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    Default A Question For Doc

    This is a question for Doc.

    What is the definitive difference between the original Kenpo you were taught by Ed Parker and what American Kenpo evolved into.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Broad View Post
    This is a question for Doc.

    What is the definitive difference between the original Kenpo you were taught by Ed Parker and what American Kenpo evolved into.
    The answer to such a question is very complicated from one perspective, and somewhat less complicated from another, yet still intricate.

    There are many people seeking to define their place in Kenpo and as such, either embrace or reject many descriptors of the various interpretations that have evolved from the original mainland progenitor. To emphasize their positions, many have created various associations supported by their interpretations to validate their point of view.

    I have personally clouded the issue by publicly making distinctions between what some see as the ‘mainstream’ versions of Ed Parker’s work versus others. I have further muddied the waters by being public enough in discussions to attract the ire of those born into a system that didn’t exist when I began. Clearly, everyone from their own perspective may choose to see the universe in their own terms, but Ed Parker taught me sound logic should be the deciding factor.

    Ed Parker himself made many distinctions in all of his teachings and created in his own evolution, various incantations, philosophies, and directions within the students exposed and or instructed during different periods in his life. Add to that an instructors willingness, or lack thereof, to share specific information with some and not others, creating additional downstream variances.

    In other words, the ‘so-called evolution’ of ‘American Kenpo’ is as convoluted as a conundrum wrapped in a riddle and punctuated by an enigma of inconsistent tolerances, at best.


    The question itself implies the existence of a singular evolving Kenpo philosophy from Ed Parker’s beginnings to the present day. This is obviously and completely incorrect.

    The art that is the most visible and the most codified at his death was his commercial art, known by some, and described by Ed Parker himself as “the study of motion” or Motion-Kenpo. Perhaps a better defining descriptor would be “Motion-based Kenpo.” Nevertheless, this philosophy spawned by the desire to create commercial success, necessitated a less restrictive and conceptual driven vehicle that would be open to everyone, of all ages and circumstances.

    I wrote an article years ago about the evolution of the arts and Ed Parker’s commercial kenpo, making a case for its existence much as other arts had ‘evolved.’ The problem is not one of evolution, but a diversion for the sake of mass-market appeal. Once accomplished, the vehicle becomes an independent entity unto itself with practitioners declaring their version to be ‘the art’ instead of simple ‘a version of the art.’

    History lays witness to the creation of judo to mass market the more destructive combative Japanese Jiu-Jitsu. The many houses of Qung-fu ultimately evolved into mass-market appeal Wu Shu, while the original variations of the fluid Chinese Martial Science somehow begat the rigid limited information Okinawan and Japanese empty hand arts. Then, and finally sport based models came into being, once again for mass-market appeal. Take note of “ken-do” from the samurai sword arts, or “Aiki-do” as well from jiu-jitsu as other examples of this historical process. Koreans nationalized their arts much like everyone else, spawning the sport “Tae Kwon Do” in the fifties over the lesser known and more intricate “Hapkido” or even “Tang Soo Do.”

    It should come as no surprise to anyone in the ultimate self- gratification, quick, fast food, commercial market of America that an abridged version of any art would appear and achieve mass- market appeal and success.

    Ed Parker was a genius that loved the many different arts he studied and dissected, but he also was an entrepreneur and astute businessman. This clash between successful business mandates, and the deeper meaning and teaching of any art/science will never be resolved because the mass market devotees will, in general, not admit their place in histories evolution.

    For most, it is counterproductive to business, and necessitates the admission that their accomplishments, although perfectly valid, may not be the highest standard available. This is especially true when ones credibility and identity are predicated upon the efficacy of their own product for sale.

    In any other business, this would be obvious. Few suggest that McDonald’s is a bad place to have an occasional meal. Their restaurants are plentiful and located most everywhere in the world, consistent in presentation, quality, price, and will keep you from starving.

    No one describes them in the business world as ‘exclusive fine dining.’ Recognize however there are other less plentiful chain family restaurants as well, whose offerings are of higher quality than McDonald’s but with the accompanying prices to match, yet still not yet meeting that ‘fine dining’ description. However, for upscale gourmet quality there is always a special restaurant where chefs have honed their craft for many years, and dining is exquisite.

    People choose the level they want. Many would rather just go to McDonald’s (especially the kids), because it’s reasonably priced, you know what you’re getting, and they’re local, close, and convenient. Does this sound familiar?

    Mass-market martial arts are no different. From Kempo, to Kenpo, to Krav Maga, to Tae Kwon Do, to judo, etc. They are all ‘easier’ and more convenient than other more intense, and more demanding precursor arts. That is not to say an individual instructor cannot excel beyond the vehicle, but that is much less likely for a couple of reasons. Most of these teachers are those born in the ‘systems’ they now teach, and therefore inherent all of its built in limitations. In addition, someone who has worked long, and hard to achieve a level of mastery would be unlikely to teach other than what he was taught. Much like a gourmet chef would be less likely to open up a quick burger joint, and flip patties all day on a grill.

    So you see historically speaking, the existence and success of ‘commercial-kenpo’ should not be a surprise to anyone. Nevertheless, keep in mind, there are cars that come off an assembly line that are ‘adequate, better, and best.’ Then there are cars singularly built by hand by skilled craftsmen. In between the adequate and best are ‘upscale’ better versions of common brands where more attention to detail and a commitment to quality also provide a better quality vehicle, for more than the mass brand, but for less than the hand made. ‘Free market’ concepts make room for all.

    Ed Parker was no different, and in fact provided various versions of his arts at every step of his personal evolution. The dominant versions were always dictated by external sources, and his personal preferences.

    It is not generally known, but in some degree, Ed Parker’s creation of mass-market Kenpo was instigated by a personal tragedy. Approached by eventual business partners to create “Action Karate Magazine,” Parker became the victim of others questionable business practices that ultimately forced him into bankruptcy to protect his family and property. Although this was not the only reason he created commercial kenpo, clearly it had to have a significant impact when you have a wife and five children, and you make your living ‘selling’ the martial arts. The degree of impact may be debatable, but his own admission of
    “Urgent necessity” to protect his assets leaves no doubt of the connection. This is not to negate Parker’s ultimate goals of proliferation, which existed long before the bankruptcy was necessary.

    However, to assume that the creation of a diversion art to sell, changed Ed Parker’s personal evolution and his personal art would also be a mistake. He always separated what he did from what he promoted and sold. Witness some of the many mechanisms not present or articulated in the commercial art that were clearly visible in Parker’s own execution being only recently discovered by some today.

    So adopting the single time/evolution line from the beginning to what an individual may have been exposed to is a dubious perspective at best. There is no one Kenpo, nor is there a single timeline. Every time Parker taught someone and changed something from what he had taught another, he fractured his own timeline by creating a divergent lineage, all valid from within and from its own perspective.

    Even so, interpretations are not created equal. As Parker’s knowledge grew, it caused a shift in the sophistication hierarchy of every version or lineage. What was state of the art in the fifties was old kenpo in the sixties. When he taught someone something, and found a better way to do it and taught it to someone else, he pushed himself and older material further into history, and made it by comparison less effective material. This concept is true outside of the martial arts as well.

    My personal timeline was also in a state of flux to the same extent as Parker. As my teacher, when he changed, so did I as he dictated. I remember him teaching inward blocks by cocking the blocking hand to the ear, and launching linearly from there. “Phonetic Blocking” he called it then. However when he began studying with Ark Wong and others, the blocking action changed to a more circular movement away from the head, as he began to understand “indexing” or “phrasing” of the movements. Both methods worked, but the latter was and is infinitely superior evolving from the former.
    Therefore, for me, there is no ‘original’ kenpo, only an on going process of understanding what he wanted and how he wanted it, as I was forced to evolve with him. Few did. Most from the fifties still do some version of fifties kenpo, and those splinters from the sixties are the same way.

    Interject his free form motion based commercial product into the time line and you began to see the same phenomenon that beset other arts in history. A clear alteration and mass market adjustment that removed or never placed significant information in its structure, to insure a less demanding and complex abstract vehicle that allowed all students and teachers to seek their own level of competency within the limitations of the chosen vehicle. When you consider this commercial vehicle, unlike traditional arts, allowed and promoted students and teachers ‘tailoring’ for their own personal preferences, you began to see why the wide existence of disparity is so ever present.

    No one has a definitive way to do anything, from a basic stance to an inward block. In spite of what some may think, you cannot ‘freeform’ your way to mastery of a physical science. You may however, achieve a level of competency that is acceptable to you, the customer-client, and be awarded rank for that achievement. So long as you’re content, than the vehicle has done its job, and you will take responsibility for its effectiveness, because you tailored it.

    To that end, soft tissue strikes, rakes, claws, and eye pokes are dominant themes in the commercial vehicle. This is because they insure at the base level, there will be some measure of success should the student ever have to attempt to use it. Few seem to recognize, they knew how to poke someone in the eyes the day they signed up.

    The problem has always been in the separation of the arts when the mass-market version reaches significant proportions. Then it takes on a life of its own, and its practitioners declare it the ultimate, despite its roots.

    None of Parker’s black belts students who studied previously to my knowledge were interested in the ‘new’ motion diversion, and none to my knowledge teach it. Most avoid criticism from the ‘motion born’ by simply not pointing these things out. Ancients like Chuck Sullivan, Dave Hebler, Steve Herring, or Stephen LaBounty, etc. have quietly extended their own interpretations from their eras teachings, and lineage. Some have given it a new name; others simply called it “Kenpo.”

    As for me, a search of the forum sites will yield the differences between what I teach and whatever anyone else is doing. Simply put, "Anatomy vesus motion." Compare for yourself.

    (Someone paste this on Martialtalk please)

    Really busy gentlemen and ladies, be patient .
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Doc, In my humble opinion, sir, I think you are a geninus.
    There is nothing so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.
    Unquestionably man has his will - but woman has her way! - Bruce Lee

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Thank you for sharing your insights.

    I have a question if I may.

    How does Sub Level 4 Kenpo compare to what George Dillman is doing?

    Thanks in advance for your time and response.
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    I can't wait for that answer

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Quote Originally Posted by florida_kenpo View Post
    Thank you for sharing your insights.

    I have a question if I may.

    How does Sub Level 4 Kenpo compare to what George Dillman is doing?

    Thanks in advance for your time and response.
    There is no comparison at all, other than the similarities between traditional Chinese and Japanese arts.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Quote Originally Posted by Arizona Angel View Post
    Doc, In my humble opinion, sir, I think you are a geninus.
    I need you to speak with my daughters. Thank you for the very kind words.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Dear Doc:
    I see now that I was taught the phonetic form of the inward block as a youg student of hybrid kenpo back in the 1960's. It's always worked great for me as a training tool over the years but I've never would use the movement from a fighting stance in actual combat. I'm going to look over the American Kenpo basic blocks series to see if I might want to instruct other's in the "new ways" as I take on an occassional private student.
    In my travels and teachings, almost no one remembers or was ever exposed to this teaching method of the inward block. In modern motion kenpo it has been replaced by an expeditious, linear, punching like movement, usually executed too low, with speed being the emphasis. "Point of origin" they will tell you to jusitfy that method because they misunderstand the term and incorrectly think it means only 'linear movement.' Although the block can physically be executed this way, it must have been trained through the 'phrasing or indexing' process to create a 'mind body connection' of established synaptic pathways that allow and support the 'shorthand' method they totally misunderstand.

    As far as the old "basics Booklet" project, there is a reason a second volume was never published. Mr. Parker modeled 95% of the basics in the booklet in street clothes, and almost immediately found flaws with the blocks himself. This prompted him to not be inclined to model techniques or basics, lest students be locked into what he did at the time, when he himself would have moved on to different executions and methods. He would thereafter only model one other time in his "Nunchauku Book." As a side note: Mr. Parker conceded after a comment by myself, that the basics booklet execution of stances is more correct than the very poorly modeled versions in Infinte Insights.
    "Nothing is more dangerous than the conscientiously ignorant, or the sincerely stupid." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

    "It's much easier to quote, than to know." - Ron Chapél


    www.MSUACF.com

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Doc,

    Aanother good post, sir! Thanks for the time and effort to share your insights.

    Dan C

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Indeed! Thank you! Very informative!
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    As far as the old "basics Booklet" project, there is a reason a second volume was never published. Mr. Parker modeled 95% of the basics in the booklet in street clothes, and almost immediately found flaws with the blocks himself. This prompted him to not be inclined to model techniques or basics, lest students be locked into what he did at the time, when he himself would have moved on to different executions and methods.
    Ha-ha.

    Thank you.

    I did find the above very amusing.

    The "mind set" behind the actions/non-actions.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Quote Originally Posted by katsudo_karate View Post
    How does Sub Level 4 Kenpo compare to what George Dillman is doing?
    Whoo. I've seen both in person. Dillman's stuff is virtually identical to the Japanese oriented expressions of pressure points I've seen in my previous training.

    By comparison, Doc's stuff simply works.

    Dillman's seemed much more subjective to context and having to manipulate into the correct posture, position, or situation, whereas SL-4 by design incorporates the anatomical perspective into the execution of techniques and methods that expose and exploit various misalignments and "pressure points". (Best way I can describe it from what I've witnessed and the simple demos he's shown me.)
    ~ Steve Zalazowski
    Continuing Student of the Arts.

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    In my travels and teachings, almost no one remembers or was ever exposed to this teaching method of the inward block. In modern motion kenpo it has been replaced by an expeditious, linear, punching like movement, usually executed too low, with speed being the emphasis. "Point of origin" they will tell you to jusitfy that method because they misunderstand the term and incorrectly think it means only 'linear movement.' Although the block can physically be executed this way, it must have been trained through the 'phrasing or indexing' process to create a 'mind body connection' of established synaptic pathways that allow and support the 'shorthand' method they totally misunderstand.

    Read this twice, and it still looks like a polar bear in a snow storm. Point of Origin is not as crucial as it is being presented. PofO is everything you do, wehter it is a circular movement or looped. I just threw a punch at the face of my son. I outweigh him by 150 pounds, and have 15 years experience on him. The thrusting inward block he used had me crossed up and in pain where his forearm stopped on the outside of my arm. He threw that block the way I was trained to and it has worked for him EVRY SINGLE TIME. The block is nothing without the PofO of your hips and how you slide your feet.

    Speed is worthless without the vision/focus of the incoming attack. The thrusting inward block relies on - See it -Understand it- Do something about it. Three perceptions that are key to QUICKNESS IN ACTION. Quickness and sensitivity are created through relaxed practice of the movement you want to perfect. "Know the Slow, Know the Fast", this can be dynaic tensioning through blocks, kicks, sets and forms.

    If your yellow belt can't learn it, then maybe it's you.

    Clark

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Quote Originally Posted by kenpoteacher View Post

    If your yellow belt can't learn it, then maybe it's you.

    Clark

    Where was it stated that Doc's yellow belts are having trouble learning anything, let alone a block?

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    Default Re: A Question For Doc

    Carol, where did you get the impression that I was typing directly at him?

    "If your yellow belt can't learn", that is all you got out of the post?

    Sad.

    So long, it has been entertaining.

    Clark

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