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Forum Home > General Discussion > Kenpo vs American Kenpo by Will Tracy

Mike
Member
Posts: 73

The definitive work on American Kenpo is found in the 5 volumes of Ed Parker’s Infinite Insights into Kenpo. The first volume was written in 1981, and over the next 9 years, every principle and concept that Ed Parker had developed was put in writing, so there would never be any doubt as to what American Kenpo is or was. He established the minimum requirements for each belt at 24 techniques, and forms. Since his death in December 1990, many of Ed Parker’s students have attempted to redefine American Kenpo. Some have reduced the number of techniques to as few as 5 for each belt. But American Kenpo needs no redefinition; and if Ed Parker were to see what is being taught in his name, he would profess, "If this is Kenpo, then I never taught Kenpo."

If you want to go to this site to read what else is being said please take it with a grain of salt, above was the only statement that was worth reading, the rest was pretty harsh,

I would like to hear other options on this site

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July 26, 2010 at 5:20 AM Flag Quote & Reply

The Kenpologist
Member
Posts: 4


July 29, 2010 at 12:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

The Kenpologist
Member
Posts: 4


Could you define "redefinition" for us?  Parker had taken the earlier version of Kenpo that he had learned (from Mitose and Chow) and sort of redefined it for himself.

July 29, 2010 at 12:17 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Mike
Member
Posts: 73

you will have to go to the web site and judge it for your self, I did not write the article

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July 30, 2010 at 12:57 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Eric Catanzaro
Member
Posts: 2

The bottom line is kenpo changes and adapts to the person and situation , so of course it would be ever evolveing and I believe GM Parker realized this thats why the system changed over the years by his hands as well . Even when the Tech. of American Kenpo have been changed or taught different the principles and physics of the art remain intacked.

July 30, 2010 at 8:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

paul dyer
Member
Posts: 13

It is true kenpo is part of evolution there is no redefining evolution it is what is going to come from the heart of who see it as far as forms waterd down forms for the beginners is not good and to practice the true long forms for the seniors of the art is even better we as humans need to look within and look for peace not diffrences to agrue and control anothers path we are all brothers and sisters train train hard train for real train in real life and be real this is kenpo

July 30, 2010 at 3:56 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Barron
Member
Posts: 39

This is soemthing that I am working on. jotted it down. but maybe it is fitting. Still playing with the wording.


"The true Kenpo man never just throws a kick, a punch, or a block but rather his moves "flow" from him

without thought, like a force of nature, in perfect harmony with the universe."


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Barron

July 30, 2010 at 7:03 PM Flag Quote & Reply

The Kenpologist
Member
Posts: 4

Mike at July 30, 2010 at 12:57 AM

you will have to go to the web site and judge it for your self, I did not write the article

I realize you were quoting from Will Tracy, but it appeared that you were quoting the portion of his quote that you provide for our forum favorably, and that you regarded the rest of Will Tracy's quote as questionable. I was trying to understand the favorable part, that is favorable in your opinion. And also how you understood the term "redefintion" taken in that favorable context.

July 30, 2010 at 10:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Eric Catanzaro
Member
Posts: 2

Well said Barron

July 31, 2010 at 7:56 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Mike
Member
Posts: 73

 I have seen many changes in the Kenpo system since Mr. Parkers death, some of these changes have been for the betterment of the art,others have been just to make a student move faster in rank,  its great to add to the system, building on to increase a line of knowledge.

  I do not agree with eliminating large amounts of the techniques or  recreating it so that you can be a GM.

In the past you could go to different dojos and the curriculum was basically the same, yes there was all ways changes based apon the person.

If you call 20 different Kenpo studios, and ask them for a break down of their requirements, they would very greatly.

If you are teaching the Parker system so be it....teach it, but dont claim its something its not.


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July 31, 2010 at 3:09 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Joe Whelan
Member
Posts: 18

I think it was Ed Parker who said "karate is not karate until pure fist meets pure flesh"...so i think it really does not matter if you are doing the 23 technique system or a 10 technique system, if you cant defend yourself the number of techniques won't matter. He gave us the 8 considerations to the techniques so we can redifine techniques for ourselves..prefix,suffix,insert,delete,rearrange,regulate,alter and adjust....Like Mr. Miagi said "it not quantity but quality of karate you know". I do however believe in catagory completeion and redifining the order you practice..there was a scientist Dr Hick who did a study on reaction times and he found out Kenpoist's were the slowest because of all the knowledge to sort through in our heads..we can end up being highly trained ,highly ranked victims. Its very hard to master 164 techniques..  

August 3, 2010 at 2:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Mike
Member
Posts: 73

Sorry Joe but I do not agree with you on this subject, here's my reasoning,

First let me say that there are techniques that I really do not like, but I still teach them, what i feel is useless may be great to someone else.


Lets say you only teach 10 techniques per belt,  your student advances through the ranks, he or she decides to teach but they feel that some of the techniques or forms are not for them based on workability, so what now?and what about 2 or 3 generations of students doing the same thing?

How can anyone make that decision?

You can make changes based on what you like or dislike that's fine but as the old saying goes one mans coffee is a another mans tea, As far as I am concerned I will follow what I know.If anything I have increased the variations,  not taken away.


You say all you need is a few techniques I cant agree more, a good street fighter may only know a few things but they are  real good at them, they can make them work from anything. that's fighting 101..... the sake of the Art is not about that.

Striving to achieve, spending a life time trying to perfect the art, the over all discipline it take, at that point its not fighting.

If you took 25 kenpoists and told them to choose 10 things from each belt, do you think any one would agree on what to keep? what about the ones not chosen? do they go in to oblivion?


Bro In the Arts Mike

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August 3, 2010 at 5:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Brian
Member
Posts: 3

I'd like to say that reading some of the posts on this site has been very insightfull. There are a lot of excellent opinions expressed by everyone. For myself, I think that it is imperative to impart the system "as is" to students with as little augmentation as possible so that they will have the formal building blocks of the system, and most of us have had that kind of initiation to Kenpo and treasure it and fall back on it constantly.  A student must have the primary formula of Kenpo knowledge.  But, as Martial Arts students, as our knowledge grows there comes the responsibility to question in order to grow beyond our current awareness. There must be an honest, open heartedness to the realities of what kenpo is and what kenpo isn't.  I think that if Mr. Parker were still around that he'd have refined the system even further and maybe done some things to make it a more complete system. We will never know what he could have done to further Kenpo and so we are left to struggle with these many questions of what direction to take with it. Is Kenpo a complete system? No. Are there techniques that don't work? Yes? Is there a better way to reach students with the material? Maybe. Who do we look to now as the definatve Kenpo authority that we can all point to? Do we "freeze frame" where Kenpo is or do we evolve?Kenpo teaches many things in the way of awareness, flexability of thought and motion,  and limitless creativity, yet we sometimes hold back the art we love. We are now about twenty years since the passing of Ed Parker which means twenty years of missing interpretation and refinement that he would have given us. So, are we to hold steady with the tradition or do we evolve with Kenpo? How can we do both? I wish there was a universal concensus on what is acceptable change and what is not. But I think we do realise that maybe some things need to be updated for the times we live in. A wise person once told me that the key to Martial Arts is Adaptation. If we are thinking "Thundering Hammers" while the thug attacker is thinking "I'm gonna kill you" then we are at a loss and Joe Whelan makes an excellent point on this by refering to a study on Kenpoists low reaction time. Maybe this is what Bruce Lee refered to as the "Classical Mess". I don't know what the answer is and these are just my opinions. Once you study and learn to love Kenpo you will always have a sort of invisible Kenpo brand on your heart and soul and that is for sure.  Maybe it comes down to "you do your thing and I'll do mine". Do we have two systems: one for the students with the traditional approach and one for the instructors with the creative approach? Do we convince a student that a tech will work then sit around with fellow instuctors and complain how that tech won't work? Do we modify them so they do work and then pass them off as a true Parker tech? Do we teach the tech and then tell the student it won't work and that they have to figure it out? What percentage of change is allowable before it's no longer considered that technique? Again, just my opinions...

Brian

August 4, 2010 at 1:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Joe Whelan
Member
Posts: 18

Very good post Brian...and Mike , im not saying you should take techniques out ,im saying i see both points of view. Like Neutral Bow I will stay Neutral to the bloggers.

August 4, 2010 at 6:11 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Joe Whelan
Member
Posts: 18

I will say one more thing..I believe all of us who are posting are in the formulation stage of our training so i do think we should be tailoring the art to ourselves...i do believe in change. Just have to be careful what you call it and how you present it. There is only one Parker Kenpo..and i dont think anyone alive knows it truly...i think it died with Mr Parker.    

August 4, 2010 at 6:28 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Paul Britton
Member
Posts: 19

Joe Whelan at August 4, 2010 at 6:28 AM

I will say one more thing..I believe all of us who are posting are in the formulation stage of our training so i do think we should be tailoring the art to ourselves...i do believe in change. Just have to be careful what you call it and how you present it. There is only one Parker Kenpo..and i dont think anyone alive knows it truly...i think it died with Mr Parker.    

I came very close not to even respoinding to this, but instead I chose to. Lets start out by relating that the late SGM Parker was in fact a genious in his own right. But he even said ( I would rather have ten techniques that I can fight with than a hundred that fight me ) In the book the journey, you will read the words by his own son quoting ( What the hell did I create, all I wanted was to teach people to stand on their own two feet, and all I got was a bunch of whining babies )

 

It makes no difference how many technqiues you have per belt rank, as long as all principles and concepts are covered  un full. Now on the deletion or change of technqiues. Do we change or delete. It's true what might work for me may not work for another student. that's where altering and tailoring the art come into massive play.

 

The late SGM Parker did something on purpose and did it well. He made you think instead of giving you all the answers. And I have to agree with Mr. Whelan that true kenpo died with Mr Parker or what was to be Parkers kenpo. It's something you end up reaching, but you have to learn the system in its fullness before you can really understand it.

 

On the point of Grandmastership. It's something that your awarded, not something taken. In reality, it should be the most humbling experience that a kenpoist will ever have. It will if the heart is right, demonstrate the fact that we will always be students of life and the art of kenpo. And cause one to realize that what we really know is very little.

 

I stand by my training and beliefs and what I've done with the curriculum that I have worked for years to set up. We are really missing the point if we say that Parkers Kenpo is a 32, 24 or 16 technique curriculum. the number is not what makes it Parkers Kenpo.

 

If a person choses to teach the system as it was set up, then by all means do it, and do it well. But lets not lay fault on those who chose a different path so to speak. Grand Master Sullivan and Grand Master LeRoux, look at what they did. You could not get any closer to the late SGM Parker than Mr. Sullivan did. And for that matter, SGM Parker never said anything to them against for what they did, in fact he past during the filimg of their videos. GM Sullivan would not have ventured into doing what he did if SGM Parker would have said dont you dare. Their friendship was much more than a system.

 

Paul 

August 4, 2010 at 12:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Paul Britton
Member
Posts: 19

Mike at July 31, 2010 at 3:09 PM

 I have seen many changes in the Kenpo system since Mr. Parkers death, some of these changes have been for the betterment of the art,others have been just to make a student move faster in rank,  its great to add to the system, building on to increase a line of knowledge.

  I do not agree with eliminating large amounts of the techniques or  recreating it so that you can be a GM.

In the past you could go to different dojos and the curriculum was basically the same, yes there was all ways changes based apon the person.

If you call 20 different Kenpo studios, and ask them for a break down of their requirements, they would very greatly.

If you are teaching the Parker system so be it....teach it, but dont claim its something its not.


It's not the elimination, but the re-examination. Now here is a question for everyone ( Is there new motion to yet be discovered, or has all motion been defined )

August 4, 2010 at 3:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Mike
Member
Posts: 73

ok, point well taken, I still dont agree..... a system must have uniformity to be a system

next ...when Mr. Parker died he never passed the 10th degree on to anyone, so where did all the GM come from?    if they were "awarded", who awarded it to the first generation of GM? I am not trying to be a pain

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August 5, 2010 at 5:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Paul Britton
Member
Posts: 19

Mike at August 5, 2010 at 5:52 AM

ok, point well taken, I still dont agree..... a system must have uniformity to be a system

next ...when Mr. Parker died he never passed the 10th degree on to anyone, so where did all the GM come from?    if they were "awarded", who awarded it to the first generation of GM? I am not trying to be a pain

Ok. By what your relating, no one has the right to confer, promote or issue or pass on a Tenth Degree to anyone simply because The Late SGM Parker didn't. Should we not recognize Richard Planas, Joe Palanzo, Chuck Sullican, Larry Tatum and many other's who have had bestowed upon them the honor of the Tenth degree.

 

Should I say no, I won't take the tenth degree because the only tenth was Ed Parker. There will never be another Ed Parker, just like there will never be another Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris. But should that stop us from progressing in our own time frame and rank.

 

Now you have those who trained under SGM Parker who relate that they will not accept anything higher than what he already gave them. Thats fine and we should by all means fully respect that. but to hold back a student and say ( You can never go higher because I refused to go higher. That is just plain non sense ) Because at that point your refusing to allow anyone to grow.

 

We often put to much on the belt that is wrapped around our waist, instead of what we have in our hearts and minds. I am proud to wear my tenth degree. But I am equally as proud to learn from a white belt. We need to get our eyes off the belt and on learning.

 

And what system are we reffering to that does not have uniformity.

August 6, 2010 at 2:53 AM Flag Quote & Reply

paul dyer
Member
Posts: 13

I agree with Grandmaster Britton that we as people as the forever studen of the art. the art is of life and mind and heart and all things wrap to be the glory. we work on these things not fo belts but as humans to make a better way for ourselves and if and only when we are ready we teach it to others as teachers. The honor of the belt is that of honor and yest a sighn of work. my brothers and sisters we shall grow together

August 6, 2010 at 1:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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