Kenpo and Boxing

MJS

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In another thread in this section, I had asked what 5 things people would change in Kenpo, if they could. One member, Handsword, suggesting more realistic strikes/combos, such as we'd see with a boxer.

So, here is my question: Do you feel that Kenpoists would benefit from boxing training? This could range from actually crosstraining with a boxer, and considering that MMA is very popular, training to deal with the types of punches, combos, etc., that are typical of a boxer.
 

Blindside

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No, I don't think boxing training should be required or necessary.

However, training like a boxer, focusing on a relatively few number of tools, training the hell out of the combos, and then using them in not very rules restricted sparring would help out many kenpoists.

When one of the first things a kenpoist learns is 29 different ways to poke, prod, gouge, and claw, its a bit odd that the common delivery sytems (thrust, slash, whip) is not emphasized.
 

Hand Sword

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To answer the question: I think a Kenpoist would benefit from Boxing training. Boxers do train ruggedly. A lot of Martial Artists would gain a lot physically. Also, since the 1 big punch is covered well by the systems already, why not learn to deal with the best strikers there are? Once you can handle them, you're all set. And the best way to deal with them is to know what they do. That's only accomplished by working with them. In addition, in security, I've noticed the "tough guys" nowadays. With the MMA rage, many try to do their stuff, or street box, when fighting. If self defense is a priority, you have to at least match their skill level. Training in it would ensure that.

On the side, what I listed was about just being truly functional. Many techniques are said to be just ideas, and unlikely to be pulled off completely as practiced. Well, Boxers can pull off their stuff completely, so why not piece our material more logically like they do and practice that as "free styling?" If they practice each punch separately, then combo up and we practice each, why not use our plethora of tech's and combo up properly?
 

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I agree with Blindside. While I enjoy boxing and think it is a useful add-on to most martial skill sets, Kenpo doesn't need it. What Kenpo-ists do need is lots of repetition with the basic skills of their system, the same way boxers train. Hundreds of reps of the basics, including strikes against resistance, and then drills to ingrain the applications against a live partner with progressive resistance and increasingly complex scenarios.

Memorizing movement is not doing Kenpo. Quantity cannot replace quality in training, but there is no substitute for quantity.

Joel
 

Hand Sword

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Funny thing about needing it: The Kem/npo systems had it in their initial makeup. That's what was encountered more in the rough environments that gave birth to the Kem/npo family. Streetfighters boxed in those areas.
 
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MJS

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Heres something interesting...If we look at Kajukenbo, isnt the "BO" boxing? IIRC, from reading John Bishops book, the strikes thrown during SD techs., are done like a boxer would throw them, vs. doing the usual step thru, that we see in many Ken/mpo systems today.

Contact: Boxing involves lots of contact, with the students taking and giving hard shots. Given the fragile nature of some of the people today that we see in class, will they be capable of taking a hard hit and being able to continue? I also mentioned the popularity of MMA, which does involve boxing, and seeing that its popular, its very possible that the person we're facing, could have that experience. Its really no different, IMO, than someone training grappling, to better prep. themselves, should they end up on the ground.

So, all that said, my sparring is more boxing oriented, as is my footwork. Interestingly enough, I was viewing some Kaju clips, in which there was some sparring during a BB test. Oddly enough, the punching looked alot like boxing to me. :)
 

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From one of my recent postings on KenpoTalk:

While boxing has strong attributes for a street encounter, it also has some trained and engrained bad ones as well. They are very well trained to deal with punches to the upper body, and take the punishment associated with it as well. They don't so much as "block," but "cover" because of their training which leaves them instinctually deficient in dealing with other street assaults.

I briefly operated a school across from the gym of a world ranked middleweight boxer. He had a great gym, and it was always very busy. One afternoon he came over and introduced himself to me. He said he was running out of floor space, and wanted to trade for some mat time for some of his people to skip rope, shadow box, and focus pad train in the afternoons.
I said, "What do you want to trade?"
He said, "Suppose I give you some free boxing lessons. You know who I am, right?" I said, "Yes sir I do, you probably don't remember but we talked a few times when you've come over to watch what we were doing. But anyway, I don't really need any boxing lessons."
He said, "Comon, everybody knows you karate guys need to learn how to fight."
I then said, "Well unfortunately, I actually have to agree with you for the most part, but I'm not one of THOSE guys."
He said, "Really? Let me see your jab." I shot a couple of stiff jabs at him, and he seemed impressed.
He said, "Are you sure you never boxed before?
"Real sure." I replied. I then said, "The bad thing about boxing is its limitations."
He said, "What do you mean?"
I replied, "There is more that boxing doesn't prepare you for, than what it does in a street fight."
He then went on and told me how there wasn't anything that he could think of that boxing didn't prepare him for in a fight. While he was railing on about the virtues of boxing for self defense, I casually looker over his shoulder behind him and said to him, "Hey, is that guy with you?" When he turned his head to look, I grabbed him with a shoulder/head lock and took him to the ground.
"Hey man, what are you doing?" he exclaimed.
I said, "Carlos, can you box your way out of this?"
He was quiet for a few moments as he struggle, tugged, and pulled against the lock. Finally he said, "You may have a point there. I never thought of it like that. You really got me."
We got up from the floor and we laughed a bit, and he gave me a few more compliments on my jab again, and how I "probably wasn't like them other karate guys", and should probably come over to his place and take a few boxing lessons to get "even better." as he put it.
He then said he had to go meet his wife and that he would come back and discuss using the mat tomorrow.
I never saw him again.
Boxing is not bad, and anything that gets you in shape and prepares you for real combat contact can't be a negative in a fight, but there are major down sides as well. Mr. Parker who boxed, always said it really honed your ring skills, but ring skills are actually a very limited set of circumstances, and can be a negative. When a guy feints a cross so he can uppercut, your training will make you anticipate that action. The same feint on the street might be a set up for a kick, which you will not be prepared for, for example.

But the greatest argument I ever heard came from Mr. Parker and Bruce Lee who weighed in on the conversation about boxing. They both agreed, "Traditional karate training is not realistic enough, and boxing is too realistic." Mr. Parker took it further and told me a story. He said he had this guy who was challenged to a boxing match by a boxer, and he wanted to know how to train for it. Someone had suggested he go box for a month or so, to get ready. Mr. Parker disagreed. He said, "Your first mistake was agreeing to fight a guy his way. That is what he does, and he's been doing it for years. No way you're going to prepare in a month." Secondly, "For the average guy boxing training regularly doesn't make sense. Did you know most boxers never get hurt in the ring, and most of boxings significant injuries come from training for a fight?"

"Better to go and lose once, than get beat up everyday preparing to get beat up once." - Ed Parker

As a young man the significance of that statement didn't sink as deeply, as it did as the years started to flow by, so let me add my own quote.

"There is a fine line between training for a fight, and fighting as training. For the average guy when training becomes worse than the fight itself, it's time to find another way to train." - Dr. Chapél
 

Hand Sword

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MMA people aside, this argument (Boxing vs. MA) has gone on seemingly forever. Coming up in the city, I hard the arguments constantly between the 2 groups about how each could "eat the other for lunch." I was also fortunate to see the encounters frequently. Each had their share of victory. Those of you that say fighting them like them is foolish and detrimental--very true. You are not going to out specialize the specialists, just as they are not going to out MA you. Fighting success in a ring, cage, or street depends upon controlling the fight.

A point to consider though is boxing is a lot more than just covering up when attacked. There are many defensive strategies and movements that a MA'er can learn and benefit from. You might find yourself in it with some Boxers/MMA'ers/ or "pro" amateurs.

As for blocking being favored over covering, blocking as we know is too slow to deal with combos and flurries. Most advanced artists parry, slip, bob, weave, etc..., and these techniques are seen to some extent (more or less) in all of the systems. Having the specialists help you sharpen those skills that you use would be a benefit.

Training hard and punishment--well some schools still emphasize it (KajuKenbo). In the old days it was regular practice for all of the schools. I heard many attest to the brutality of the old workouts, where "workouts don't end 'ti there's blood on the floor." I understand how economics have changed all of that though. Which is another concern. The atmospheres are very different for both camps. In a comparison of strictly fighting, boxers will have an edge over the average Martial artist, who trains for an hour or less 2 or 3 times a week. Another thing to keep in mind is that both groups had a great amount of the "alpha males" in them who were already "fighters" that trained. Boxers and MMA have those personality types, TMA has a lot less overall.

Let's not isolate ourselves from the fact that Boxing played and plays apart of what we do. If they (MMA people too) are becoming more frequent now the arts have to update themselves to the bigger threat of trained or knowledgeable than a "one swing drunkard." Looking at the MMA world, it too adapted where the "Mixed" guys now rule because the "specialists" were not good enough alone. Grapplers learned to strike prominently, strikers learned to grapple effectively.
 

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MMA people aside, this argument (Boxing vs. MA) has gone on seemingly forever. Coming up in the city, I hard the arguments constantly between the 2 groups about how each could "eat the other for lunch." I was also fortunate to see the encounters frequently. Each had their share of victory. Those of you that say fighting them like them is foolish and detrimental--very true. You are not going to out specialize the specialists, just as they are not going to out MA you. Fighting success in a ring, cage, or street depends upon controlling the fight.

A point to consider though is boxing is a lot more than just covering up when attacked. There are many defensive strategies and movements that a MA'er can learn and benefit from. You might find yourself in it with some Boxers/MMA'ers/ or "pro" amateurs.

As for blocking being favored over covering, blocking as we know is too slow to deal with combos and flurries. Most advanced artists parry, slip, bob, weave, etc..., and these techniques are seen to some extent (more or less) in all of the systems. Having the specialists help you sharpen those skills that you use would be a benefit.

Training hard and punishment--well some schools still emphasize it (KajuKenbo). In the old days it was regular practice for all of the schools. I heard many attest to the brutality of the old workouts, where "workouts don't end 'ti there's blood on the floor." I understand how economics have changed all of that though. Which is another concern. The atmospheres are very different for both camps. In a comparison of strictly fighting, boxers will have an edge over the average Martial artist, who trains for an hour or less 2 or 3 times a week. Another thing to keep in mind is that both groups had a great amount of the "alpha males" in them who were already "fighters" that trained. Boxers and MMA have those personality types, TMA has a lot less overall.

Let's not isolate ourselves from the fact that Boxing played and plays apart of what we do. If they (MMA people too) are becoming more frequent now the arts have to update themselves to the bigger threat of trained or knowledgeable than a "one swing drunkard." Looking at the MMA world, it too adapted where the "Mixed" guys now rule because the "specialists" were not good enough alone. Grapplers learned to strike prominently, strikers learned to grapple effectively.

Not THE arts, SOME arts.
 

Hand Sword

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Agreed sir! Thank you for pointing that out. Sometimes I do go on and it seems all encompassing. I do mean some to maybe most now a days and definitely not all or all practitioners. :asian:

On a side note: Would it be possible to link this conversation into the Boxing MMA forums? I would love their take on this and reasoning. (It always made for great discussions back in the day LOL!)
 

Doc

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Agreed sir! Thank you for pointing that out. Sometimes I do go on and it seems all encompassing. I do mean some to maybe most now a days and definitely not all or all practitioners. :asian:

On a side note: Would it be possible to link this conversation into the Boxing MMA forums? I would love their take on this and reasoning. (It always made for great discussions back in the day LOL!)
We all do it. I have to constantly remind myself. :)
 

MattJ

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While boxing has strong attributes for a street encounter, it also has some trained and engrained bad ones as well. They are very well trained to deal with punches to the upper body, and take the punishment associated with it as well. They don't so much as "block," but "cover" because of their training which leaves them instinctually deficient in dealing with other street assaults.

That is not a very accurate take on boxing defense. A lot of their defense uses head/body movement and footwork to carry them out of the way, both of which are useful skills for SD.

I know for a fact that the vast majority of kenpo people would benefit from some boxing training.

Boxing is not bad, and anything that gets you in shape and prepares you for real combat contact can't be a negative in a fight, but there are major down sides as well. Mr. Parker who boxed, always said it really honed your ring skills, but ring skills are actually a very limited set of circumstances, and can be a negative. When a guy feints a cross so he can uppercut, your training will make you anticipate that action. The same feint on the street might be a set up for a kick, which you will not be prepared for, for example.

This is a fair critique, and why I'm actually more in favor of integrating MMA-style training in to kenpo. Most of the benefits of boxing, and much less restrictive.
 
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MJS

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That is not a very accurate take on boxing defense. A lot of their defense uses head/body movement and footwork to carry them out of the way, both of which are useful skills for SD.

Agreed. Not related to this, but in addition to the boxing footwork/movement, I include some of the FMA training as well, ie: mainly the footwork. :)

I know for a fact that the vast majority of kenpo people would benefit from some boxing training.

Agreed. Personally, since I've been working with my new Kenpo teacher, I've felt that my punching ability has drastically improved. :)



This is a fair critique, and why I'm actually more in favor of integrating MMA-style training in to kenpo. Most of the benefits of boxing, and much less restrictive.

3 for 3 here. :D Agreed again. Just because we mention boxing, doesn't mean that we can't modify things, such as we see with MMA. They're adding a bunch of things, adapting as needed, etc. Actually, sometimes this is how I do my sparring. Good stuff. :)
 

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Training hard and punishment--well some schools still emphasize it (KajuKenbo). In the old days it was regular practice for all of the schools. I heard many attest to the brutality of the old workouts, where "workouts don't end 'ti there's blood on the floor."

let's also consider how many of these folks, who started in the rough and punishing schools of the 1950s and 1960s, who are now in their 60s and 70s, and have all manner of injuries and ailments stemming from those training methods.

You can train hard, and some level of conditioning and punishment can be appropriate and useful if done intelligently. But it's easy to remember the "good old days" when we all bled and broke our bones, without looking at what it leads to down the road. Some of those methods were really stupid, but people don't realize it until it's too late and the damage is done.
 

Hand Sword

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Understood. But understand too that doesn't apply to all of the old practitioners. For every one that is like that, there is one who isn't. It's the same for anything. Kenpo people today with less extreme training now get serious injuries too that will be emphasized in their later years. Maybe more so than Boxers, as more is practiced and increases the likelihood. My point was simply that is OK to put in good workouts like boxers do and that adapting their way would be beneficial. (As it applied to the op's question)
 

Flying Crane

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Understood. But understand too that doesn't apply to all of the old practitioners. For every one that is like that, there is one who isn't. It's the same for anything. Kenpo people today with less extreme training now get serious injuries too that will be emphasized in their later years. Maybe more so than Boxers, as more is practiced and increases the likelihood. My point was simply that is OK to put in good workouts like boxers do and that adapting their way would be beneficial. (As it applied to the op's question)

I agree, so long as it is done intelligently and thoughtfully.
 

Doc

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That is not a very accurate take on boxing defense. A lot of their defense uses head/body movement and footwork to carry them out of the way, both of which are useful skills for SD.
Actually it is very accurate. I never said it was all encompassing, but the statement is quite accurate. I grew up in an era when Western Boxing was considered the primary self-defense vehicle, before the martial arts explosion, when there were boxing gyms everywhere and it was even a apart of boys high school gym. I am quite knowledgeable in Western Boxing as was my teacher who boxed extensively before abandoning many of its elements. I "boxed" in high school, however I do not personally consider this experience as true competitive boxing. Everyone in my class boxed.
I know for a fact that the vast majority of kenpo people would benefit from some boxing training.
NO, what you know for a fact is that YOU BELIEVE that the vast majority would benefit from some boxing training. You have no way of quantifying in actuality the statement, however I too believe as you do that most would benefit. I never disagreed, but only pointed out some documented serious considerations that were shared by my teacher, Bruce Lee, and a great many other people as well.

But consider what is now called MMA has been around for centuries, and western boxing for at least a couple of hundred years. It is only because of the popularized televised sporting aspect that we are even having this conversation. It was no different when I was growing up, which included Western Wrestling which was as MMA is today, in the mix as well.

People have always had a choice, and gravitated to what they wanted for various reasons, many that go beyond kicking someones butt. But the vast majority of the greats that I grew up with and learned from all had elements of what some would call "boxing" as a part of their routine training, without having to become boxers. Also just as interesting is, almost all of them had boxed for a period in their own development. Also consider western boxing came from eastern boxing, which has many of the training elements present in the modern version of western boxing and more, before there existed western boxing rules designed to make it civilized and tame in comparison.

So the blending of "boxing" with other martial arts is not new and the good ones have never considered it an "either or" proposition, incorporating what many of the youngster call boxing and mma already in their art. They always had balance in what they did, and in fact that is what Mr. Parker and Bruce Lee were alluding to. Bruce Lee incorporated it and Mr. Parker has elements of Chinese and Western Boxing even in his commercial version of Kenpo Karate. It's already "in there," and any deficiency of "kenpo" is one the teachers. The key was and has always been about "balance."

It is only some of the youngsters who have this "warrior mentality" in todays society, where getting beat up in training is a euphemistic badge of courage. Today many have to go to work the next day and can't afford to get hurt recreationally, or do anything that might affect their ability to pay their mortgage, or their children's tuition, or even how they look at their job. Yeah I was young and dumb too. I did the whole "tough guy" thing, broke boards, etc all while growing up seeking and exerting my manhood, as did my teacher. Fortunately, he stopped me from doing it as long as he did.

We need to cease making blanket statements about what "kenpo" has or has not, and begin an examination of what we as individuals choose to do, and stop painting what we have been taught with the broad brush of everyone else's "kenpo" experience sir. On any giving night peeking at my people, you just might think they were western boxing, or maybe it just looks like it. It happens the roots of my training and teaching, predates "western boxing."
 

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Doc -

Actually it is very accurate. I never said it was all encompassing, but the statement is quite accurate.

Below is what you said:

They don't so much as "block," but "cover" because of their training which leaves them instinctually deficient in dealing with other street assaults.

I was only going by what you wrote, which seemed to imply that covering was the only or majority defense that boxers use, which would be inaccurate, or misleading at best. As I pointed out, boxing footwork and movement is SD useful.

I grew up in an era when Western Boxing was considered the primary self-defense vehicle, before the martial arts explosion, when there were boxing gyms everywhere and it was even a apart of boys high school gym. I am quite knowledgeable in Western Boxing as was my teacher who boxed extensively before abandoning many of its elements. I "boxed" in high school, however I do not personally consider this experience as true competitive boxing. Everyone in my class boxed.

Fair enough, I'm sure you are vastly more experienced than I. :)

NO, what you know for a fact is that YOU BELIEVE that the vast majority would benefit from some boxing training. You have no way of quantifying in actuality the statement, however I too believe as you do that most would benefit. I never disagreed, but only pointed out some documented serious considerations that were shared by my teacher, Bruce Lee, and a great many other people as well.

Heh, good catch. I should have said 'vast majority I have seen' or something - although there is no question about that much. I stand corrected.

It's already "in there," and any deficiency of "kenpo" is one the teachers.

There have been a lot of deficient teachers, which goes back to my original point. :(

Luckily, that seems to be changing now. :)

I assume the rest of your post was a general statement, and not directed at me, since it wasn't about anything I addressed?
 

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The Western Boxing type of training, in my opinon, can be very good for most of todays martial artist. It adds a way of training that many western martial arts have stopped doing. I did it for 10 years and I am still doing kickboxing, (since 68).
Strong points,
*various types of "motion" bag training,
*various static bag training,
*in close interaction drills,
*learning, like chess, to control floor positioning,
*proper strenght training,
*etc.
Weak points,
*follows various sport type of rules,
*trains "waist up" tactics,
*trains using only "the front" type of tactics,
*limited footwork,
*used for 1 vs 1 tactics.
As for the contact part that would be up to the schools instructor and the type of system.
Adding proven fighting training to any system can't hurt.
Just my opinon and past observations.
Al C. :boxing:
 
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Thesemindz

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I guess I didn't think there were that many kenpo schools where the students didn't learn to box.

I mean, we didn't practice full on boxing matches, or focus on it exclusively, but we spent a fair amount of time doing boxing drills and striking combinations. And boxing style sparring. Just like we spent a fair amount of time practicing kicking drills, and kicking combinations, and sparring only with our legs.

Is it really that unusual for kenpoists to do anything besides techniques?


-Rob
 
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