Kenpo Forms

MJS

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QUOTE=MJS;962071]Sure, lets continue the discussion. :) Question for you. In this post, you said,

"I get your eliminated forms from kenpo I just think kenpo needs better forms, forms that challenge you both mentally and physically."point flying crane but to tell you the truth I dont want to

Could you go into more detail on this please? What exactly would you change and why?

Mike

Personally I believe there is something lacking in kenpo. I believe that most kenpo individuals, due to a lack of well structured martial arts, key word art, arent very good with their legs. Sure their they are good with their legs but no where near as efficient as their arms or most tae kwon do individuals.

However as a defensive system kenpo is complete. It has a large encyclopedia of movements, mostly, depending whether it is tracy or parker system, it concentrates on efficient moves to defends ones life.

But back to the important point as an art most of its forms, in my opinion lack leg conditioning and cardio. The upper body gets somewhat of a workout but the lower doesnt.

My solution to this problem is to exchange the kenpo forms for forms that would serve its purpose. What I mean by this is that KM or BJJ dont have forms, using that as a basis, defensive system dont need forms. KM or BJJ isnt criticized as a defensive system or lacks efficiency or usefulness due to not having forms.

Now seeing KM and BJJ in a artistic manner we could say that they do lack an aesthetic value which forms would fill. Seeing forms in this matter leads me to replace most kenpo forms with forms with excellent aesthetic value and whole body conditioning specifically targeting the lower body.
My recommendation would be to include kung fu forms into kenpo, specifically northern forms, since they concentrate more on legs than they do arms.

I know for many tracy kenpoist or kenpoista, whatever, this isnt news. Tracy schools have Tiger & Crane, Panther (book set) and 18 hand set.

The first two forms are Hung gar like forms which is a southern kung fu style that primarily focus on their upper body rather than their lower. I say like because they are kenpo versions of the original hung gar forms. The third form is self-explanatory

The only other Kung fu form that is worth bringing up is tracys tan tui, which is a severly bastardized excuse to its counterpart. Some of the movements are their but most of them have been so altered that they have lost all original applications and all basic conditioning. I say basic conditioning because while many kung fu schools teach tan tui as their first form kenpo teaches it as a black belt form.

I enjoy learning and teaching an art, so if I were to open my school I would teach kung fu forms. But if I was interested in teaching a defensive system then I would teach techniques w/o forms

MJS I hope this answers your question I could go into more detail I just didn't want to write too much.[/quote]


Thanks for your reply. From what I've seen in Kenpo, the kicks were never really high. I don't recall ever hearing about or seeing Parker throw a jumping or head high kick. Usually the joke is, "Sure, I can kick someone in the head....once I kick them in the groin to bring their head down." :) Did or could he throw them? Don't know, as I, unfortunately, never met the man, so I can only go on what I've heard and see of him on clips. Now, nothing wrong with high kicks. I've thrown them in sparring, and I'm sure if someone was really good with them, they can be thrown to the head in RL with success. But for me, considering I have a bunch of targets chest height and lower, why worry about trying to hit the head?

As far as the lower body (leg) workout goes...I attribute this to when people say that they're in the arts to lose weight. Sure, training does help, but again, for me, that is not my goal. I have the gym for that. I can do a wide variety of leg conditioning exercises, both with and without weights, so I don't need a form or kata for that.
 

Flying Crane

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OK, I've had a bit of time to sleep on this and ponder a bit, let's see what I can come up with...

QUOTE=MJS;962071]
Personally I believe there is something lacking in kenpo. I believe that most kenpo individuals, due to a lack of well structured martial arts, key word art, aren’t very good with their legs. Sure their they are good with their legs but no where near as efficient as their arms or most tae kwon do individuals.

ok, by "good with their legs" are you referring to kicks, footwork, both, or something else?

Kenpo has very effective footwork. It's not fancy like capoeira or some kung fu systems, but it's definitely more complex than other kung fu systems like wing chun. I think it's just effective and targeted. Nothing unnecessarily fancy. The footwork fits the purpose of the art: self defense.

As far as kicking goes, I think I systematically learned kicking better in kenpo, than I did when I trained capoeira, which is an art with a heavy focus on kicking. My kenpo background definitely gave me an edge in learning capoeira in this regard. I already knew how to kick well, and I could adapt what I knew to fit within the capoeira method as well. So I guess from my own experience, I think kenpo has a very full range of kicking techniques. It's just how much you choose to focus on it and develop those skills for yourself.

However as a defensive system kenpo is complete. It has a large encyclopedia of movements, mostly, depending whether it is tracy or parker system, it concentrates on efficient moves to defends one’s life.

agreed. And the body of self defense techniques found in most kenpo lineages gives plenty of good material to work with and be a very effective method of self defense. I believe that even if the technique lists were reduced by 50%, maybe even more, there would still be plenty there to meet the needs of most anyone, as long as the reduction was well thought out. Not everyone has the insight to make the right choices, however.

But back to the important point as an art most of it’s forms, in my opinion lack leg conditioning and cardio. The upper body gets somewhat of a workout but the lower doesn’t.

My solution to this problem is to exchange the kenpo forms for forms that would serve its purpose. What I mean by this is that KM or BJJ don’t have forms, using that as a basis, defensive system don’t need forms. KM or BJJ isn’t criticized as a defensive system or lacks efficiency or usefulness due to not having forms.

Now seeing KM and BJJ in a artistic manner we could say that they do lack an aesthetic value which forms would fill. Seeing forms in this matter leads me to replace most kenpo forms with forms with excellent aesthetic value and whole body conditioning specifically targeting the lower body.
My recommendation would be to include kung fu forms into kenpo, specifically northern forms, since they concentrate more on legs than they do arms.

OK, first off, I agree in that forms are not a requirement for a method to be good self defense. KM and BJJ are arguably valid examples, and I do believe that if you removed the forms from kenpo, focused only on solid basics and the techniques, you could develop very good self defense skills. I think you would be missing out on something by eliminating forms, but I can agree that forms in kenpo may not be absolutely critical in developing self defense skills.

Now, laying that idea aside for a moment, I think you need to decide what you want the forms for. You have mentioned aesthetic purposes, as well as conditioning. I will agree in so far that in my experiences with the Chinese arts, which includes Tibetan White Crane, elements of Shaolin Lohan, Wing Chun, and Taiji Chuan, I will say that in general, the Chinese forms do offer a greater degree of conditioning, as well as are generally more beautiful in a physical way.

But I think you need to decide if these elements are appropriate or necessary in kenpo, given what kenpo generally claims to be: a very effective method of self defense. So aesthetic value isn't necessary in forms, if you don't want to compete with them. All that matters is that the techniques found within the forms are effective, and often that means they are ugly and not interesting or beautiful from the viewpoint of a spectator. If you haven't seen them yet, take a look a the forms in Wing Chun. There is nothing pretty about that system. It's got this ugly squatty stance, these cramped in movements, it's ugly all the way around. But it's got some terrifically effective methods and techniques, and that's what matters to people who do Wing Chun. They don't care about pretty, because that's not the goal.

I will agree that conditioning is important. That's my opinion, at least. The White Crane and Lohan forms I practice are far more challenging in an aerobic way, than any of the kenpo forms, and they help maintain that kind of fitness. I think that would be great if it was found more in kenpo. However, you can get that in kenpo by working thru all the forms repeatedly, and in rapid succession. I guess it's in how you train the material. Aerobic conditioning can be there, if you choose to train for that.

Now, it's important to be careful about what kind of forms you might mix into a system. Often, different systems are built upon a foundation that can be at odds with another system. The techniques and methods are designed to work from that foundation, and they work very well in that way. But if you mix techniques and try to build them on top of a different foundation, they often fail miserably because then you are trying to use them in a way that they were never designed for. I know that the foundation of kenpo, wing chun, white crane, and capoeira are all VASTLY different. Trying to throw even the basic punches of White Crane from a kenpo or wing chun foundation will make them pathetically useless, etc. So there is more to it than simply introducing forms from other systems. In order to do so, you really need to build the foundation of that system first, before you can accurately teach and practice those forms. So in the middle of training your kenpo, you suddenly need to retool, start over to build the foundation of White Crane, for example, and then learn the White Crane forms. But the two don't really mix well, because in addition to their foundations being different, their entire approach to combat is also very different. This is why I always advise that if you want to train more than one system, do not blend them in training. Always keep them separate from each other so that you get the benefits of what they have to offer for what they are.

I believe this is also why the Chinese forms that have been borrowed into Tracy kenpo, like Tiger/Crane, Panther, Tam Tui, and 18 Hands, have been "kenpo-ized". The foundation of the parent arts where these forms came from is different from kenpo. So in borrowing these forms, they did need to be adapted in order to be workable within the kenpo system. Otherwise we would have this problem of virtually trying to change from one style to another, mid-stride, and trying to make it all "kenpo" when it doesn't properly fit together.

I know for many tracy kenpoist or kenpoista, whatever, this isn’t news. Tracy schools have “Tiger & Crane”, “Panther (book set)” and “18 hand set”.

The first two forms are Hung gar “like” forms which is a southern kung fu style that primarily focus on their upper body rather than their lower. I say “like” because they are kenpo versions of the original hung gar forms. The third form is self-explanatory

The only other Kung fu form that is worth bringing up is tracy’s tan tui, which is a severly bastardized excuse to it’s counterpart. Some of the movements are their but most of them have been so altered that they have lost all original applications and all basic conditioning. I say basic conditioning because while many kung fu schools teach tan tui as their first form kenpo teaches it as a black belt form.

I've partially addressed this issue above, but have a couple more things to say.

Some forms, like Tiger/Crane, have become very popular and have been adopted by several different arts and schools, outside of the parent art (hung gar, in this case). This form has been recognized as being an extremely well structured and thought-out form, with really solid technique and training methods. So people have taken it and made it their own. This form exists in many different versions, often differences even exist from one hung gar school to the next, and it's even more extreme when looking at versions that exist outside of hung gar. Some versions are so different as to seem like it may be a completely different form. Only certain segments seem similar, and the entire choreography of the form has been altered.

This doesn't make it necessarily wrong. It's just been adopted and changed. Sure, it's different from the original. Maybe in some cases that's a bad thing, but in others it's still good. So this is just the reality of what often happens in the martial arts, material gets borrowed. Sometimes it's appropriate, sometimes it's not. Sometimes the end result is good, sometimes it's terrible. But that is a big way in which systems change over the generations.

I practice a version of Tam Tui that I learned from my kung fu sifu, as well as the Tracy kenpo version. They are definitely different, but very clearly came from the same source. This is another form that has been widely adopted into many different arts, and numerous versions exist. The most obvious difference is the 12 Row Buddhist version and the 10 Row Islamic version. But even within these two generalities, there are variations. It can be tempting to believe there must be one original, master version that is absolutely "correct", but I think that is not true. These forms have travelled so much, and been changed so many times, that if there was a true original version, I believe it has been lost. So now we simply have different versions, and they ought to all have value in their own way.

I enjoy learning and teaching an art, so if I were to open my school I would teach kung fu forms. But if I was interested in teaching a defensive system then I would teach techniques w/o forms

You can do this, but keep in mind my points above, about different foundations. If you teach some kung fu in addition to kenpo, teach them as separate and distinct arts, and build the proper foundation. Do that for yourself, and for your students. Not every student is capable of doing this, so I expect you need to be careful about who learns what.

If you train several arts and then try to combine them, or somehow develop short cuts to condense the material, you may be successful for yourself with this method. But often this doesn't work well for your students, and they have difficulty progressing beyond mediocrity, even if the teacher himself is quite good. I believe this is because you had the benefit of studying the complete system(s) and developed a deeper understanding of them. Once you have this, you can find the shortcuts and condensations, and blendings that work. But you students don't get that benefit. They also would need to experience the complete system(s), before they would be ready to understand and utilize the shortcuts and blendings and whatnot. So keep that in mind, and don't short-change the students.
 
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tigdra

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MJS Your first point is absolutely noted. Lets say your wearing jeans and its been raining and you go to kick some guy in the head, splat, you hit the ground. I heard of your saying too, the one I heard was "if you want to kick his head, break his knee first" or "kicking his head is like punching his foot", But I also heard this one "if you can kick him with speed and power up here imagine how much faster and stronger you'll hit him down there".

Greater flexibility doesn't mean, wow I look cool, well maybe when your 6, but when your older flexibility equals a decreased probability of injury. Regardless of what height you kick you will always have 3 obstacles that hinder your speed and power.

1 Clothing: most loose fitting clothing would help your kicking and most tight fitting clothing would hinder your ability to even kick someone in the thigh

2 antagonistic muscles: When throwing a snap kick your quads contract, but a lack of flexibility in you gluts and hamstring would decrease the effectivness, speed and power of front kicks. The same holds true with the groin muscles in regards to side kicks.

3 weather: could or rainy weather obviously limit your ability to kick to your best potential, while warm weather would make it easier to kick.


The first and the last are easy wear clothing that will help you during a life and death situation and try not to get into a fight in lousy weather, but if you do be very careful of throwing crazy strikes both with your hands or feet.

The second one is a little more difficult; one must stretch to lower the probability of injury and to increase the power and speed of your strikes.

Your second statement I respect your thoughts. But again stating as said before seeing kenpo as an art and in such a way realizing that forms are aesthetic, then why not get the most out of a form and include movements that challenge you instead of remind you.
I well aware of the benefits of weight training, and you are absolutely right one should supplement their martial arts training with weight training. Although weight training is excellent the benefits of a challenging form are much more evident. Forms won’t just increase muscle size, they will increase muscle endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance. I am not degrading weight training I am acknowledging the benefits of a good form.

If I were just doing defense then I would severally encourage individuals to take up stretching, weight training, circuit training, running and body conditioning exercises.
If I were teaching defense plus a progressive challenging form structure then I would only suggest weight training to enhance one’s abilities.

So my thoughts stay they same if I wanted to put forms into a system then I would want it to be of more use than just aesthetic, and whatever more that may be I would want it to enhance my skills in a new way rather than a repetitive way, parker student really can identify with this due to the fact that parker acknowledge original kenpo as repetitive. Muscle confusion is a true concept and plateau effects do hinder individual’s results, progressive complex forms would fill this void by introducing new but more importantly awkward movements which would wake up new muscles. You don’t need forms for self defense and memory of a technique doesn’t ensure success. Your subconscious kicks in and movements that your body is comfortable doing happen. When you learn or teach techniques memorization of a technique isn’t enough repetition must be done to insure that you have programmed muscle memory. Repetition of this movements comes simply by doing your techniques over and over with and without a partner, variations to techniques are later experimented. The more knowledge you have the more you can search for alternatives to techniques.
 
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tigdra

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ok, by "good with their legs" are you referring to kicks, footwork, both, or something else?

Kenpo has very effective footwork. It's not fancy like capoeira or some kung fu systems, but it's definitely more complex than other kung fu systems like wing chun. I think it's just effective and targeted. Nothing unnecessarily fancy. The footwork fits the purpose of the art: self defense.

As far as kicking goes, I think I systematically learned kicking better in kenpo, than I did when I trained capoeira, which is an art with a heavy focus on kicking. My kenpo background definitely gave me an edge in learning capoeira in this regard. I already knew how to kick well, and I could adapt what I knew to fit within the capoeira method as well. So I guess from my own experience, I think kenpo has a very full range of kicking techniques. It's just how much you choose to focus on it and develop those skills for yourself.



agreed. And the body of self defense techniques found in most kenpo lineages gives plenty of good material to work with and be a very effective method of self defense. I believe that even if the technique lists were reduced by 50%, maybe even more, there would still be plenty there to meet the needs of most anyone, as long as the reduction was well thought out. Not everyone has the insight to make the right choices, however.



OK, first off, I agree in that forms are not a requirement for a method to be good self defense. KM and BJJ are arguably valid examples, and I do believe that if you removed the forms from kenpo, focused only on solid basics and the techniques, you could develop very good self defense skills. I think you would be missing out on something by eliminating forms, but I can agree that forms in kenpo may not be absolutely critical in developing self defense skills.

Now, laying that idea aside for a moment, I think you need to decide what you want the forms for. You have mentioned aesthetic purposes, as well as conditioning. I will agree in so far that in my experiences with the Chinese arts, which includes Tibetan White Crane, elements of Shaolin Lohan, Wing Chun, and Taiji Chuan, I will say that in general, the Chinese forms do offer a greater degree of conditioning, as well as are generally more beautiful in a physical way.

But I think you need to decide if these elements are appropriate or necessary in kenpo, given what kenpo generally claims to be: a very effective method of self defense. So aesthetic value isn't necessary in forms, if you don't want to compete with them. All that matters is that the techniques found within the forms are effective, and often that means they are ugly and not interesting or beautiful from the viewpoint of a spectator. If you haven't seen them yet, take a look a the forms in Wing Chun. There is nothing pretty about that system. It's got this ugly squatty stance, these cramped in movements, it's ugly all the way around. But it's got some terrifically effective methods and techniques, and that's what matters to people who do Wing Chun. They don't care about pretty, because that's not the goal.

I will agree that conditioning is important. That's my opinion, at least. The White Crane and Lohan forms I practice are far more challenging in an aerobic way, than any of the kenpo forms, and they help maintain that kind of fitness. I think that would be great if it was found more in kenpo. However, you can get that in kenpo by working thru all the forms repeatedly, and in rapid succession. I guess it's in how you train the material. Aerobic conditioning can be there, if you choose to train for that.

Now, it's important to be careful about what kind of forms you might mix into a system. Often, different systems are built upon a foundation that can be at odds with another system. The techniques and methods are designed to work from that foundation, and they work very well in that way. But if you mix techniques and try to build them on top of a different foundation, they often fail miserably because then you are trying to use them in a way that they were never designed for. I know that the foundation of kenpo, wing chun, white crane, and capoeira are all VASTLY different. Trying to throw even the basic punches of White Crane from a kenpo or wing chun foundation will make them pathetically useless, etc. So there is more to it than simply introducing forms from other systems. In order to do so, you really need to build the foundation of that system first, before you can accurately teach and practice those forms. So in the middle of training your kenpo, you suddenly need to retool, start over to build the foundation of White Crane, for example, and then learn the White Crane forms. But the two don't really mix well, because in addition to their foundations being different, their entire approach to combat is also very different. This is why I always advise that if you want to train more than one system, do not blend them in training. Always keep them separate from each other so that you get the benefits of what they have to offer for what they are.

I believe this is also why the Chinese forms that have been borrowed into Tracy kenpo, like Tiger/Crane, Panther, Tam Tui, and 18 Hands, have been "kenpo-ized". The foundation of the parent arts where these forms came from is different from kenpo. So in borrowing these forms, they did need to be adapted in order to be workable within the kenpo system. Otherwise we would have this problem of virtually trying to change from one style to another, mid-stride, and trying to make it all "kenpo" when it doesn't properly fit together.



I've partially addressed this issue above, but have a couple more things to say.

Some forms, like Tiger/Crane, have become very popular and have been adopted by several different arts and schools, outside of the parent art (hung gar, in this case). This form has been recognized as being an extremely well structured and thought-out form, with really solid technique and training methods. So people have taken it and made it their own. This form exists in many different versions, often differences even exist from one hung gar school to the next, and it's even more extreme when looking at versions that exist outside of hung gar. Some versions are so different as to seem like it may be a completely different form. Only certain segments seem similar, and the entire choreography of the form has been altered.

This doesn't make it necessarily wrong. It's just been adopted and changed. Sure, it's different from the original. Maybe in some cases that's a bad thing, but in others it's still good. So this is just the reality of what often happens in the martial arts, material gets borrowed. Sometimes it's appropriate, sometimes it's not. Sometimes the end result is good, sometimes it's terrible. But that is a big way in which systems change over the generations.

I practice a version of Tam Tui that I learned from my kung fu sifu, as well as the Tracy kenpo version. They are definitely different, but very clearly came from the same source. This is another form that has been widely adopted into many different arts, and numerous versions exist. The most obvious difference is the 12 Row Buddhist version and the 10 Row Islamic version. But even within these two generalities, there are variations. It can be tempting to believe there must be one original, master version that is absolutely "correct", but I think that is not true. These forms have travelled so much, and been changed so many times, that if there was a true original version, I believe it has been lost. So now we simply have different versions, and they ought to all have value in their own way.



You can do this, but keep in mind my points above, about different foundations. If you teach some kung fu in addition to kenpo, teach them as separate and distinct arts, and build the proper foundation. Do that for yourself, and for your students. Not every student is capable of doing this, so I expect you need to be careful about who learns what.

If you train several arts and then try to combine them, or somehow develop short cuts to condense the material, you may be successful for yourself with this method. But often this doesn't work well for your students, and they have difficulty progressing beyond mediocrity, even if the teacher himself is quite good. I believe this is because you had the benefit of studying the complete system(s) and developed a deeper understanding of them. Once you have this, you can find the shortcuts and condensations, and blendings that work. But you students don't get that benefit. They also would need to experience the complete system(s), before they would be ready to understand and utilize the shortcuts and blendings and whatnot. So keep that in mind, and don't short-change the students.


1. What I meant was efficiency, limberness, conditioning and agility in kicking. What I am trying to say is that a kenpoist can throw a flurry of punches, which in most cases, without breaking a sweat, getting sore and most importantly getting injured. Yet the same can’t be said with their legs, yes legs do take more energy away from you but tae kwon do individuals are able to pull this of *** efficiently as kenpo do their hands. Learning the punches and applying then at a point where one can say they have become proficient are totally different. It is very rare to see someone in kenpo proficient with their legs as well as they are with their legs. Again learning kicks doesn’t mean that you are performing them to the best possible extent. In regards to Capoeira I too did capoeira, so let me ask you, you state that you were proficient with your legs how long did it take your muscles to condition to the ever repetitive workout of jinga. Your muscles weren't so conditioned nor were the sole of your feet to the movements that capoeira and if you got into a intermediate state in capoeira how flexible was your back for macaco or ponte role. Capoeira is great and knowing kicks help but the all body flexibility response time and rebound spring action you get from capoeira is unlike many styles. If I could also teach what you learn in capoeira into kenpo I would. I enjoyed capoeira, and I still practice on my own for the great benefits but if I were to teach capoeira it would be in its own entity. But others have mixed it into their style such as some mma fighters from Brazil and some jujitsu schools such as quantum jujitsu.

2. Very true, only someone who really understands a system can do changes in it. Being a Black belt even an 8th degree doesn’t guarantee that you can alter subject matter. Learning about physics to becoming a physician is very far from each other.

3.You could get the same aerobic exercises once you have become proficient with your movements, and after by practicing for long periods of time and at a high intensity reaching closer to muscular pulls vs getting then same results by doing a complex form. It is like comparing speed walking to interval running. The benefits are so different yet your legs are going through similar motions.


4. I totally agree trying to blend a style with another is not wise but teaching someone two styles isn’t a problem. If you systematically categorize a style by the name of their movements then sure styles are different but if you categorize movements by stokes and positions then you can learn both styles. A bow stance in kenpo is completely different than one in kung fu, but the same way you learn a soft from a hard bow is the same way you learn a Chinese bow from a karate bow. We can further illustrate this point by looking at our techniques, consider this, regular blocks are considered more linear approaches to defending oneself but later on in kenpo we are exposed to scoop blocks and circular blocks like those in “waterfalling” (tracy kenpo). Interchanging styles isn’t difficult if you understand the reason, and understand that there is no one correct way of executing a defense or attack. Lets take wing chun for example, I believed you mentioned it’s punches, although executed in a different manner most of their punches are vertical. You mentioned their stances, the methods in which they execute their forms are for training purposes such as kenpo, their forms depict an encyclopedia of their movements. Without wing chun forms you could still learn wing chun it would just need a set technique structure, but back to their stances, their stances are used for their style of counter attacks in close ranges. Learning a different method of response and shifting from one style to the next isn’t hard. Bruce Lee as we all know did the same thing he would go from savate to boxing to wing chun to wrestling to grappling. Take this into account would you or do you point fight spar the same way you execute your techniques, and would that manner be the same if you were competing in sanshou (sanda) and again would your style change if you were grappling. Even better example would you spar a martial artist that is more like a boxer the same way you spar a tae kwon do individual? No, strategy and stances would change. For one individual you would adopt a more shallow stance and for the other you would have a deeper. The strokes and strategy would change to adapt to the circumstances. I know that if I am going to compete in sanshou I adopt more of a boxers stance along with a similar mentality yet if I am point sparring I get in a side stance to create a little more distance, the same is true when you are doing two different styles, they are just two different ways of executing a defense or attack, but they don’t need to collide, they can coexist together side by side and can become interchangeable at any desired moment as long as you know what you are teaching then your ok. In some techniques we learn to step to the outside and on another we learn to step on the inside. I have learned that in kenpo there is a constant “breaking of rules” as you progress you sometimes break the rules of prior belts and techniques.


5. In regards to “tiger and crane” I too acknowledge that it is good to branch out and borrow forms but one must be careful in altering it. It must make sense when you alter it and if something is altered then there must be a proper explanation to its change. Let take for example “tiger” section you just stood up from kneeling (crouching) you execute a couple of movements and you get to the section were you are stepping away from the front wall and elbowing, then you cross step away and elbow with the opposite arm. When explained this technique is just an elbow but if you look at the hung gar version you see that this isn’t an elbow but a movement designed to dislocate your opponent’s neck. In fact this precise technique is one of the ten fundamental techniques that wong fei hung was famous for and had altered the original form for. It is ok for aesthetic value to change a form’s movements but you loose a lot of important material when doing so. It reminds me of the story I believe I heard about Professor Chow. His older brother was taught the style while he was sent to do kung fu and he would spy on his brother and mimic the movements. I am sure that no matter how gifted you are a lot of details are going to be lost in the interpretation.


6.True there are different versions of tan tui but most of them alter by small amounts while still holding true to basic stances. The shaolin monks added the two extra lines and altered a few things but the alterations aren’t huge most lines look similar. If you take cha chuan’s version of tan tui and compare it to dr yang jwing ming’s version there are differences but their not that huge or compare them to the jingwu version and again the differences are minute. But kenpo has added new lines deleted some that almost everyone else does and some of the lines they do are so altered that it makes no sense. For example I believe it is line 4 or 6 where you hidden step and punch, the next movement should be a leg sweep stepping out of cross step towards the opponent and palming to the opposite wall yet kenpo teaches it to step away from the opponent nullifying the purpose of the movement.


7.Thank you for the tips, I have though this through as well and I have made adjustments and preparations to allow certain things. I know not everyone gets into martial arts for the whole experience and even though it would be great to see hundreds of students learning martial arts for both defense and art I am realistic and have created separate curriculums and certificates to indicate the purpose of their training and their ability to teach which type of material. See your going to get the parents that want their kids to get a black belt, and your going to get the one’s that want to defend themselves, but in rare cases you will get someone that wants to learn an art and a way of life those are the individuals that would receive all I have to offer while the the others receive exactly what they want.
 

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Since when is BJJ an example of a good self defense system? :p

well that is certainly a point that is debated, and I didn't feel like getting into the debate yet again, so I was simply willing to accept the statement and let it go. It's simply an example of a system that does not make use of kata in the way that many other arts do, and nobody would deny that the method is useful under the right circumstances.

It is a method that I believe can be useful in self defense, depending on the circumstances, and depending on what techniques are utilized. Not all of it needs to go straight to the ground. It's my understanding that there are stand-up techniques in BJJ that are more self-defense oriented. The sporting aspect of the art has overshadowed much of this, but I believe it does exist. I personally would never deliberately go to the ground in self-defense.

Anyway, I hope this doesn't turn into another debate over BJJ as a sport vs. self defense art.
 

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No I am tired of that debate as well :)

However I think it is no argument that MOST bjj schools train HEAVILY on the sport side. What % of bjj students sign up thinking "I really need to learn to defend myself" vs. "I want to learn to cage fight"

Not that one is better or worse, just different goals.

Maybe the opposite of kempo schools, where SD is primary and competition may also be done but not the core, and some don't do it at all.
 

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What % of bjj students sign up thinking "I really need to learn to defend myself" vs. "I want to learn to cage fight"

I think many people believe this is the same thing. There are overlapping skills, but it's not the same thing.
 

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1. What I meant was efficiency, limberness, conditioning and agility in kicking. What I am trying to say is that a kenpoist can throw a flurry of punches, which in most cases, without breaking a sweat, getting sore and most importantly getting injured. Yet the same cant be said with their legs, yes legs do take more energy away from you but tae kwon do individuals are able to pull this of *** efficiently as kenpo do their hands. Learning the punches and applying then at a point where one can say they have become proficient are totally different. It is very rare to see someone in kenpo proficient with their legs as well as they are with their legs. Again learning kicks doesnt mean that you are performing them to the best possible extent.


yet in my experience, the full range of kicks do exist in kenpo, and you can choose to develop them to a high level. That's where your own self-discipline and motivation come into the picture. If you want it, work on it and make it happen.

Not all arts focus heavily on kicks, and they do very well without them. Wing Chun is an example. Kicks are few, simple, and low. As a system, they feel that is plenty. Bagua is another method that doesn't focus heavily on kicks, but I've met some bagua people who are absolutely fierce. You simply do not want to mess with them. They are very very very good at what they are doing, kicks or no kicks. Different strokes for different folks...

In regards to Capoeira I too did capoeira, so let me ask you, you state that you were proficient with your legs how long did it take your muscles to condition to the ever repetitive workout of jinga. Your muscles weren't so conditioned nor were the sole of your feet to the movements that capoeira and if you got into a intermediate state in capoeira how flexible was your back for macaco or ponte role.


Of course. When you train one particular method, you develop strength, flexibility, and stamina that is fairly specific to that method. It doesn't necessarily transfer over into another method.

Example: In high school, my brother was a State level competitor in running. He competed successfully in Cross Country and Track and Field. Then, he decided to try competitive swimming. He was a competent swimmer, but had never trained to do it competitively. He figured, "hey, I can run for miles and miles, how tough could this swimming be?" Then he jumped into the pool on the first night, and thought he was gonna drown from exhaustion in the middle of the pool. His conditioning from running just didn't translate into swimming. He needed to develop specific strength and stamina for that sport. Ultimately, he competed at State level for swimming as well.

So my point is, whatever method you begin to train, you will need to develop strength and stamina for that method. What conditioning you have done before may, or may not, translate well into the new method.

When I was training capoeira like a maniac, I was in the best physical shape of my life. I don't do that much anymore, and I can tell, in my conditioning, altho I practice a lot of very demanding Chinese forms.

I enjoyed capoeira, and I still practice on my own for the great benefits but if I were to teach capoeira it would be in its own entity.


in my opinion, this is how it ought to be done.

But others have mixed it into their style such as some mma fighters from Brazil and some jujitsu schools such as quantum jujitsu.

I don't know much about mma fighters, I really don't pay much attention to them. But I suspect whatever they may have taken from capoeira is very little. Perhaps a few specific techniques. But many things just don't translate well if you try to do them outside of capoeira's base.

Sure, some of the techniques look cool, the XMA guys have taken a lot of the acrobatics, but that's a good example to examine. Those XMA guys throw that stuff out there for the "WOW" affect on the audience. They are, afterall, mainly interested in performance. But it's absolutely out of context and holds no purpose other than a visual affect. They are in the middle of their creative performance kata and then they throw a beija-flor, or an s-dobrado or macaco or something. They don't understand how the technique can actually be useful beyond the simple visual affect. And it looks forced and out of place as well, just a neat trick being done by a trained monkey.

But a capoeirista can use these same techniques within the roda to further develop the game and the flow and the physical dialogue, and often can even use them to escape attacks, and even utilize them as attacks themselves.

4. I totally agree trying to blend a style with another is not wise but teaching someone two styles isnt a problem.


again, I believe that in the teaching and the training of more than one system, the key is to simply keep them separate.

Learning a different method of response and shifting from one style to the next isnt hard. Bruce Lee as we all know did the same thing he would go from savate to boxing to wing chun to wrestling to grappling...

again, I agree, when it comes time to use it, you can switch as necessary to adapt to the circumstance. But it goes back to the training: keep them separate when you train, so you understand each art completely from foundation on up.

5. In regards to tiger and crane I too acknowledge that it is good to branch out and borrow forms but one must be careful in altering it. It must make sense when you alter it and if something is altered then there must be a proper explanation to its change...


I'm actually in the middle of learning the Tracy version of this form for the first time. I hadn't learned this the first time I went thru the system. I was taught a version that attempted to be closer to a hung gar version, but I ultimately decided it probably wasnt' taught well to me so I dumped it years later. Since I haven't finished learning the Tracy version, I won't be able to comment with many specifics here.

In fact this precise technique is one of the ten fundamental techniques that wong fei hung was famous for and had altered the original form for.


having never made a formal study of hung gar, I am not familiar with this, and did not know that Wong Fei-Hung was famous for ten specific techniques. I shall have to mention this to my sifu and see what he says. He is not a Hung Gar specialist, but he did study it at one time and he is quite knowledgeable about Chinese martial arts in general. At any rate, perhaps this is taught in any hung gar school? I would be interested in knowing your source of info here.

It is ok for aesthetic value to change a forms movements but you loose a lot of important material when doing so.


true, it can be a problem, if someone makes changes without really knowing what they are doing.

6.True there are different versions of tan tui but most of them alter by small amounts while still holding true to basic stances. The shaolin monks added the two extra lines and altered a few things but the alterations arent huge most lines look similar. If you take cha chuans version of tan tui and compare it to dr yang jwing mings version there are differences but their not that huge or compare them to the jingwu version and again the differences are minute. But kenpo has added new lines deleted some that almost everyone else does and some of the lines they do are so altered that it makes no sense. For example I believe it is line 4 or 6 where you hidden step and punch, the next movement should be a leg sweep stepping out of cross step towards the opponent and palming to the opposite wall yet kenpo teaches it to step away from the opponent nullifying the purpose of the movement.

I believe the stances for the most part are the same. I've learned the Jingwu version from my sifu, so that is the basis of my comparison. I was actually learning them at the same time, from two different instructors.

Yes, there are definitely differences between the two. They are both still new enough to me that I don't feel competent to comment much on application. I just view them as two versions of the same form, and I continue to practice both.

7.Thank you for the tips, I have though this through as well and I have made adjustments and preparations to allow certain things. I know not everyone gets into martial arts for the whole experience and even though it would be great to see hundreds of students learning martial arts for both defense and art I am realistic and have created separate curriculums and certificates to indicate the purpose of their training and their ability to teach which type of material. See your going to get the parents that want their kids to get a black belt, and your going to get the ones that want to defend themselves, but in rare cases you will get someone that wants to learn an art and a way of life those are the individuals that would receive all I have to offer while the the others receive exactly what they want.

I hear what you are saying, and like I said, I don't agree nor disagree 100% on any of it. I think you've raised some interesting points for discussion, things that I have certainly thought about myself.

The system is what it is, and I accept it for that. I don't expect it is perfect for everyone. Nothing is, and I don't apologize for it. I have my kung fu background as well, and that gives me satisfaction in ways that my kenpo doesn't, and vice-versa. Do with it what you will. After all, all of this stuff was just developed by people, not deities. They were not infallible and it's not sacred, and ultimately you need to make the material your own, so it is right for you.
 
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Yeah first I would like to apologize to everyone about the bjj as a defensive system it is a lousy example. I will come up with a better one. Kind of press for time so I will respond more later.
 

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My question isn't what does a kata teach you? My question is what does kenpo katas teach you that a technique doesn't other than the obvious which is flowing from one technique to the other.



I think your question/questions have been answered in regards to the above, but here I go. I think katas in general are meant to help the practioner, well practice. There may be some attempt at something on other than a physical level in some of the more traditional "eastern" systems, but I think EPAK forms are meant to work the physical side of things period. Like most endeavors you are going to get out what you put in. If you go strong, and hard through your forms practice you are going to work your body from the ground up, endurance, etc.. I think the "difference" between forms practice, and tek work is to give continuity to your movement. To gap the starting, and stopping that comes between techniques. I know you have probably gotten much deeper answers to your questions here, but the bottom line is forms are not meant to re-invent the wheel, but maybe to tweek it a little.
1stJohn1:9
 

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this is in response to tigdra about forms the forms that you know are not epak forms and if you knew epak long form 4 and did it with speed and power with proper timing then you would definitely get a great workout from it for your muscles and breath. it all depends on how YOU train it and how you were taught it when it comes to showing you new things. the forms in epak are the encyclopedia of the system and show you man things the techniques do not by themselves and i am referring to the motion kenpo for you doc supporters. if you wanna learn plenty about the forms check out the huk planas series for kenpo forms you will not find a better forms teacher out there.
later
Jason
 
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tigdra

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. I think the "difference" between forms practice, and tek work is to give continuity to your movement. To gap the starting, and stopping that comes between techniques. I know you have probably gotten much deeper answers to your questions here, but the bottom line is forms are not meant to re-invent the wheel, but maybe to tweek it a little.
1stJohn1:9


Yes you learn how to flow from a technique to an other which has been selected for you, you build a fluidity between the two techniques such as in long 3 which in tracy kenpo you go from "2 headed serpent" into " "rising elbows" or for those in parker's system "destructive twins" to "crashing wings".

But let us analyze this in a simplistic manner, a dancer learns a set of movements a,b,c, and d, and she practices here heart out. just because she builds muscle memory and fluidity from a to b, b to c, and c to d, does not mean she can do the same with movements c to a.

Learning a pattern of techniques doesn't make you better at going from every technique to every technique it helps you to go from technique a to technique b.
 

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this is in response to tigdra about forms the forms that you know are not epak forms and if you knew epak long form 4 and did it with speed and power with proper timing then you would definitely get a great workout from it for your muscles and breath. Jason


actually, the Tracy forms Short 1-3 and Long 1-5 are very very close to later Parker lineages of the same forms. There are minor variations, but they can be considered identical. The Chinese forms we have been discussing however, have not been maintained in the later Parker lineages.
 

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But let us analyze this in a simplistic manner, a dancer learns a set of movements a,b,c, and d, and she practices here heart out. just because she builds muscle memory and fluidity from a to b, b to c, and c to d, does not mean she can do the same with movements c to a.

Learning a pattern of techniques doesn't make you better at going from every technique to every technique it helps you to go from technique a to technique b.


Yes, but you would need an almost infinite number of forms to cover a transition from every tech to every other tech. Not realistic, and not necessary. At a certain point, you ought to be able to simply respond creatively. The forms and techs shouldn't be relied upon as covering every single possibility or necessity. They are simply tools for training, not a magic formula with and index of every possible answer.
 
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Yes, but you would need an almost infinite number of forms to cover a transition from every tech to every other tech. Not realistic, and not necessary. At a certain point, you ought to be able to simply respond creatively. The forms and techs shouldn't be relied upon as covering every single possibility or necessity. They are simply tools for training, not a magic formula with and index of every possible answer.

That is my exact point you would need an infinite amount of forms to be able to say that kenpo forms teach you how to flow between techniques. You could however say that the forms teach you the theory of flowing between techniques; an example of how you should be ideally, but one thing is a theory with examples and another is actually being capable to go beyond basic pattern and almost instinctively go from one technique to another.

So this goes back to my main point, if we have techniques like Whirling Blades or Escape from Death which teach you the theory of flowing from one technique to another, then what use do forms have aside from them being pretty. And the 2 examples above arent the only examples of this theory I would have to go back to my notes on the parker system but for the tracy system a lot of techniques are bits and pieces of other techniques, especially in the high belts. I was told this by a high ranking tracy black belt and have looked into it and confirmed. Cyclone is a good example, some where in brown belt and it is a mixture of small pieces of seven swords and another technique. I will post the name once I remember.
 

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A very good point, and one I've been chewing over myself for awhile now. One additional thought would be, the instructor could teach techs derived from previously learned forms, also, and students could continue to learn from their solo practice and resistance (partner) training with those previous forms as well.

I'd love to know what others thought about this.


Hi Kidswarrior,
i am not sure what you mean by teaching techniques from ..previously.. learned forms. Do you mean teach the form first then the techniques or are you speaking of switching over to a curricullum of techniques frfom forms only and thereby teaching techniques from the forms the student already have? Which forms would you pick and for which belt levels?

respectfully,
Marlon
 

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That is my exact point you would need an infinite amount of forms to be able to say that kenpo forms teach you how to flow between techniques. You could however say that the forms teach you the theory of flowing between techniques; an example of how you should be ideally, but one thing is a theory with examples and another is actually being capable to go beyond basic pattern and almost instinctively go from one technique to another.



i am not so sure this is correct since there are principles to flowing between techniques one would not need an infinite amount of forms, just enough to develop the concepts and principles into the student's way of moving and responding.

respectfully,
Marlon
 

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to the comment about kicks and kempo. i find kempo practitioners vbery efficient with thier legs...however this does not mean kicking only and i am very happy that kempo does not emphasize high kicks. to be on one leg (imo) for overlong is inherently unstable also, for the most part kicks above the waist do not end confrontations.

just my thoughts

marlon
 
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