Major Fail

mdavidg

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So, I was just chatting with this school in Northern Nevada. I wanted to know what style of Kenpo they teach and their website said nothing. The first message from them was fine and was an apology for taking so long to respond to me but they didn't answer my question. So, I kind asked again and structured it in a put up or shut up manner. I asked them to tell me if their style was Kosho Ryu or another style and I also informed them that if their style has any connection to Ed Parker then I would pass. Again, they were evasive. They messaged me back and tap danced around my question while refusing to give me a straight answer. They said, and I quote "It's impossible to tell you what style we teach since our instructors have studied a variety of styles so there is some Mitose, Chow, and possibly Parker". Notice that he said might be Parker? I thanked him, wished his dojo all the best and informed him that I would be checking out the Kosho Ryu Kenpo school in a nearby town. It's good to have choices where I live.

Oh, and before you comment, understand this. I don't dislike Mr. Parker but I am not a fan of his Kenpo. He altered it from what William Chow or James Mitose taught. What Mr. Mitose taught is they style that eventually would become the base for Kajukenbo so it obviously was effective. And what became the base for Kajukenbo would also by modified slightly to become Cha3 Kenpo. This is Hawaiian Kenpo and it is deadly. So, my quest was to find a Kenpo that maintained it's Chinese/Japanese Roots. Kosho Ryu does this for me and that's why I choose to avoid any Parker or Speakman schools.
 
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mdavidg

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I guess what I should have asked is why some schools feel the need to be so evasive? What do they have to hide?
 

hoshin1600

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The fact that you would like to study kosho ryu is fine but the reasoning that it is closer to the original Mitose martial art which is somehow superior, ,,,,well to each their own. Just keep in mind every lineage out there has their own version of the truth and the story you have read and heard or advise given on whats better may not be the truth.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Well, since as you stated parker comes directly from Chow, if they backtracked a bit and incorporated chow teachings, it's entirely possible that they made a hybrid of their own that's less 'altered' from original kenpo then what parker taught. If you were looking for a yes or no "is this ed parker kenpo" when the instructors have practiced both, your not going to be satisfied no matter how they answered.
 
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mdavidg

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kenpodisciple, perhaps your response is closer to my feelings. I don't know if I was looking for a yes or no. I was trying to determine on their website exactly what they are offering. It's very easy to say you teach Kempo and that spelling usually implies that you are teaching a version from China or Japan in modern times. Something else that raised a flag is their instructors. I don't mind if an instructor is younger then me. But, when an instructor looks like they are 20 years old, I have a problem with this. And it wasn't just one instructor. Two of the three instructors looked to be around 20 to 25. Now if if we were in Japan the mindset would be different. However, people in Japan and China start learning martial arts before they can walk. It's a part of their culture.

So combine the limited information about what kind of Kempo they teach with the youthful ages of their instructors and my inner voice starts screaming "danger danger will robinson". Only those of you over 40 will get that joke. :)

And Bill, no, I didn't come off as a jerk. In fact, I was very selective with my words and the way my questions were structured. I even pointed out that I don't have a problem with Ed Parker but I would prefer not to study his style of Kenpo. So, if that makes me sound like a jerk, so be it. However, I don't believe it did. People are usually evasive when they want to hide something. Maybe this Kenpo dojo is a McDojo? Honestly, I'd rather you list in your instructor biographies that one instructor studied a, b and c kenpo and instructor 2 studied d, e and f kenpo. But if you seek to hide your background and just give me the basics, it's not motivation for me to throw my hard earned money at your school. Or do you just toss money out with the bathwater this easily?

Also, I hope you all noticed that I never mentioned the name of the dojo. I'm not into destroying the good name of a school unless they are a verified mcdojo. To my knowledge, this one isn't. They just weren't very forthcoming and this should send up a flag not only to me but to any one of you seeking out a new dojo.
 

Blindside

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Oh, and before you comment, understand this. I don't dislike Mr. Parker but I am not a fan of his Kenpo. He altered it from what William Chow or James Mitose taught. What Mr. Mitose taught is they style that eventually would become the base for Kajukenbo so it obviously was effective. And what became the base for Kajukenbo would also by modified slightly to become Cha3 Kenpo. This is Hawaiian Kenpo and it is deadly. So, my quest was to find a Kenpo that maintained it's Chinese/Japanese Roots. Kosho Ryu does this for me and that's why I choose to avoid any Parker or Speakman schools.

Everyone changed what Mitose taught. Everyone. Chow did, Emperado did, Kuoha did, Parker did. Have you trained in a Parker school?

I have trained directly over time in multiple kenpo lineages (Tracy, Parker, 3 Kajukenbo lineages) and quite frankly they are all family and they just ain't that different.
 

Touch Of Death

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First of all, you were dealing with a person who sells Karate lessons, so, just saying, "Yeah, we are influenced by Ed Parker", would be a deal breaker; so, they keep you on the line, or text, to make friends with you and perhaps, show you what they have to offer, before sending you on your way. Welcome to the way it is. :)
 
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mdavidg

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Parker destroyed the Kenpo he had learned because he wanted to make it something for himself and he hurt a lot of people along the way. Yes, I have trained in Parker Kenpo at two McDojos and, in fact, had to change my credit card number both times because the schools did not want to terminate my contract. I do not have much respect for the Parker style. And yes, I know James Mitose changed what he had learned but he didn't change it much and neither did William Chow.

And I will say this. What is taught in American Kenpo looks nothing like Kosho Ryu at all. The Tracy style comes close to Kosho Ryu because Mr. Tracy realized the flaws of the Parker style and created his own with the attempt of getting back to the Mitose style of Kosho Ryu Kenpo.

Anyway, I think you are all missing the point of this thread. It is not to denigrate Mr. Parker or anyone else. However, what I was trying to point out was the evasive nature of the dojo when I asked a standard question. If a dojo cannot answer a simple question like what style do you teach then they don't deserve my money and I would hope you wouldn't throw your hard earned money at them, right? We, as martial artists, and more importantly, humans, have a right to know what we are paying for. If you go to a car dealer to buy a Nissan Pathfinder and the salesman pulls up a volkswagon passat will you just smile and saw "this is fine"? Or will you ask where the Nissan is that you requested?

I question everything in life. If you don't question then you won't learn. Don't you all see that what I was doing is something that everyone should be doing? When you go to a school you should want to know the credentials of the school and teachers. You ask for the price, don't you? Many of you get sucked into contracts. Do you do this without dotting all of your I's and crossing your T's?

I went to a Krav Maga school many years ago. It was an intro class. When the class was over I didn't sit through the b.s. sales pitch of the school owner. I left. Guess what happened next? The KM blackbelt instructor chased me out to my car. Yup, he did. I was the only one who walked and I was the challenge for them. That instructor knew he had to fight for my money. Or, I should say he had to win me over and it wasn't going to be with a smooth sales pitch.
 

Tez3

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As shown many times on here and other places like Facebook writing can be misconstrued, misunderstood and generally not taken well, wouldn't a visit to see what they do and to ask in person not have been better?
 
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mdavidg

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Tez, no, in this case, I won't waste my time. If they had anything that looked like this, for example, I would easily have stopped by or considered them. Mind you, I don't know this Kenpo school I'm sharing. I just happened to be on the Kosho Ryu website and clicked on their website and a few others. They don't hide anything and this is what I require before I will consider a school.

Terry Dow's Academy: Instructors
 

ballen0351

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Tez, no, in this case, I won't waste my time. If they had anything that looked like this, for example, I would easily have stopped by or considered them.
So you won't waste your time to check the school out but you will waste your time starting a thread about them?
 

Tez3

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Tez, no, in this case, I won't waste my time. If they had anything that looked like this, for example, I would easily have stopped by or considered them. Mind you, I don't know this Kenpo school I'm sharing. I just happened to be on the Kosho Ryu website and clicked on their website and a few others. They don't hide anything and this is what I require before I will consider a school.

Terry Dow's Academy: Instructors

Everything about that puts me off, the majority of martial arts places here are either low key commercial or clubs that don't do it for profit. Most people who teach martial arts here and run a club for money also have a main job, we don't have the commercialism that you find in the States and that sort of advertising tends to put UK people off, far too flashy. this is more typical of the websites we have for clubs here. I think we'd expect people to come down and talk to the instructors first.
Kenpo Karate Club
 

Touch Of Death

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Well it sounds like you know why they kept you on the line, and you just don't like the tactic. Fair enough. But this, "Destroy" is quite funny, when Ed Parker just made his own style, leaving your stuff completely un-destroyed, and in the hands of other practitioners. :)
 

Buka

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It's good to have choices where I live.

The best thing in life a person can have is a choice. Go choose, bro.

I've trained and fought with a whole bootload of Kenpo guys from different lineages. The thing they had in common was they all punched me in the chops when I dropped my guard. You'll be just fine. Go have fun.
 

Bill Mattocks

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The best thing in life a person can have is a choice. Go choose, bro.

I've trained and fought with a whole bootload of Kenpo guys from different lineages. The thing they had in common was they all punched me in the chops when I dropped my guard. You'll be just fine. Go have fun.

As long as he's not a jerk.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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kenpodisciple, perhaps your response is closer to my feelings. I don't know if I was looking for a yes or no. I was trying to determine on their website exactly what they are offering.
The only real way to answer that, even with a yes or no, is to go down there, look at what they teach, and ask what their curriculum is. Most kenpo/kempo places have very set curriculums, so it's easy to distinguish.
It's very easy to say you teach Kempo and that spelling usually implies that you are teaching a version from China or Japan in modern times.
Generally yes, but I've seen a lot of cases where the letter just magically gets changed from one instructor/dojo to the next, with no real cause. Always confused me.
Something else that raised a flag is their instructors. I don't mind if an instructor is younger then me. But, when an instructor looks like they are 20 years old, I have a problem with this. And it wasn't just one instructor. Two of the three instructors looked to be around 20 to 25. Now if if we were in Japan the mindset would be different. However, people in Japan and China start learning martial arts before they can walk. It's a part of their culture.
This can be a problem, but like you said it depends on the people themselves. I was an instructor, was actually offered the job of head instructor (which is different than the master, so technically head second-instructor), and I'm only 23. There are a couple more people at that place who were around the same ages. However, most of us also started around 5, and only took breaks when we were at college, so by your logic we're okay even though we all live in the USA. Ability and temperament are much more important, to me, than age when looking at a new school.

So combine the limited information about what kind of Kempo they teach with the youthful ages of their instructors and my inner voice starts screaming "danger danger will robinson". Only those of you over 40 will get that joke. :)
As a 23 year old, I get the joke ;)

And Bill, no, I didn't come off as a jerk. In fact, I was very selective with my words and the way my questions were structured. I even pointed out that I don't have a problem with Ed Parker but I would prefer not to study his style of Kenpo. So, if that makes me sound like a jerk, so be it. However, I don't believe it did.
I know this wasn't directed towards me, but from your statement on here (excluding the threads title) I get the feeling the issue wasn't that you came off as a jerk.
People are usually evasive when they want to hide something. Maybe this Kenpo dojo is a McDojo? Honestly, I'd rather you list in your instructor biographies that one instructor studied a, b and c kenpo and instructor 2 studied d, e and f kenpo. But if you seek to hide your background and just give me the basics, it's not motivation for me to throw my hard earned money at your school. Or do you just toss money out with the bathwater this easily?
If they are new instructors, as I would guess from their ages, it might be that they've never dealt personally with an inquirer who knows about various kenpo lineages/styles. It's probably something they didn't consider important enough to include on instructor bios since most people looking for a school wouldn't know the differences between mitose and parker, and it surprised/confused them that someone did. Also possible it's a mcDojo, but thats not the only option.

Also, I hope you all noticed that I never mentioned the name of the dojo. I'm not into destroying the good name of a school unless they are a verified mcdojo. To my knowledge, this one isn't. They just weren't very forthcoming and this should send up a flag not only to me but to any one of you seeking out a new dojo.
I appreciate that (although it did make my answers a bit more general without seeing a website). Never good to tarnish a dojo without knowing for certain that their reputation deserves to be tarnished :)
 
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mdavidg

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ballen, once again, you missed the point of my thread. Where in this entire discussion did I mention the name of the school? And if you read carefully I did say that this is something that is a tactic that is a turnoff for me regardless of the school. In other words, they are not the first to do this and won't be the last.

Oh, and just for the record, so that you all know that I'm not a complete d%ck, I received a message from the school in question today. Their message said, and I quote. "No offense taken. You have to find a school that works for you". This was in response to the message I had sent them right before where I informed them that I was not putting down Ed Parker but I just feel their bios need a bit more work and they all need to "age" a bit more. He also left the door open to me and told me that I was welcome to stop by any time if I wanted more information.
 

Touch Of Death

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ballen, once again, you missed the point of my thread. Where in this entire discussion did I mention the name of the school? And if you read carefully I did say that this is something that is a tactic that is a turnoff for me regardless of the school. In other words, they are not the first to do this and won't be the last.

Oh, and just for the record, so that you all know that I'm not a complete d%ck, I received a message from the school in question today. Their message said, and I quote. "No offense taken. You have to find a school that works for you". This was in response to the message I had sent them right before where I informed them that I was not putting down Ed Parker but I just feel their bios need a bit more work and they all need to "age" a bit more. He also left the door open to me and told me that I was welcome to stop by any time if I wanted more information.
Sounds like you both dodged a bullet. :)
 

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