn, analyze, and use the information.

If some students do not or cannot obtain the necessary information from their instructors in understanding the "nuts and bolts" of Kenpo, can they bridge the difference by other sources, such as reading? I have met a few kenpo students from other places who have never read the Infinite Insights series. Some schools make these books mandatory, others do not. It makes me wonder how well could a student learn Kenpo without reading the Infinite Insights? Is it possible? Is knowledge best left to those who truly seek for more? As you've pointed out, it is important to expand the mental process while learning the physical process.

- Ceicei
 

Doc

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Thesemindz said:
I think it's important to emphasize every aspect of every technique as a "stand alone move." Before I teach my students a technique, I teach them the attack and make sure they have a thorough understanding of how it works. Then we practice the basics contained within the technique to make sure that each basic, and especially any new to the specific technique, are understood and the student can execute them with focus and power. Any other issues specific to the technique such as footwork, concepts, anatomical alignment, etc. are also drilled and practiced in a variety of scenarios. Only then do I teach the student the technique in question, so that they can continue to practice all the component pieces we've worked on. I think if you only teach the technique, without breaking it up and practicing the basics which it is comprised of, you may memorize the motion but not be able to execute it effectively.

I'm not accusing any specific school of this, but I know that some kenpo schools get a reputation for having weak noodly kicks, because they don't practice the kicks as individual basics in the air, on pads, on shields, on bags, on the body. Other schools may know a defense against a joint lock from a technique, but not be able to use a joint lock against an opponent. If you can't properly throw a roundhouse kick or submit an opponent with a figure four arm lock, how can the student practicing the technique really know if it will work against the attack it's designed for? The techniques are teaching tools. Yes, they can be executed as defensive combinations, and that is one of their purposes, but to not understand every aspect of the technique, from attack, to defensive maneuver, to the specifics of the counter offensive combination, and even including a thorough understanding of the dummy side of each technique, is to leave much of the information they contain in the packaging.


-Rob
Preach brother.
 

Thesemindz

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Ceicei said:
This does make me wonder how thoroughly would studios do this process? I think most do to a point, but some (hopefully just a few) probably do not make extra time along the way to actually pause at every step to explain and make sure their students understand. When that process doesn't happen, is it the instructors who may forget to slow down, or would it be because some students want to "hurry on" to learn quickly, failing to take the time to truly study?

Probably some of both. Of course, it's important to remember not to, "over feed your fish." An instructor has to take into account the skill level of the student, with all that entails about his knowledge, experience, understanding, physical ability etc., when teaching these ideas and concepts. The first time I expose students to new material, I really don't demand much of them. All I want is for them to spend some time physically and mentally with the new stuff. Since martial arts is a never ending journey, there will always be more time to refine their technique. They don't have to be perfect today, and to expect that out of them would be unrealistic, especially with beginners. I know that I understand a great deal more out of my yellow belt material now than I did when I tested over it, and I thought I had it down then.



Ceicei said:
And some of the information may leak out of the packaging, never being absorbed by the students. The instructors are responsible to make the information available and the students are responsible to actively seek, learn, analyze, and use the information.

It's true. The instructor can only do so much. I can present the material, in as many varied ways as possible, including visual, kinesthetic, audio, a combination of the above, in written form etc., all to help the student get a more complete understanding. I can present drills and exercises to help them to make the material more accessible. I can offer tips and ideas for training on their own time, and I can encourage them as much as possible. What I can't do for my students is the actual training. That they have to do on their own. I can point the way, but it is up to them to walk the path.

Ceicei said:
If some students do not or cannot obtain the necessary information from their instructors in understanding the "nuts and bolts" of Kenpo, can they bridge the difference by other sources, such as reading? I have met a few kenpo students from other places who have never read the Infinite Insights series. Some schools make these books mandatory, others do not. It makes me wonder how well could a student learn Kenpo without reading the Infinite Insights? Is it possible? Is knowledge best left to those who truly seek for more? As you've pointed out, it is important to expand the mental process while learning the physical process.
- Ceicei

If a student is not getting the neccessary information, from a pure martial arts perspective without involving the business side of things, my advice would be to leave the school and seek better instruction. Books and videos can be helpful supplemental material, but nothing can replace a live instructor putting his hands on your body and guiding you step by step through the proper movement, and I'll never agree with people who say otherwise. That isn't to say that you can't learn from books and tapes, just to say that you're better to learn from specific, individual instruction from a trained professional. A book doesn't see the errors you don't realize exist within your technique. A tape doesn't recognize your individual challenges and implement methods to aid you in learning. Everyone learns differently, and a good instructor can present material in a fashion which will help you to learn. Books and tapes can never do that. The information they provide works entirely one way, whereas a good teacher student relationship is organic and grows with time, allowing information to pass in both directions to acheive the desired result. The Infinite Insights books are great, and I've read my copies several times, but they can only act to supplement your training, not to replace it.


-Rob
 

AIKIKENJITSU

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Another question for the Kenpo faithful...

Are joint locks taught in the Kenpo curriculum as a stand-alone technique to control an opponent (like Hapkido, say), or are they more used as a part of an overall technique as a diversion/distraction to set up an opponent for a strike, takedown, etc?

I was one of the Ed Parker era students. I met him for the first time at his Burbank studio. But the first Kenpo I earned a black belt in was Tracy, but I prefer Ed Parker or (American Kenpo). I was taught joint locks as an intricate part of the techniques. I feel it depends on the instructor. Over the years I learned more joint locks and incorporated it into what I taught. But with technique practice, the joint locks come natural. I’m only 5’2”, so many times I would execute a joint lock half way to remove me from my opponent’s control, and then I would do a striking move. Joint locks can be effective just to remove you from a dangerous position.

I was not taught ground techniques, so I learned here and there and also made up my own, where I incorporated strikes and joint locks.
 

Yondanchris

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I think it's important to emphasize every aspect of every technique as a "stand alone move." Before I teach my students a technique, I teach them the attack and make sure they have a thorough understanding of how it works. Then we practice the basics contained within the technique to make sure that each basic, and especially any new to the specific technique, are understood and the student can execute them with focus and power. Any other issues specific to the technique such as footwork, concepts, anatomical alignment, etc. are also drilled and practiced in a variety of scenarios. Only then do I teach the student the technique in question, so that they can continue to practice all the component pieces we've worked on. I think if you only teach the technique, without breaking it up and practicing the basics which it is comprised of, you may memorize the motion but not be able to execute it effectively.

I'm not accusing any specific school of this, but I know that some kenpo schools get a reputation for having weak noodly kicks, because they don't practice the kicks as individual basics in the air, on pads, on shields, on bags, on the body. Other schools may know a defense against a joint lock from a technique, but not be able to use a joint lock against an opponent. If you can't properly throw a roundhouse kick or submit an opponent with a figure four arm lock, how can the student practicing the technique really know if it will work against the attack it's designed for? The techniques are teaching tools. Yes, they can be executed as defensive combinations, and that is one of their purposes, but to not understand every aspect of the technique, from attack, to defensive maneuver, to the specifics of the counter offensive combination, and even including a thorough understanding of the dummy side of each technique, is to leave much of the information they contain in the packaging.


-Rob

Yup what Rob Said!
I would like to reiterate:
- teach the attack
- find the techniques relations with others (Family Groupings and Family Related)
- find the unique properties of each technique (lesson within the technique)
 

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