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Thread: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

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    Default MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Kenpo for Lefties?
    By The Master - Tue, 17 Jul 2007 16:00:34 GMT

    ====================

    As written, almost all if not all of the techniques I have seen demonstrated are done with a focus on right handedness.

    Your lead is a right lead, your primary attack/counter is from the right.

    I have even been informed by a well known 5th that Kenpo is not done from the left. The standard "Mr. Parker didn't say that so it isn't done" excuse.

    It would seem to me that it is sensible to train techniques from both sides, in the event that your primary is limited or disabled.

    So, what options are there for lefties in kenpo?


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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by MT Post Bot View Post
    Kenpo for Lefties?
    By The Master - Tue, 17 Jul 2007 16:00:34 GMT

    ====================

    As written, almost all if not all of the techniques I have seen demonstrated are done with a focus on right handedness.

    Your lead is a right lead, your primary attack/counter is from the right.

    I have even been informed by a well known 5th that Kenpo is not done from the left. The standard "Mr. Parker didn't say that so it isn't done" excuse.

    It would seem to me that it is sensible to train techniques from both sides, in the event that your primary is limited or disabled.

    So, what options are there for lefties in kenpo?


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    First of all this well known 5th you speak of disappoints me. All the material is to be done on both sides. What if the only tech you know is Delayed Sword and the attacker throws a left punch or a left grab? Do we just say (wait would you please throw a right punch or grab instead).

    All the students I test must show the material on both sides, and I start teaching it at the time I teach delayed sword. Also we drill left and right punches. The material is taught from the strong side perspective due to the reason that most people or right handed. I for one am Right handed however my strong side is the left. I spar with the left foot forward. When I teach a tech I really dont remember if it is ( on the left side or the right side) without looking it up. The point is to be able to use it on either side, and to be able to mirror image the student when we teach. I dont remember Mr. Parker saying it isnt done on the left.
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Brad,

    We are in disagreement here. Here is a cut and paste from a previous blog that I wrote:

    There is no doubt that American Kenpo Karate is a right side dominant martial art and that this can be said of many martial arts styles. The reason that it is right side dominant is that most people are right handed. For people who are left handed, they usually have no difficulty learning the system since Kenpo is based on proper body mechanics.

    One question that I guessed asked from time to time, and one which is particularly important in American Kenpo Karate where there are 154 self-defense techniques to learn to obtain a black belt, is if one should be practicing their self-defense techniques equally on the left side to balance things out and to make oneself an overall better martial artist? The answer quite simply is no.

    Why? The reason is that when we are stressed, and there is someone trying to take our head off, our brain will respond via the dominant side regardless of how much time is devoted to training on the left side. That doesn’t mean in anyway that we don’t need to be effective on both sides. What it means is that the right and left side movements are utilized differently. In effect, what American Kenpo does is take advantage of a person’s strength on both sides.

    Moreover, trying to devote time to practicing techniques on both sides takes away from the time needed to practice the system as was designed. It also blinds one’s potential of being able to see things from your style’s dominant side.

    I have heard many people claim that they are ambidextrous. Ambidexterity, however, in the truest sense, is not possible. Take advantage of learning your style as designed.
    I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.
    (Phillipians 4:13)


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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seabrook View Post
    Brad,

    We are in disagreement here. Here is a cut and paste from a previous blog that I wrote:

    There is no doubt that American Kenpo Karate is a right side dominant martial art and that this can be said of many martial arts styles. The reason that it is right side dominant is that most people are right handed. For people who are left handed, they usually have no difficulty learning the system since Kenpo is based on proper body mechanics.

    One question that I guessed asked from time to time, and one which is particularly important in American Kenpo Karate where there are 154 self-defense techniques to learn to obtain a black belt, is if one should be practicing their self-defense techniques equally on the left side to balance things out and to make oneself an overall better martial artist? The answer quite simply is no.

    Why? The reason is that when we are stressed, and there is someone trying to take our head off, our brain will respond via the dominant side regardless of how much time is devoted to training on the left side. That doesn’t mean in anyway that we don’t need to be effective on both sides. What it means is that the right and left side movements are utilized differently. In effect, what American Kenpo does is take advantage of a person’s strength on both sides.

    Moreover, trying to devote time to practicing techniques on both sides takes away from the time needed to practice the system as was designed. It also blinds one’s potential of being able to see things from your style’s dominant side.

    I have heard many people claim that they are ambidextrous. Ambidexterity, however, in the truest sense, is not possible. Take advantage of learning your style as designed.
    Brother Jamie,
    As always I respect your view, and it is ok to dis-agree. I dont think anyone is truely ambidexteritious. I teach the art from both sides because thats what I believe. I dont know what is or isnt the dominate side for a person. The material is nothing more than examples of motion. If Mr. Parker was left handed do you think perhaps the material would be focused on the left side? This is only a preception of relationships of what is or isnt the stronger side. As an example females wear the knot on their belt on the left side to represent the stronger sex. At least it is done this way in my school. Really for me I find the purpose is form the teaching aspect to mirror the student.

    Thank you for your view
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Greetings.

    I have to agree with Mr. Seabrook.

    The techniques we have that go to the left side many times have to do with initial foot centering.

    Here's what I mean.

    When we are just talking or hanging out, we tend to balance our weight in one or the other foot, not completely 50-50 weight distribution. We might be taken off guard and have the weight on the left leg, instead of the right, so we would step back with the right leg, or step forward with the right leg, or sideways.

    Same with the other leg.

    It's more of an initial positioning thing, surviving the assault and countering.

    If you find your body has a preference for doing a technique on a certain side... by all means... practice that side!!!

    Experiment in high stress situations the execution of techniques and you'll find the side you favor. You'll notice that you have certain "go to" Personal Master key moves that you'll execute...

    and that is one of the goals of exposing your body to so many techniques...

    So that your body can find it's preferred "go to" moves.

    Does that makes sense?

    So the goal is not to learn and execute both sides, but to ingrain those moves that are dispersed into the techniques.

    A more interesting exercise would be to find these Personal Master Key moves on yourself and your students. You'll find that they have some preferred methods of execution (snapping, thrusting, hammering roundhousing, whipping, etc.),

    some preferred paths (linear, big loops, small circles, etc.),

    and several preferred patterns and manipulations.

    Good discussion. Thank you.

    Enjoy!

    Juan M. Mercado

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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by profesormental View Post
    Greetings.

    I have to agree with Mr. Seabrook.

    The techniques we have that go to the left side many times have to do with initial foot centering.

    Here's what I mean.

    When we are just talking or hanging out, we tend to balance our weight in one or the other foot, not completely 50-50 weight distribution. We might be taken off guard and have the weight on the left leg, instead of the right, so we would step back with the right leg, or step forward with the right leg, or sideways.

    Same with the other leg.

    It's more of an initial positioning thing, surviving the assault and countering.

    If you find your body has a preference for doing a technique on a certain side... by all means... practice that side!!!

    Experiment in high stress situations the execution of techniques and you'll find the side you favor. You'll notice that you have certain "go to" Personal Master key moves that you'll execute...

    and that is one of the goals of exposing your body to so many techniques...

    So that your body can find it's preferred "go to" moves.

    Does that makes sense?

    So the goal is not to learn and execute both sides, but to ingrain those moves that are dispersed into the techniques.

    A more interesting exercise would be to find these Personal Master Key moves on yourself and your students. You'll find that they have some preferred methods of execution (snapping, thrusting, hammering roundhousing, whipping, etc.),

    some preferred paths (linear, big loops, small circles, etc.),

    and several preferred patterns and manipulations.

    Good discussion. Thank you.

    Enjoy!

    Juan M. Mercado
    Great points you made.Let me ask you this:

    What if the only tech you know is Delayed Sword and the attacker throws a left punch or a left grab? Do we just say (wait would you please throw a right punch or grab instead)?
    Brad Marshall SP
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    I do Modern Arnis, we train everything on both sides, so doing otherwise seems "wrong" to me. I won't be as strong on my non-dominant side, but I'll have some options should I somehow "lose my primary".
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    If your opponent is good enough to disable/disarm/take your primary, what makes you think you stand a chance using your "bad" side?

    Lamont
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Great points you made.Let me ask you this:

    What if the only tech you know is Delayed Sword and the attacker throws a left punch or a left grab? Do we just say (wait would you please throw a right punch or grab instead)?
    Don't you have an ideal technique for a left grab or a left punch?

    Lamont
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    Don't you have an ideal technique for a left grab or a left punch?

    Lamont
    Yes I do ,however that wasnt the question
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    If your opponent is good enough to disable/disarm/take your primary, what makes you think you stand a chance using your "bad" side?

    Lamont
    What makes you think it is the bad side? Just because the book says it is the strong side. The primary side is the book version of what is being taught. However it doesnt make it my strong side.
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    First of all this well known 5th you speak of disappoints me. All the material is to be done on both sides. What if the only tech you know is Delayed Sword and the attacker throws a left punch or a left grab? Do we just say (wait would you please throw a right punch or grab instead).

    All the students I test must show the material on both sides, and I start teaching it at the time I teach delayed sword. Also we drill left and right punches. The material is taught from the strong side perspective due to the reason that most people or right handed. I for one am Right handed however my strong side is the left. I spar with the left foot forward. When I teach a tech I really dont remember if it is ( on the left side or the right side) without looking it up. The point is to be able to use it on either side, and to be able to mirror image the student when we teach. I dont remember Mr. Parker saying it isnt done on the left.

    This topic has been rehashed many times here and over on Martialtalk, where this current thread came from. I won't repeat everything I've said on these, but I am in complete agreement with what you are saying here. I've been practicing all techs on both sides since day one (about 23 years ago), and I also often cannot remember what the "official" side the tech is supposed to be done on. They are all the same to me, I can do them either side, regardless.

    It is true that complete ambidexterity is probably unlikely, but you can still develop to a high skill on your weak side, to a level that you don't really differentiate that much one from the other. It just takes regular and consistent training, and isn't that difficult above and beyond training just the one side.

    I believe there are strong benefits and good reasons to practice all techs on both sides. It seems these threads end up with the same people arguing the same points over and over, so I'll just say that you should practice how you feel is best for you, and I will do the same for myself. If we disagree, I am content with that.
    Michael


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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    What makes you think it is the bad side? Just because the book says it is the strong side. The primary side is the book version of what is being taught. However it doesnt make it my strong side.
    Actually, I was responding to Bob who said:
    do Modern Arnis, we train everything on both sides, so doing otherwise seems "wrong" to me. I won't be as strong on my non-dominant side, but I'll have some options should I somehow "lose my primary".
    Pekiti Tirsia Kali and Kenpo Karate
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    If your opponent is good enough to disable/disarm/take your primary, what makes you think you stand a chance using your "bad" side?

    Lamont
    If you get disabled/disarmed by your opponent on one side, you can keep on going with the other. What makes you think you are automatically at a disadvantage? If the skill is developed on both sides, just keep on going.

    Of course someone will probably have a favorite side to fight from, and if they have the time to make that choice then do so. But you don't always get that luxury. In that case, you better be able to fight with what you have.
    Michael


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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    Actually, I was responding to Bob who said:
    Sorry about that.
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Yes I do ,however that wasnt the question
    What if he kicks? What if he does a double lapel grab? What if he does a shaolin flying headbutt?

    Critiquing an incompletely trained stuent, to make a point is rather silly don't you think?

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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blindside View Post
    What if he kicks? What if he does a double lapel grab? What if he does a shaolin flying headbutt?

    Critiquing an incompletely trained stuent, to make a point is rather silly don't you think?

    Lamont
    Sure it is, this only has to do with the question of teaching both sides.
    I do it for my reasons others dont for theirs.
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by profesormental View Post

    When we are just talking or hanging out, we tend to balance our weight in one or the other foot, not completely 50-50 weight distribution. We might be taken off guard and have the weight on the left leg, instead of the right, so we would step back with the right leg, or step forward with the right leg, or sideways.

    Same with the other leg.

    It's more of an initial positioning thing, surviving the assault and countering.

    If you find your body has a preference for doing a technique on a certain side... by all means... practice that side!!!

    Juan M. Mercado
    Yes, but when you are just hanging out, you don't always stand the same way. You shift your weight from one foot to the other on occasion, back and forth. So by looking at it from this perspective, you never know how you might be standing when an attack comes. You might be caught in a position where you are unable to move the way you would prefer, so you gotta move in the way that is available. If that means ending up on your off side, you need to be able to operate from that position.

    If the confrontation continues beyond the intial assault survival and counter, then you might be able to reposition into a way you are more comfortable. But that initial assault survival might hinge upon your ability to work with your "weak" side, and if you have trained well, you might be able to end the confrontation at that stage, without even needing to reposition.

    Training the off side really is not that difficult. I suggest you all give it a try for a while and see what you think. I accept the fact that you will probably not be as good as you are on the strong side, but you can certainly train yourself to develop a respectable level of skill on the weaker side. Not difficult at all, it just takes consistent training, which I assume you are all doing anyway. Just expand your training a bit.
    Michael


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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    If you get disabled/disarmed by your opponent on one side, you can keep on going with the other. What makes you think you are automatically at a disadvantage? If the skill is developed on both sides, just keep on going.

    Of course someone will probably have a favorite side to fight from, and if they have the time to make that choice then do so. But you don't always get that luxury. In that case, you better be able to fight with what you have.
    This whole Princess Bride, fight on top of the Cliffs of Insanity; "I know something you do not know" scene just doesn't happen in real life. (OK, that was a silly statement.) You mentioned on the MT thread that you do Chinese swordsmanship, if you are facing another swordsman and he he is good enough to disarm your good hand, and you somehow get your sword back, what would you say your chances of winning the engagement to be your non-dominant hand versus his good hand? Versus taking the time you invest teaching your non-dominant hand, and investing it to make your dominant hand to be the best it could be?

    Lamont
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    Default Re: MT: Kenpo for Lefties?

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Sure it is, this only has to do with the question of teaching both sides.
    I do it for my reasons others dont for theirs.
    You are making the argument that if someone only has Delayed Sword and they are only taught on one side, they will be vulnerable to to opposite. Those who advocate teaching a one-sided (bad term) system would say, they will have Sword of Destruction to deal with that left. Setting up an argument by what-ifing the situation (only has delayed sword, taught one side, what-if left punch), I gave an equivelent what-if (only has delayed sword, taught both sides, what if -shaolin flying headbutt). The argument is the same with only one variable, and the answer is the same: the student hasn't been an appropriate defense at that time.

    Lamont
    Pekiti Tirsia Kali and Kenpo Karate
    www.blackbirdmartialarts.com

    “He, who will not reason, is a bigot; he, who cannot, is a fool; and he, who dares not, is a slave.”
    ~William Drummond

    "This person is as dangerous as an IED."

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