Tag Archives: chinese kenpo

How to Make Kenpo Karate Perfect

Are there Too Many Kenpo Techniques?

I wrote the following comment on a forum where I had posed a question concerning Kenpo having too many techniques. Thought it deserved a reprint here, because it goes to the heart of Matrixing. You can find the original article here…


kenpo karate training manual

150 Kenpo Techniques matrixed

I wrote a dictionary of Martial Arts. You can find it somewhere on the net if you google ’Matrixing Technical dictionary.’

The thing that actually got me started on this thing of too many techniques for Kenpo is this simple fact: When you line up the techniques in your system they are taught a) out of order, and b) they’re are missing techniques. This has turned out to be an absolute, and this is why it takes people so many years to maser the martial arts. The first time I wrote out a list of techniques, in order and no missing pieces, the result on the students were astounding. It wasn’t even a combat sequence, it was just stand up grab arts, and there were only forty of them, but suddenly the guys were free styling like they had years of experience. The learning curve went out the roof, so I started doing it to everything, and the same results were evident in every art I had. The conclusion was this: if the art is in order, with no missing pieces, the learning curve can be up to ten times faster. The lack was in polish, but if the student stuck with it, the polish happened within a couple of months. So even that was transformed. Anyway, I started the martial arts back in 1967. and in that time I have never seen an art with all the pieces and in the right order. It just doesn’t happen. But if they did, I speak from personal experience, the result is an art that functions on a conceptual level, and is much faster and easier to learn.

Have a great work out!

Al from monstermartialarts.com

BTW ~ the special two courses for the price of one will be over on the first of January. Go to MonsterMartialArts.com, pick out any course, order it, then pick out another course of equal value, and email me (aganzul@gmail.com) and let me know. You’ll get that second course for free!

MonsterMartialArts.com came into existence in 2002. The first Matrix course (Matrix Karate) was introduced in 2007.

The Five Kenpos of Edmund Parker

How Many Versions of Kenpo Karate were there?

The first Kenpo of Ed Parker was actually Okinawan Karate. One can see the forms in the string of techniques in his first book. Forms were actually not taught, except, I believe, for Naihanchi and maybe one or two others.

kenpo karate training manual

Three part series analysis 150 kenpo techniques

The second version was a blend of Karate and jujitsu. This version was originally taught in a small temple in Japan.

The third Kenpo of Mr. Parker was actually created by James Wing Woo, a kung Fu stylist who taught Ed’s class, and helped him write a book while he lived in Pasadena. This was the version of kenpo from which many of the forms were originated.

The fourth kenpo was a reworking and renaming of the 3rd version.

The fifth and final Kenpo was created by Ed Parker to replace the earlier styles of Kenpo. He was proud of the fact that it actually wasn’t kenpo anymore.

Now, this all stated, one has to ask why there were so many styles. The answer is simple, Ed was trying to simplify and make sense out of the mess.

The fact of the matter is that the martial arts are random sequences of motions. This causes the art to be hard to learn, and hard to apply. It is simply hard to memorize to the point of intuition so much data.

Ed was trying to simplify and make sense out of the thing so that students could learn faster (among other reasons).

Unfortunately, he failed.

He came close, but his efforts were still comprised of random sequences of motion.

Each method he designed or compiled or whatever was built upon the ashes of the previous, tried to include new concepts and theories he had come across, and does not make summation of kenpo, or the martial arts.

Was he wrong for doing what he did? Not at all. His work was ground breaking and innovative, he just lacked the logic and perspective to bring it all together.

Does it mean that the kenpo you are studying is wrong?


For Kenpo is a manifestation of knowledge, and each person contains the knowledge in his own unique way.

Though Ed failed to make the art a science, it is still an art, and it is still whatever people make it.

About the Author: Al Case began kenpo in 1967. He has just written a three volume series scientifically analyzing 150 kenpo techniques called, ‘How to Create Kenpo Karate.’

Publication of How to Create Kenpo!

Rerelease of How to Matrix Kenpo!

How to Create Kenpo is actually a rerelease of ‘Matrixing Kenpo.’ I ran into a few difficulties and had to rewrite and here is the new and better version.

There are actually three volumes, and they present a complete matrixing analysis of Chinese Kenpo. Likely, this version of Kenpo is the 2nd version taught by Ed Parker. It was taught in the 60s.

Matrixing is a form of logic, and provides the framework for the only scientific approach to the martial arts today.

The books contain in depth analysis of 150 techniques, a short history, a section on how to remake kenpo forms, and a section on how to matrix Kenpo and create a whole different viewpoint of Kenpo.

The purpose of the books is to ‘untangle’ kenpo, make it easier to learn, harder to forget, and do such things as make freestyle and techniques actually come together. This last has been a sore point, and a weak point, of Kenpo for decades.

There is a scurrilous article, and more information concerning the three books at kenponow.wordpress.com. The title of the article is ‘The Man Who Killed Kenpo.’

By scurrilous I mean that I go into some of the lesser known and not so honorable beginnings of Kenpo. You’re welcome to leave differing opinions, other data, or even hate mail in the comments section.

The books themselves are offered through Amazon.

Check them out let me know what you think.

About the Author: Al Case began martial arts in 1967. He has studied Kenpo, Karate, Shaolin, Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua Chang, weapons, and more. He was a writer for the magazines and had his own column in inside Karate. He currently lives at Monkeyland, a martial arts retreat in Southern California.

Robert Halliburton, Karate, and Apple Trees

Robert Halliburton Karate

I  received an email the other day about Robert Halliburton, and it brought me back to my early days in Karate.

I was studying Chinese Kenpo Karate, I was 19 years old, and life was paradise. I mean, I didn’t have much responsibility, and I just focused on making my kick sharper, doing my form lower, making all my techniques snap.

ron marciniSo this guy asked if I had known Robert Halliburton. I immediately knew the name, and googled it, and found out that he had died.

Halliburton was a Shotokan stylist back in the sixties, and he went to the tournaments, and he was good. I actually saw him at several tournaments, but the one that came to mind he was fighting for the championship. I think he was fighting Ron Marcini, though I could be mistaken.

Karate was different back in those days. There was a LOT more politeness…but then all of society was more polite. Also, there was a belief in technique and form that is not present today. Bruce Lee hadn’t come on the scene and exploited some of the weakness of closed combat systems, the slide into a tournament mentality hadn’t started, and so on.

I know it sounds like some old guy looking back to the good, old days, but Karate was better back then.

And, if Matrixing has anything to do with it, Karate will be resurrected, along with all the truly great closed combat systems.

That said, the morning matches were exciting; I think I was fighting green belt and got eliminated, but we had a lot of fellows still in the finals, and it was the best of times.

We went to lunch at some restaurant, and I Robert Halliburton came in with some fellows and took the table next to us. I was a little bit in awe, cause this guy was good, and he was fighting in the finals. So I watched him a bit, he was pretty normal, a bit reserved, had his mind on the tournament probably, and lunch passed.

Afterward, my school gathered on the lawn outside the tournament hall. We chatted about matches and this and that, and I was eating an apple and thinking, and somebody asked me what I was thinking about.

“I was wondering if I should plant the seeds from this apple,” I quipped. “We come back here next year I could pick apples instead of buying them.

Well, they ragged me, called me Johnny Appleseed, and then we went back in to finish that tournament.

Apple trees live about 80 years. Their prime producing years are about 30 to 40.

I made that quip 42 years ago. That seed I shoved in the ground sprouted, and, if it wasn’t rooted out by some groundskeeper,  it gave apples for a few decades, and now is in its decline.

42 years ago Robert Halliburton was a seed. He went on to grow into a tree, gave several decades of instruction, and died.

What you get out of Karate, or any martial art, is not in that tournament. It’s not in that belt. It’s in the several decades of teaching, of helping people understand, of giving shade to those who don’t know how to protect themselves.

It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? How much fruit will you give? How much shade? Or are you just dried up wood, to be chopped down and thrown in the blaze.

Anyway, that’s what I thought about when I received that email; Robert Halliburton karate and apple trees.

robert halliburton karate

How to Have a Mental Breakdown With Martial Arts

The type of mental breakdown in the martial arts I am talking about is one you want.

martial arts

Zen there was me!

This is the breakdown, or loss, of scattered and shallow surface thoughts; thoughts that get in the way of the drive and desire to do the martial arts technique as cleanly and efficiently as possible.

I first noticed this in Chinese Kenpo back in 1967. In my first few kumite lessons I realized that I was launching the body, and my mind had nothing to do. So, in the space while I was waiting for the completion of technique, I had time to think. My mind would wander, I would wonder when this was ever going to reach conclusion, can’t this closing technique ever get any faster, maybe I should have done a side kick, and yawn, so on.

The solution, it seemed, was to make the body go faster. So I worked out harder, and made it go faster, but it didn’t work. Body go faster…mind go faster.

So the solution wasn’t a faster body, it was a slower mind. But slower only in the sense that I refused distractive thoughts. And here is where the blessing of the martial arts forms came in.

I could practice that kata, that shrot form and long form and so on and the book set and the two man forms, and…my mind became more comfortable with practice, I stayed focused, and surface thoughts went away.

I have to say, however, that the practice of the classical karate forms, seuch as the Heians (pinans), and so on, seemed more efficient. Of course, by then I had a kenpo base. So I can’t be absolutely sure. But…it sure felt like it.

Anyway, that is how i slowed my mind down, broke down the mental apparatus of compulsive having to think about something, and just observed reality. This observation of reality should happen in any martial art, but now that I knew what I was trying to do, I put together a more logical set of forms to make it happen faster. These are the matrix forms, and the techniques on the matrixing courses.

Pop over to Monster Martial Arts, check out some of the things having to do with slowing the mind down, have yourself a mental breakdown (grin), and I’ll talk to you later.

martial arts

The Three Kenpo Techniques That Can Save Your Life In A Street Fight!

These three kenpo techniques-and you can develop them as taekwondo techniques, or karate techniques, or whatever–will help you survive any attempted mugging. They are quick, they are nasty, and the are built so that you can be the one that walks away. Just don’t use them unless there is a real threat to your life!

Be the winner!

To be sure, I developed these self defense techniques in karate tournaments a few decades ago. They can be used in the ring, but only with proper control. Use them on the street however, and you must use them without holding back.

The first technique is to break the fingers right at the beginning of the fight. Many people will have open hands, not always, but enough to where this technique will really work. So when you close the distance, assuming you are not kicking first, you must strike down on his fingers with a good, quick fist.

If you can break his fingers he will have second thoughts about attacking you–injuries do that to a person. In his head he will be going, ‘you mean I’m going to get hurt?’ And if he does continue to fight he will have one hand that isn’t worth much.

Second thing, goes right along with breaking the other fellow’s fingers, is to push his arms down. Force them down, trap them so he can’t use them, and you are going to have a heck of an advantage. This is what Bruce Lee used to do with his ‘Straight Blast.’

Third, you want him to blink. This fits right in with the shooting motion of the hands as you move into him and break his fingers and trap his hands. If you can shoot the fingers all the way to the eyes, and actually strike the eyes, then you are going to be fighting a fellow who can’t see. That is going to be a definite advantage, eh?

But even if you don’t manage to blind the attacker, if he blinks and thinks backward in his mind, then he will already be halfway to losing the fight. He will have gone from attacking you to defending himself. A mugger going backwards is not nearly the threat as one who is aggressively moving forward.

To summarize, the points in this article are break things on the way in, push his arms down, and make him blink or blind him. These three strategies should be the start and heart of any good defense if you want to save your life. So if you practice these karate techniques and I certainly don’t mind if you call them taekwondo techniques or Kenpo Techniques-you won’t be the loser in a street fight!

kenpo techniques

Why Martial Arts Students Drop Out

Article is under the video…

I’ve written about this, specifically about how martial arts students are given long strings of random data to memorize, instead of really being given knowledge, but let me take this a step further.

A martial arts student, be it kenpo or karate or kung fu or whatever, is given data, then he is told to work on it for six montths. For some drills I totally understand. We must scratch the surface until we reach the center.  But, some schools are pretty mindless at this. They stick a  student on a ‘plateau,’ and grind him.

This was really true in the Chinese Kenpo school I was at. Six months of trying to remember the techniques, all kept alive by the excitement of the weekly kumite class.

But,plateaus are not good teaching methods.

You don’t have to have a plateau if you have a good teacher, and a good system.

A good martial arts teacher, or sensei, will see when you have the material, and he will nudge you up at exactly the right time. A good system is set up so that you don’t have too big of chunks of material. It’ll be broken down into quick bite size pieces.

Mind you, this is no excuse for a quicky McDojo approach. One must never lower martial quality in this approach, in any approach.

But, you need to seek out a method, and a teacher, who is more than growls and macho posturing. You need real information, poured into you gently and consistently, and that’s how you learn the martial arts the correct way, and, if you aren’t learning in that manner, then you will quickly come to understand, and experience, why martial arts students drop out.

Matrixing the martial arts is my method, and you can get a free book on how to learn quickly, and in bite sized pieces, that will bring you faster and to higher levels in the martial arts. Check it out at Monster Martial Arts…specifically, look for the Master Instructor page.