One Strike One Kill in Karate but not Kenpo.
By Danjo - Sun, 25 Nov 2007 16:14:17 GMT


In an article on Kata in the latest Classical Fighting Arts magazine, there was someting quite interesting mentioned. The article titled: The History and Evolution of Karate-Do Kata , by Harry Cook says:

"According to Chomo Hanashiro's student Hiroshi Kinjo, (born in Shuri, Okinawa in 1919) most modern karate "experts" have little or no understanding of the real nature of traditional karate....Kinjo observed that while the concept of "one strike one kill" is perfectly valid when applied to the Japanese sword, the adoption of this concept to karate has led to a profound misunderstanding of the realities of a "personal confrontation without weapons when actually seized by an opponent. More often than not, in an effort to subjugate an attacker, a defender must impact a subordinate target in order to set up a more anatomically vulnerable zone to traumatize, before dragging that person to the ground, or, conversely, being dragged to the ground." (pg. 18)

I find it interesting how much we uncritically accepted about karate from the original Japanese teachers that brought it over here. The one punch one kill concept that we have taken to understand as a vital part of original karate, was, it seems an attempt to have karate conform to the same concept as kendo, whereas the original karate from Okinawa was more similar to what we understand as Kenpo and Kajukenbo etc. in terms of it's use of multiple attacks to vital targets with finishes on the ground. It appears that karate had moved quite a ways away from it's self defense origins and into the academic asthetic phase before it even landed on our shores.

Given that in Okinawa the words Karate and Kenpo were used interchangebly, I wonder if the insistance on Kenpo as the name wasn't in part due to the fact that many Okinawans didn't like what they were seeing of the very popular Japanese Karate and so gravitated more toward the name of Kenpo so as to distinguish it from what they were seeing as an unworkable martial art?


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