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Thread: American Kenpo Traditions

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    Default American Kenpo Traditions

    I'd like to see what "American Kenpo Traditions" are floating around out there. As a fairly non-traditional art (in my opinion), I'd love to see what sort of 'traditions' various folks have kept.

    Examples:
    1. Belt knots to the sides vs. center
    2. White Gi until Brown Belt, Black Gi after

    Perhaps the way some may view some things as 'traditions' that were never meant to be so, but have been taken that way.

    Personally, in my school, we do not do the belt knots to the sides for students, however we do have students wear white gi's until brown belt.

    Just curious what other things are lurking around.

    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by scarey View Post
    I'd like to see what "American Kenpo Traditions" are floating around out there. As a fairly non-traditional art (in my opinion), I'd love to see what sort of 'traditions' various folks have kept.

    Examples:
    1. Belt knots to the sides vs. center
    2. White Gi until Brown Belt, Black Gi after

    Perhaps the way some may view some things as 'traditions' that were never meant to be so, but have been taken that way.

    Personally, in my school, we do not do the belt knots to the sides for students, however we do have students wear white gi's until brown belt.

    Just curious what other things are lurking around.

    Sean

    Sean,

    We bow when entering or leaving the training area. We salute each other before and after working the techs on one other. The only one wearing their knot in the middle is the one teaching class, or the senior ranking person.
    They address senior ranks as Sir, or Mam, and they say thank you.
    Brad Marshall SP
    KKFI

    trgodbm@yahoo.com

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by scarey View Post
    I'd like to see what "American Kenpo Traditions" are floating around out there. As a fairly non-traditional art (in my opinion), I'd love to see what sort of 'traditions' various folks have kept.

    Examples:
    1. Belt knots to the sides vs. center
    2. White Gi until Brown Belt, Black Gi after

    Perhaps the way some may view some things as 'traditions' that were never meant to be so, but have been taken that way.

    Personally, in my school, we do not do the belt knots to the sides for students, however we do have students wear white gi's until brown belt.

    Just curious what other things are lurking around.

    Sean
    Although it is usually forgiven, wearing your knot in the center is considered a challange in some circles. You might explain that to your students when visiting other schools.
    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Due to background, age, and conditon, mileage may vary...

    We bow upon entering and leaving the school. Due to old Tracy background, and often prohibitive cost, everyone wears a black gi. Bowing to each other is pretty much standard. Hugging after a tussle is one that I insist on... If you can lay hands on in deadly earnest, you can also do so in a loving/sharing environment. Besides that, I get to meet more purty gals that way.

    Tradition is something that is barely touched on in many martial arts schools that are not directly from Okinawan, Chinese, or Japanese descent. Westerners tend to look at it as toadying and scraping. When we bow at my school, we look each other in the eyes, and never at the floor. That would be my one deferal to my western upbringing.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    Although it is usually forgiven, wearing your knot in the center is considered a challange in some circles. You might explain that to your students when visiting other schools.
    Sean
    I wonder how this notion developed? I've never heard of it as a challenge.

    Wearing the knot on the side is something that, to my knowledge, is only done by people in the later Parker lineages. In the earlier lineages of kenpo and outside of kenpo, it is not done at all, even by underbelts. They all wear the knot in the middle.

    So how would this have developed into a challenge?
    Michael


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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    I wonder how this notion developed? I've never heard of it as a challenge.

    Wearing the knot on the side is something that, to my knowledge, is only done by people in the later Parker lineages. In the earlier lineages of kenpo and outside of kenpo, it is not done at all, even by underbelts. They all wear the knot in the middle.

    So how would this have developed into a challenge?

    Were you aware that traditionally an "Uncovered fist" in a salute, iwas also considered a "challenge"?

    I suspect that the belt thingy...(which I always thought was peculiar, that big ol' knot at my hip is just annoying....now if we wore sashes, I could understand this practice, but....I digress)....In many schools, as mentioned, only the Teacher in Charge or the He of the Highest Rank, was allowed to wear the knot in the center. This clearly designates who is the Teacher and who the student. If you wore your knot in the center, then you would be implying that you know more than the designated instructor...thus the challenge.

    Being less formal in most respects, (due largely from the fact I began teaching at a very young age) our school tends to pass the Teaching Torch, so to speak, back and forth, so it would wear our britches out if we spun the darned thing everytime someone else took the helm. We do salute before each technique, shake/hug after brawling...we have a formal opening to class and have a formal closing, although this desintegrates as the hardcore tend to stay later and later and later and later, so the class sometimes doesn't formally close at a given time. We do the Promotional Kick thing at Brown and Blackbelt, but not at other ranks. (Knocked down a white, arise a brown, knocked down a brown, arise a black). We have an Annual Picnic that has become a tradition, bringing old students back into the family and exchanging ideas and techniques with other schools/systems. Those would be the most "institutionalized" traditions we practice.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    I wonder how this notion developed? I've never heard of it as a challenge.

    Wearing the knot on the side is something that, to my knowledge, is only done by people in the later Parker lineages. In the earlier lineages of kenpo and outside of kenpo, it is not done at all, even by underbelts. They all wear the knot in the middle.

    So how would this have developed into a challenge?
    I wasn't there when it happened, but the idea is that the instructor wears the belt in the middle, the students at the sides. When that instructor leaves the next highest rank wears the knot in the middle when teaching. The challange would be the refusal to honor the costom when asked.
    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by SifuDangeRuss View Post
    In many schools, as mentioned, only the Teacher in Charge or the He of the Highest Rank, was allowed to wear the knot in the center. This clearly designates who is the Teacher and who the student. If you wore your knot in the center, then you would be implying that you know more than the designated instructor...thus the challenge.
    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    I wasn't there when it happened, but the idea is that the instructor wears the belt in the middle, the students at the sides. When that instructor leaves the next highest rank wears the knot in the middle when teaching. The challange would be the refusal to honor the costom when asked.
    Sean

    You mean that it has come to indicate a challenge only in schools teaching later lineage Parker kenpo, and a visiting student from another kenpo school also teaching a later lineage of Parker kenpo.

    Walking into a Tracy school or a Goju Ryu school for example, everyone wears the knot in the middle, and nobody would consider it a challenge if a visitor did the same. The entire concept of wearing the knot on the side doesn't exist, outside of later lineage Parker kenpo.

    Wearing a sash knot on the side is often done in kung fu, wearing the rope knot on the side is done in capoeira, I think I've seen some Philipino styles wear theirs on the side but I'm not familiar with their traditions.

    But of the styles that wear a Japanese style gi and belt, only the later Parker kenpo lineages have the side vs. center distinction. So the challenge issue, if it exists, is only among those groups, I guess. It doesn't exist among the Chinese styles, nor capoeira, if someone chose to wear the knot in the middle. It would just seem a bit odd, that's all.

    It seems that a visiting Goju student, for example, would automatically wear his knot in the middle. If asked to wear it on the side, I expect he would find it unusual, and if someone was offended by his wearing it in the middle, if hadn't yet been clued into that particular detail of the school, he would probably be baffled. Of course when visiting another school, courtesy and manners are important. You play by their rules.

    But the notion of this indicating a challenge is certainly not universal, seems it would be very kenpo-specific, and only to certain lineages. It just sounded like the claim was that it was sort of universal or something, that's all. If I misunderstood the message, my bad.
    Michael


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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    You mean that it has come to indicate a challenge only in schools teaching later lineage Parker kenpo, and a visiting student from another kenpo school also teaching a later lineage of Parker kenpo.

    Walking into a Tracy school or a Goju Ryu school for example, everyone wears the knot in the middle, and nobody would consider it a challenge if a visitor did the same. The entire concept of wearing the knot on the side doesn't exist, outside of later lineage Parker kenpo.

    Wearing a sash knot on the side is often done in kung fu, wearing the rope knot on the side is done in capoeira, I think I've seen some Philipino styles wear theirs on the side but I'm not familiar with their traditions.

    But of the styles that wear a Japanese style gi and belt, only the later Parker kenpo lineages have the side vs. center distinction. So the challenge issue, if it exists, is only among those groups, I guess. It doesn't exist among the Chinese styles, nor capoeira, if someone chose to wear the knot in the middle. It would just seem a bit odd, that's all.

    It seems that a visiting Goju student, for example, would automatically wear his knot in the middle. If asked to wear it on the side, I expect he would find it unusual, and if someone was offended by his wearing it in the middle, if hadn't yet been clued into that particular detail of the school, he would probably be baffled. Of course when visiting another school, courtesy and manners are important. You play by their rules.

    But the notion of this indicating a challenge is certainly not universal, seems it would be very kenpo-specific, and only to certain lineages. It just sounded like the claim was that it was sort of universal or something, that's all. If I misunderstood the message, my bad.
    Not doing what is asked of you by the teacher is a challange. This may be a small circle of schools but its what they want. (we do this by the way)
    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    I wonder how this notion developed? I've never heard of it as a challenge.

    Wearing the knot on the side is something that, to my knowledge, is only done by people in the later Parker lineages. In the earlier lineages of kenpo and outside of kenpo, it is not done at all, even by underbelts. They all wear the knot in the middle.

    So how would this have developed into a challenge?
    In many of the formal "koryu" schools it is considered a challenge to fact a senior student or instructor while straitening your gi.

    I understand the knot being tied to the side as capitulating to the instructor's wisdom and knowledge...courtesy, if you will. I found it rather interesting but, I do it anyway...now.

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    You mean that it has come to indicate a challenge only in schools teaching later lineage Parker kenpo, and a visiting student from another kenpo school also teaching a later lineage of Parker kenpo.

    Walking into a Tracy school or a Goju Ryu school for example, everyone wears the knot in the middle, and nobody would consider it a challenge if a visitor did the same. The entire concept of wearing the knot on the side doesn't exist, outside of later lineage Parker kenpo.


    It seems that a visiting Goju student, for example, would automatically wear his knot in the middle. If asked to wear it on the side, I expect he would find it unusual, and if someone was offended by his wearing it in the middle, if hadn't yet been clued into that particular detail of the school, he would probably be baffled. Of course when visiting another school, courtesy and manners are important. You play by their rules.
    I went to my first Kenpo class in my judo gi and a blue belt (4th kyu in the system I was studying at the time). I wore the knot in the middle and thought that the other students moved the knot to the side to allow for the close proximity hand strikes...silly me.

    I paraded around with my knot tied in the middle and my thumbs tucked arrogantly (yet ignorantly) behind the knot. In retrospect, I'm amazed I didn't get my head knocked off. It is hilarious to think back to that knowing what I now know.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    Although it is usually forgiven, wearing your knot in the center is considered a challange in some circles. You might explain that to your students when visiting other schools.
    Sean
    I don't enforce the belt knot thing when it's just us getting together, but make sure my students honor it for visiting seniors. I think of NOT doing it in the presence of an oldster as worthy of one of those, "What...you born in a barn or something?" comments. Polish and respect.

    Clubs too small now, but another one is announcing and bowing to black belts when they enter the studio. Bowing on and off the mat. And a good old kick to the gut with belt promotions. Barbaric, I know, but still a fave of mine.

    D.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Oh, I also like "passing it down" at the end of class. It's a form of love that some of us take great pride in sharing with much enthusiasm. One of my fellow orange belts tries his damnedest to put me on the ground with a outward hammerfist to the gut...he seems to try harder every class.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    Not doing what is asked of you by the teacher is a challenge.
    Sean
    As has been said elswhere, not doing what is asked of you is impolite, if not even presumptious.

    Is it a challenge? Only if you are looking for one to begin with, and that doesn't seem very polite to me.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoChanger View Post
    Not doing what is asked of you by the teacher is a challange. This may be a small circle of schools but its what they want. (we do this by the way)
    Sean

    yes, I understand that. Your initial mention of this sounded to me as if you meant it was universal. Such as, a visitor from another school, or another system even, who walked in the door with his knot in the middle, would be singled out for a pounding or something. That is how I read your post. I simply pointed out that it is not universal, not even in kenpo.

    In our school, if someone wears the knot on the side, they are told to wear it in the middle. It's not taken as a challenge or deliberate insult. It's just how we wear it.

    If I misunderstood your intended message, so be it.
    Michael


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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by toejoe2k View Post
    I paraded around with my knot tied in the middle and my thumbs tucked arrogantly (yet ignorantly) behind the knot. In retrospect, I'm amazed I didn't get my head knocked off. It is hilarious to think back to that knowing what I now know.

    ~Peace
    I dunno. If nobody had explained the custom/house rules to you, I can't see that as being arrogant, nor asking to have your head knocked off.
    Michael


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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    I wonder how this notion developed? I've never heard of it as a challenge.

    Wearing the knot on the side is something that, to my knowledge, is only done by people in the later Parker lineages. In the earlier lineages of kenpo and outside of kenpo, it is not done at all, even by underbelts. They all wear the knot in the middle.

    So how would this have developed into a challenge?
    When my instructor's school enforced this, we abided by the 3 "T's". That is, you were allowed to wear your knot in the center for Teaching, Testing and Tournaments.

    Coming to Kenpo from a previous 10+ years of other martial arts, wearing the knot on the side personally drove me BATTY

    Sean

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    similar customs here.. only instructors (black, and i think brown can) can wear their belt in the center.. otherwise its considered a challenge. unless at a tournament or camp or something... the usual bowing before/after entering/exiting the mat. kenpo creed for tests.. sometimes after class as a class, for a closer... formal salute before and after class. sometimes an informal bow out if its late.

    punch to the stomach on promotions up till orange. purple and up its a kick (harder as rank increases i guess).
    white gi top is for everything under brown. after brown you can start wearing black gi top when you reach brown belt you start learning how to teach a class. doesn't matter if you wear black gi pants.

    up to 5 stripes on colored belts. 1 for 1/4 of the belt's requirements, with a 5th being a pre test basically.

    other than that. a salute after being shown or ukeing a technique is generally the norm.
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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by scarey View Post
    I'd like to see what "American Kenpo Traditions" are floating around out there. As a fairly non-traditional art (in my opinion), I'd love to see what sort of 'traditions' various folks have kept.

    Examples:
    1. Belt knots to the sides vs. center
    2. White Gi until Brown Belt, Black Gi after

    Perhaps the way some may view some things as 'traditions' that were never meant to be so, but have been taken that way.

    Personally, in my school, we do not do the belt knots to the sides for students, however we do have students wear white gi's until brown belt.

    Just curious what other things are lurking around.

    Sean
    I think the biggest AK tradition out there is teaching an un-modified 24 technique system, as outlined in IIK.
    Be safe,

    Roach

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    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.

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    Default Re: American Kenpo Traditions

    Some of the traditions and values in my school are:

    1. Bowing before enter the dojo
    2. A bow of respect to eachother before training
    3. We do wear white gi's until brown belt
    4. We line up in order of belt colors (highest ranked students on the right)

    We do not wear the knot on the sides though, everybody is allowed to wear it in the middle.

    Salute,

    Richard
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