KT:What is kenpo?

Clark Kent

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Sep 11, 2006
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What is kenpo?
By Mills Crenshaw - 01-29-2009 03:46 PM
Originally Posted at: KenpoTalk


I have read your posts and thank all of you for your insights and council. To those who thought I was running from a fight...lol, you don&#8217;t know me very well.

It just became clear to me that the majority of the readers of this forum have no clue about what Kenpo is. Further, it seemed they really didn&#8217;t want their pet perceptions shattered and chose to interpret any discussion of Kenpo&#8217;s core values as "politics."

I simply wanted to be a courteous guest and abide by house rules. Perhaps it would help if I shared what I learned about the purpose of Kenpo, from Ed Parker.
The physical skills are important; but they are the tip of the iceberg. The core of the art goes far deeper...it seems that aspect of Kenpo has been lost, along with patience, hard training and developing resistance to pain.

To the dinosaurs in the audience please forgive the reminders of basics you learned when you first strapped on your white belt:

But when understood, it will forever change the way you look at life and at the choices you make. It does not replace religion, family, friends , your community involvement, or the responsibility to earn a living. It does offer a filter that aids in keeping all of those aspects of life in focus and a practical means of protecting them all.

As you train you not only learn techniques to handle physical threats, you should also gain an understanding of those who present the threat. Not only how they move; but how they think and what drives them as well. Over time, those lessons should become part of you, helping you to weigh friend and foe alike. It teaches you to temper your own ego so as not to be viewed as an enemy simply because of disagreements. If the lessons are learned it should help you to discern the evil intent behind the smiling face.

One of Ed Parker&#8217;s famous bits of wisdom warned, "Not everyone who pats you on the back is a friend. Not everyone who disagrees is an enemy."

It would be foolish to attempt to condense fifty years of training in a few paragraphs. But perhaps by presenting the "Kenpo Litmus Test" it will help you understand that some discussions about the world and its leaders are really discussions about Kenpo core principles and not partisan politics:

Ed Parker taught that bullies, thugs and rapists are basically cowards; and that the surest way to become a victim is to act like a victim. To gain an understanding of how he viewed Kenpo&#8217;s role in all our lives, apply this little test.

When an attacker threatens you and those you love, you should...:
A. Plead with them to leave you alone; that you&#8217;re really a nice person and if they just got to know you better they&#8217;d like you.
B. Offer them money to leave you alone. After all they are probably disadvantaged and misunderstood.
C. Threaten to tell the authorities if they don&#8217;t leave you alone.
D. Warn them that you are a black belt and if they don&#8217;t leave you alone you&#8217;re going to kick their butt.
E. Make no threatening gestures, watch for an opening and at the first aggressive act that could harm you [or those you must protect] counter with overwhelming force, follow them all the way to the ground and make sure they don&#8217;t get up.
F. Offer to form a neighborhood council to debate and discuss conditions in the community that led to the attacker&#8217;s desire to harm you.

Choose the answer you think is the most rational.

DON&#8217;T LAUGH. There are people all around you who will choose each of those alternatives. Because you have been trained, you understand the implications of each of those choices and the probable outcomes.

Now take a step back and look at the world in which we live. There are madmen in the world who want to kill us. They want to kill our children and our children&#8217;s children. They want to destroy our way of life and enslave us to their way of life. They even want to kill the Pope because he said something they don&#8217;t like.
That, friends, is not politics. It is the state of the world. The first core principle of Kenpo is to be alert to the potential threats that surround you; and to realistically assess your ability to respond to those threats. If you do not understand that concept, you have not even begun to learn Kenpo.

I don&#8217;t care which political party a politician supports; but I care a whole heck of a lot how they view the world in which we live. I care how they will vote to protect our liberty, and how valiantly they will fight to protect those principles we cherish. That is Kenpo on a national scale.

If our country, our people and our way of life are threatened, I want to know which of those choices they would choose. The principles that apply to personal self defense also apply to nation states. If we, as a nation, act like victims we will most assuredly become victims. For that reason I apply the Kenpo litmus test to friends, neighbors and politicians based on what they say and how they vote. It is not a matter of "politics," it&#8217;s a matter of life and death, freedom or slavery, peace of mind or living in fear. Once you have learned Kenpo (not just dabbled in it but LEARNED it including all its social implications) you can never see the world the same way again. You suddenly see that choices in life have consequences. That is true for us as individuals, it is true for the communities in which we live and the nation states we support.

That, as Ed Parker taught me, is what Kenpo is all about.

One man&#8217;s opinion; I look forward to reading yours.


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