New video experiment

So before I get to my video experiment, two things need to be explained, first about how Shaolin Kempo Karate works, and about my recent history.

Quick explanation of the style, at least at my main school (it varies from school to school): there are forms (which stay consistent), about 12-13 before black, depending on what you count as a form, and if my memory is accurate. There are combinations (known in some schools as Self defense techniques, 26 before black, not including ones that have 2-3 variations to them. Those are mostly consistent, but I've seen plenty of differences between schools, and even differences in the same school 1.5 decades apart. There are jujitsu techniques, which some schools have and some don't, and there are kempos, which again some schools have, some don't, and are grouped differently by the school.

Now for my recent history-I've learned all of the above, in some cases up to 4 different versions of some of the above. It's been 3.5 years since I've actually trained it in a dojo, instead training other styles more recently, but I currently practice about 5-6 of the forms 2-3 times a week, and one set of the 26 combinations immediately afterwards. I don't practice the rest because of two reasons: 1. I don't think there's anything I really gain from practicing more of the different techniques/forms, since most of what's in them is covered in what I do practice, and 2. At this point, with not practicing them for a couple years and also having multiple different versions in my head, I'm not sure that I still remember them accurately.

Okay, so now to my actual idea.

Over the past year or so I've gotten bored of just doing the techniques as-is, so I've been putting more thought into them. Why each technique is the way that it is, and what is gained from practicing them (some I know as it's been directly explained to me, some are obvious, and some are my own ideas about them). Part of the reason for this is that some of them just are not practical (for example this one), but do have other benefits both in terms of general ability, and teaching principles to newer/pre-black students.

My plan is to go through each technique on video, in numerical order, from 1-26. I'll first do the combination as-is, explain why it is the way that it is/why I think it is the way that it is, and how to make it more practical (note: this does not mean better. Some of them were never intended to be practical, which is perfectly fine). I'm not planning on sharing that publicly, for reasons involving SKK I don't feel like going into here, but I'm hoping that it'll make sure I spend time thinking about each technique, and give me something new to work towards to further increase my knowledge. I'll probably write up a new blog post once I finish, to sort out what I gained/didn't gain from the endeavor.


I think exploring your curriculum and really poking at it is a good thing. Years ago I did it when I was still connected to Tracy Kenpo. I rewrote my own version of a condensed curriculum, looking for ways to eliminate a lot of what I felt were bad ideas, poorly thought-out self defense combinations, and unnecessary redundancy. It was a worthwhile exercise. Ultimately, I left Kenpo and no longer claim any position within it.
Having gone through it, with SKK at least, I see purpose to almost all of the techniques. Some of it is definitely redundant, even just limiting it to the 26, but there's purpose behind it. Definitely not planning to go back to kempo, just want to get the most out of it that I can.
With 26 I it can all be good. With 380, there are only so many that are good before the good ideas are used up.
There's probably around 80-100 total before black, I just only focus on the 26 that are 'combinations' since I believe they were the original techniques.
Cool. We had 10 for yellow, then 30 each for all ranks up to fourth black, then I think it was 40 for fifth and that was it. Although in recent years there may have been a move to create another set for sixth but Im not sure if that took flight. And many of these had variations that increased the count, apparently to 600, but I never counted. I was only shodan, I had learned partway through nidan and had experimented years before with video up through fourth so I had some familiarity.

My opinion was always that the first few belts had most of the best ideas and concepts. I would say yellow-orange-purple-Blue. Once you hit green and brown and go higher, it seemed like the really good ideas were fewer in the bunch.

So yeah, something like a hundred might have a lot of good ideas within them.
Wow. Not including the variations, I thought the ~10 (3 kempos, 3 combos, 3 jujitsus, 1 form) per kyu was way too much. Can't imagine having 30 each kyu-I'd probably only ever make it to blue belt.

I'd agree though, the good ideas come out at the beginning, after that it seems like they make more just to make them.
That was a huge reason why I finally just left the system. It was just cumbersome with stuff that I felt was largely bad ideas. I was spending way too much time practicing stuff that I felt was unreliable material. What a waste of time and effort.

And they adopted kata from too many places, tried to be too many things instead of being what it was. Wanted to be an American method but also Chinese and Japanese and also include Asian weaponry. But did not include the foundational training upon which these adopted things were built, so it was just movement devoid of meaning. So for Nidan requirements, I had the next list of 30 Self-Defense techniques AND an ADDITIONAL dozen kata. When I saw that list, I just said ****, I dont even want to learn this stuff

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