Just a question.

thetruth

Black Belt
Joined
Feb 28, 2006
Messages
555
Reaction score
9
I am getting a vibe from a few people in the forum regarding other people who teach Parker Kenpo. I get the idea that people don't believe other peoples version of Kenpo is as legitimate as theirs. Ed Parker died 16 years ago. Should Kenpo be preserved and taught as it was by Ed Parker or should it be developed and added to (from what Mr Parker was teaching at the time of his death) as Jeff Speakman has with Kenpo 5.0 (something he asserts is the direction Mr Parker was heading before he died) or with the sub level 4 as the Doc has done (and also suggests this was the area Mr Parker was heading)? Is kenpo an ever developing art or one that is more similar in nature to the asian arts?

Cheers
Sam:asian:
 

bushidomartialarts

Senior Master
Joined
Mar 5, 2006
Messages
2,668
Reaction score
44
Location
Hillsboro, Oregon
for my money, it's both.

one of the joys of kenpo is that it's got a little bit of everything. take six months of any other style and you'll find it in your kenpo. exploration and evolution are an important part of the martial arts journey.

that said, one of the great strengths of kenpo is that the chart structure creates a simple system to teach beginning students -- students who still need to learn the rules before they break them. you hear a lot of people who say 'this won't work', but often that's because the person speaking doesn't understand the technique.

another way to say it is that kenpo is a static system that promotes personal evolution and development.

at least up through green or so. those later techniques are a topic for another time.
 

IWishToLearn

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
969
Reaction score
4
Location
Salinas, CA
I think everything is open to interpretation. Even those who claim to be teaching pure Parker Kenpo with absolutely zero modifications will in fact themselves have modified something based on their perception of the "correct" way to do a technique. This is not to say that anyone's teaching is any less valid than anyone else's. It's just purely an acknowledgement of the simple fact that we are all human beings. We are all anatomically slightly different, and therefore we have slightly different ways of moving our bodies. The only school I've ever seen which has their students moving all one specific way was Doc Chap'el's MSU. (Of which I am a fan - but not a student. Sigh - distance sucks sometimes. If I had my way I'd be living in Southern Cali training at about six of the top Kenpo instructors' schools just cause I like to see and learn different and new ways of doing things.) But even then - size matters and each individual student will tailor his movements to his own personal movement style once the correct basics were imprinted within him.

I think Kenpo is in an ever evolving state of perpetual refinement. We're always striving to hone our skills and make our art more efficient. That's the beauty of the gift Ed Parker left us.
 

Arizona Angel

Master Black Belt
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
1,307
Reaction score
3
Location
Sarnia
I first saw this question on KT so I will copy and paste my answer here:

I once heard Kenpo described as a science, and science evolves. The world is now round, right? Parts of what Parker taught have been deleted or added to depending on what is found to work when tested. Theroys are developed and then tested and we keep what is known to be true. Sometimes it overrides a previous theroy or technique. I think that it's important to know the history to which we have derrived upon current belifs. And great respect to the SGM for what he was able to develope. But, the legacy lives on because he taught others to carry on after him. Just my two cents.
 

KenpoDave

2nd Black Belt
Joined
May 20, 2002
Messages
884
Reaction score
33
Location
Shreveport, LA
Before one rewrites the rule book, he/she should be intimately familiar with its contents.
 

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,211
Reaction score
157
Location
Southern California
I think everything is open to interpretation. Even those who claim to be teaching pure Parker Kenpo with absolutely zero modifications will in fact themselves have modified something based on their perception of the "correct" way to do a technique.
Of course considering Parker never taught anyone one way to do anything, as he envolved himself.
The only school I've ever seen which has their students moving all one specific way was Doc Chap'el's MSU. (Of which I am a fan - but not a student. Sigh - distance sucks sometimes.
stop procrastinating. :)
But even then - size matters and each individual student will tailor his movements to his own personal movement style once the correct basics were imprinted within him.
We are all anatomically the same, (which is the reason we should move the same to be effective), however we each possess unique physical geometry that will ultimately in time dictate physical capabilities, and later personal physical preferences.
 

Doc

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2002
Messages
4,211
Reaction score
157
Location
Southern California
Before one rewrites the rule book, he/she should be intimately familiar with its contents.
or put another way; if you don't know the whole alphabet, there are a lot of words you won't/can't understand. Everyone wants to go on a journey of discovery, but you won't discover calculus just because you know your time tables. :)
 

CoryKS

Senior Master
Joined
Aug 30, 2006
Messages
4,403
Reaction score
182
Location
Olathe, KS
I do wish there was some sort of archival or versioning mechanism in place, though. Change is good, but it would be nice to be able to look back and see what was changed, what was removed, what was added, and why. A Kenpo CVS, if you will.
 

IWishToLearn

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
969
Reaction score
4
Location
Salinas, CA
We are all anatomically the same, (which is the reason we should move the same to be effective), however we each possess unique physical geometry that will ultimately in time dictate physical capabilities, and later personal physical preferences.

So how does that relate to persons such as myself who are genetically...eh...gifted (?) with one leg longer than the other?
 

Mariachi Joe

Brown Belt
Joined
Oct 27, 2006
Messages
460
Reaction score
2
Location
Utah
GM Parker was constantly updating and evolving his art, so I don't think he would have a problem with his students doing like him after his passing
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
540
Location
NH
Heh. The title of the post is "Just a question", but it's a helluva good question.

I think the question itself has different meanings to different people.

One way to interpret the question is ...what did Mr. Parker teach...when? IMO, this is one of the foundations of some of the most fascinating (and controversial) discussions of Parker Kenpo.

From what I have read about Tracy Kenpo and SL-4, there are quite a few differences in not only the movements but in the teaching style. Yet both Mr. Tracy and Dr. Chapel studied under the same man. I sure as heck wouldn't want to face either one of them in a fight.

Another part of the question is...what kind of Kenpo am I really learning?

Many Kenpo schools teach Kenpo on the basis of maximising profits and ease of teaching. It is possible to teach Kenpo profitably and teach (one of the) way that Mr. Parker taught, however to be able to do so and earn a living takes a considerable amount of business acumen. Not everyone can pull it off. The ones that don't, dilute their brand, thus creating a kid-friendly type of Kenpo that eventually leaks in to the adult classes as well. And therefore...what is being taught isn't Kenpo the way Ed Parker did it, it's Kenpo the way the Soccer Moms want it. The two are not usually one and the same.
 

IWishToLearn

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
969
Reaction score
4
Location
Salinas, CA
From what I have read about Tracy Kenpo and SL-4, there are quite a few differences in not only the movements but in the teaching style. Yet both Mr. Tracy and Dr. Chapel studied under the same man. I sure as heck wouldn't want to face either one of them in a fight.

I dunno bout that. I'm willing to lay a bet I can outrun either of them. :p Cept maybe if Doc pulls out his "10th Degree"...with the silencer...
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
540
Location
NH
I dunno bout that. I'm willing to lay a bet I can outrun either of them. :p Cept maybe if Doc pulls out his "10th Degree"...with the silencer...

Oh now if that's in play, then that's a different ball game, eh Doc? ;)

Hmmm...why do I have "Home, home on the range..." running through my head? :D
 

MJS

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
30,187
Reaction score
427
Location
Cromwell,CT
I am getting a vibe from a few people in the forum regarding other people who teach Parker Kenpo. I get the idea that people don't believe other peoples version of Kenpo is as legitimate as theirs. Ed Parker died 16 years ago. Should Kenpo be preserved and taught as it was by Ed Parker or should it be developed and added to (from what Mr Parker was teaching at the time of his death) as Jeff Speakman has with Kenpo 5.0 (something he asserts is the direction Mr Parker was heading before he died) or with the sub level 4 as the Doc has done (and also suggests this was the area Mr Parker was heading)? Is kenpo an ever developing art or one that is more similar in nature to the asian arts?

Cheers
Sam:asian:

I have to agree with KenpoDave and his comment. Many times, and I was guilty of it too, people are too quick to judge something, saying that something is lacking, should be added, etc., because its not there. However, its important to have someone who can show you, someone who really understands the system, that perhaps it really is in there, but we just may be missing it.

Now, if we look at two people, who seem to have made some changes...Jeff Speakman and Paul Mills. I have not trained under either of these men, but its obvious they made some changes, Jeff with this Kenpo 5.0 and Paul with the revamping of some material. Now, should we say that they don't understand the art, so thats why they made the change?

If we were to look at any of the top Kenpoists out there, I'm sure we'd see variations. Everyone is adding their own thing to their version. Again, does this mean that they made a change because they didn't understand.

Mike
 

Old Fat Kenpoka

Master Black Belt
Joined
May 20, 2003
Messages
1,045
Reaction score
39
Location
Silicon Valley, CA
I am getting a vibe from a few people in the forum regarding other people who teach Parker Kenpo. I get the idea that people don't believe other peoples version of Kenpo is as legitimate as theirs. Ed Parker died 16 years ago. Should Kenpo be preserved and taught as it was by Ed Parker or should it be developed and added to (from what Mr Parker was teaching at the time of his death) as Jeff Speakman has with Kenpo 5.0 (something he asserts is the direction Mr Parker was heading before he died) or with the sub level 4 as the Doc has done (and also suggests this was the area Mr Parker was heading)? Is kenpo an ever developing art or one that is more similar in nature to the asian arts?

Cheers
Sam:asian:

May I suggest you study this classic thread:

http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8597
 

hongkongfooey

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 7, 2005
Messages
625
Reaction score
19
GM Parker was constantly updating and evolving his art, so I don't think he would have a problem with his students doing like him after his passing



Maybe. When Ed Parker changed the system, he didn't change the principles and concepts. You have people out there today that don't understand the core system, making changes. Yes, Ed Parker said he wanted his system to update with the times. I believe that he also said "Kenpo never changes, it continually refines itself", I am pretty sure that he wouldn't have completely gutted the system like some are proposing.

Many of Ed Parker's changes to the system were basically in the form of adding more material to the belt ranks. Lets not forget that he was a business man with a large family to support. In the early days of American Kenpo, you learned the techniques, 32 extensions, A few sets, and forms up to 6 by black belt.

Today, you have what, 72 extensions and scores of multiple sets, that in the opinion of some of the older guys, add nothing to the system. Many consider it filler material. When you add in that Ed Parker made a career out of Kenpo, and that he had a large family to support, extra material would mean students would stay around longer. Long term students meant that the schools stayed open and made it possible to pay the bills.

It's funny, the old guys who learned bare bones Kenpo were tough and could defend themselves. Today, too many people can spout off theory until the cows come home, but can't break out of the ideal phase. Kind of makes you wonder.

I know this won't be popular with some people, but so be it. If people want to change Kenpo, then change the way that it is being taught and practiced. Make it have some meaning. Just going through the motions to accumulate rank, isn't doing Ed Parker any justice.
 

IWishToLearn

3rd Black Belt
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
969
Reaction score
4
Location
Salinas, CA
It's funny, the old guys who learned bare bones Kenpo were tough and could defend themselves. Today, too many people can spout off theory until the cows come home, but can't break out of the ideal phase. Kind of makes you wonder.

Not that I'm in any way part of that crowd...but that's not the first time I've heard that.
 
Top