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Thread: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

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    Default Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    In and article in the February 2011 Issue of Inside Kung fu Magazine, Joseph Simonet says "I challenged their existential foundation. I discarded Kenpo after 35 years even though I achieved a ninth-degree Black Belt."

    I posted this on another Tracy's friendly forums and did not get much bite on it.
    It seemed to me that the majority of people on the board had to much respect for Joseph Simonet to really address the comment.
    They said they respected him, and he earned his place, and no matter what he does he can't simply discard his kenpo... blah blah blah.
    I got the impression that most people were not willing to stir the pot so to speak.
    there were a couple comments about it being about business, which I honestly believe.
    But the thing that struck me the most is that this seems to me anyways that he has discarded the ways that kenpo is taught in the Tracys system, and has changed how he approaches it.
    My question that I pose is..
    IS Kenpo as taught in general taught the most efficient and best way possible?
    are our sets and forms and drills the best possible?
    or is there other sets, drills, and ways to practice that would be more efficient?
    I think that the question is a tough one to answer for a few reasons.
    1st. level of instructors teaching varies so widely.
    2nd students in general are not exposed to several different ways to work on the art to compare and contrast. I would be surprised if more then 20% of all American Kenpo students crosstrain in another art, or work with any style outside their own.
    they simply dont have the time or interest to do so. I think its a very small group that puts their most into training. out of the remaining 20% that do crosstrain to some degree I would be surprised if more then 1 or 2% train seriously or regularly enough to accomplish a high level in any other arts.

    so how would we know that our sets and forms and drill and techniques are the best vehicle to improve and teach our Kenpo?

    I think that we are going to have different answers, if everyone is completely honest, ranging from the standard.. Kenpo has everything, is everything and answers everything as it is answers.... to the Kenpo has alot but can be supplemented by other arts.... to the Kenpo is hurting and needs alot of help..
    what I am curious about is if you have explored some of the drills, and options other arts have to offer and used them while working on your kenpo and if you have found them to be more efficient, or less efficient in developing skillsets and teaching.

    Also is anyone here familiar with what Joseph Simonet has introduced to teach these skillsets in place of the traditional Kenpo curriculum?
    Or is it all marketing and is Joseph Simonet simply doing everything he originally did and just saying this for marketing reasons?

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    If Kenpo is a way of thinking, it is good to discard it in favor of new ways of thinking. Look at what Doc is trying to do, good or bad he wants you to discard outdated or imperfect visions of the art. More often than not people are discarding things they didn't quite fully understand, but over sophistication to soon is to soon. Get rid of it and start from scratch... if you dare. Do it from within your own kenpo environment or go elsewhere, but you have to renew and re-examine, or you have arrived rather than spent a journey.
    Sean

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    I've studied other systems since beginning my exploration in EPAK. I always come back to it. Kenpo, in general, seems to be the best approach to stand-up self-defense to me.
    Basics, the rest is bullshytery.

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    I hesitate to comment but I'll do so here...

    I feel that I have moved away from kenpo and my existence here on KT may be as more of a lurker than an active contributor. Just not a lot for me to add, tho this topic seemed to strike home with me and that's while I'll speak up.

    I don't know Mr. Simonet, I'm not familiar with his material or how he approaches things, nor what his intentions are. So I cannot comment on what he's doing, but I can comment on my own thoughts from my own experiences.

    For me I've come to realize that kenpo is not a good match. In the way that I've learned it, I do not trust my capabilities with it. I do not find it systematically compatible with my viewpoints.

    I've only trained one method of kenpo, the Tracy method which happens to be Mr. Simonet's lineage as well. I do not travel around to different kenpo schools, I've not made an effort to immerse myself in all things kenpo. The majority of my exposure to other kenpo has been thru venues such as Youtube and the discussions here on Kenpotalk and on Martialtalk. In that admittedly limited exposure, I've not seen anything to inspire me to explore another method or lineage in kenpo. It has actually reinforced my notions that kenpo as a curriculum and as a method, simply is not a good match for me personally.

    This has nothing to do with the people here in the discussions, or with my teachers. It is a recognition of what works and what makes sense to me, regardless of how things may or may not work for others.

    In training other methods outside of kenpo, I've found things that seem to give me better answers and seem to fall into place more naturally and more usefully, for me. While there may be small portions from the kenpo that I've learned that I will still find useful, the system overall is incompatible to the point where I do not see benefit in the idea of blending kenpo with other methods on a large scale.

    So in answer to the above questions, regarding whether the curriculum and drills and skillsets and whatnot that kenpo has are the best methods: in my own expeiences and for me individually, no they are not.
    Michael


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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    I'm not qualified to comment on Mr. Simonet and what he has done with his training, though I wouldn't be surprised if it is largely about business.

    That said, Kenpo was not my first art, and it is not the last one I have trained in. But at some point in time it became my base, and everything else I do get grafted on to it. Are there other drills and methods of training that work as well or better to develop general skills? Yes, and whenever I find them, I do my best to steal them. But very, very often I discover those ideas were already in Mr. Parker's system; I just was not wise or perceptive enough to realize it yet.

    When I throw, I want to throw like a Judoka. When I trap, I want to trap like a Wing Chun stylist. When I stick and flow, I want to move like an Eskrimador. But I am always a Kenpoist, first and foremost. Take the best of what is out there and learn to apply it within the context of your base. The base doesn't have to be Kenpo, but it is for me. I haven't discarded my Kenpo. I didn't need to. I hope I have enhanced it.
    Joel Ellis
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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by DRANKIN View Post
    I've studied other systems since beginning my exploration in EPAK. I always come back to it. Kenpo, in general, seems to be the best approach to stand-up self-defense to me.
    so when you say the best approach to stand up self defense to you, do you mean that the other arts you trained in only taught you bits and pieces of what you learn in Kenpo, or that you found nothing of value worth pursuing the other arts for and thats why you came back to kenpo, or that you trained in those other arts, found things you liked and then brought them back to your kenpo? If the later is the case, then what specifically did you bring back that you felt wasn't here?

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by flying crane View Post
    For me I've come to realize that kenpo is not a good match. In the way that I've learned it, I do not trust my capabilities with it. I do not find it systematically compatible with my viewpoints.

    can you expand on what you mean? Do you mean you found it too brutal and you feel that the brutality is not something you can do? Or do you mean its not realistic and you feel that you wanted something more realistic? Or do you mean something else?


    I've only trained one method of kenpo, the Tracy method which happens to be Mr. Simonet's lineage as well. I do not travel around to different kenpo schools, I've not made an effort to immerse myself in all things kenpo. The majority of my exposure to other kenpo has been thru venues such as Youtube and the discussions here on Kenpotalk and on Martialtalk. In that admittedly limited exposure, I've not seen anything to inspire me to explore another method or lineage in kenpo. It has actually reinforced my notions that kenpo as a curriculum and as a method, simply is not a good match for me personally.

    I am curious who you learned from, I do not take tracys kenpo either, and the majority of people I know who have Tracys heritage really dont seem to train it either, rather they may have at one point but moved on to other things. I look at youtube and it makes me want to claim I do something completely different, so I do not fault you for not being excited about anything on youtube. I also dont consider most of the conversations to be had on these forums to be good for non kenpo people... its too confusing for most of the people envolved in kenpo to begin with, let alone an outsider.

    This has nothing to do with the people here in the discussions, or with my teachers. It is a recognition of what works and what makes sense to me, regardless of how things may or may not work for others.

    so was your difference in philosophy that you felt it doesnt work? I find that interesting, and if I studied an art I felt didnt work I too would pursue something different.

    In training other methods outside of kenpo, I've found things that seem to give me better answers and seem to fall into place more naturally and more usefully, for me. While there may be small portions from the kenpo that I've learned that I will still find useful, the system overall is incompatible to the point where I do not see benefit in the idea of blending kenpo with other methods on a large scale.

    I think I have to once again go back to my theory that you had pisspoor kenpo instruction, that lead to you thinking all kenpo is unrealistic and unworkable, and the exposure of kenpo on youtube and the philosophical nature of kenpo discussions on forums sure as hell wouldnt help either.

    So in answer to the above questions, regarding whether the curriculum and drills and skillsets and whatnot that kenpo has are the best methods: in my own expeiences and for me individually, no they are not.
    So in the spirit of the discussion, what drills have you found that give you a better ability to get movement? What have you found outside Kenpo that you felt was superior?
    If your going to lurk on a kenpo forum for as long as you have then I have to assume there is some part of your mind that is wondering what you are missing... what if there is more then you think there is to it..
    thanks for joining the discussion.

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by J Ellis View Post
    I'm not qualified to comment on Mr. Simonet and what he has done with his training, though I wouldn't be surprised if it is largely about business.

    That said, Kenpo was not my first art, and it is not the last one I have trained in. But at some point in time it became my base, and everything else I do get grafted on to it. Are there other drills and methods of training that work as well or better to develop general skills? Yes, and whenever I find them, I do my best to steal them. But very, very often I discover those ideas were already in Mr. Parker's system; I just was not wise or perceptive enough to realize it yet.

    When I throw, I want to throw like a Judoka. When I trap, I want to trap like a Wing Chun stylist. When I stick and flow, I want to move like an Eskrimador. But I am always a Kenpoist, first and foremost. Take the best of what is out there and learn to apply it within the context of your base. The base doesn't have to be Kenpo, but it is for me. I haven't discarded my Kenpo. I didn't need to. I hope I have enhanced it.
    having ideas in a system, and having drills in the system are not necessarily the same thing.
    What specific drills are you talking about that you have incorporated from elsewhere into your kenpo training?
    I might also take your comments a step further and say that when fighting a judoka I want to know what they are doing and how to beat them and use my kenpo to do it, and when fighting against a wing chun specialist the same, a boxer the same, etc.etc.... Like I have said many times to people, there is nothing I have seen in any other martial art that is not explained by our concepts and principles in Kenpo. If you believe there is something new that isnt explained in kenpo then I would like to see it. As far as Kenpo as your base, I would say I do the same, I am curious what specific drills people are using to improve their abilities though.
    thanks

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyKBoxer View Post
    so when you say the best approach to stand up self defense to you, do you mean that the other arts you trained in only taught you bits and pieces of what you learn in Kenpo, or that you found nothing of value worth pursuing the other arts for and thats why you came back to kenpo, or that you trained in those other arts, found things you liked and then brought them back to your kenpo? If the later is the case, then what specifically did you bring back that you felt wasn't here?
    I think the primary things that bring me back to Kenpo is the stance and manuevering theory. It's seems to be more practical and naturally accomodate the human body IMO. I can't say that I brought anything back that didn't exist. Just had exposure to different ways of striking, blocking, and manuevering that didn't really stick. Though I enjoyed the experience and training, it just didn't seem as useful to me compared to what I learned from Kenpo.
    Basics, the rest is bullshytery.

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Mr. J Ellis,
    You write well sir! I'm sure many of us on this forum share your feelings in regards to kenpo or we would be somewhere else!
    Thank you, sir.
    Joel Ellis
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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by LuckyKBoxer View Post
    having ideas in a system, and having drills in the system are not necessarily the same thing.
    What specific drills are you talking about that you have incorporated from elsewhere into your kenpo training?
    I might also take your comments a step further and say that when fighting a judoka I want to know what they are doing and how to beat them and use my kenpo to do it, and when fighting against a wing chun specialist the same, a boxer the same, etc.etc.... Like I have said many times to people, there is nothing I have seen in any other martial art that is not explained by our concepts and principles in Kenpo. If you believe there is something new that isnt explained in kenpo then I would like to see it. As far as Kenpo as your base, I would say I do the same, I am curious what specific drills people are using to improve their abilities though.
    thanks
    Hubud is one obvious example, as well as several other trapping and sensitivity drills borrowed from Wing Chun and JKD or Filipino systems. I teach breakfalls and basic locks and throws that are not isolated as such in the Kenpo curriculum, including lockflows to teach sensitivity in control manipulation. I do basic groundwork with my guys, including specific drills used in Judo and BJJ. I also like some of the structured sparring drills I've seen in Shotokan and have applied them in my own classes.

    I think you said it very well when you described these complements to the system as being explained and understood using principles and concepts from Kenpo. In my opinion, that is what makes Mr. Parker's curriculum such a useful base. It is not merely a collection of techniques or forms. It is a way of categorizing and analyzing human movement, and as such it can be used to better understand any combative art. Incidentally, at the risk of aggravating people, I don't think this is true of IKCA Kenpo, as good as that curriculum is, and I don't know whether it is true of Tracy's Kenpo, though having not studied the system personally I am not qualified to say. Both IKCA and Tracy's Kenpo draw on an earlier, more primitive period of Mr. Parker's system. The analytical and categorical developments were codified primarily in a later period than represented by either of these two schools. EPAK helps me understand (and hopefully execute) IKCA Kenpo better along with the other things I do. But the reverse is not always true. Judo can help me understand how to better execute a hip throw in a Kenpo technique, but it cannot improve my punch. Mr. Parker's system helps me understand both.
    Joel Ellis
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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    I would want to read the rest of the article, other than the one quote. Many people think the Tracy system is too rigid, but I don't see that, and I believe Mr Tracy allows many schools to train in many different ways. I will say reagarding Mr. Simonet, from his web page he has a very cool training location, and obviously takes his training very seriously.
    Kenpo, moving in open piecewise Bézier curves since 2011

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    Been doing computers since 1982, on forums, chats and all for nearly 3 decades. Only ever blocked one person.

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by J-squared View Post
    I would want to read the rest of the article, other than the one quote. Many people think the Tracy system is too rigid, but I don't see that, and I believe Mr Tracy allows many schools to train in many different ways. I will say reagarding Mr. Simonet, from his web page he has a very cool training location, and obviously takes his training very seriously.
    http://www.insidekung-fu.com/content/view/188/37/
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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    For me I've come to realize that kenpo is not a good match. In the way that I've learned it, I do not trust my capabilities with it. I do not find it systematically compatible with my viewpoints.

    can you expand on what you mean? Do you mean you found it too brutal and you feel that the brutality is not something you can do? Or do you mean its not realistic and you feel that you wanted something more realistic? Or do you mean something else?
    This is all my personal opinion, with regard to me. For others, mileage may vary.

    I feel that the design of the curriculum causes the focus of training to be on the wrong things. The curriculum is too big, too spread out and not always well designed. I do not find many of the techs to be realistic and useable. I feel that the curriculum deflects energy from the really important things. It's too easy to get hung up on the huge lists of techs and forms because we want to keep the system intact, when in my opinion a whole lot of the formal curriculum should be eliminated. The real focus should be more on the basics, but getting wrapped up in the curriculum, just trying to stay on top of it, makes this impossible.

    This has nothing to do with the people here in the discussions, or with my teachers. It is a recognition of what works and what makes sense to me, regardless of how things may or may not work for others.

    so was your difference in philosophy that you felt it doesnt work? I find that interesting, and if I studied an art I felt didnt work I too would pursue something different.
    Yes, it's in the basic and fundamental approach to things. I find that in the Chinese method that I've worked on for over a dozen years, we just have a very different way of approaching training, the curriculum is structured in a way that makes more sense to me, I understand how the building blocks fit together, and we do it without long lists of self defense techniques. We focus more on building a foundation that drives everything we do, and then understanding how to get a whole lot of mileage out of a smaller formalized curriculum. Granted, there is still a large amount of material in there, but it interlocks differently and is trained differently. It's very difficult to explain this without showing it in person so I don't expect folks to really know what I'm talking about if they haven't had a similar experience.

    In training other methods outside of kenpo, I've found things that seem to give me better answers and seem to fall into place more naturally and more usefully, for me. While there may be small portions from the kenpo that I've learned that I will still find useful, the system overall is incompatible to the point where I do not see benefit in the idea of blending kenpo with other methods on a large scale.

    I think I have to once again go back to my theory that you had pisspoor kenpo instruction, that lead to you thinking all kenpo is unrealistic and unworkable, and the exposure of kenpo on youtube and the philosophical nature of kenpo discussions on forums sure as hell wouldnt help either.
    I have to disagree here, other than the youtube and forum discussion comments. I actually think I had an exceptional instructor. But I do believe that different methods approach training in fundamentally different ways, and not every way works well for every person. I actually understand very clearly that a whole lot of kenpo people would look at the things that I train and walk away feeling like it just didn't make any sense. I'm OK with that. All I can say is that I understand the method and it makes huge sense to me in a way that I've never felt in kenpo. It took me a while to reach that epiphany, but once I did it was like a door opened up and a whole bunch of truths spilled out at my feet. Not everyone can be successful with every method. I'm not saying that what I do is objectively the best. But for me it is clearly far better, and is the best thing that I've come across yet and I've had opportunity to study on some level or other a fair number of systems along the way.

    I'm trying to be very careful to acknowledge that for many people, kenpo seems to work well and is a good thing for them. That's also OK, no problem with that. I'm recognizing how personal the issue is. What works great for one person doesn't work at all for another. Find what works for you, and I do the same for me.

    So in answer to the above questions, regarding whether the curriculum and drills and skillsets and whatnot that kenpo has are the best methods: in my own expeiences and for me individually, no they are not.
    So in the spirit of the discussion, what drills have you found that give you a better ability to get movement? What have you found outside Kenpo that you felt was superior?


    It's not so much the drills as it is the fundamental differences in how our material is put together, and how we practice it, and what the goals are. I can't name this or that "drill" that gave me a named skill. I can only say that overall the different approach is more meaningful to me, and within the specific method that we use I can develop all kinds of interactive drills to develop application.

    Just last weekend I was working with my student on some sparring drills. We just worked with our basic techniques on top of our foundation and applied it within an interactive situation. It's something that I feel has application either in a sparring situation or a fight. I just grabbed a couple of our basic techniques and told him, OK I'm gonna chase you around with some punches, you just use this one concept and see if you can make it work on me. It worked great, and the way we do it seems to shut down the aggressor. I'm not a competitive fighter so I don't know if it would work in the octagon, but that's not important to me. I believe it would work if I needed it to defend myself.

    If your going to lurk on a kenpo forum for as long as you have then I have to assume there is some part of your mind that is wondering what you are missing... what if there is more then you think there is to it..
    thanks for joining the discussion.
    I've actually been a pretty active member up until now. It's kind of recent that I've become comfortable and accepted the fact of my drift. That has been something that I've been pondering and thinking about for a couple years or so and it recently crystallized for me.

    It's been a habit to come and check out what others are saying, but I don't know that I'll have a lot to contribute that is really kenpo-relevant.
    Michael


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    Negative Douche Bag Number One

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    There are a lot of issues to respond to in this post, so I'll try to touch on the ones I can comment on perosnally.

    First, I agree that you can never discard an art once you have spent years if not decades studying it. While you might assign a different name to it, consider it personally an evolution of something else of interpretation, once you've internalized an art it is part of your response. Regardless of the arts I study, if I never trained in Okinawan Kempo again at least part of my trained responses would come from what I learned as a yellow belt sweating out katas.

    Secondly, in my own training we use drills and concepts from other arts to further our knowledge. This includes locks from Small Circle Jujitsu, trapping drills from Modern Arnis and Jeet Kune Do, boxing and kickboxing drills. This is again in keeping with traditions and past generations of martial artists seemed less concerned with adhering and belonging to a set collection of knowledge. In Okinawan Karate alone you would be hard pressed to find a true master who never studied Judo or traveled to China to improve his understanding of the martial arts. The founders of Uechi Ryu and Goju Ryu for example both spent years training in China, and many Okinawan masters studied Chinese White Crane from masters like Go Ken Ki.

    In the end, we can learn from many traditions. No one goes to a university to study college, but each student takes a multitude of course to make them a more educated individual. The martial arts are the same way. An engineering major studies art history or literature in his or her education. A Kempoka studies Jujitsu, Arnis, etc. The root is planted but fed by more than one stream.

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    I believe Mr. Simonet said it best himself in a quote from the March 2010 edition of Inside Kung Fu magazine:

    "I thought getting a black belt would lead to supreme confidence and functionality... I have long since come to grips with the realization that one language cannot completely express a human being; one instrument cannot express all music; and one philosophy cannot represent all combative perspectives. I have accepted that there is no one complete art…" ~Joseph Simonet
    Who can argue with that?
    "Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought." ~Matsu Basho

    "The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards." ~William Francis Butler

    "He who is taught only by himself has a fool for a master." ~Ben Jonson

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    I don't think he's discarded kenpo at all. He may have discarded the overloaded technique worshipping paradigm, but not necessarily kenpo. I agree with much of what he says, but I think he's too close to see that perhaps he's transcended his training, but hasn't left it behind.

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Barnes View Post
    perhaps he's transcended his training, but hasn't left it behind.
    I think this is it exactly.
    "Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought." ~Matsu Basho

    "The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards." ~William Francis Butler

    "He who is taught only by himself has a fool for a master." ~Ben Jonson

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Just so no one thinks I'm asleep... I'm not sure how what Mr. Simonet is doing is any of my business. Just like with Michael. He and I are buds. We converse on and off, and he's helping me with a favor. I've been in martial arts since 1965, Kenpo specifically since 1971, but it's no the only method I study or have studied. With that in mind, it's none of my business what Michael is doing. I figure that if I got that curious, I'd go on my own and find the answers that fit me.

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    Default Re: Joseph Simonet " I discarded kenpo"

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Barnes View Post
    I don't think he's discarded kenpo at all. He may have discarded the overloaded technique worshipping paradigm, but not necessarily kenpo. I agree with much of what he says, but I think he's too close to see that perhaps he's transcended his training, but hasn't left it behind.
    I kind of beg to differ. Everyone always talks about the journey of Kenpo..
    if he discarded all the drills, skills, and sets he used to do and no longer uses them, then is he still doing kenpo?
    he might still be doing moves that are in Kenpo, but is it actually Kenpo now? Or is it his own thing? How many martial arts have very similar movements but are considered different arts?
    I am not sure what all is in Tracys Kenpo, but have been told there are dozens of forms, over 600 total techniques, and many other aspects.
    Basics are basics, in EPAK, or Ed Parkers line we have the concepts and principles to guide us and pull us together even our individual interpretations of the art differ slightly.
    transcended his training? If he teaches his students differently then how he learned is he teaching the same art? I am not sure exactly what he is doing, but it is my understanding that he has done something similar to this... or at least thats the impression I got.
    So I guess the question is is Kenpo the end result? Or the journey? and if its the end result then I guess it doesnt matter what Joseph or anyone else does for that matter, its all Kenpo, but if it is in fact the journey, then it isn't Tracys Kenpo anymore is it?

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