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Thread: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

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    Default American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    American Kenpo's "New" Voice
    Part 2: "American Kenpo, Who's Right?"
    By Ed Parker, Jr.

    One of the unique things about Ed Parker’s American Kenpo is its advocacy of the principle of Tailoring. Tailoring has allowed thousands of Kenpoists throughout the world to interpret and practice His innovative system with no fear of invalidation.

    My Dad felt that physical principles and sound concepts of motion form your basic knowledge, and any exploration that uses these guidelines couldn’t be wrong. Once again, he encouraged all of his students to study the system, its principles, and to interpret them. He encouraged students to tailor and create their own style.

    One must realize however, not to “Tailor” out of laziness or ease. Lack of hard work to develop a move or technique does not constitute proper tailoring which leads to effectiveness. Tailoring does allow the art to be taught, and practitioners to train at whatever level they chose to study. My Dad felt everyone should be graded based on his ability, potential, and educational background. This is what accounts for the wide disparity in Kenpo practitioner’s skill and knowledge today.

    However, to this end, Dad was like a Kenpo University that was offering many courses. They included philosophy, ethics, physics, math, music, etc. as well as “The Theory of Motion” course. However, His University was offering only one “lab.” This lab course was entitled “The Study of Motion.” Think about it! Knowing that American Kenpo in its most simplistic form is advanced college course work; he was trying to lay a foundation for the next level. Without the understanding of motion and a firm grasp of body mechanics, he knew this would not be possible. He was trying to get students to understand the concepts of motion.

    He expounded on the “Universal Pattern” (a doctoral thesis in itself) direction, methods, paths, dimensions, and angles. Teaching tools such as these or the study of the offensive equation formulas of prefixing, suffixing, inserting, rearranging, altering, adjusting, regulating, and deleting movements, were only stones to the “gaseous states of motion.”
    Everything was motion, motion, and more motion. Where was he going? American Kenpo has a very distinct purpose and goal that contained the humane ability to control the level of devastation one could deliver at any given movement. Unfortunately, he never had time to offer this to the majority of His students.

    I often get upset when I hear people say, “ this is how Ed Parker said this technique had to be done.” Ed Parker NEVER told anyone a definitive way to perform techniques. As long as you use proper principles of motion, which produced the desired effect for the situation, it doesn’t make any difference.

    He may have agreed with how you performed a technique, but only in principle. When asked how a technique should be done, he always said “Show me how you do it.” Then he would either confirm your principles, or make suggestions to get you back on track. He often asked “Does this work for you?” As long as the technique worked for you, and the principles were logical, it was OK! He often reminded students that techniques were only “ideas.”

    The groundbreaking Technique Manuals he produced, and I slaved over, were only designed to keep people on track. They were not meant to be quoted like scriptures, mistakes and all. He said that when you leave gaps, it encourages the avid practitioner to use logical, practical, thinking to fill in the gaps. A large part of what my father was about was to encourage and enlighten the mind and help his students to think for themselves.

    From this perspective, there is no one “right” way to perform American Kenpo techniques. Indeed My Dad’s greatest contribution was to liberate the martial arts from the age of superstition and heresy. With “Mr. Parker,” anything was valid if it was logical, and conformed to sound scientific physical principles.

    Nevertheless, even if there are many “right “ ways to do Kenpo or perform its techniques, serious kenpo practitioners must ask themselves whether their particular style might be hindering them from taking their art to new realms of proficiency. If such is the case, they do not need to discard what they already know. However, they should begin to explore principles of other levels of American Kenpo, to allow their personal interpretation of kenpo to become stronger, and more vigorous. Elements that may not be general knowledge in the Kenpo Community.

    As I perform seminars throughout the country, criticism has been leveled from those who find it hard to believe such groundbreaking information I demonstrate was inherent in American Kenpo but for some reason my Dad didn’t share it with them personally. Well ponder this. Everyone knows He used Slap-Checks in the execution of techniques. However, you will not find any reference to a Slap-Check in any of his written works, (which I edited) nor did he specifically teach the use of Slap-Checks. So ask yourself the questions: “Why not?” “What else might he have held back?”

    I personally watched him place the term “Positional Check” in many places where a Slap-Check was appropriate. When I asked him “Why?” he said, “The times not right.” I believe he would have eventually began teaching other levels when he was satisfied with the current state of his writings, and the progress of the art and his students overall.
    "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: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc View Post
    American Kenpo's "New" Voice

    Part 2: "American Kenpo, Who's Right?"
    By Ed Parker, Jr.

    One of the unique things about Ed Parker’s American Kenpo is its advocacy of the principle of Tailoring. Tailoring has allowed thousands of Kenpoists throughout the world to interpret and practice His innovative system with no fear of invalidation.

    My Dad felt that physical principles and sound concepts of motion form your basic knowledge, and any exploration that uses these guidelines couldn’t be wrong. Once again, he encouraged all of his students to study the system, its principles, and to interpret them. He encouraged students to tailor and create their own style.

    One must realize however, not to “Tailor” out of laziness or ease. Lack of hard work to develop a move or technique does not constitute proper tailoring which leads to effectiveness. Tailoring does allow the art to be taught, and practitioners to train at whatever level they chose to study. My Dad felt everyone should be graded based on his ability, potential, and educational background. This is what accounts for the wide disparity in Kenpo practitioner’s skill and knowledge today.

    However, to this end, Dad was like a Kenpo University that was offering many courses. They included philosophy, ethics, physics, math, music, etc. as well as “The Theory of Motion” course. However, His University was offering only one “lab.” This lab course was entitled “The Study of Motion.” Think about it! Knowing that American Kenpo in its most simplistic form is advanced college course work; he was trying to lay a foundation for the next level. Without the understanding of motion and a firm grasp of body mechanics, he knew this would not be possible. He was trying to get students to understand the concepts of motion.

    He expounded on the “Universal Pattern” (a doctoral thesis in itself) direction, methods, paths, dimensions, and angles. Teaching tools such as these or the study of the offensive equation formulas of prefixing, suffixing, inserting, rearranging, altering, adjusting, regulating, and deleting movements, were only stones to the “gaseous states of motion.”
    Everything was motion, motion, and more motion. Where was he going? American Kenpo has a very distinct purpose and goal that contained the humane ability to control the level of devastation one could deliver at any given movement. Unfortunately, he never had time to offer this to the majority of His students.

    I often get upset when I hear people say, “ this is how Ed Parker said this technique had to be done.” Ed Parker NEVER told anyone a definitive way to perform techniques. As long as you use proper principles of motion, which produced the desired effect for the situation, it doesn’t make any difference.

    He may have agreed with how you performed a technique, but only in principle. When asked how a technique should be done, he always said “Show me how you do it.” Then he would either confirm your principles, or make suggestions to get you back on track. He often asked “Does this work for you?” As long as the technique worked for you, and the principles were logical, it was OK! He often reminded students that techniques were only “ideas.”

    The groundbreaking Technique Manuals he produced, and I slaved over, were only designed to keep people on track. They were not meant to be quoted like scriptures, mistakes and all. He said that when you leave gaps, it encourages the avid practitioner to use logical, practical, thinking to fill in the gaps. A large part of what my father was about was to encourage and enlighten the mind and help his students to think for themselves.

    From this perspective, there is no one “right” way to perform American Kenpo techniques. Indeed My Dad’s greatest contribution was to liberate the martial arts from the age of superstition and heresy. With “Mr. Parker,” anything was valid if it was logical, and conformed to sound scientific physical principles.

    Nevertheless, even if there are many “right “ ways to do Kenpo or perform its techniques, serious kenpo practitioners must ask themselves whether their particular style might be hindering them from taking their art to new realms of proficiency. If such is the case, they do not need to discard what they already know. However, they should begin to explore principles of other levels of American Kenpo, to allow their personal interpretation of kenpo to become stronger, and more vigorous. Elements that may not be general knowledge in the Kenpo Community.

    As I perform seminars throughout the country, criticism has been leveled from those who find it hard to believe such groundbreaking information I demonstrate was inherent in American Kenpo but for some reason my Dad didn’t share it with them personally. Well ponder this. Everyone knows He used Slap-Checks in the execution of techniques. However, you will not find any reference to a Slap-Check in any of his written works, (which I edited) nor did he specifically teach the use of Slap-Checks. So ask yourself the questions: “Why not?” “What else might he have held back?”

    I personally watched him place the term “Positional Check” in many places where a Slap-Check was appropriate. When I asked him “Why?” he said, “The times not right.” I believe he would have eventually began teaching other levels when he was satisfied with the current state of his writings, and the progress of the art and his students overall.
    Slap checks are positional.
    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    First, thanks Doc for digging this one out. Now a question. As a senior member of the system do you have a litmus test for how your take on the system is doing? Do you have an opportunity to step outside and judge with a critical eye the same way Mr. Parker did? OK that's two questions but really just two parts I guess. The article suggests Mr. Parker was nurturing the art, growing it into a complete organism. Are the seniors of today doing the same thing? Can you give an example?

    Thanks!

    CT
    ...but that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by chtavis View Post
    First, thanks Doc for digging this one out. Now a question. As a senior member of the system do you have a litmus test for how your take on the system is doing? Do you have an opportunity to step outside and judge with a critical eye the same way Mr. Parker did? OK that's two questions but really just two parts I guess. The article suggests Mr. Parker was nurturing the art, growing it into a complete organism. Are the seniors of today doing the same thing? Can you give an example?

    Thanks!

    CT
    I didn't read that into the article, but I'm slow.
    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    Slap checks are positional.
    Sean
    What is a positional check? How do you define it? And why?

    Thanks,

    Dan

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by sigung86 View Post
    What is a positional check? How do you define it? And why?

    Thanks,

    Dan
    Positional Check: The formation of various defensive postures that automatically check incoming action. The structured positions themselves act as checks without any effort on your part.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Lear View Post
    Positional Check: The formation of various defensive postures that automatically check incoming action. The structured positions themselves act as checks without any effort on your part.
    And so we meet again Dr. Phibes! Hi Billy...

    OK ... Words, words, words... How is a slap check a defensive posture. How does it become a structured "position", and, finally, why do you need to slap yourself to assume that position?

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by sigung86 View Post
    And so we meet again Dr. Phibes! Hi Billy...

    OK ... Words, words, words... How is a slap check a defensive posture. How does it become a structured "position", and, finally, why do you need to slap yourself to assume that position?
    Hi Dan,

    I wasn't the one that made the assertation that a slap check was a positional check. I merely posted the definition of the term Positional Check for you. That's all.

    I believe KenpoChanger is the one that made the following postulation:

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger
    Slap checks are positional.
    Sean
    It would probably be more appropriate for him to answer you, since he is the one that made the statement you are questioning.


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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    My take on slap checks has always been it teach one's mind and body to effortlessy (and without thought) place the hands in the proper defensive or offensive position. But the key is to insure the stundent knows what they may be checking and why (and how it effects his body positioning).

    As I teach it, a slap check can be positional, but not all positional are slap checks. One's legs/stances can be a positional check. Once you get the positonal leg checks and the slap checks going, you leave less opportunity to get countered.

    Doc,
    Thanks for posting the article.
    "You can't account for everything, but you should account for the reasonably probable. Unfortunately for the unknowledgeable, those never ending 'what if's' will choke your thought process to death with useless information." - Doc

    "To hold and fill to overflowing is not as good as to stop in time. Sharpen a knife-edge to its very sharpest, and the edge will not last long." – Loa Tzu

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    An example of slap check that I use…

    Sword of destruction – As the left roundhouse punch comes in, I step back with my foot as I execute a left inward parry sweep (which then circles back clockwise back to a center check position, ready to protect the groin and mid-section). Can also be done as a left inward clock. I do this in the event the punch comes in faster than expected and to better execute my next move, the right outward block. My right hand is now cocked and ready to execute the right inward handsword. Execute the front ball snap kick. I then execute the right inward handsword. Because my right hand in no longer checking the punch, I execute left slap check (palm to top of my right shoulder) to place my left hand in a checking position for the punching hand. As I do that my left elbow or “wing” becomes a positional check for my center mass. Now to also cover the offensive use of the slap check… As I quickly retract my right handsword (and bring it back to the position to check the punch again), I execute a left outward handsword (reversing the left slap check) to the neck, or a center mass check if the attacker tried to continue forward momentum.

    I did not concentrate too much of my explanation on the lower body, but lots going on there too.

    Sorry for the fragmented sentences. Did not have coffee yet. Also, I purposely did not try to get technical with terminology so I hope this got my opinion across. As always, just my own opinion and somehting that I have found that works for me.
    "You can't account for everything, but you should account for the reasonably probable. Unfortunately for the unknowledgeable, those never ending 'what if's' will choke your thought process to death with useless information." - Doc

    "To hold and fill to overflowing is not as good as to stop in time. Sharpen a knife-edge to its very sharpest, and the edge will not last long." – Loa Tzu

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by HKphooey View Post
    ...As I teach it, a slap check can be positional, but not all positional are slap checks.
    Agreed. They are not always the same thing and serve two different purposes in some techniques.
    PARKER - HERMAN - SECK

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    I didn't read that into the article, but I'm slow.
    Sean
    Just looking at that last paragraph where it's mentioned the SGM Parker had material he hadn't introduced in general. Suggests to me that he was waiting for his core to do something with what he'd already taught them. Waiting for the first coat to dry before applying a second if that is a better analogy.

    CT
    ...but that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    Dennis Miller

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by chtavis View Post
    Just looking at that last paragraph where it's mentioned the SGM Parker had material he hadn't introduced in general. Suggests to me that he was waiting for his core to do something with what he'd already taught them. Waiting for the first coat to dry before applying a second if that is a better analogy.

    CT
    Yes, a very good analogy...
    "You can't account for everything, but you should account for the reasonably probable. Unfortunately for the unknowledgeable, those never ending 'what if's' will choke your thought process to death with useless information." - Doc

    "To hold and fill to overflowing is not as good as to stop in time. Sharpen a knife-edge to its very sharpest, and the edge will not last long." – Loa Tzu

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by chtavis View Post
    Just looking at that last paragraph where it's mentioned the SGM Parker had material he hadn't introduced in general. Suggests to me that he was waiting for his core to do something with what he'd already taught them. Waiting for the first coat to dry before applying a second if that is a better analogy.

    CT
    This analogy sucks. Everyone knows you only use one coat of paint for the best finish and.....wait a minute
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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoJuJitsu3 View Post
    This analogy sucks. Everyone knows you only use one coat of paint for the best finish and.....wait a minute
    No no no! You throw the entire bucket on the wall and spread it around with your hands! Sheesh where've you been Mister Hawkins? We've developed and evolved beyond the need for mere brushes! :P
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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by IWishToLearn View Post
    No no no! You throw the entire bucket on the wall and spread it around with your hands! Sheesh where've you been Mister Hawkins? We've developed and evolved beyond the need for mere brushes! :P
    No, you trick the neighbor girl into doing it for you. Oh wait, that book got banned.
    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by HKphooey View Post
    An example of slap check that I use…

    Sword of destruction – As the left roundhouse punch comes in, I step back with my foot as I execute a left inward parry sweep (which then circles back clockwise back to a center check position, ready to protect the groin and mid-section). Can also be done as a left inward clock. I do this in the event the punch comes in faster than expected and to better execute my next move, the right outward block. My right hand is now cocked and ready to execute the right inward handsword. Execute the front ball snap kick. I then execute the right inward handsword. Because my right hand in no longer checking the punch, I execute left slap check (palm to top of my right shoulder) to place my left hand in a checking position for the punching hand. As I do that my left elbow or “wing” becomes a positional check for my center mass. Now to also cover the offensive use of the slap check… As I quickly retract my right handsword (and bring it back to the position to check the punch again), I execute a left outward handsword (reversing the left slap check) to the neck, or a center mass check if the attacker tried to continue forward momentum.
    I would submit that you are really doing two different "checks." The first check is the 'slap-check' that is then followed by a positional check, a la the Redbook, Infinite Insights, etc. Myself, I wouldn't conflate the two and call them the same move. And I would also say that while double or triple checking might involve the use of a slapping check, they aren’t synonymous activities.

    Now, why even move the hand off the shoulder? I mean is six inches from the shoulder to the centerline that big of a deal? And want you gain in moving and "dropping" the hand into a positional check in terms of width, you give up in terms of height. So why even move it?

    And I would say that what you describe as an offensive slap check is really just a handsword following a slap check.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    No, you trick the neighbor girl into doing it for you. Oh wait, that book got banned.
    Sean
    OMG
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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by HKphooey View Post
    My take on slap checks has always been it teach one's mind and body to effortlessy (and without thought) place the hands in the proper defensive or offensive position. But the key is to insure the stundent knows what they may be checking and why (and how it effects his body positioning).

    As I teach it, a slap check can be positional, but not all positional are slap checks. One's legs/stances can be a positional check. Once you get the positonal leg checks and the slap checks going, you leave less opportunity to get countered.

    Doc,
    Thanks for posting the article.
    Positional check is the big catagory and a slap check is a subcatagory of positional checking if that is clear.
    sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo's "New" Voice Part 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew View Post
    I would submit that you are really doing two different "checks." The first check is the 'slap-check' that is then followed by a positional check, a la the Redbook, Infinite Insights, etc. Myself, I wouldn't conflate the two and call them the same move. And I would also say that while double or triple checking might involve the use of a slapping check, they aren’t synonymous activities.

    Now, why even move the hand off the shoulder? I mean is six inches from the shoulder to the centerline that big of a deal? And want you gain in moving and "dropping" the hand into a positional check in terms of width, you give up in terms of height. So why even move it?

    And I would say that what you describe as an offensive slap check is really just a handsword following a slap check.
    First off thanks for the reply... Always love to hear another person's thoughts.

    Second, not sure if I explained it in enough detail, but the secondary slap check/handword all depends on the reaction of the attacker. I may use the check to keep his head down if he buckles over from the groin shot or if he reacts with forward movement (a tackle) the use of a check works better for me.

    And as for leaving the slap check at the shoulder... I do not like the possibility of the right arm coming in for a strike.

    Thanks for making me think. I see your points and will add them to my "experiments".
    "You can't account for everything, but you should account for the reasonably probable. Unfortunately for the unknowledgeable, those never ending 'what if's' will choke your thought process to death with useless information." - Doc

    "To hold and fill to overflowing is not as good as to stop in time. Sharpen a knife-edge to its very sharpest, and the edge will not last long." – Loa Tzu

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