Ed Parker the founder and senior grand master of American Kenpo made it mandatory for all students testing for black belt to submit a thesis on the martial arts or a subject related to them. By doing this Mr. Parker was ensured a steady flow of new information from many different fields of endeavour. From this source he redefined and categorized a system of fighting that was to be embraced by many of the great names in martial arts.
American Kenpo has a base system of 154 self-defence techniques. Requirements for belt ranks vary between schools some requiring 12 techniques per belt whilst others are 24, 16, or as high as 32 per belt.
Whatever the number of techniques required the practitioner should always practice them with a goal in mind. By using a training partner we can practice set or ideal phase combat situations. Scenario training should become a valid and important part of your training, it enables you to practice situations that you may encounter on the street.
Bearing in mind that Kenpo techniques are taught as a solution to a possible problem, it makes sense to use self-defence techniques that would work in an actual situation.
Techniques can be divided into 3 main categories.
1. The first is that of the theme of the technique, the idea behind it. Why it would function in combat. The theory behind its working components.
2. The second is the actual physical application of the weapons employed to hit target areas.
3. The third is the actual principles pertaining to each move contained within the techniques.
Remember techniques are a case study of motion, they are set scenarios for us to practice our accuracy, our timing, the numerous checks and specialized weapons that are employed in the system. They are choreographed fight routines that practitioners of the martial arts use to improve fighting skills.
1. ERECT POSTURE
7. BODY ALIGNMENT
8. BACK UP MASS
9. ECONOMY OF MOTION
16. BODY MOMENTUM
17. GRAVITATIONAL MARRIAGE
The above concepts and principles are the combat tools that the American Kenpo stylist use. It is the understanding and application of these principles that will enhance your knowledge of variables and your ability to react to any given situation spontaneously. They will help refine your motion, as one basic concept or principle trigger's another, leading into a chain reaction of concepts and principles.
Remember, principles of motion take precedent over the sequence of motion. Self-defence techniques should be viewed as ideas and not set rules.
Nothing in American Kenpo is set in cement.
To do so would violate the total concept of American Kenpo.
That is to have freedom of thought and movement but above all else to think for yourself. Having a thorough understanding and knowledge of various combat scenarios and how to react to them will determine whether you come out of them the victor or the victim.
Principles of technique application enable the student to practice the self-defence techniques of American Kenpo whilst studying set combat situations. Whereas forms and sets enable us to format an indexing system for the basic fundamental movements of the art when practicing without a partner. Forms enable us to practice the same principles of technique without the fear of being hit or injured, and should be likened to shadow boxing where you spar in the air with an imaginary opponent and victoriously beat him every time.
Although there are 154 techniques in the system, the above principles and how you apply them are the most important thing to practise, they are Priority Principles. The above principles are not the only thing to consider in combat, but they do provide you the practitioner with the ingredient to produce maximum power in the shortest possible time.
These are key principles that should always be practised when training. These are priority principles that are key to success.
The basics of the club techniques of American Kenpo. This book includes all the basics you will need to defend yourself.
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