Kenpo/kempo vs. muay thai

samjames

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Which art is more effective? Has better technique? Better strategy? And why?
 

Omar B

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There is no "better" in the martial arts. One's for self defense (no holds barred)and one's a sport (rules, specific time periods, etc), from there the differences will be quite clear.
 

Xinglu

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I think you'll find that in this community very few people will take the style vs. style debate bait anymore.

It is a tired conversation.

There is no better art only better practitioners. It is all about what the student puts into it and how they go about it.
 

punisher73

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I think you'll find that in this community very few people will take the style vs. style debate bait anymore.

It is a tired conversation.

There is no better art only better practitioners. It is all about what the student puts into it and how they go about it.


Correct. Kenpo/Kempo has more tools for a student to train, but it is up to the training and the student to make those tools effective. Muay Thai has fewer tools, but they spend alot of time perfecting and applying those tools. Both give a student a framework and an idea of how to fight. It is up to the student to take those lessons and internalize them so they can use them when the time is needed.
 

Manny

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Correct. Kenpo/Kempo has more tools for a student to train, but it is up to the training and the student to make those tools effective. Muay Thai has fewer tools, but they spend alot of time perfecting and applying those tools. Both give a student a framework and an idea of how to fight. It is up to the student to take those lessons and internalize them so they can use them when the time is needed.

My two mexican cents here. Kenpo is a self defense oriented Martial Art, Mua Thai is a very rough full contact sport. In Kenpo you train to defend yourself in Mua Thai you train to fight inside a ring, as you may see they are not the same thing.

I want to tell you something, when I entered Kenpo sensei told me in hid dojo he teaches Kenpo, Kick Boxing and some grapling, he call this xtreme Kenpo and basically monday was Kenpo night, wensday night was kick boxing and friday night was grapling, at first I tought it was fine but as I trained I reallize we were doing good neither of the three things, so I asked sensei to give full kenpo classes cause I was not ineterested in kickboxing or grapling, it seesm some other students think the same way so now sensei teaches full kenpo clases three times per week, and he teaches kickboxing/grapling separately too.

Why I wasn't interested in kickboxing or grapling? quite simple I wanted to learn a Martial Art focused on self defense, I am not a figther or some one who wants to go inside a ring or octagon or cage so I refuse the kicks boxing and grapling. If I wanted to compete in a ring I will go for kick boxing for sure but I am not interested in this, my interest is to lear how to defend myself with sucess.

Manny
 

Xinglu

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Why I wasn't interested in kickboxing or grapling? quite simple I wanted to learn a Martial Art focused on self defense, I am not a figther or some one who wants to go inside a ring or octagon or cage so I refuse the kicks boxing and grapling. If I wanted to compete in a ring I will go for kick boxing for sure but I am not interested in this, my interest is to lear how to defend myself with sucess.


Whoa! Don't drink the kool-aid too quickly now! You post implies that Kick Boxers and Grapplers don't focus on defense! Have you ever tried to hit a Kick Boxer to try to prove this theory? How about a grappler?

Almost all of these arts started as a combative art as a means of overcoming an attacker. Some have since become sports but the fact is, if you put a muay thai guy on the street having to defend himself he can and will do so with the same level of effectiveness as someone equally trained in Kenpo or even a grappling art (Judo, BJJ, JJJ, Hapkido, whatever).

As a Kenpoka myself I would like to warn you of not tossing the baby out with the bathwater and thinking that Kenpo is the only answer (or even the best answer) to Self Defense. Every art, even TKD (has evolved into more sport these days), kickboxing, boxing, wrestling, Taijiquan, etc. if trained properly can be amazingly brutal and effective for self defense.
 
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samjames

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Xinglu, I like your answer. Thats exactly what my sensei from my old dojo would say.

When one says "kempo has more tools" what kind of tools do they mean?

When I studied kempo, it was basically just kickboxing. Sensei was a 3rd degree black belt. However, he did say that the style of kempo he trains is not like Ed Parker kempo, which I've heard has very many different techniques.
 

Omar B

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When one says "kempo has more tools" what kind of tools do they mean?
When I studied kempo, it was basically just kickboxing. Sensei was a 3rd degree black belt. However, he did say that the style of kempo he trains is not like Ed Parker kempo, which I've heard has very many different techniques.

That wasn't Kenpo then. Kenpo has a really deep curriculum and if you were just working on kickboxing then you were being sold kickboxing.
 

Jack Meower

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That wasn't Kenpo then. Kenpo has a really deep curriculum and if you were just working on kickboxing then you were being sold kickboxing.

Deep curriculum. Well said.

I'm amazed at the depth, and I'm just very recently an orange belt. When I look at the technique list, it's really quite intimidating. But it's never, ever, boring.
 

LuckyKBoxer

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here is my breakdown.
I am a third degree black belt in American Kenpo and have been training in it for almost 17 years now. I have trained in Muay Thai for more then 10 years total and have had a bunch of fights at various levels.

Everything in Muay Thai is in American Kenpo, and American Kenpo has much much more to it then just that. American Kenpo is the an art that teaches human motion.

however
Not everyone or even many in American Kenpo will spend much time training in those specific tools.

You really need to decide what your short and long term goals are and then decide who can get you there in the most effective way. It may be Kenpo, it may be Muay Thai, it may be something else entirely. It is not just the art, but the facility, the training partners, and the instructors that will be a part in helping you reach your goals, all are important and all will be part of the deciding factor in what to go learn... Also you may decide to do both. Muay Thai and Kenpo mesh very well together.
 

Xinglu

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When one says "kempo has more tools" what kind of tools do they mean?


Well, each technique (read method of attacking/defending) is a tool.

Kenpo uses all the tools that a kickboxer uses pluse add in differnt blocks, stances, and strike. I.E. ridge-hand, chop, backknuckle, leaopord paw, tiger claw, crane's beak, etc.

Here's the kicker. Sure the Kenpoka has more tools. But what quality are they? The person like the Kick boxer who has maybe a quarter of those, practices each one to perfection and uses them in a multitude of ways adapting them to varying tactics.

Most Kenpoka don't even come close to putting in these kinds of reps and training with each of their tools. It would be hard and consume a lot of time that people today just don't have. However, those tools should mean that the kenpoka is more adaptable. Note I said should.

The reality is this: Kenpo trained poorly will lead to poor Kenpo. Just like anything else, you get what you put into it. The "depth" of Kenpo is not for everyone. I have seen students overwhelmed and confused by it all, this leads to poor Kenpo. For some people simple (read less material) is better. They practice with 20 tools until they can apply those 20 tools in any way they can think of any don't feel overwhelmed of confused.

This is why I say it is not about the Art, so much as it is about the student: If it doesn't click for the student in the classroom, it won't click for them when they need it. It could even be a highly tested and proven effective art, but the question remains is it right for the student. Does it suit them, does it play to their way of learning and is the doctrine, strategies, and tactics make sense to the student. If not, they should look into an art that does click for them.
 

Carol

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I guess, as the others have been saying, the answer is "It Depends"

There are a couple of elements to Muay Thai that are typically not addressed in Kenpo schools: rigorous conditioning and competitive fighting. I'm sure there are some Kenpo schools out there (such as LuckyKBoxer's) that do incorporate these, but I think they are more the exception than the norm.

Muay Thai is a striking art, so is Kenpo, but there are elements to Kenpo that (when taught properly) will teach so much more, such as learning the mechanics that will help you evade an assault and position yourself where you are in a more favorable position agaist your attacker. This is a bit different than squaring off with another fighter. Kenpo also has elements of control. You can learn how to better control an attacker's weapons (limbs) and with a proper foundation you can learn how to control another person instead of pouding the heck out of them.

On a final note, at the risk of sounding redundant, so much really does depend on the teacher. If you like what you're learning, you love being a part of the class, your teacher can reach you so you learn more, and you push yourself to practice and do well on the mat.-- that's the right art for you, regardless of what art that is. :)
 

Xinglu

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Muay Thai is a striking art, so is Kenpo, but there are elements to Kenpo that (when taught properly) will teach so much more, such as learning the mechanics that will help you evade an assault and position yourself where you are in a more favorable position agaist your attacker. This is a bit different than squaring off with another fighter.
I beg to differ. I assert that if you are not being taught evasion, slipping, and maneuvering tactics then you are being taught poor Muay Thai. They have no problems evading an attack, quickly slipping to the side and giving your temple some love or driving a knee into your ribs or spine. It's all in how you train it.

Kenpo also has elements of control. You can learn how to better control an attacker's weapons (limbs) and with a proper foundation you can learn how to control another person instead of pouding the heck out of them.
To me, this is what made the difference. As a small guy, I use qinna more then any other tool I have, okay, maybe I like me some back-knuckle too ;). I have found that it sets me up very nicely to finish the fight if needs be (or in some case that is enough to defuse the situation). Unfortunately MOST of the Qinna I have learned came from outside of Kenpo. So while it IS there, it is not Kenpo's strongest point :). To me the strongest point is economy of movement. But that's just personal opinion.

On a final note, at the risk of sounding redundant, so much really does depend on the teacher. If you like what you're learning, you love being a part of the class, your teacher can reach you so you learn more, and you push yourself to practice and do well on the mat.-- that's the right art for you, regardless of what art that is. :)

It can't be repeated enough, IMHO. :)
 
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samjames

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Have any of you ever heard of Unified Kenpo Karate Systems? I believe that is what the sensei at my old dojo was a 3rd degree in.
 

Manny

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Whoa! Don't drink the kool-aid too quickly now! You post implies that Kick Boxers and Grapplers don't focus on defense! Have you ever tried to hit a Kick Boxer to try to prove this theory? How about a grappler?

Almost all of these arts started as a combative art as a means of overcoming an attacker. Some have since become sports but the fact is, if you put a muay thai guy on the street having to defend himself he can and will do so with the same level of effectiveness as someone equally trained in Kenpo or even a grappling art (Judo, BJJ, JJJ, Hapkido, whatever).

As a Kenpoka myself I would like to warn you of not tossing the baby out with the bathwater and thinking that Kenpo is the only answer (or even the best answer) to Self Defense. Every art, even TKD (has evolved into more sport these days), kickboxing, boxing, wrestling, Taijiquan, etc. if trained properly can be amazingly brutal and effective for self defense.

Yes I got you believe me, but you don't got me. I would rather prefer Kenpo than Kick boxing or grapling, it's just my taste and nothing more. A Tai Boxer can defend himself in the streets quite easy, so the grapler too.

A decent trained brasilian jujitsu student can defend himself pretty well in the streest too.

Kenpo is not the only answer to self defense.

Yes Mua Tai evolved from a MA and now is a super efective full contact sport and can be used with sucess in the streets. A good boxer even an amateur one can defend himself too in the streets.

Manny likes more the kenpo than the kick boxing or grapling, is just a matter of taste.

Manny
 

Xinglu

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Thanks for clarifying :)

Yes, preference is an important factor: People need to train in arts they LIKE and suit their learning style/natural tendencies. Otherwise, they either stop or never become as effective as they can/should be.
 

Manny

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Thanks for clarifying :)

Yes, preference is an important factor: People need to train in arts they LIKE and suit their learning style/natural tendencies. Otherwise, they either stop or never become as effective as they can/should be.

Exactly!!! last year when I wanted to crosstraining I took a look at wath was available on my city, Shotokan Karate seemed to sdomething like the TKD I do but more hands than feet, then I went to aikido (I trained aikido for a few months many years ago) but then I feel it was not for me, judo too but then I found Kenpo Karate and tried and liked.

Kenpo is very diferent to TKD cause in Kenpo has a little more self defense tachs in the regular class than TKD that involves kicking the most and kickin drills, Kenpo uses mora hands and low kicks and lots os SD techs.

I tried a couple of kick boxing clases and graping clases inside the Kenpo dojo but I liked Kenpo the most, as you may see it's a matter of tastes.

Manny
 

Xinglu

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Kenpo is very diferent to TKD cause in Kenpo has a little more self defense tachs in the regular class than TKD that involves kicking the most and kickin drills, Kenpo uses mora hands and low kicks and lots os SD techs.

Well... I know that when I break my TSD forms down, the bunkai and oyo bunkai are amazing.

I only say this because I keep hearing you say you feel Knepo has more SD to offer. Maybe on the surface this is easily concluded, but if you look deeply into each art you might come away with a different view.

Unfortunately most TSD/TKD schoold I have seen don't delve into their hyungs and the bunkai very much if at all. Intead they offer some one, two, three steps and some rudimentary SD techs. But, you should take each principle of each kata/hyung and find five different ways ways against five different attacks to apply these princibles and you will find that TSD/TKD has just as many SD "techniques" as Kenpo does. They are just not put out there and cannonized into the ciruculum as they are in Kenpo. This has advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes people train the techs and not the principles thinking that the techs are what will save their *** in combat. But on the other-hand, if the princibles are trained but the bunkai and oyo bunkai are not, then you have nothing as well.

Just look deeply into Bassai or any of the three Nihanji and you will find more SD techniques then you'll probably know what to do with. Look at each technique found within the Kee-Cho and Pyung-ahn forms and you will spend years before you run out of SD techniques.

Something I have found in TSD is that while the bunkai and oyo bunkai of the gup level forms will make you a effective fighter once you break into the Cho Dan and higher level forms, the bunkai becomes far more dynamic, deadly, and effective.
 

Manny

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Well... I know that when I break my TSD forms down, the bunkai and oyo bunkai are amazing.

I only say this because I keep hearing you say you feel Knepo has more SD to offer. Maybe on the surface this is easily concluded, but if you look deeply into each art you might come away with a different view.

Unfortunately most TSD/TKD schoold I have seen don't delve into their hyungs and the bunkai very much if at all. Intead they offer some one, two, three steps and some rudimentary SD techs. But, you should take each principle of each kata/hyung and find five different ways ways against five different attacks to apply these princibles and you will find that TSD/TKD has just as many SD "techniques" as Kenpo does. They are just not put out there and cannonized into the ciruculum as they are in Kenpo. This has advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes people train the techs and not the principles thinking that the techs are what will save their *** in combat. But on the other-hand, if the princibles are trained but the bunkai and oyo bunkai are not, then you have nothing as well.

Just look deeply into Bassai or any of the three Nihanji and you will find more SD techniques then you'll probably know what to do with. Look at each technique found within the Kee-Cho and Pyung-ahn forms and you will spend years before you run out of SD techniques.

Something I have found in TSD is that while the bunkai and oyo bunkai of the gup level forms will make you a effective fighter once you break into the Cho Dan and higher level forms, the bunkai becomes far more dynamic, deadly, and effective.

In my TKD dojang we do TaeGuks and practice one step sparring but not too ofthen, we don-t do any kind of bunkai. I practice more self defense in the kenpo dojo than in my tkd dojan.

Manny
 

Xinglu

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In my TKD dojang we do TaeGuks and practice one step sparring but not too ofthen, we don-t do any kind of bunkai. I practice more self defense in the kenpo dojo than in my tkd dojan.

Manny

One steps are... well, I have nothing good to say about them except that maybe they are good for kids to get used to having a punch thrown at them. So I won't say any more about them.

My advice, and what I have done with all my TSD forms is to explore the bunkai on your own. Dig deep, look hard, and try many things with the movements to see what you could do. If you could eventually blend your Kenpo and TKD, I think you would have a good blend that would be unorthodox compared to solo practitioners of either art. Since you are a BB in TKD, it is time that you start peeling away the layers of the art, and IMHO, bunkai is one of the best ways to do this.
 

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