The Jujitsu In Kenpo

MJS

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In another thread, Twin Fist made this comment here.

Mitose:
basic japanese karate with some jui-jitsu, no flow, very dependant on the "one punch kill" non sense. Kenpo in name only.

Chow:
added circular movements, added flow, Chows kenpo was, by todays standards VERY hard kenpo, but it still had flow.

Parker:
added still more flow, removed the jui-jitsu, and got all wordy describing it. came up with tons of forms and sets and terms that hadnt existed before. made kenpo very, VERY cerebral.

This was in reponse to a question on the differences in Kenpo, between the above mentioned people. What caught my eye, and what I thought would make a good topic for discussion, was the comments on Mitose and Parker, regarding the Jujitsu that was there and then was removed.

My question is....what did the JJ that was there, consist of, and why was it removed? Now, are we talking about things such as more joint locks and things of that nature or groundwork, etc.?
 

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Hi Mike,

I cannot speak for what Mr. Parker did later, having never studied his later methods.

However, even a brief perusal of Mr. Mitose's early book where he outlines with photos quite a number of self defense techniques, you can see a lot of jiu-jitsu type applications. Lots of joint locking type moves and whatnot. The book does not illustrate ground wrestling type things, so I cannot comment about that kind of thing. But the joint locks and joint manipulation flavor is definitely in there, and a fair number of these techniqes are very similar to techniques still found in the Tracy syllabus. Not everything is exact, and some things are certainly quite different, but some of the SD techs illustrated in Mitose's book are so close that you can match them up with our technique names.

As I am sure you are familiar, we have a lot of this kind of thing in the Tracy lineage kenpo. I had a short opportunity (1 semester) to study under a Danzan Ryu sensei, and the self-defense aspect of what he taught in that semester was very very similar to some of the techniques in the Tracy syllabus.

It is my suspicion that nobody who posts here will be able to give a detailed summary of what Mr. Mitose was actually teaching. As we all know he is a controversial figure in the kenpo world, and he did some things that caused a lot of people to actively disassociate from him. I don't think there is anyone here who actively studied under him and could comment from a first-hand perspective of what they learned and how they trained. I think anyone's opinion of Mr. Mitose's capabilities and knowledge is mostly third-hand accounts and/or brief experiences that probably did not paint a complete picture of the man's martial background.

Those are my observations, at any rate.
 

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It is my suspicion that nobody who posts here will be able to give a detailed summary of what Mr. Mitose was actually teaching. As we all know he is a controversial figure in the kenpo world, and he did some things that caused a lot of people to actively disassociate from him. I don't think there is anyone here who actively studied under him and could comment from a first-hand perspective of what they learned and how they trained. I think anyone's opinion of Mr. Mitose's capabilities and knowledge is mostly third-hand accounts and/or brief experiences that probably did not paint a complete picture of the man's martial background.

Those are my observations, at any rate.

Hello,
I agree. Thank you.

There are not many around anymore who studied with Mitose in the early days. I speak specifically of the time before 1965. Time and mortality have had their toll on many, sadly. It will happen to us sometime, as well. And like the Republican/Democrat "thing", Individuals and groups will align with their political affiliations regardless of the real truth. I guess the truth, as in beauty, is in the eye of the beholder?

It is difficult, actually infantile, to call the basic Japanese Karate and one punch kill "nonsense", as one poster did. Doing that is disrespectful to the Japanese arts and their practitioners. The Japanese arts are as good as any, IMO. It is really the practitioner that defines the art. Not the other way around. I understand having a problem with Mitose, but do not take it out on the Japanese arts.

An interesting thread and topic, though. I hope those with more information will contribute to this, as well.

Thanks,
Milt G.
 

Flying Crane

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It is difficult, actually infantile, to call the basic Japanese Karate and one punch kill "nonsense", as one poster did. Doing that is disrespectful to the Japanese arts and their practitioners.

I agree, Milt, thanks for the follow-up. And again, going back to a perusal of Mr. Mitose's book, I think it is very difficult to substantiate a claim that what he was doing was basic one-punch, one-kill stuff, and that it had no "flow" to it, and that somehow it was kenpo "in name only". I don't know how anyone today could even try and make that claim if they had never actually spent time studying with him. I wonder who gets to decide where the name "kenpo" applies or not? Mitose's examples in his book defy such a simplistic description of his methods very clearly.

Al Tracy had posted Mitose's book on his website a number of years ago, and that's where I got my copy. I just printed it off the website. As far as I know, it's still on the website somewhere and anyone who's curious can go and find it and take a look at his examples. I suspect that may be the best example that we may find today, of what Mr. Mitose taught.
 
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MJS

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Hi Mike,

I cannot speak for what Mr. Parker did later, having never studied his later methods.

However, even a brief perusal of Mr. Mitose's early book where he outlines with photos quite a number of self defense techniques, you can see a lot of jiu-jitsu type applications. Lots of joint locking type moves and whatnot. The book does not illustrate ground wrestling type things, so I cannot comment about that kind of thing. But the joint locks and joint manipulation flavor is definitely in there, and a fair number of these techniqes are very similar to techniques still found in the Tracy syllabus. Not everything is exact, and some things are certainly quite different, but some of the SD techs illustrated in Mitose's book are so close that you can match them up with our technique names.

As I am sure you are familiar, we have a lot of this kind of thing in the Tracy lineage kenpo. I had a short opportunity (1 semester) to study under a Danzan Ryu sensei, and the self-defense aspect of what he taught in that semester was very very similar to some of the techniques in the Tracy syllabus.

It is my suspicion that nobody who posts here will be able to give a detailed summary of what Mr. Mitose was actually teaching. As we all know he is a controversial figure in the kenpo world, and he did some things that caused a lot of people to actively disassociate from him. I don't think there is anyone here who actively studied under him and could comment from a first-hand perspective of what they learned and how they trained. I think anyone's opinion of Mr. Mitose's capabilities and knowledge is mostly third-hand accounts and/or brief experiences that probably did not paint a complete picture of the man's martial background.

Those are my observations, at any rate.

Hey Mike! Thanks for the reply. :) I went to the Tracy web site and found the book you mentioned. Despite the small print, the pics were clear enough to see and yes, there is alot in the Tracy material. Looking at our techs. I do see JJ in there. I was just curious as to whether or not there was anything else or if something was more extensive than what we already saw. On another note, I did fine this pretty interesting. I'm referring to the SL4 comment. So, if thats the case, and this was something that all beginners learned, then if we look at the Parker system and what Doc is teaching, then this tells me, if I'm reading this right, that alot of this must be missing, if Doc is calling what he teaches, SL4.

BTW, in your other post, you mentioned that you printed the book. When you did this, was the wording more clear or did you have to enlarge somehow?
 

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Hello, Most of the OLD martial arts had a little bit of everything....research this further....throws, Jujitsu, joint locks..

Nothing is new today...;because the old masters...knew about the human body and its weakness and weak points....

Just that each system may have specialize into other areas of there beliefs for effective MA systems...

Katas...when breaking down...have all of the above...NOT all Kata's..

From the the time....Man learn about falling down.....and bent elbows...they learn...MA's ....

Cave man..first to use weapons...and fire...(cave fighting 101))...

Africa claims the first man? ...hence they say Africa is the first place of Martial arts.....research this further...

Aloha, WILL ALL THE ANSWER FOR MARTIAL ARTS BE SOLVE?

ps: the past is past....what is important is today and tomorrow....learn to practice what is taught....for more real world...
 
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MJS

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Hello, Most of the OLD martial arts had a little bit of everything....research this further....throws, Jujitsu, joint locks..

Nothing is new today...;because the old masters...knew about the human body and its weakness and weak points....

Just that each system may have specialize into other areas of there beliefs for effective MA systems...

Katas...when breaking down...have all of the above...NOT all Kata's..

From the the time....Man learn about falling down.....and bent elbows...they learn...MA's ....

Cave man..first to use weapons...and fire...(cave fighting 101))...

Africa claims the first man? ...hence they say Africa is the first place of Martial arts.....research this further...

Aloha, WILL ALL THE ANSWER FOR MARTIAL ARTS BE SOLVE?

ps: the past is past....what is important is today and tomorrow....learn to practice what is taught....for more real world...

Well, yeah, sure, I see what you're saying. I'm simply wondering, why, if something was there, and taken out, what the reason behind it was. Nothing wrong with changing things, nothing wrong with keeping up with the times. But, this could be a reason why some people, such as myself, go out to crosstrain in other arts. So that we can a) either get the things that're missing or b) further expand on a particular area, because whats there, may be just a taste, rather than the full package.
 

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Hey Mike! Thanks for the reply. :) I went to the Tracy web site and found the book you mentioned. Despite the small print, the pics were clear enough to see and yes, there is alot in the Tracy material. Looking at our techs. I do see JJ in there. I was just curious as to whether or not there was anything else or if something was more extensive than what we already saw. On another note, I did fine this pretty interesting. I'm referring to the SL4 comment. So, if thats the case, and this was something that all beginners learned, then if we look at the Parker system and what Doc is teaching, then this tells me, if I'm reading this right, that alot of this must be missing, if Doc is calling what he teaches, SL4.

BTW, in your other post, you mentioned that you printed the book. When you did this, was the wording more clear or did you have to enlarge somehow?

Hi Mike,

I just printed the book straight away, didn't do anything to enlarge it or anything. It came out clearly enough to be legible, but a bit on the small side. Not perfect, but good enough for my purposes. This was several years ago, I don't know if Al did anything to change the format online or anything since then.

As far as the SL4 comment, I wanna be really careful about that because it has the potential to open yet another can of worms that can turn into another fight. Here's my take on it: back in the day, say early 1900s and earlier, I think a lot of this stuff was taught on a small scale, meaning family members and small groups of loyal students. I don't think there were any big shopping-mall schools with hundreds of students. Under those intimate circumstances, I think what was taught was probably taught in greater depth. I think teachers tend to do that with loyal, dedicated students and family members. But with the modern reality of business-run schools where quantity counts more than quality, that depth tends to get lost in translation. Under the modern setting, it seems like it takes a specific effort to reclaim what has been lost, hence lineages like SL4, where I suspect Doc is doing that. Perhaps 100 years ago it would not have been necessary, but today it is. I think back in earlier days when people actually needed to defend their lives once in a while, their understanding of what they were doing needed to be greater. Today, for most people, that simply isn't true. Few people need to actually defend their lives, most people train for fun, and the depth of knowledge is less important, or at least one can get by fine without it. But some lineages and some teachers work to keep that depth of knowledge alive.

I'd say it varys a lot from teacher to teacher. Lord knows, I've seen some Youtube videos of Tracy people who were simply awful. Tracy's doesn't have any strangle hold on this kind of in-depth knowledge, at least not across the board. But certain teachers are very knowledgeable and very skilled, and they try to pass that on to their students. I am very very fortunate to be studying under Ted Sumner, who is one of the senior-most teachers under Al Tracy. Ted is extremely knowledgeable, and has really worked hard to make his knowledge as complete as possible, including going to sources outside Tracys to do so. I would rank him as second to none in his understanding of how this stuff works. I would say that there are others out there as well, both within Tracys and outside of Tracys. While I have never studied SL4 and only know people like Doc and Bode from the forums here, I suspect they are another group working in their own way to tap into the highest levels of understanding.

I hesitate to embrace the idea that SL4 is equivalent to Mitose's Basic kenpo. That is the kind of statement that just rankles people and I think it's an over simplification of the scenario. I think that possibly a better way of expressing it is that what Doc is working on in SL4, and what other people like Ted Sumner are teaching and working on, is what was taught more readily in earlier times, if you happened to be fortunate enough to be a family member or part of a small group of trusted students learning under a knowledgeable teacher.
 

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I hesitate to embrace the idea that SL4 is equivalent to Mitose's Basic kenpo. That is the kind of statement that just rankles people and I think it's an over simplification of the scenario. I think that possibly a better way of expressing it is that what Doc is working on in SL4, and what other people like Ted Sumner are teaching and working on, is what was taught more readily in earlier times, if you happened to be fortunate enough to be a family member or part of a small group of trusted students learning under a knowledgeable teacher.

This sounds a bit like what I have heard Hawaiian training to be like. No fancy lineages or schools. Small groups that seek out trusted people to train with and who keep their secrets close to the vest lest it be used on them. There are some Filipino styles that are taught that way to this day. :)
 
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MJS

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Hi Mike,

I just printed the book straight away, didn't do anything to enlarge it or anything. It came out clearly enough to be legible, but a bit on the small side. Not perfect, but good enough for my purposes. This was several years ago, I don't know if Al did anything to change the format online or anything since then.

Ok, thanks. :)

As far as the SL4 comment, I wanna be really careful about that because it has the potential to open yet another can of worms that can turn into another fight. Here's my take on it: back in the day, say early 1900s and earlier, I think a lot of this stuff was taught on a small scale, meaning family members and small groups of loyal students. I don't think there were any big shopping-mall schools with hundreds of students. Under those intimate circumstances, I think what was taught was probably taught in greater depth. I think teachers tend to do that with loyal, dedicated students and family members. But with the modern reality of business-run schools where quantity counts more than quality, that depth tends to get lost in translation. Under the modern setting, it seems like it takes a specific effort to reclaim what has been lost, hence lineages like SL4, where I suspect Doc is doing that. Perhaps 100 years ago it would not have been necessary, but today it is. I think back in earlier days when people actually needed to defend their lives once in a while, their understanding of what they were doing needed to be greater. Today, for most people, that simply isn't true. Few people need to actually defend their lives, most people train for fun, and the depth of knowledge is less important, or at least one can get by fine without it. But some lineages and some teachers work to keep that depth of knowledge alive.

Ya know, when I read that comment on the Tracy site, I was thinking the same thing, and was hesitant, for a moment, to post it, but did anyways, not for the intention of sitrring the pot or attempting to discredit anyone, but simply because it seems to me, that there've been many times, when statements are made by the Tracys, that IMO, can be a hornets nest in the making. Intentional on their part? Don't know, but thats the impression that it gives to me.

And I feel you're right with what you say regarding teaching back then vs today. While it may not be the same, I think back to one of the Kung Fu movies with David Carradine. The part where he was outside the temple, day after day after day, with many others, hoping to get accepted, only to be turned away, until one day, he was invited in. So back then, while you may not have had to stand outside daily hoping to get in, you possibly could have had to prove yourself in some way, to show that you were serious about training, whereas today, you can drive down the road, and walk into any number of schools.

Personally, it irks the hell out of me, to teach someone and to train with someone, who isn't as serious as I or as other students. Why are they there? I'm there for SD, to better myself, to train hard, and hopefully learn some effective skills, so if that day comes, and it may never( sorry a bit of Godfather humor there :)) that I'll hopefully be able to defend myself. While I've reaped many side benefits from training, ie: friends, weight loss, etc., that is not my primary goal. Its sad that the mentality today, is if you dont get a BB in 2yrs, test every other month, etc., that the student will go elsewhere. Thus, the quality over quantity. AFAIK, and IIRC, Doc isn't in it for the Benjamins, so he can teach what he chooses, no matter what the time frame is.

Then again, I think that alot of the JJ influence is important and good to know. IMHO, I think that the more options one has to defend themselves, the better. In other words, if all someone knows is how to kick and punch, I think they may be short changing themselves down the road, by not learning something, such as the JJ side to the art.

I'd say it varys a lot from teacher to teacher. Lord knows, I've seen some Youtube videos of Tracy people who were simply awful. Tracy's doesn't have any strangle hold on this kind of in-depth knowledge, at least not across the board. But certain teachers are very knowledgeable and very skilled, and they try to pass that on to their students. I am very very fortunate to be studying under Ted Sumner, who is one of the senior-most teachers under Al Tracy. Ted is extremely knowledgeable, and has really worked hard to make his knowledge as complete as possible, including going to sources outside Tracys to do so. I would rank him as second to none in his understanding of how this stuff works. I would say that there are others out there as well, both within Tracys and outside of Tracys. While I have never studied SL4 and only know people like Doc and Bode from the forums here, I suspect they are another group working in their own way to tap into the highest levels of understanding.

I hesitate to embrace the idea that SL4 is equivalent to Mitose's Basic kenpo. That is the kind of statement that just rankles people and I think it's an over simplification of the scenario. I think that possibly a better way of expressing it is that what Doc is working on in SL4, and what other people like Ted Sumner are teaching and working on, is what was taught more readily in earlier times, if you happened to be fortunate enough to be a family member or part of a small group of trusted students learning under a knowledgeable teacher.

I've heard alot of good things about Ted, so you're very lucky to be training under such a knowledgeable person. :) As I said above, I was thinking the same thing about the comment. The good thing, is that there are those teachers who are passing this onto their students. At least the knowledge isnt getting lost. For those that are not, then their students either just take whats given, or do some digging on their own.
 

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