NOTE: To understand the terms continuity and economy of motion
more thoroughly, let us analyze the elements involved in learning to
write. Here again we find basic similarities in the study of the
Martial Arts.
We have already learned that speaking a language requires knowing
the alphabets of that language. After you have combined these
alphabets of that language. After you have combined these alphabets to
create words, phonetic pronunciation is then necessary so that you can
be understood. In short, certain sounds are given to alphabets and
words so that a conversation can be carried on.
While learning to write the English language, two methods of
writing printing and script are taught. Printing employs circles and
straight lines which parallel and/or join each other at various angles
and contact points. Although curved lines are also used, they too,
sometimes converge, end, or meet straight lines. Such writing
requires stopping one action before starting another. This stopping
and starting action utilizes staccato movements that lose time.
On the other hand, script writing flows from one alphabet to the
next taking less time to write. This true because script writing
connects straight and circular lines. Straight lines joined with
circular lines make it possible to write without hesitation. Even
though the lines in script writing often retrace their paths, one
stroke does not have to stop before another begins. The flow is
continuous and the speed enhanced.
A good Martial Art system should contain all of the elements of
print and script writing. It is acceptable for a system to commence
with printing elements to execute moves, but a well rounded system
should ultimately cultivate the elements of script writing to
sophisticate and upgrade its methods. All systems should contain
linear as well as circular paths for it takes both to complement and
balance a system. Using both insures continuity, economy of motion,
and fighting effectiveness.
Further sophistication of the Art can be compared to still
another method of writing -- short hand. In short hand, you have
combinations of printing and script writing. These symbolic characters
have been condensed in length and space and their meaning increased. A
few strokes or simple characters may have lengthy meanings. Likewise,
in the Art, one punch may have two or more effects. It may change a
defense into an offense or the reverse, a double defense with a single
offense or the reversed, or other like combinations.
Here again individuality becomes apparent. Each student basically
learns identical procedures, concepts and rudiments of writing, yet
after developing his own writing style, his writing becomes
distinguishably different from others. So it is with the Martial Arts
-- the same basics, concepts, and principles are taught, but a
distinguishable difference is noticed in the application rendered by
each individual student.

Ed Parker Sr. Memories
Archived with the permission of Ed Parker Jr.
Ed Parker Sr. was the founder of the art known today as American Kenpo.
In these files, Ed Parker Jr. shares his fathers unpublished notes and other memories with us.