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Thread: American Kenpo Traditions

  1. #81
    Mills Crenshaw is offline Sr. Black Belt
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions & WHY EXAGGERATED COURTESY

    The second question first: Have you ever wondered why the exaggerated courtesy in the martial arts? It's because we ALWAYS GO ARMED. When men of war go armed, courtesy is expected and given to avoid misunderstandings and un-intended insults. Case in point: In the old South no insult would be forgiven and an armed challenge could not be ignored. Foolish? Perhaps; but the "code" prevented many a social blunder (and provoked many others).

    I'm embarresed to admit that in over half a century in Kenpo I was never introduced to the "knot on the side" tradition. If Ed Parker had anything to do with it he kept it a secret from those of us hidden away in the tops of the mountains. Perhaps Doc knows its orrigins.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    I think the knot on the side looks terrible. With a sash, of course, it looks great. But a standard karate belt looks better with the knot in the middle. That seems to be what it was designed for. I'm glad that none of the many schools I have attended have required the knot on the side. If I visited another school and the students wear it on the side, then of course I would too, but it would feel funny. I think there are numerous other ways to show respect to your instructors.

    What bothers me about belts is when students wear it outside of the school...coming in and out the door with it still around their waist. That's one tradition I got used to at an early age, but I haven't seen it enforced since I switched to American Kenpo.Was that originally a Tracy thing or did it just die out?

    In my current school, we all wear black. A couple students have white gis, but it's a matter of choice.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Seneca Highlander View Post
    I think there are numerous other ways to show respect to your instructors.

    What bothers me about belts is when students wear it outside of the school...coming in and out the door with it still around their waist. That's one tradition I got used to at an early age, but I haven't seen it enforced since I switched to American Kenpo.Was that originally a Tracy thing or did it just die out?
    Personally, I've never done the knot thing either, but whatever. If it means something in a school or org, sure, but it doesn't mean anything extra to me. However, my Black Sash always ties to the side . . . go figure! And I agree completely - there are other ways of showing respect to your instructors and your style!

    As for the belts in public . . . yeah . . . never could get used to that. Heck, I felt weird if I just wore my gi pants around with a regular t-shirt. I was always taught to hide your weapons, and if you trained in empty handed combat, than that knowledge was part of your armory. It's different when it comes to public demonstrations and such, but really, just going to the grocery? Now granted, as I've gotten older, I am more free about sharing that I train in Martial Arts, but I'm less concerned about attacks now than when I was in school, but I'm still not going to run around in my uniform!

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    at my school only the highest instructors wear knot in middle if a low belt put his in middle its a challenge.
    males wear knot in left side because they are the weaker sex.
    females where knot on right side because they are the stronger sex.
    only time a low belt can put knot in middle if he is sparring but i haven't seen any move there knots yet
    all students start with heavy blue gi untill u earn it.
    the way u earn black gi is doing 10 tournaments since we are a fighting school.
    we salute instructors when we enter and leave the dojo.
    students clean dojo so one student will clean for a month then the next in line will clean for a month and so on.
    once a year all students get together repaint deep clean and do repairs.
    theres a belt test thing they do but since im still a white belt i dont know what it is since they do it after class
    and we cant go watch. they might let us watch if we ask but we wont.
    we cant wear are gi tops and belt out side of the dojo.
    when class is over we salute highest instructor then the next hightest till all instructors haven been saluted the we salute each other
    bow to the art.
    when getting on and off the mat we ask the highest instructors if we can get on or off the mat.

    this might sounds like alot but its not. sorry if this is all over the place too

  6. #85
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    I think we are all in agreement that the wearing the knot of the belt on the side instead of the middle is a later Parker lineage tradition.

    But has anyone been able to track down where, when, or with whom that tradition started?

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Crouching Tiger View Post
    I think we are all in agreement that the wearing the knot of the belt on the side instead of the middle is a later Parker lineage tradition.

    But has anyone been able to track down where, when, or with whom that tradition started?
    The tradition comes from the Traditional Chinese Arts in general, and from Ark Wong in particular where the Traditional Chinese Sash was worn to the side and where Mr. Parker trained.

    Mr. Parker reasoned that "Kenpo" was a compromise in the wearing of the uniform. The Traditional Chinese Uniform was essentially everyday wear clothing and thus suited for forms Training first, with tops removed for interaction. Kinda like "shirts and skins" in a pick up basketball game in the park. For interactive self-defense the Japanese Kimono was better suited for training, when you recognize the early days were heavily laden with Jiu-jitsu Techniques and Training methods, with lots of grabs, grappling, and falling. However Mr. Parker chose to adopt the belt position of the knot on the side to honor the Chinese Roots he embraced when he switched from "Kenpo-Karate."

    Later in the sixties and early seventies, it was Tom Kelly who suggested the right and left differences in the wearing of the belt knot for men and women when everyone was wearing long hair, and it was often difficult from across the room to discern men and women apart in uniform in class. It was also suggested as we got deeper into commercialism, that anyone who was acting as an assistant to the instructors in class would wear their knot in the middle to designate who was in charge of a group. Often classes were taught by under belts, back in the days when black belts weren't quite so "plentiful."

    My students still honor the Chinese Tradition and roots of their teacher and wear their knots to the side unless instructing others.
    Last edited by Doc; 04-17-2015 at 05:11 AM.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Dave in da house View Post
    There's another one I probably should do, but don't. When I started, there was no Yellow Belt. White --> Orange --> Purple, and so on. So I don't have a Yellow Belt in the cirriculum I present. I think of it as a "throw them a bone so they don't get discouraged, and keep coming" belt. I think back to just 40-50 years ago when there were only 1 to 3 belt colors. Sometimes stripes, sometimes not. Less material to get through, but what was there was worked harder, and with great heart. If the microwave mentality has enterenched itself so deeply that someone who was otherwise going to dedicate some chunk of their lives to the martial way changed their mind because they didn't get an attaboy every couple months, were they serious to begin with?

    So, no yellow. May change with time, but I doubt it.

    D.
    Funny cause I tossed it too.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    The belt knot on the side had always irritated me. It's an Obi, not a sash, and it's tied the way it is and the knot placed in the center for a reason. Luckily none of the kenpo schools I ever trained at or with did the knot on the side thing. Even now, when I'm at Doc's I have to remind myself to move it to the side and to stifle the subconscious habit of adjusting it back to the center.

    Then again I've seen a few schools that wear gi with sashes, and some wearing Kung fu uniforms with Obi. Both look weird to me.
    Last edited by MarkC; 04-17-2015 at 08:20 PM.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkC View Post
    The belt knot on the side had always irritated me. It's an Obi, not a sash, and it's tied the way it is and the knot placed in the center for a reason. Luckily none of the kenpo schools I ever trained at or with did the knot on the side thing. Even now, when I'm at Doc's I have to remind myself to move it to the side and to stifle the subconscious habit of adjusting it back to the center.
    There is a way to wrap and tie the belt like a Chinese Sash that the real old-timers used to use in the sixties so there is no crossing of the belt to the rear. You'll live. Besides you're moving well and your footwork has improved immensely so maybe the whole belt thing is working.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    That must be it, the belt thing.

    I know guys that wrap the belt so it doesn't cross in the back. I do it the other way, placing the center of it at my center and crossing it behind me, but often I reach around and pull the crossed part around to the front under the knot, resulting in the same stacked configuration.
    And sometimes I don't. Being naturally contrary ( or just an a s s ) I usually do it the opposite of whichever way the majority of everybody else present is doing...

    my my low back/ hamstring and knee pain is 99% gone these days. Hope that lasts a while....
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    I wear it on the left because that is what they had me doing from the start, and it happens to be the culture of the school I attend; so, why rock the boat? I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my belt other than to make sure the ends are even. It has to be even, or I won't leave the dressing room. LOL
    Also Mastering Tsing Tao.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    I wear it on the left because that is what they had me doing from the start, and it happens to be the culture of the school I attend; so, why rock the boat? I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my belt other than to make sure the ends are even. It has to be even, or I won't leave the dressing room. LOL
    I also wear mine on the side as my teacher taught. Also my belt does not cross in the back.

    The significance I have been taught is an easy way for the instructor to determine gender, which in kids classes is many times helpful.
    A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism. ~ Louis A. Berman

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    I know there are at least a couple of different ways to tie the belt. The way I was first introduced to was basically putting the middle of the belt on your tantien (just below your naval) and then it wrapped and crossed around into the back before coming around to be tied. The reason for this, as it was explained to me, was using the belt as a weapon. We would practice pushing our thumb through the knot and in one motion, untie the knot by pushing the hand outward, then grab the belt and pull it off our body in about a second to use as a weapon.

    We would also learn various striking methods and using the belt for grappling purposes. This also broke the old idea that "the belt can never touch the ground" myth as well. This is a modern western idea of the belt and is not shared in Japan/Okinawa. If your belt is dirty, you wash it.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    I know there are at least a couple of different ways to tie the belt. The way I was first introduced to was basically putting the middle of the belt on your tantien (just below your naval) and then it wrapped and crossed around into the back before coming around to be tied. The reason for this, as it was explained to me, was using the belt as a weapon. We would practice pushing our thumb through the knot and in one motion, untie the knot by pushing the hand outward, then grab the belt and pull it off our body in about a second to use as a weapon.

    We would also learn various striking methods and using the belt for grappling purposes. This also broke the old idea that "the belt can never touch the ground" myth as well. This is a modern western idea of the belt and is not shared in Japan/Okinawa. If your belt is dirty, you wash it.
    Yep!
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    "Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens." - Ed Parker Sr.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Dealing with things that are "passed down" is a subject that's become VERY VERY personal to me lately. Maybe it can correlate with the subject of "What traditions we do and do not use OR pass on".

    My parents are both 84 and devout Christians. They've come to grips (on their own) with the fact that they really need to leave the 'farm' and move to a 'independent retirement home'. They've lived in ONE house for just shy of 50 years...which is very significant when you take into account that MOM is a pack-rat that keeps Anything that has ANY emotional significance at all. (she still has the VERY first drawing I made of her when I was 3) and DAD keeps Absolutely anything that could....in Any feasible way, be used again.

    Now that they're going to be moving to a house that's 1/5th the size of the house I grew up in and property that's 1/1000th the size as before.....they have to get rid of a TON.... a TON.....of stuff. With their heartfelt need to NEVER discard anything that's useful or sentimental....it's a huge undertaking to give to myself, my brother and my sister anything that they feel they should.

    Dad's tools = EASY. Many are antiquated or dilapidated beyond usefulness. Others ...my brother and I don't need and wouldn't ever use. So the rest get sold off or discarded.
    Mom's photo-albums? Mostly to me as I'm more interested in "family heritage" than my siblings....etc.

    I see the process in much the same light as I do "What do we pass down" that was either passed down to us or is important to us.
    Traditions serve a purpose: Either a USE // OR a sentimentalism.
    I didn't keep absolutely ALL of my mom's photos. Took DAYS but we eventually weeded the 11 large boxes down to seven of the most important / non-redundant ones. But there are some that are DEAR to all of my family, so I didn't just keep them but duplicated them and distributed MORE of them to cousins, my siblings and put some in the safety deposit box...etc.

    Each of our Kenpo traditions are either things that mean a LOT to us.....or they don't. Either they're truly useful....or something done for the sake of doing what's always been done.
    Me? I don't have time in my life for things that aren't useful or meaningful!!!
    Belt knots to the sides?? No.
    Use of the belt colors that I came up through?? Yes.
    The "Salute", "Creed", "Crest"....etc? YES.
    Even simply training in a "Gi" is more for sentiment than any particular utility. But its the 'flavor of the orient'...the mystique that does serve a purpose in some ways...so I continue it.
    The "Kiss of the Dragon"??? NO! Not useful and I totally disagree with the symbolism of it. ((( the "Birthpains" of advancing to a new stage don't come from me kicking them and their FAILURE to evade or block it....they earn their bruises and pains DAILY....and the test itself should leave it's own sore, discolored reminders of "what was earned".

    Tradition is a matter of what's WORTH passing on.
    Mom and Dad don't want to burden US with what's not WORTH it. It's really been a daily meditation for me now...
    what in my life is WORTH giving to those I love?
    IF it's not worth that......why am I wasting my space, energy, time perpetuating it???

    Just me think'n

    Your Brother
    John
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Not to derail but good luck, John. When I moved my mother out of the house her and my dad had been in for over forty years, I watched 27,000lbs of rubbish and memories loaded into a truck headed to the dumps. And that's after culling everything that was to be kept and giving away a bunch more. It definitely takes a toll.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Brother John View Post
    Dealing with things that are "passed down" is a subject that's become VERY VERY personal to me lately. Maybe it can correlate with the subject of "What traditions we do and do not use OR pass on".

    My parents are both 84 and devout Christians. They've come to grips (on their own) with the fact that they really need to leave the 'farm' and move to a 'independent retirement home'. They've lived in ONE house for just shy of 50 years...which is very significant when you take into account that MOM is a pack-rat that keeps Anything that has ANY emotional significance at all. (she still has the VERY first drawing I made of her when I was 3) and DAD keeps Absolutely anything that could....in Any feasible way, be used again.

    Now that they're going to be moving to a house that's 1/5th the size of the house I grew up in and property that's 1/1000th the size as before.....they have to get rid of a TON.... a TON.....of stuff. With their heartfelt need to NEVER discard anything that's useful or sentimental....it's a huge undertaking to give to myself, my brother and my sister anything that they feel they should.

    Dad's tools = EASY. Many are antiquated or dilapidated beyond usefulness. Others ...my brother and I don't need and wouldn't ever use. So the rest get sold off or discarded.
    Mom's photo-albums? Mostly to me as I'm more interested in "family heritage" than my siblings....etc.

    I see the process in much the same light as I do "What do we pass down" that was either passed down to us or is important to us.
    Traditions serve a purpose: Either a USE // OR a sentimentalism.
    I didn't keep absolutely ALL of my mom's photos. Took DAYS but we eventually weeded the 11 large boxes down to seven of the most important / non-redundant ones. But there are some that are DEAR to all of my family, so I didn't just keep them but duplicated them and distributed MORE of them to cousins, my siblings and put some in the safety deposit box...etc.

    Each of our Kenpo traditions are either things that mean a LOT to us.....or they don't. Either they're truly useful....or something done for the sake of doing what's always been done.
    Me? I don't have time in my life for things that aren't useful or meaningful!!!
    Belt knots to the sides?? No.
    Use of the belt colors that I came up through?? Yes.
    The "Salute", "Creed", "Crest"....etc? YES.
    Even simply training in a "Gi" is more for sentiment than any particular utility. But its the 'flavor of the orient'...the mystique that does serve a purpose in some ways...so I continue it.
    The "Kiss of the Dragon"??? NO! Not useful and I totally disagree with the symbolism of it. ((( the "Birthpains" of advancing to a new stage don't come from me kicking them and their FAILURE to evade or block it....they earn their bruises and pains DAILY....and the test itself should leave it's own sore, discolored reminders of "what was earned".

    Tradition is a matter of what's WORTH passing on.
    Mom and Dad don't want to burden US with what's not WORTH it. It's really been a daily meditation for me now...
    what in my life is WORTH giving to those I love?
    IF it's not worth that......why am I wasting my space, energy, time perpetuating it???

    Just me think'n

    Your Brother
    John

    Logically Formalities, or traditions are based on self-discipline. They are designed by form to function. The 3 functions are Attitude, safety, and respect.

    "Even simply training in a "Gi" is more for sentiment than any particular utility."

    I disagree with this statement. The Gi, is durable clothing, designed to withstand rough treatment, that you don't have any reservations rolling around in the dirt with, and you don't mind getting a little blood on.
    A good teacher is a master of simplification and an enemy of simplism. ~ Louis A. Berman

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