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Thread: Kempo is defensive.

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    Default Kempo is defensive.

    I've been searching the web for informtion on Kempo schools in my area. I came across a website for the "Tracy System" of Kempo. Their website says that Kempo is an offensive martial arts system. I only studied for two years (at a school run by a 5th degree black belt who studied under Mitose), and I can say with 100% certanty that we were never taught how to "attack". We were taught how to defend, and knowing 2 years worth of Kempo, I would not want to attack anyone because the person defending always has an advantage. Kempo is not like chess, getting the first move is not an advantage. Responding is more powerful than initiating in Kempo. If someone wants to punch me, there are only so many ways they can try. And to each punch, there are multiple defenses. The act of throwing a punch or kick puts the other person at a disadvantage. For a small amount of time, they will not be centered, they will be moving in a way that makes them vulnerable. One of the most simple moves taught to even white belts illustrates the point. Someone punches you, you move toward the punch to an outside block, and now you are at an angle to the side of your attacker with his rib cage open for a fraction of a second. You could take one more step and be at an angle behind him. He can't throw a punch with his other hand across his body, he can try to use the closest hand to strike with an elbow, but he is in a bad position. He will be off balance no matter what he does. I remember drills with my Sensi where the whole point was one person tried to throw punch after punch and land one, and the partner moved to avoid being hit, never throwing a punch back. It was all about moving in the octogon. It is the same thing with kicking, it is very easy to block, and the attacker will be in a more vulnerable position for throwing the kick.

    While I was looking at the Tracy Kenpo website, I started to smell the stink of a system that is not true Kempo. They hype the offensive power of Kempo. This stinks the worst:
    Kempo, which may be roughly described as a Method of killing people, possessed many points of resemblance to Ju-jutsu but was totally different in practice, being a system of self-defence against sudden attack with intent to kill and replying thereto in kind. It was certainly more closely related to ju-jutsu than are Boxing (even under the old Prize Ring rules) or le savate to Wrestling. It might perhaps be best compared to that very strenuous old Greek Physical Contest, which was known as the Pancration. By-the-way, I may here remark on the possible derivation of the old English phrase "Kempery man" and the Anglo-Saxon cempa, signifying "a warrior," from the Japanese Kempo. This is a point which should not be without interest to etymologists, and particularly to those who follow the late Professor Max Muller in his theory of the Indo-Germanic origin of the Anglo-Saxon Race.

    Kempo, of course, was a system of attack and defence which branched off from ju-jutsu into the paths of strenuous endeavour, but, apart from the fact that it was less scientific than, ju-jutsu, it was declared an illegal practice when the sanctity of human life was recognised under the new regime.
    After reading the above passage, I think the following is probably a lie. My Sensi was a student of Mitose, and he never made any claims like this:
    For the past 20/30 years Tracy's has been the only source of authentic documentation and information on the true origin and history of Kenpo - especially the true history of James Mitose. We have hundreds of pages of documentation. To make sure this information was never lost, four different people have copies of this information. One of these people is Ted Sumner. Over the next few months Ted will be posting some of this documentation on his web site. Notice that none of the "Self appointed" Kenpo "Historians" have any of this critical and vital information. In fact most of our documented information is exactly the opposite of what the other "Kenpo guru's" have claimed. Click on the link below to take you to Ted's website. You may want to bookmark his site for all the latest updates.
    And this link is the hat trick- http://www.tracyskarate.com/Business/busMST.htm. He is boasting how he made $500,000 in 1965. His whole first page is nothing but trying to sell, sell, sell.

    This is what makes trying to find a school so difficult. This Tracey system smells like BS to me, a money making machine. I see so many differences between them and how I was taught.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Who was your teacher and when did he study under Mitose?

    I know you studied for 2 years, but that is too short of a time to be making the assumptions you are.

    Kempo is all about offense; here is a quote directly from James Mitose sensei's book "What Is Self Defense?"
    "2. It is the promotion of the offensive power through the rational use of spirit and body......

    The way we use the offensive power in Kosho is indeed a bit different, but don't confuse defending yourself with defensive movement.

    The quote from the Tracy site that you highlighted is from a book that was published in 1905 written by S.K. Uyenishi, titled "The Textbook of Ju-Jutsu".
    Just one man's views.

    Al Tracy has been working very hard to dig up documentation to support James Mitose's claims.
    This has been a good thing for students of Kosho Ryu; I say this being a student of Kosho in the SKSKI under Bruce Juchnik Hanshi.

    The Tracy System is a good system and Ted Sumner is a great guy.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    The Tracy's and Mitose are controversial figures in Kenpo. This is a can of worms I don't want (or feel qualified) to get into, other than to say that you should be a little more careful in throwing out statements like those. Just some friendly advice- take it as you want.

    I can comment on the "defensive " nature of Kenpo. I disagree with your premise that Krnpo is purely defensive. There are offensive moves taught in Kenpo, and defensive techniques can be easily modified to an offense. Further, part of the reason for useing the techniques as a training medium is so that you, as the dummy, learn the offenses that the techniques defend against. You might want to revist your training here.

    I also disagree that the defender allways has the advantage, or that Kenpo teaches that. Even as a defense, the techniques teach you to take the initiative from him and go on offense. More than that, often a good pre-emptive strike is the best defense (best defense is a good offense). The attacker almost allways starts with a significant advantage. That is why we spend so much time learning to deal with an attack, not because that is how we wish to start out in a fight.

    It is true that every attack leaves him vulnerable in some way (though not necessarily true that he's out of ballance or overextended). But the same can be said for your counters. Those techniques you start with, steping to the outside and blocking, can you do them if he steps in and jabs, and immediately attacks with another punch, combined with good footwork to keep him moving and in ballance while denying you the opportunity to move for position and get set for the counter?

    From the ideas you post here, I'd say you might want to be a litle more open minded when looking at what others do. And you may want to question what you've been taught thus far. Not disrespectfully or with the idea that it's wrong. But you may be taking what is taught wrong, or it may be wrong. Any way it plays, an honest assesment of what you and others do can only be a good learning experience.

    Dan C

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    BCB, you were faster on the keyboard than me. But, that's ok. As usual, a well informed post. Made my point better than I did.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    BCB, you were faster on the keyboard than me. But, that's ok. As usual, a well informed post. Made my point better than I did.

    wow, I can finally hunt and peck faster than someone!

    I think just about everyone develops a bit of a bias when they start training, i also think the more you train, the easier it is for you to break down that bias.

    It sounds like Kempo91 studied Kosho.......but from whom, I don't know.

    It's important for beginning students to remember that there's more than one way to skin a cat.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    before i forget...... I would like to let Kempo91 know that there is a lot of info about kosho in the Japanese Kempo section. Have a look around and feel free to post your thoughts.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbonz View Post
    Who was your teacher and when did he study under Mitose?
    Hi Blackcatbonz,

    The school owner was Sensi Roemer. I posted asking about him when I first joined, I was wondering if he was still teaching anywhere. He is an excellent teacher, although most of the time it was the 3rd degree black belt who taught the classes. He had a photograph of himself with Mitsoe which looked like it was from the 70's.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    I can comment on the "defensive " nature of Kenpo. I disagree with your premise that Krnpo is purely defensive. There are offensive moves taught in Kenpo, and defensive techniques can be easily modified to an offense. Further, part of the reason for useing the techniques as a training medium is so that you, as the dummy, learn the offenses that the techniques defend against. You might want to revist your training here.

    I also disagree that the defender allways has the advantage, or that Kenpo teaches that. Even as a defense, the techniques teach you to take the initiative from him and go on offense. More than that, often a good pre-emptive strike is the best defense (best defense is a good offense).
    Hi Dan,

    Every strike I've learned is a defensive strike. In other words, they are very effective once someone attacks me. The same strike is less effective as an offensive attack. The person I attack has an opportunity to respond to the attack by moving in a direction that gives them a superior position. What I was taught is positioning is very important, it gives a strong advantage. Someone who attacks has chosen where they are moving to, and you have an opportunity to use that against them.

    It seems to me that the strongest position anyone can have is to react to someone else. When someone attacks, they are setting themselves up in a vulnerable position, even if only for a fraction of a second.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Just my .02

    Just because you are not throwing the first punch, that doesnt mean you are not on offense.

    The best offense is a good defense, the best defense is a good offense... so which is right? It is the ying yang. Welcome to Kenpo, there are no blocks, although some motions include the word "block". The most obvious target isnt always the best, im not going for his face when I know that by destroying whatever he puts out there AND THEN his face/neck/whatever is much more effective.

    As someone else mentioned... give it some more time.

    Getting your first Black Belt is like graduating from kindergarden... you have only just earned the right to learn.

    Good times,
    Lee
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    "Getting your first Black Belt is like graduating from kindergarten... you have only just earned the right to learn." ~Me

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbonz View Post
    wow, I can finally hunt and peck faster than someone!
    Trust me, it's nothing to be proud of...

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kempo91 View Post
    Hi Dan,

    Every strike I've learned is a defensive strike. In other words, they are very effective once someone attacks me. The same strike is less effective as an offensive attack. The person I attack has an opportunity to respond to the attack by moving in a direction that gives them a superior position. What I was taught is positioning is very important, it gives a strong advantage. Someone who attacks has chosen where they are moving to, and you have an opportunity to use that against them.

    It seems to me that the strongest position anyone can have is to react to someone else. When someone attacks, they are setting themselves up in a vulnerable position, even if only for a fraction of a second.
    This is often the thought of a student first learning Kosho......because of the way you are trained to deal with an attack at first.
    But you are not being taught to react to an attack.......you are being taught how to prepare for an attack.

    For example, you may have been taught about the body's natural potsure where you "lean" to one side or the other because you rest your weight on one leg. Using this lean to your advantage is being preparatory, in essence it is your first move in your defense. Lean left - move right, lean right - move left.

    So you are not really reacting, you should always be 2 steps ahead of your opponent (always move twice, go back to where you were last).

    hope this helps a bit.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kempo91 View Post
    The person I attack has an opportunity to respond to the attack by moving in a direction that gives them a superior position. What I was taught is positioning is very important, it gives a strong advantage. Someone who attacks has chosen where they are moving to, and you have an opportunity to use that against them.
    Position is important, no doubt about it. The attacker has the initiative, and at the instant of attack controls position. That's one big advantage of attacking first. Until you take the initiative from him, he can still move to maintain his positioning advantage. You need to look into how your school handles center line theory and control. AK primarily uses dimensional control as an extension of center line control. Not sure how Kosho addresses this, but I guarantee they do address it somehow. Your answers will be there.

    Dan C

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Kempo is NOT a defensive art. Kempo is the art that teaches you how to rip, gouge, maim and mutilate for fun and profit. Back in the 60's when Ed Parker decided his students should wear black gis, he was indicating that Ken/mpo is the black sheep of the Martial Arts family, that and it hides blood well.

    That being said, a lot of the Ken/mpo that is now taught in the US (other than a few systems in Hawaii) are mostly watered down "commercial" products which advertise, and teach, defense. But if you go to any of the first generation Black Belts, or the historians of the art (www.kenpojoe.com comes to mind) they will usually attest to this.
    ~Shaun E. Seifer - 5th Dan
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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by KempoShaun View Post
    Kempo is NOT a defensive art. Kempo is the art that teaches you how to rip, gouge, maim and mutilate for fun and profit. Back in the 60's when Ed Parker decided his students should wear black gis, he was indicating that Ken/mpo is the black sheep of the Martial Arts family, that and it hides blood well.

    That being said, a lot of the Ken/mpo that is now taught in the US (other than a few systems in Hawaii) are mostly watered down "commercial" products which advertise, and teach, defense. But if you go to any of the first generation Black Belts, or the historians of the art (www.kenpojoe.com comes to mind) they will usually attest to this.
    im not so sure everyone that studies kempo would agree with that.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    I say that it's a mixed bag from what I've seen and I've been to four in my area. I would say that half were commercialized and watered down, but given that, even those 2 out of four were NOT solely defensive.
    And if that ratio holds up on a larger scale that means at least 50% aren't watered down. But I'm not going to make some gross generalization without having data to support it.

    I think the attitude of the student who becomes a teacher who becomes an owner... dictates the path. In class you can look around and see the attitude of your peers and their motivations... the people who refuse to compromise their training and go on to be owners, are (in my GUESS) the ones that are dedicated to keeping it real. But .. that's a theory and just my .02.

    Quote Originally Posted by KempoShaun View Post
    Kempo is NOT a defensive art. Kempo is the art that teaches you how to rip, gouge, maim and mutilate for fun and profit. Back in the 60's when Ed Parker decided his students should wear black gis, he was indicating that Ken/mpo is the black sheep of the Martial Arts family, that and it hides blood well.

    That being said, a lot of the Ken/mpo that is now taught in the US (other than a few systems in Hawaii) are mostly watered down "commercial" products which advertise, and teach, defense. But if you go to any of the first generation Black Belts, or the historians of the art (www.kenpojoe.com comes to mind) they will usually attest to this.
    -Camey

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbonz View Post
    im not so sure everyone that studies kempo would agree with that.
    Sadly, I agree with you...
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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by thedan View Post
    Position is important, no doubt about it. The attacker has the initiative, and at the instant of attack controls position. That's one big advantage of attacking first. Until you take the initiative from him, he can still move to maintain his positioning advantage. You need to look into how your school handles center line theory and control. AK primarily uses dimensional control as an extension of center line control. Not sure how Kosho addresses this, but I guarantee they do address it somehow. Your answers will be there.

    Dan C
    If there are two people, an attacker and a defender 2 feet away from each other, in order for the attacker to attack, he must move toward the defender. The attacker goes from a position of stregnth to weakness. He is moving his body to punch or kick, and his center can not be as good as in a defensive position. The defender reacts, and takes a position to his advantage. Now, the attacker is positioned in a manner where there might only be a few things he could do. The defender is in a position where he can counter strike and the attacker would have a more difficult time defending.

    To me, Kempo is all about getting in a position where the attacker can't attack. If the attacker is standing facing 12 oclock, and I am standing at attackers 4:30, I would say I am in a better position. I can tell by looking which way the attacker weight will lean before he makes another movement, and I can react.

    I would make a bet that if you took 100 Kempo black belts and told them to defend themselves, 100 could. If you took 100 Kempo black belts and told them to attack even a purple belt, the purple could defend because of the superiority of the defensive positions.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kempo91 View Post

    I would make a bet that if you took 100 Kempo black belts and told them to defend themselves, 100 could. If you took 100 Kempo black belts and told them to attack even a purple belt, the purple could defend because of the superiority of the defensive positions.
    You are looking at things with too much of a Black and White mentality. You must learn to find the subtle grays in order to see the whole picture, every situation is different and must be treated as such. There is no such thing as, in every situation the defender has the advantage, becuase we can be attacked from all directions and we are not always ready for anattack. If it were true that Kempo or Kenpo or any style was purely defensive then sparring would be as exciting as watching paint dry. Take a good look at your kata you will find block, strikes and movement patterns in them as they are the road maps to any system.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by KempoShaun View Post
    Kempo is NOT a defensive art. Kempo is the art that teaches you how to rip, gouge, maim and mutilate for fun and profit.
    I hope you do not take offense, but your story reminds me of an experience I had with a guy in high school. I was studying Kempo, and this guy was studying Jujitsu. We had PE class together, and he kept telling me how Jujitsu was the art of death, and how he could kill anyone in 5 seconds. He told me how much Kempo sucked. My reaction was to ignore him. I liked Kempo, I doubted he could do what he stated so I didn't give it another thought. This guy kept telling everyone how deadly Jujitsu is. After 2 weeks of hounding me and saying how much Kempo sucked, he got bored because I would not react to him. So he decided to pick on someone different, a guy who was on the highschool wrestling team. But unlike me, the wrestling guy decided to show the Jujitsu guy who was boss. The Jujitsu guy got tossed around the locker room like a rag doll, he took one heck of a beating. The wrestler got him in a lock and had the Jujitsu guy crying for help and begging him to stop. I dunno why I did it, but I was the one to get the wrestler off him. For the record, a year later some of our Kempo students started training in Jujitsu, and I was impressed. Although they were never told it was the art of death, or crap like that.

    Schools sell the offensive part of martial arts as BS marketing. As soon as I see a school say there is any method of offense that is stronger than a defensive method, I know that school is full of BS. The only way I can see an offense being sucessfull against a well trained Kempo student is if the attack comes as a complete surprise. If the Kempo student is expecting it, and is well trained, I don't beleve there is an attack that could get through.

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    Default Re: Kempo is defensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kempo91 View Post
    If the attacker is standing facing 12 oclock, and I am standing at attackers 4:30, I would say I am in a better position.
    Think so? Several years ago I was knocked out from exactly that position by a spining back knuckle.

    I reiterate, center line control- and there are a lot of ways to do it. You'd be well advised to learn how your school, and the other guys' school, handles this concept before you start to play too rough.

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