Philosophy of Kenpo.......... the Sayings.......

I have often incorporated the sayings into my lessons but never as a belt requirement. It never crossed my mind to have them in as part of a belt level.
I think you have to be careful when you start putting requirements like that into play. I remember some of the 'sayings' and anecdotal stories from going to a couple of seminars by Mr. Parker. The way in which these 'sayings' were used were applicable because of what he was trying to teach at that moment. The concept of tailoring became gelled when he talked about police recruits have different uniforms (tailored) but all had the same PR-24 baton. Or the way in which people used a hammer different ways but all had the same results. The way in which it was represented made them very valuable. It seems to me that if you just made 'The Zen of Kenpo' required reading a lot of that would be lost. Better yet, as an instructor incorporate them into your own vocabulary and showcase them in a more effective way.

Originally posted by Robbo

Better yet, as an instructor incorporate them into your own vocabulary and showcase them in a more effective way.


That's what my instructor does. I love hearing them too.
Now excuse me GD7.........your not talking about the creeds are you? Can you give me one example of "the sayings". Sorry for being a pest.

Originally posted by AvPKenpo

Now excuse me GD7.........your not talking about the creeds are you? Can you give me one example of "the sayings". Sorry for being a pest.


I am not the Golden one but some of the sayings are"A side kick is nothing more than a knifehand with the foot. Scrutinize, analyze, realize, revise, devise; Desire, perspire, acquire; Reform, conform, and perform.
Kenpo never changes it is perpetually refined.

These are few of them there are many more
Cool..........yes we have them in our system(and we use them some). They are not a requirement. Although they do help to teach complexity, in a more refined manner. Or should I to teach complexity......., simplisticly (sp).


Distance is your best friend.

Whatever the attitude, so is the response.

When blocking on the inside of an opponent's arm, do so below the
elbow, never above it.

When blocking on the outside of an opponent's arm, do so at or above the elbow, never below it.

The ankle is the wrist of the foot.

A knife edge kick is a chop with the foot.

Deflection; then infliction of pain.


Let time be your measurement to skill and experience.

To hear is to doubt, to see is to be deceived, but to feel is to believe.

In every offense there is a defense and in every defense is an offense.

Forms and sets are expressions of basic skills.

One becomes humble when he comes to the realization that what he knows is very little.

Condition and guts take over where knowledge and skill end.

When circular moves end, linear begin; when linear moves end, circular moves reoccur again.

Many answers lie in a single move, but many moves do not necessarily give a single answer.

There are no pure styles of karate. Purity comes only when pure knuckles meet pure flesh no matter who delivers or receives.

He who hesitates, meditates in a horizontal position.


To beat action, meet it.

Fair play is when your opponent's definition of fair play is equally matched with yours.

It is not the size of a man, but the size of fear that has been the cause of many a defeat.

Slow to learn, slow to forget.

Anger can often constipate your retaliatory efforts.

While there is a difference between the terms "opposite" and "reverse", both provide answers to thoroughly understanding the effects of motion.

Always strike from where the natural weapons are found during the time of an attack.

Wasted inches are wasted time.

Knowledge is bound when one is compelled to tradition. Knowledge is endless when tradition is bound.


Reaction can beat action if the target to be reached last is the first object to move out of the way.

To aid your action, feed it with your opponent's reaction.

A check, in most cases, is an application of, whereas a cover is used in anticipation of.

Shuffles and crossovers are movements of adjustments.

Flow first, power later.

Guts are the anesthesia that deaden the pain of fear.

The ultimate aim of Kenpo is to elongate circles and round off corners.

Low kicks are excellent weapons to neutralize your opponent's aggression. Knock out his support, and you weaken his aggressive abilities and desires.

An ounce of logic can be worth more than a ton of tradition that has become obsolete through the weathering of time.

Refinement too much time and often too little progress.

Never send an opponent's weapon into orbit to only have it re orbit back to you.

Devote time with a particular move before deciding whether it does or does not work for you.


Action with effect keeps an opponent in check.

Accuracy must accompany speed, for it takes both to secure victory.

Although belt colors show, it is no proof that you know.

To desire something does not mean to accomplish it. To perspire for it makes accomplishment a reality.

The man who knows "how" will always be a student, but the man who knows "why" will continue to be the instructor.

When a man's mind is occupied with his own injury, he is not apt to think of retaliation.

Principles of motion take precedent over the sequence of motion.

Whether it is a big ship or a little ship, the same size hole placed correctly in the hull can sink it.

Sophistication is no more than simplicity compounded.

Will power is the hammer that drives action.

3rd BROWN BELT Sayings

There are only a set number of basic moves all else are variations of the same.

What is truth for one may not be truth for another. The real truth for both lies in the moment of actual combat.

When you exaggerate a move you can build an offense into a defense. When you condense a move the reverse holds true.

You must earn what you learn.

Environment involves what is around you, on you, and in you at the time of confrontation.

While practice locks in our knowledge of basics, instinct is what makes it free.

Mastery of the Art comes when the tiger is seen, but the dragon prevails.

A leg that kicks can be hurt just as easily as it can hurt.

The Kenpo system is based on the outer limits of simplicity and the starting point of complexity.

Principles are the roots of a technique. Unless you have a thorough understanding of them your boundaries of limitations will always be restricted.

2nd BROWN BELT Sayings

Strikes are intermissions of relaxation.

The ears are the eyes of darkness.

Transitions are the conjunctions that bridge techniques.

Not until the brain shifts into gear with the body will the intangible become tangible.

While the term approximately does not mean exactly, it can lead to exact findings applicable to you.

Explosion from within is really implosion to without.

Separating your direction can also mean separating your power.

Never discard knowledge that is not applicable to you, but store it.

1st BROWN BELT Sayings

Deprivation breeds appreciation.

Desperation often hinders inspiration.

Don't look for answers beyond your realm of understanding for
more often than not, many answers are before you that have
been overlooked.

Logic, as it applies to the times, is the key.

Motion is the language of the body; properly executed, it can
be used to save your life.

Glory disrupts, power corrupts.

There are three types of motion: MOTION, EMOTION and
COMMOTION. All three can be effective, depending upon how
they are used.

Style is what an individual eventually molds for himself.

Categorize your moves as either: useful, unuseful, or useless.

First control the use of the weapon, then take control of the

1st BLACK BELT Sayings

A true martial artist is not one who fears change, but one who causes it to happen.

As one gets older he learns to become a magician with motion; therein lies the secret of wisdom over youth.

Creativity should be bound within the realm of true principles.

There are no degrees of death, for it comes but once.

Fear no man, but respect all.

A true measure of humility is when you remain being what you are regardless of the success that you have become.

Kenpo is for the man who has everything and wants to protect it.

When one willingly and continuously boasts of his loyalty, anticipate toasting his departure.

In motion, is motion that is often over looked.

It is not important how long you have been IN the arts, but how long you have been AT it.

We don't do these either. But we get lots of the sayings that my instructor has picked up from other kenpoists, Mr. Parker, Mr. Planas and his own instructor Mr. Wedlake.

Can't say I'd heard a whole heck of a lot of those. My favorite,
more humorous one was "the only rule in kenpo is ya can't kick
a girl in the testicles" :D
Originally posted by Kirk

Can't say I'd heard a whole heck of a lot of those. My favorite,
more humorous one was "the only rule in kenpo is ya can't kick
a girl in the testicles" :D

Unless it is Linda Tripp!:rofl: or maybe Tanya Harding.
Originally posted by Goldendragon7

Deprivation breeds appreciation!

"Hard to beat a royal flush or a really mad guy with a bazooka"!
:tank: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Dan Farmer
Gee Mr. C.

I thought everyone knew the sayings? And if you are Bob Liles, you can even quote the number of the saying and on which chart it appears .... NO THAT WAS YOU that can quote them all. So can he. I try my best but just have not spent enough time "at the Art" to remember them all consistantly.

I use 'em cause they are good, and for the most part practical, advice or mneumonic cues for students to help retain basic principles, concepts or theories inherent in Mr. Parker's Kenpo.

Besides, it is humbling for the soul to try to retain all of them around Green, Brown and Black. If you don't use them teaching, they tend to go away. I try to use a couple per week from various charts, as they apply. But I am still a novice when I listen to Bob, Bryan Hawkins, or Wes Idol run a test. Whew .....!!!

-Michael B.
Oh yes... The test. That was one trick that Mr. Idol didn't pull out of his hat during the Test this last friday. Although, I was prepared.

I enjoy the sayings. They add a certain flavor to the lesson when introduced in context during a class. My favorite saying is... "He who hesitates, meditates in the horizontal position".

What are some of your favorite sayings?

Take Care,
Billy Lear, 3rd Degree Brown Belt
United Kenpo Systems

"Guts are the anesthesia that deaden the pain of fear"

That is probably my favorite it has to do with the famous "gut check" you always hear people talking about
One I always liked was: "It's not who's right, but who's left that counts".....;)

I also really like the "He who hesitates, meditates in a horizontal position".

We don't use the sayings at our school, although I think that it may help some people get the concepts a little better if we long as they don't become inflexible mantras...


Latest Discussions