Tag Archives: kenpo techniques

How the Kenpo Belt Rank System changed the Martial Arts

The Kenpo Belt Rank System

The Kenpo Belt Rank System is an interesting, little work. It is divided into a colored ranking system that goes like this: white, orange, purple, blue, green, brown (3 ranks), and Black Belt (multiple ranks).

kenpo karate system training manual

150 Kenpo techniques scientifically analyzed.

There is a problem with this, which I will describe in a second, but first, let me tell how the belt system came about.

Originally there were fewer colors. Some hold only a white belt and black belt, but most belt systems, at least inKarate, had four colors. white, Green, Brown, and Black Belt.

Students of Ed Parker, the Tracy Brothers came a cross a dance instructor from Fred Murray Dance Studios, and he showed the brothers how to put students on contracts. This was a boon to the hard working karate instructor, for it enabled him to hold people to contracts, and therefore paying dues longer.

The problem was that there were so many techniques to be dispersed through the belts. Thus, the kenpo karate techniques were divided into 8 groups, which turned out to be about 40 techniques per belt.

Students were taught a technique every lesson, thus keeping them on a belt level for 20 weeks. 8 times 20 and you have 160 weeks, divided by 50 weeks in a year, and you have three polls years to get to black belt. And, it actually took about four years.

A complete system of Kenpo, including 150 techniques, made to work.

A complete system of Kenpo, including 150 techniques, made to work.

The problem was that before that people earned their black belts in a fraction of the time. Mike stone, arguably the best karate tournament fighter in the world, got his black belt in 7 months.

Now, if somebody like Mike Stone came along, he couldn’t earn his black belt fast, but was stuck in the time scheme of four years.

In other words, he could only go as fast as the contract allowed. The odd thing was that people loved it. Although, to be honest, this writer thinks they loved it because of the intimacy and efficiency of the private lesson.

Anyway, one can argue about this, dispute it if they wish, and so what. People either buy into it or not, and that is up to the person.

As for myself, I was to test for brown belt, and I got drafted, and then, when free again, I joined a different school.

The belt ranking system in this school was 8 belts, but there were only four colors: white, green, brown, and black belt. Each color had a level or two in it.

lop sau rolling fists freestyle drill

Making Kenpo Karate unique to every individual.

And, the odd thing, we weren’t on contract, and people could go as fast as they learned the material. This made us work harder, for we could see the end of the race, and didn’t feel we had to go around the track three or four extra times.

So we had people who earned a black belt in a couple of years, and sometimes less.

Oddly, time was increasing to black belt, but that was because karate, and then Kung Fu (courtesy of Bruce Lee) was popular, new systems were being discovered, and more forms and techniques were being added to the system.

So I made it through, just in time, I might add.

And that is the story, plus a couple of extras thrown in, about how the Kenpo Belt system came to be.

If you want to break out of the forced time to black belt, it is recommended that you start studying on your own, outside of school, and accumulate sufficient information so that you know what works, especially in Kenpo, and have a large database of martial arts knowledge.

Check out the ‘Creating Kenpo Karate’ series by Al Case. It has 150 techniques completely and scientifically analyzed, plus a wealth of data concerning how to make any martial art system efficient and workable.

This has been an article about the Kenpo Belt Rank System.

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…

https://alcase.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/ed-parker-finally-speaks-on-too-many-kenpo-techniques-2/

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?

Nope.

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.’

Why I Gave up Kenpo Karate

And What I Did to Get Kenpo Karate Back

In 1967 I was an instructor at the Rod Martin Kenpo Karate school. I had written the school training manual, and I was pretty darned dedicated in my training.

One night a coworker and friend of mine took me to meet his brother, the purpose of the meeting to discuss martial arts. It wasn’t until we drove up to a rather shabby house in Sunnyvale that I was told that the brother, who I will call T, was a Hell’s Angel.

kenpo karate training manualT was friendly enough, and we entered into a conversation, and it wasn’t long before he said something to the effect of, “Let’s find out if it works,” and grabbed me by the shirt front.

“Go on, do that technique, the one you learned in the first few lessons.”

I was 19, and he was in his late twenties. I was a college kid with no experience. He had been in more fights than you could shake a stick at.

In the arena of fighting, I was simply outclassed.

Still, I tried.

I clamped my hands over his fists and locked his arms in place. He grinned. I brought my forearm up against his elbows to break them. It was like hitting oak branches. I brought my chop down on his radial nerves to paralyze them, and…he threw me through a wall.

Not just a dent in the wall, but all the way through it, to land on my butt on the other side.

He laughed and offered a hand to help me up.

His brother was sitting on the sofa, doubled in laughter.

“Okay, let me show you how we do it at our school. Go on and grab me.”

As I said, I tried. I grabbed his shirt front and tightened my hands and…he simply punched over my arm, down across my forearms and into my chest. Fortunately, he pulled his punch, changed his punch into a push, and I was propelled through the wall. To land on my butt. Again.

We spent several hours talking that night. And there was quite a bit more demonstration, and i learned he could be as gentle as well as hard. And though I kept taking Kenpo for a few more months, to all extents and purposes, that was the night I gave it up.

Now, a few things to be made clear.

First, I am not bad mouthing Kenpo. T had more experience, both in life and the martial arts, and I deserved to lose. He was a better martial artist than me.

But, that doesn’t mean the kenpo art is bad, it just means that I was bad, that i didn’t know how to make Kenpo work, and I have tried to fix that inadequacy over the last 45 years.

First, I collected several different styles of Kenpo, examined them for workability.

Second, I found that many kenpo techniques that worked in other arts.

Third, I found many other arts that worked better when they included certain Kenpo techniques and concepts.

The fact of the matter is that the good martial artists don’t tie themselves to one system. They are well experienced, well rounded, and educated in many martial arts.

Bruce Lee researched some 26 martial arts on the way to his formulation of Jeet Kune Do.

Kenpo was originally said to be a combination of Okinawan Karate and Japanese Jujitsu, and Ed Parker is said to have studied MANY different martial arts as he evolved his way through Kenpo.

So my Kenpo failed. That is not important. What is important is what I did with that failure. After all, a man learns a little from success, he learns a lot from his mistakes. And the truth of the matter is that I have obsessed on Kenpo on many ways since that night, and tried to fix it, and to fix the mistakes that I made.

About the author: Al Case began martial arts in 1967, became a writer for the magazines in 1981, had his own column in Inside Karate in the 90s, and is the webmaster of MonsterMartialrts.com. He has written a three volume set of books on Kenpo, ‘How to Create Kenpo Karate,’ which is available on Amazon. It includes some history and concepts, but the majority of the work is aimed at scientifically analyzing 150 Kenpo techniques. You can read an interesting article of his, ‘The Man Who Killed Kenpo,’ at Kenponow.wordpress.com

Three Kenpo Techniques for a Street Fight

Kenpo Techniques for Survival

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!

kenpo fighting self defense

Be the winner!

pa kua chang instructor

How to Analyze Kenpo Techniques for Real Fighting

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

Learn How to Fight Kung Fu Style!

Advanced  How to Fight Course!

There is a new course on How to Learn how to Fight.
This is actually an advanced course, taken from a second black shaolin course I was teaching. It is called Rolling Fists, and it is based on old Kung Fu drills, but taken to a whole new level. Guaranteed, you’ve never seen a martial arts fighting method like this.
learn how to fight

Nobody can Beat You if you know Rolling Fists!

The method used increases intuition ten times faster than any other martial arts freestyle method in the world.

There are twenty segments on the course (three hours), and they come on four disks.
Learning how to fight is crucial to your well being.
In a time when you don’t trust the government, when there are flash mobs and home invasions and perverts being released on the streets, every single person needs to know how to fight.
Heck, if Zimmerman had known how to fight, maybe he wouldn’t have shot Martin. You know?
At any rate, this course is cutting edge, it uses matrixing technology, which is a form of logic designed to fit the human brain.
Remember, if something is hard to learn (try memorizing five hundred kenpo techniques, or the 32oo martial arts techniques of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujitsu!) then it will be hard to use on the street. Just too much stuff in the mind.
This method doens’t pack the mind with junk, it clears out the mind and installs a simple concept based logic.
Really, it is a ‘no brainer’ way to learn how to fight, and in the best sense of the word.
Have a great work out, and be forever safe.
This has been a page to encourage you to learn how to fight.

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